Just looking for some general advice from other lab owners. We have a two-year-old black lab who's a wonderful, lovable goofy family pet. We enjoy snuggling with him on the sofa and taking him to the dog park on weekends.
The problem is we've started to feel like we can't manage him and keep our sanity. When we got him, my husband and I worked pretty standard hours within walking distance of our home and we had household help who could walk him daily. Now, two years later our situation has changed dramatically. We live in a tiny third-floor walk up in New York City, we have a 14-month-old daughter and we both work longer hours. My husband in particular works very long hours leaving me alone before and after work to care for the baby and dog. We have a dog walker who comes daily but it's very expensive. At this point it's starting to feel like it's too much to juggle and I'm frankly overwhelmed and starting to recognize that the dog is making me a more stressed out, less attentive mother -- which is not something I want to be.
Although our dog is reasonably laid back he's still a two-year-old lab and at times I know he needs more space to stretch out and more time than we can give him to exercise. He's great with our daughter -- so gentle and she loves playing with him, so that's not an issue. But the extra care and attention a dog requires (esp in a very urban environment) is putting a strain on our marriage and stressing us both out big time.
Another layer of complication is that he has epilepsy -- it's not bad and is easily controlled with a once daily medication that's not terribly expensive. We don't really mind dealing with it, but I am afraid it would limit our ability to find him a loving and suitable home if we decided to re-home.
Just wanted to get feedback from people on this forum. Please spare me the lectures about how to be a responsible dog owner and following through... I feel guilty for even considering the possibility! Just looking for some well-intentioned advice We would miss our pup terribly and I would feel very guilty giving him up but I have to admit it would feel like a HUGE weight had been lifted off my shoulders to do so. My husband loves our dog but is also of the mind that we don't have the time and money right now to properly take care of him. I'm conflicted bc I see dogs all over the neighborhood and am always wondering how these people manage demanding jobs, parenting, commuting and pets!
Thanks in advance for any advice...
I think it's admirable that you are thinking first of the dog's happiness. I'd suggest first that you contact the breeder you got him from, and explain the situation to them. Most reputable breeders (and even those not so established) would want to know of any issues (medical and home issues) and will offer to help you rehome your dog. If that fails, go to this site, and find a Lab rescue group near you. We are getting a lot of requests from your part of the country for rescues lately it seems. Find a Group - The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc.
Anne (member of the LRC rescue task force)
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
Hi Anne -- Thanks so much for the response. Contacting the breeder is the first thing I'd do BUT we got our pup when we were living overseas so that isn't really an option as the breeder isn't in the U.S. I'm hesitant to go to a rescue because I'd really want to personally meet and interview the family he'd be going to -- is that something that's possible in a rescue or do you relinquish that control?
Call your breeder anyway, many times lab breeders have a large network, and they may just have a friend near you that can help rehome the dog.
If you find a good rescue group and you agree with their rules for adoption, I think it's best to give them control.
Thanks for the input, Archie. I'll admit I don't know much about the process. We would, however, want to keep him with us until he could go to a new family...
I would absolutely call the breeder anyway. You may be surprised the leads they may have (or not but worth a try).
If you don't feel you can give him what he needs and stuff such as a dog walker or doggy daycare to help take some stress of are not options, then rehoming isn't the end of the world. Just do it smart (if the breeder can't help).
Rescues may not be able to help, many do not take owner surrenders as they prefer to save dogs being killed in shelters. worth contacting rescues anyway, sometimes they have a free foster home and taking in a vetted dog that is easily adoptable can help in other ways. Do screen the rescues as well, see what their adoption process is and how they screen. not all rescues are equal.
To rehome privately: charge a fee. free dogs or very cheap are more likely to be rehomed again as people don't need to commit as much beforehand (generally speaking). but also don't charge a crazy fee. I think 150 is probably around the right amount depending on your area.
I would have him neutered to ensure he isn't grabbed to breed (of course people won't tell you this is their plan and will appear normal).
Be clear about his needs. Ask questions about how people plan to meet those requirements (especially exercise/training).
Have them come out and meet him. Do not allow people to meet an then take him home. force them to go back home an think about it then if they want to adopt come back.
Lots of great advice here. I do think most of the groups the LRC works with would work with you. We maintain high standards for those we work with and if any complaints or concerns are received, we will review protocols etc and if we find there are problems, they will lose their listings. Good luck.
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014