I Want to Get Rid of My Dog But I Feel Bad – Rehoming a Puppy Guilt

You just picked up your dog with nothing but the very best intentions possible.  You had always wanted to have a pet that would eventually become your very best friend or some type of variation of that theme.  But what if for some reason the relationship between your dog and you just doesn’t seem to work out how you had planned it to?  Is it going to be similar to getting a divorce and if it is, how messy can you expect everything to get?  Will there be any pain or regret that you will need to endure?

Essentially, you may be wondering how you can stop feeling so guilty if you end up returning your new dog?

In order to truly stop feeling guilty about returning your dog to where you got them is going to be to accept the different reasons that you chose to send your dog back in the first place.  You should in no way, shape or form feel any amount of guilt, as it is impossible to know exactly how a dog is going to adapt from where they were coming from to your home.  As long as you were able to give your dog back to caretaker that is nurturing and safe, you can rest assured that they will eventually find their perfect forever home.  Just do your best to focus on that and you should have no problems feeling guilty at all.

Just remember that the answer to not feeling guilty lies in recognizing the fact that dogs are very similar to humans in the sense that they will have their very own distinctive temperaments and personalities.  Now factor in how the entire process of the adoption is going to be anything but ideal, and you now have the perfect situation for additional stress on the dog.  Essentially, all of this means that there is no way you will be able to predict how any dog is going to adapt from moving out of the shelter and into your home.  In fact, trying to predict how your dog will act during this entire process is almost like expecting to choose your future life partner on a blind date.

It is this and many other different reasons that you may be thinking about returning your dog and feeling a varying amount of regret about the decision to do so.  Just keep in mind that no matter the reason you are contemplating taking your dog back to the place you adopted them from, you should never let guilt be part of that emotional process.

Why Did You Want Your Dog in the First Place?

There are many pets out there that depend on many different people.  While the statistics are going to vary, the general consensus is that roughly 60 million people are going to own roughly 90 million dogs in the United States.  On a side note, those same people are also going to own around 94 million cats.  In the United Kingdom, there are roughly 9 million dogs.  With all of that being said, you may be asking yourself ‘why’?

Before you even think about taking your dog back to the shelter, you have ideally examined all of the reasons that you decided to get them in the first place.  With that being said, you must take a second to think about the reasons why you are in the particular situation that you are in.  

When you get married, you are essentially deciding to spend the rest of your life with a person that you want in your life.  When it comes to your dog, it is essentially the same exact thing.  This means that you should have thought long and hard about the particular breed of dog that would fit into your lifestyle the best.  

With all of your other commitments, is a dog the best pet choice for you, or would you be better suited to have a cat or even a parakeet?  Do you fully understand exactly what is involved with taking care of the dog breed that you have decided to get?  Have you done all of the necessary research to fully understand all of the consequences of getting the breed of dog that you thought would help complete you and your life?  

There are some more common reasons why you may have decided to adopt a dog.  The most common reasons will be:

  • You Wanted a Companion – Your dog will always be excited to see you.  This is more than enough to get you excited to get home after a rough day at the job.
  • They Will be a Companion for the Family – Many different families decide that they need a pet in order to help teach their children about responsibility in terms of caring for that pet.  If this is the case, it is not the right reason for a dog.  If you do decide to get a dog, it should be for the right reasons and the entire family should be able to work on building their bond with the dog and helping to care for it.
  • As a Companion for Other Pets – If you already have a pet that is left alone for most of the day while the family is out working or at school, another pet is the perfect way to keep your current pet entertained and socialized.  
  • They are Replacing a Deceased Pet – If you have multiple pets and have recently lost one of them, the surviving ones will pine for their lost companion.  Essentially, if one of the pack has died, it is a great idea for you to replace them.  However, before you do try to find a replacement for them, you will need to make sure that the replacement is best suited for the needs of the environment that they will be entering into and that you are prepared to care for them.

If you did end up getting your dog for one of the above-mentioned reasons, the main question that you need to ask yourself is whether or not you clearly understood and actually appreciated the reason that you got the dog in the first place?

If you did understand the reason you originally got them, ideally it was the very same thing for why you had to return them.  If so, you will have a much easier time getting over any guilt that you may feel for having to return them.

Why You Feel Guilty About Taking Your Dog Back to the Shelter

While there are many different reasons that you may want to return your dog to the shelter that it came from, you more than likely did not fully understand the amount of commitment it would take on your part to keep that dog.  This means that you either got your dog for the wrong reasons, or you just simply did not understand how much work was involved with their care.  

You must keep in mind that ‘taking care of’ is not only going to mean that you are able to give your dog food and water at a regular interval.  Rather, it means that you will need to make sure that your dog is able to get exercise on a regular basis, get the socialization with other dogs that they require, teach them the basic commands that they need to know, get the proper veterinary care, and even spend time cuddling together.  

Before you can take your dog back to the shelter, you must ask yourself whether or not you gave them a chance to adapt to their new environment and lifestyle?  If your dog was rehomed, this is going to be something that is especially important.  Trying to adapt from the tight confines and busy atmosphere of the dog shelter to that of a relatively quiet one that has solitude, and more space is not happening overnight.  

You must also factor in your dog’s personality and any of their previous experiences (including both good and bad) as well.  Have you given your new dog a chance to develop in their new environment?  

There is even a chance that you lied on your application in order to ensure that you would be approved to get the dog in the first place.  While this sounds like something that nobody would ever do, you would be surprised to find that many people do actually do this so that they are able to meet all of the shelter’s requirements for adopting a dog.  

No matter what the reason you want to return your dog may be, as long as you have taken some time to actually think about your decision, you should not feel guilty at all.  Just keep reminding yourself that this particular dog and your current life situation were not a compatible fit for each other, so you are doing what is best for the dog.  Afterall, if you are not a good fit for them, the best thing you can do is to take them back so somebody who is a better fit has the opportunity to give them the ideal living environment that they deserve.

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