We have been looking into rehoming Zoey, with the intent to find her a fantastic new family.
I can’t believe I am writing this, it’s so surreal.
Please understand this hasn’t been an easy decision, at all, and we don’t take it lightly. We thoroughly believe a dog is for life, and we made that commitment to her when we foster failed her as a puppy.
We love this dog as much as we love anything, she is so important to us…but we are just not coping.
Everything we ever do revolves around our dogs – we see my parents every few months, but only spend five hours with them so we don’t leave the dogs too long. When I ask for gifts off my family for Christmas / birthdays, they’re things for the dogs. We spend hours every day walking, training and playing with our dogs.
But my illness has gotten worse, and Zoey has developed something that is a real struggle to work with
→ Zoey has discovered she can break out of crates / pens, because we accidentally left the door unlocked once. She has since bent bars, pulled bars off and escaped from everything we’ve put her in
→ This means we can’t leave Zoey alone, as she could seriously injure herself, or destroy our house
→ The fact Zoey can’t be left (either alone, or to rest in a crate) creates issues:
- It’s much harder to spend one-on-one time with our other dogs, and Zoey is too stressed out to be able to focus around Rey. I’m spending hardly any time with him.
- I have needed to go the Dr / hospital several times, but can’t because we can’t leave Zoey on her own
- My partner has been told to stay with me 24/7, for safety reasons, but obviously this isn’t possible when our other dogs need walks, we need shopping etc.
- Because Zoey is stressed, we are stressed, which stresses Zoey out more, which stresses us out a lot more! Raiden can’t be out whilst Zoey is as she’s too stressed to be able to focus when asked, and in general Zoey is anxious and miserable most the time
We’ve tried quite a few things to help her feel comfortable being left. First we reinforced the pen we were using, to try make it hold up to her jaws.
Then we shaped the pen around our couch, so she could have somewhere that she really loves to relax whilst we left her. We also bought a DAP diffuser.
We started leaving her for a minute a day, after a walk, with chew toys and a stuffed Kong. She was fine.
Every few days we would increase the amount of time we left her…but when we got to four minutes she didn’t touch her Kong whilst we were out, and when we came in she was stood at the pen door and began whining when we entered the house 😦
We started really tiring her out before leaving her. We’ve always made sure to give her a walk just before leaving her, but now we started to run her ragged! We took her out for over an hour, and started letting her off lead.
So we got rid of the pen altogether and spent a few hours dog proofing the living room to the best of our ability; tidying everything, shuffling furniture etc. We started giving her a Buster Cube full of kibble and two Kongs to keep her busy, several chew toys AND even some squeaky toys.
We stopped leaving the house and instead went upstairs together, so we were still in the house but not with her, to get her used to being left alone.
This went pretty well; most times when we came down she was emptying her puzzle feeders or sleeping on a chair. Sometimes she would be sat doing nothing, and would begin whining when we came down, but not every time.
Obviously the training needed to progress slowly, and it would help even more if we could get to the vet and talk about anti-anxiety medication…but I’m not well enough to cope with this 😦
I feel like shit for saying that, but it’s true. I’m not well enough, and I’m not going to be able to help myself get better until I can get out the house and meet professionals, sort out medication etc.
I’ve spent the last few weeks in the house with Zoey, spending all my time with her. My partner has been walking our other dogs, worrying about me all the time, and everything is so stressful.
We DO NOT want to rehome Zoey, she’s such a huge part of our lives…but I think rehoming her might be the best for everyone involved. Zoey has never been an easy dog, but we have overcome so many issues with her and she is fantastic…she’s the sweetest dog I know.
But we can’t do this.
I spoke to my parents about this. They are not dog owners, they know nothing about dogs, but they know my dogs mean the world to me.
They told md that I shouldn’t have dogs (or pets) because I have a mental illness…WTF?!
I’ve had dogs for almost five years, and I’ve put my all into them. I’ve tried so hard, I’ve learned so much and I’ve loved them. But we can’t keep Zoey now – in part because, yes okay, I am ill.
But mainly because we can’t safely leave Zoey alone; this is causing everybody stress, our other dogs are missing out and suffering because of it and, I admit it, I’m not well enough to deal with this now.
I’ve raised Zoey for three years, and I’ve put so much love and work into her. We had no way of knowing she was going to develop this issue…we can (and have) overcome a lot of behavioural problems with our dogs, but right now this is tough.
To my parents (who also said we should not have brought Rey into the family), the whole idea behind Rey was that we would have a smaller dog, who was socialised with people, well trained and confident, so could come on days out with us. With Rey I could be more independent. He has been all those things and more.
Okay, if things were as bad then as they were now, in terms of my health, we wouldn’t have added a third dog to the family…but they weren’t. There was no way I could have predicted that I’d develop psychotic symptoms every day, and this would obviously have an affect on my mood.
It’s easy to say ‘have you tried this or done that’ when you haven’t had a dog. My dad’s suggestion was to lock Zoey in a pen and just leave her, that surely she would realise eventually there was no point trying to get out, that she’d either hurt herself and stop or just get tired…uh, no.
That’s not the way it works, it’s not helpful to Zoey, and it could result in her hurting herself or swallowing something that could possibly even kill her.
Everything my parents said to me, they only said because I have a mental illness and not a physical one. If I told them I had been diagnosed with cancer, and was having to rehome Zoey, they would not have said the things they did.
I am very sad right now. I am probably going to be letting go of someone I love in the hopes that she will have a better life, so that my other dogs can be more included, and so that I can get help…I so want to be better.
Tomorrow we ring up rehoming charities, to ask about the procedure.
I have written out a seven page information sheet about Zoey. This includes her behaviour, energy level, age, weight, health status, training, behaviour issues and personality. I have been brutally honest, saying on the one hand how fantastic she is, and on the other that she does have her issues.
We would like Zoey to live with us for as long as we can cope; hopefully until a home is found, or a foster home.
I really don’t want her going into kennels…I really don’t want to let her go. It doesn’t feel real. Things are such a mess.
So there you go. I’ve let Zoey down. The end.
*edited to add*
4:15am. I can’t let her go, I love her too much…
Phoning the vet tomorrow and will try see if a Dr / psychiatrist could visit me at home rather than needing me to travel to them…we’ll still phone around rescue centres and ask about rehoming procedure, but I don’t know if I can do this….
This should be one of those times where I really put my health first, but I just can’t.
I don’t know what’s going to happen…we really can’t cope with this.