Finding my dog a new home

I Had To Give Away My Dog 2 Years Ago And My Heart Is Still Broken

I never truly experienced pain until I had to give her away.

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In March 2013, I adopted my first dog. I had family dogs before, but this was different. She was 100% mine. She was named Karma, and she was a beautiful Basenji, Border Collie mix. She was full of spunk and although she had a slightly destructive personality, she was only 6 months old. I loved her will all of my heart, so when I had to give her up, it broke my heart more than anything else ever had.

After visiting Karma a few times, I finally brought her home and renamed her Zoey after some contemplation. At first, I'll admit there were a few times that I wondered if she was more trouble than she was worth. She played very rough, causing me to get multiple scratches on my arms and legs every day, she wasn't at all potty trained, and she liked to chew on things she shouldn't, like our rug. The stories I had heard about her past from her previous owners convinced me to keep her, not being able to bear the thought of making her possibly having to go through multiple more homes before finding a permanent one. This resulted in me keeping her for over 3 years.

What Zoey had to go through before I adopted her broke my heart. She was born in a house where the owner couldn't take care of her, so the owner gave her to her parents, who kept her locked in a garage. She was completely neglected in the garage and was isolated from other dogs and people. After a while, the parents decided to give her away, deciding they no longer wanted to keep her.

She went through another home or two before finding someone who seemed like they could have been her forever home. They loved her and had two other dogs she got along with. Then one day, the landlord of the place the person was renting told her that she could only have two pets in the house and because Zoey was the most recent one she adopted, she decided to give her away. This ended up landing Zoey in a shelter, where she was found by a new couple.

This new couple brought her home to their apartment where they had multiple other animals such as other dogs, cats, and I believe they even had some birds and/or a hamster. This led to the small apartment being overly crowded, and the owners were often gone at work so Zoey and the other pets would be kept in crates most of the time. Because of this, the owners decided to list many of their pets on craigslist, which is where I found and adopted Zoey.

During the 3 years that Zoey was a part of my family, she made my family and I smile and laugh every day. She would do what we called zoomies, where she would tuck in her butt and run at her top speed, she would constantly "talk," or in other words, she would make multiple random noises, and sometimes she would even do something simple like sticking her tongue out while she slept. It's true that she wasn't perfect, but she brought immense joy to my life.

Along with her better qualities, Zoey also had flaws. As mentioned before, she was destructive, resulting in her tearing up part of our built-in carpet, constantly digging holes in the yard, and she often hunted, resulting in her killing a mole, a few baby rabbits, a raccoon, and a chipmunk. Then there is the flaw that ultimately led to me having to give her away. She was aggressive towards other dogs.

My family and I believed Zoey's aggression was in large part because of her isolation and lack of experience with other dogs from her previous homes. Thankfully, we lived on around six acres of forest, so we didn't have to worry too much about her encountering dogs unless we took her off the property on one of her daily walks. On those walks, whenever we did cross another dog's path I would hold onto the leash tightly, and eventually, we even began bringing a small spray bottle full of water with us to spray her whenever she started acting aggressively. This partially worked because it would distract her, but it didn't completely stop her aggressive personality.

Not only was Zoey aggressive towards dogs, but she actually attacked a few. Most of these instances were when dogs were brought onto our property, so it caught us off-guard, but we still had to pay medical expenses. One day when I got home from work, my parents looked rather upset. I didn't think anything of it at first because I had had an argument with them before I left for work that same day, but then when I went inside, my mom asked me if my dad told me the news. After I told her he didn't, she proceeded to tell me that Zoey had attacked another dog, and that although the dog would be alright after it was taken to the veterinary hospital, she told me that it was all getting to be too stressful and that I had to start looking for a new home for her.

When I heard that I would have to give away my girl, it felt like my heart had shattered to pieces. I tried to keep my tears from appearing until I was out of sight of everyone, but I couldn't. Almost immediately they started pouring down my face. That same night just before I went to bed, I laid next to Zoey and talked to her. I told her that I loved her and that even though she would be going to a new home, she would always be a part of my family, and although she couldn't respond through words, I felt like she could understand me.

Around a month later, I came home from school to hear my parents say that they think they may have found someone who wanted to adopt Zoey. I felt sad, but I figured that I still had a little bit of time before the person officially decided to adopt her. Then, a few days later my parents told me that she was going to get picked up the next day while I was at school. I went to bed reminiscing about all the good times I had with Zoey and finally fell asleep with tears in my eyes. The next morning, Wednesday, October 5, 2016, I said my last goodbyes, doing my best to hold myself together as I drove away, seeing Zoey's clueless face staring at me for the last time.

After giving Zoey away, I was told a little bit more about the man who adopted her. While I was still sorrowful about no longer having Zoey with me, I was happy to find out that she found an owner that she was happy with, and who loved her. The new owner would even sometimes send me pictures of Zoey, which helped me deal with her absence. It still saddens me to think of this occasion, but it also brings me joy to know that my girl found a forever home, although that home isn't with me.

Cover Image Credit:

Sydney Buelt

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5 Ways Impulsively Getting A Dog Saved My Mental Health

Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.

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Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."


He provides emotional support

One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.

He requires being cared for

You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.

He serves as protection

It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.

He's become something to look forward to

The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!

He encourages bonds with others

If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.

So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.

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To My First Puppy, I Miss You

I miss you every day.

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Just less than a week ago, I got the horrible news that my sweet boy, my first puppy ever, passed away. I was, and still am, completely heartbroken. It came completely out of nowhere and not even the vet really knows what happens. One second I'm celebrating taking my last final and finishing my freshman year of college, and the next I'm sobbing after hearing the news that my dog passed away.

We got my puppy, Steele, a little over two years ago, and I've never been more excited. I've always wanted a dog, but it just never seemed to happen. When my dad first told me and my sister we were getting a dog, more specifically a husky, we were beyond excited. We counted down the days until we could have him and I went to the airport to get him myself. He was so small, literally shaking in my arms after the plane ride. He was my puppy and I was so happy.

He seriously had such a personality, so goofy and silly. He wanted to be friends with my cat so badly, but she was not interested in the slightest. He was so friendly and always happy to see me. One of my favorite parts of visiting home from college was knowing I would be able to see him and he would be excited to see me.

In just the two short years that I knew Steele, he became part of our family. He literally became, as my dad says, our brother. I can't even fathom the thought that I'm actually never going to see him again. I'll never be able to hug his fluffy body or attempt to hold his "hand", which he absolutely hated.

It hasn't really hit me yet that he's gone. I haven't been able to build up the courage to even go to my dad's house yet because I know he won't be there and I'm not sure if I can handle that.

He wasn't even three years old, but I hope we were able to make him happy in the two and a half short years we had him.

I love you, Steele.

Ally O'Rourke

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