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Rehoming a dog... how hard is it on the dog?
  • So I am writing this with a heavy heart. Before I continue, I ask that I NOT be admonished as I understand how horrible of a human being this makes me to even consider.

    I love Banjo. Genuinely, I do. He is my little buddy, and my best friend and my constant companion. I feed him the best food, make sure he is adequately socialized and exercised and try to give him a loving happy safe home.

    The past few days, I was away in Mexico and Banjo was boarded with the walker/trainer. He spent the weekend playing outside in a private yard with his little doggy friends. Since I picked him up on Monday night, he's been sad... as if his life is missing something. Deep down inside, I know he wants playmates and open space and I try hard to give it to him (his walker is not cheap and every saturday and sunday I wake up as early as possible to take him to the park). I live in a one br apartment and won't move to suburbia to get him a yard (terrible terrible investment for me). I also can't take on a second dog and do it "properly" as I am crunched for time as it is.

    I keep thinking I owe it to him to make him happier... to give him the life he deserves. He is an angel. He is friendly to dogs and people, loves everyone and is a good boy 95% of the time. In this case, that means I should find him a family with a yard, constant companionship, and an understanding of the breed.

    It's not as if I don't want him. I love him. I feel that because I love him, I owe it to him to get him a home he deserves instead of forcing him to live with me when there are better options for him.

    All that being said, I don't know if I am over thinking this, or if I risk badly damaging his psyche going down this route. I would make sure he goes to a good home and I have a rescuer who would help me (I haven't told her this yet). I would be willing to pay for his health insurance for two years. I want nothing but the best for him, and honestly, I don't think I am providing it.

    Again, I ask that I not be reminded of my failures as a person as I come here hat in hand for advice.

  • I think you're genuinely coming from a very good place. But to be blunt, you might be over thinking things. I live in a small apartment, and my puppy doesn't suffer for it. She is loved and socialized and we take her with us everywhere. It sounds like you're doing everything right. You're making sure she gets walked and has time outside.
    That being said, if she does seem to be genuinely suffering in your small space or you don't have the time for her, no one is going to judge you for finding her a home she can be happy in.
    As for if it hurts her psyche or not, I don't have experience in that. Someone else would be able to answer that much better than I.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
  • @BanjotheBetaDog-I agree with @Sunyata completely. You are overthinking this and reading too much into might just be a transition phase for Banjo as he settles back into a routine with you. From reading your posts, I believe Banjo and you have a strong and unique bond It's obvious that you love him very much and that you make him a priority in your life. I believe that what is most important is the bond between the human and the pooch. Quake's first pet parents had a yard and another dog for him to play with and also children but their bond with Quake was not strong and they did not want to spend the time with him so it was best that they rehomed him. I live in a condo and Quake loves having pooch friends in the building and human friends as well. He does not have a yard or a furry companion but he has my complete love and devotion just as Banjo has your love and devotion. I also make sure that Quake has physical and mental stimulation daily just as you do for Banjo. That being said, if things in your life are changing such that you would no longer be able to make Banjo a priority, then maybe it would be time to think about rehoming him but only very careful thought. It would be sad for you to have regrets afterward.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
  • He spends his day sitting in a little cage just waiting for someone to come play with him and take him out. He is kind, sweet, and wonderful.... this is the life I have subjected him to? =(

  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    Lol, when are you gonna get him an exercise pen then? Try that first! ;)

    When Kouda comes back home from boarding with our trainer, he just sleeps for a few days. I call that success.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Can I come slap you?

    You know what's a horrible owner?

    My neighbor, who locks their golden retriever in an expen out on their deck when they ARE home....the expen is only big enough for the dog to lay down in.

    How is potty schedule? They open the front door, let him out to the bush near the curb 5 feet away then call him back. He gets no exercise, no love, and probably gets fed crap food.
  • I don't think I am a bad owner. I know how good he has it, but.... it just reminds me of the girl I broke up with a few years ago. I loved her... a lot. Which is why I couldn't stand in her way when the job of a lifetime (helping children in africa learn to read and get drinking water) was presented to her. We broke up because I knew happiness (for her) was somewhere else.

    I feel this way now. As if I am just being selfish keeping him.

    @zandrame an expen doesn't lay out well in my apartment. I have been better about puppy proofing and when the new furniture (delayed... grr) comes in, I am going to start uncrating him more. In my current layout he can get from the couch to the counter with no effort. In the new layout, thats not an issue.


    @lauratherose I am torn with what Banjo would love more... me, or more freedom. In the short term, that's obviously me, but in the long term, what will provide him a happier life?
    Post edited by BanjoTheBetaDog at 2014-11-05 13:35:31
  • Stop. Inhale. Exhale.

    Ok, lets take a look at the basics. There are not enough suburban homes with properly fenced yards and dog-wise familes for all the dogs in the world. There are not even enough dog-wise people for all the dogs in the world.

    Every person who wants to rehome their dog dreams of the perfect dog home, but they are very hard to find. Ask any of the breeders on the forum how hard it is to find quality homes for their puppies. Heck, talk to your rescue friend about the scarcity of good dog homes. Then ask if your home is a good dog home. The rescue workers I know would bluntly tell you the truth, good or bad.

    I once had a neighbor who's dog never left a tiny side yard. They never picked up his poop. He had no toys. They dumped food over the fence into the filth, and filled a water bucket with a hose over the fence. He had zero human contact. The dog was so lonely he howled blues songs when they weren't there to yell at him. Full on songs of wrenching misery and dispair. That is a dog that needs rehoming. That dog would have done anything to have a dedicated owner like you.

    Any dog in a shelter would trade places with Banjo in a heartbeat. Visit a shelter if you don't believe me, or tour the Craigslist rehoming adds. Seriously, look at the lives of those dogs.
    Banjo may be being a shiba drama queen after the separation. Banjo may be tired and sore and crabby after playing so hard several days in a row. But I seriously doubt Banjo is wishing for a new guardian.

    Heck, for all I know Banjo is deliberately trying to make you feel guilty to punish you for going away... because he missed you so much.
    Post edited by RustyAngel at 2014-11-05 14:37:34
  • @BanjotheBetaDog-I forgot to mention that some dogs don't really like being left alone in a yard. Quake's first pet parents were angry at him because he escaped several times from their fenced yard!!! This is why I say that the special bond between you and Banjo is of utmost importance and not a fenced yard and another furry companion for him. In addition, your love and dedication to giving Banjo a life filled with love and care is what sets you apart as a Pet Parent. See how it works out with super puppy proofing your condo and uncrating him for short periods of time. I so much hope it works out well for you and Banjo!!
  • RooneyRooney
    Posts: 143
  • natashanatasha
    Posts: 122
    @BanjoThe BetaDog please don't feel that you're not doing enough because you are! More than most people in fact. We have a yard, not huge but a cute yard with space to run around, but Yuki spends most of her day indoors and that's by choice. As much fun as Banjo had with his buddies, he probably doesn't mind being an only child, most shibas don't. He'll have more space when he isn't being crated as much, and if you're still concerned maybe see if there's a good doggy daycare near you that he can attend a few times a week. I obviously don't know you, but from your posts it sounds like you really love Banjo, and I'm sure he's attached to you. Try not to over analyse things, I think you're driving yourself nuts.
    Post edited by natasha at 2014-11-05 15:00:56
  • We are about 8% through his life (12 years). For the next 92%, am I being fair to him? I am so torn up right now =(

  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    First of all, the older he gets the more likely it is that he will not want to play with other dogs or run around that much in a garden.
    I was also going to suggest doggy day care if that is possible?

    You are a great shiba parent!
  • LiloLilo
    Posts: 59
    I've read a lot of your previous posts and although I do not know you, I agree with the above posters that your love and affection for Banjo shines through in your posts. You are also doing it alone which is such hard work, I don't know if I could cope on my own. But you seem strong and determined and you will get through it! Please don't make any decisions when you are feeling emotional and tired... Deep breaths, think it through over the next few days and I'm sure you will realise that you are indeed over thinking it.
    Best wishes, Lisa
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    Posts: 48
    You are beating yourself up. You are giving Banjo a better life than 99% of dogs in this world. It is about quality time and not quantity of time in a big yard or house. He has good quality time with you.

    Incidentally, we moved from an urban apartment like yours to a suburban house before we got our now 7.5 month old shiba. So we have small fenced yard and larger house for him to run in (compared to an apartment). Well, the fenced yard is good, honestly, for pee breaks but we still have to be out there with him supervising him, so how is that much different than walking him down the street or at the park on a long lead? BTW, my back yard is tiny, only about 15 feet by 40 feet. As far as a large house goes, our shiba only has free run of half the downstairs, which probably gives him ~800 sq ft. So, again, how is this an improvement over the space of a one bedroom apartment? And oh yeah, my puppy lives in a crate when we aren't home. I suspect it will be ages before he can have free reign.

    So, take a deep breath, have a relaxing beverage of your choice and give your dog a huge hug. He loves you man and you are an awesome parent.
    Post edited by EJH at 2014-11-05 16:43:46
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 645
    I hear you bro. Whenever I'm away a few days Ratchet is happy to see me, at first, then it's like "you heartless baster, leaving me hear alone."

    Yeah, dogs are weird. :)
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 645
    Are family members, say a neighbor, attempting to steal, keep or offer Banjo a second home? ;)
    Post edited by knnwang at 2014-11-05 21:24:55
  • Adding on to it... YOU'RE SUCH A GOOD OWNER to even consider this.

    However, don't let your sense of altruism deprive you of happiness and letting go of everything you love just because you THINK (keyword is think) that the other person/dog would be happier without you.

    The biggest thing to consider is, would Banjo ever be able to find someone else who will love him and bond to him equal to or more than you? You're leaving that to chance..

    You might be giving him to people who are like my ex-roommates. Yeah, my friend has a big house, lots of money, but she leaves her dog in her room for 10+ hours a day, never walks her dog, and that dog lives in its own filth. She never bothered to housebreak her dog, and it just soils the floor to the point where the wood has water damage... Her dog is neurotic and an attention-starved little yappy shit.
    But on the outside? My friend looks like a perfect upstanding citizen who loves her dog (I don't doubt she loves her dog but my god she treats it horribly).

    A possible solution is maybe making some friends in your area, and offering to switch off on watching dogs? That way Banjo will have a buddy to play with every few days?
  • I've been lurking on this forum for several months (great reading!) and just joined yesterday, but I wanted to say to you that after reading several of your posts and comments regarding Banjo, I am convinced that if Banjo could speak he would look you right in the eye and tell you that he would rather live his whole life with nothing else but you, than to have everything a dog could want and be without you. YOU are his world...everything else is just icing on the bone for him. He needs his dad more than he needs a yard or a playmate. You two were meant for each other from what I can see. Best wishes!

  • I think you are over thinking this but you are coming from a good place. Please do not rehome your shiba.

    I live with my shiba in a 1 bedroom apartment as well. My boyfriend and my cat also live in this apartment but we are all happy and have a blast. I give Kobe a great life and everything I do revolves around him.

    Sometimes I take him to my parents house for the weekend so that we can have a mini vacation. They haven yard where kobe can run around freely. Everytime We come back he always seems to be in a slump as if he is bored now but then he bounces back quickly to his regular happy self.

    If I go on vacation and Leave him at my parents house with their big yard they always tell me that he misses me like crazy and whines looking for me
  • I appreciate the kind words. That being said, it's the loneliness more than the yard. He has no playmates or company all day. Today I went to work late and banjo spent the morning looking out the window and whining whenever a dog passed by. It breaks my heart.

    Eta: around noon he is out for 45 min -3 hours with the walker/trainer for socialization. Sometimes it's just a walk with two dogs. Sometimes he meets 6 of his buddies at the park. It really just varies.
    Post edited by BanjoTheBetaDog at 2014-11-07 09:49:22
  • RooneyRooney
    Posts: 143
  • @banjothebetadog - please excuse the blunt, and I daresay, harsh tone of the following response. My intentions are good, but frankly, all the nice (and true) things that other posters have said to you don't seem to have much of an effect on this step you seem to be building yourself up to taking.

    I'm not admonishing you as a human being in the sense of you being a bad dog owner (as you somehow seem to fear in your initial post), but I do think you are indulging in a certain type of perversely selfish selflessness that seems not uncommon amongst those both privileged and kind of heart.

    Others have covered just how good Banjo's life is with you. You know better than anyone else just how strongly the two of you are bonded. You are reading signs of Banjo's loneliness as testament to the inadequacy of his care and socialization. Has it never occurred to you that perhaps it is because he misses you, specifically? That perhaps this depression over the absence of the other dogs, is actually sulking due to the (very normal) absence of an owner whom he adores?

    I know you have the very best of intentions, but in your sketch of the case for why Banjo would be happier with different owners who have a different life situation, you come across as wanting to wallow in a martyr complex. I think many of us would find it sweetly amusing (no doubt you really love your dog) if we didn't think there was the possibility of some very real and unpleasant consequences for Banjo.

    Second, with regards to this rescuer, don't you think you are being inconsiderate of her time? You work for a non-profit so I think you understand just how thinly stretched their resources are. You would be asking her to take Banjo from a loving, caring, home and spend her time and resources finding him what you consider an even better home, rather than helping a dog that has never known that kind of love and care. Given the dearth of good homes for dogs, the number of abusive or negligent homes, and the limited resources of any rescue or rescuer, this request would be shortsighted and selfish, no matter how good your intentions for Banjo.

    Finally, you do realize that by insisting that you are not serving Banjo's best needs despite the time, love, and money lavished on him, simply because he does not have other canine companions or a yard, etc., that you are insulting all of the owners out there and on this forum with similar circumstances, right? Working a 9-5 that requires commuting, living in an apartment or condo, and only having one dog, is not uncommon. I could list quite a few posters who are living in that kind of situation. Do you think that these posters, who exhibit just as much love, dedication, and commitment to their dogs are doing them a disservice? My guess is that you wouldn't but because they are not you, your perspective is a little more objective.

    So if all the other posts are the sweet words trying to convince you to take the right oath, consider this post the slap in the face to try to get you to come back to your senses. Banjo's place is with you.

    Something to lighten the tone of my post:
  • I was shocked to read this as I absolutely LOVE all your posts!!

    I can give you a slightly different perspective on this topic as we are living it:

    Fen is my 21 year old daughter's dog. He is 18 months old and is bonded to her, as well as myself and my husband. My daughter has a tiny apartment with just a porch and no yard. She works and goes to school so Fen was crated or left on the porch quite often when he was with her, so, while she is looking for a bigger home, he lives with us (and has off and on since she got him). We live in the country and have a HUGE piece of property, other dogs, a huge fenced yard and Fen has humans around him almost all day long. He is never alone. He STILL misses Jade (my daughter). He goes through bouts of depression even now (and he has been with us nonstop since June). When she came up in July for 2 weeks he about lost his puppy mind he was so happy to see her, and when she left he was depressed and super clingy for about a week. The only reason he is happy here with us is because he was bonded to us as well - I went with Jade to see Fen the first time, I went with her to bring him home, my husband and I have been here ever since he was a tiny puppy. I can honestly say, that if he were to go to another house, yard, dogs and all but NO bonded human he would be heartbroken.

    Have you read "The Hidden Life of Dogs"? It's a book by an animal anthropologist that talks a lot about pack mentality and anthropomorphism. I agree with everyone else in that you are WAY over thinking this! Now I will say that, the reason we have Fen is that we don't want him in a crate all day in my daughter's apartment, and the reason she let us keep him is for the same reason, but none of us would ever consider rehoming him. That's like giving up a child for adoption! How do you know what kind of a home Banjo would go to? My personal opinion is that you should keep Banjo and find ways to provide enrichment activities. Example: Fen LOVES sitcoms. Honestly. Hates cartoons, loves sitcoms and nature shows. When I do have to leave him alone I put out his blanket, let him pick a toy and put on the TV for him. I watched him one day after leaving to see what he did after I left (I have a little window I can look in and see the bedroom). He sat there and stared at the door for about 30 seconds, then turned around, went in the room, climbed on the bed, grabbed his toy and watched TV. LOL Jade also bought him some puzzle toys - he figured them out pretty quickly, but he did love them!

    Also, you said your apartment didn't have a layout for an expen? The one Jade bought for Fen (which is now his puppy jail LOL) folds away completely, really easily and has panels that fold in any direction AND attach to his crate. Perhaps you could consider that, then you could put it out during the day while you are gone, then fold it up at night?

    Just my opinion of course =) I am new to Shibas (dogs in general) and am by NO means any type of dog expert (I am a dog novice), so my opinion is purely personal so take it for what it's worth. =) I think Banjo is with YOU for a reason and you should see it through =)
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
  • koyukikoyuki
    Posts: 1244
    Post edited by koyuki at 2014-11-09 03:08:31
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
  • I totally understand you considering this as I am an over-thinker and blow tiny things out of proportion too. So I get it, but I also agree with everyone else. You are an exceptional dog owner and I think you should keep you dog.

    I hope you are at peace with whatever decision you make since I know you will be doing what you think is best for Banjo. :-*
  • koyukikoyuki
    Posts: 1244
  • @BanjoTheBetaDog-yes, please let us know what's going now for you and Banjo.
  • I've decided in the back of my mind, if someone who I knew 10000% loves him like me and would provide the life I think he should have, I would give him to them. That would be someone like my parents, my sister, etc. but the pool is small. Anyone I've known less than 15 years is immediately disqualified.
  • Good decision =)
  • @BanjoTheBetaDog-I'm happy that you and Banjo are still a duo!!!
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
  • koyukikoyuki
    Posts: 1244

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