Am I going to rehome my Labrador?

(46 Posts)
AlwaysMeanWellOftenWrong Thu 10-Jun-10 20:29:29

I am torn.

He is the perfect dog, no problems. I have 2 children 3 and 6mths. I struggle to find the time/energy to walk him sufficiently and I feel we are not offering him the wonderful love filled home he deserves - all my energy and love is splashed on the kids leaving a quick pet or rushed walk here and there.

My husband does not want the hassle any more either, he says it is up to me though. We both love him, but just cannot afford him the time to make his life fulfilled.

I probably spend 10 - 15 mins with him per day. The rest his is out in the garden or on his 2 x 20 min walks.

We used to walk for hours each day/evening after work - at weekends we would go hill walking for hours. He jumped in rivers, lakes and chased his ball in the fields. Now, he survives.

But I love him so much. I find it very difficult to let him go. How selfish am I. I have booked him a place at a Labrador rescue centre, I am just waiting for a phone call. The wait is making me chicken out for the third time this year.

Vallhala Thu 10-Jun-10 21:08:02

I had 2 children, a newborn and a 19 month old. My husband had left us, we had very little money, no support and no transport. I was struggling having just had a caesarian section... and I had 2 dogs.

Cassie was already older and she died when my children were quite small. Monty was only a year or so old. He joined Cassie three and a half years ago, aged 12.

I was tired, exhausted, in pain, desperately pushed for time, no car to nip to the shops, no husband to feed the babe whilst I cooked for the toddler here. But I couldn't have given my dogs up for the world. I owed them, they relied on me, and they weren't just disposable items to be discarded when it didn't suit me. It wasn't their fault. Besides, taking the chance to walk them, with a babe in a sling and toddler in a buggy, or both in a double buggy, was my chance to unwind, to stop being a cook, cleaner and nurse. It kept me sane.

So, my thoughts are these, for what they're worth. You are being unselfish by sending him to Lab Rescue. I admire you for that. BUT... how much will you miss him and how much will you regret not finding that extra half hour or so in a day when he's gone?

As time goes by, you establish a routine, you tell DH you need some "me time" to walk your dog alone, you'll find that the time you spend with him naturally starts to increase again. Children grow, their demands change, workloads change. They become less hard work.

No-one is going to castigate you for having less time for your Lab now that you have two youngsters. We know that it won't be forever. But if you let your dog go now, that will be forever.

Purely my own take of course AMWOW (god that should be my name!), and I don't know the ins and outs of your life, but all I can suggest is that I managed it (have had at least 2 dogs of my own, have fostered dogs and gone through cancer all as a lone mum). so I'm sure you can too. Perhaps you can get that husband of yours to care for the babes regularly while you take a breather out walking with your dog. Whilst indoors, compensate with more mental stimulation for your dog, in the form of chews and Kongs, stroke him and talk to him each time you pass him whilst doing the chores, play fetch/hide and seek a toy/treat whilst you're sitting having a coffee.

Hope that I've offered food for thought and reassurance that it's not impossible to have both cared for children and a happy dog.

jonicomelately Thu 10-Jun-10 21:13:06

Walking my dog is the only me time I get. Why not get an ipod with your favourite music or audio book. Everybody needs time to think. Look at it that way instead of a chore.

jonicomelately Thu 10-Jun-10 21:14:27

Writing this on my blackberry hence rubbish sentances.

Is there any reason you stopped taking him out so much? Can you take the 2 DCs out with the dog, esp. as it's summer and just spend long afternoons outside? Instead of thinking you have to do something with the dog, can you just sort of fit him in? Get a bike seat for the baby and go bike riding?

Vallhala Thu 10-Jun-10 21:27:37

Agree with Lemonade! A lot of the walks my dogs got in the early days were to the shops. I also included the dogs in our walks to the park, library etc.

GroovyGretel Thu 10-Jun-10 21:30:14

Blimey, you must feel so torn in two - it sounds as though you are feeling really agonised over this decision.

For what it's worth, I would agree with Valhalla (though you could say I was biased with two labs of my own).

I got mine as puppies when I was 3 months pg with my pfb as I wanted dogs in my life and was too selfish to wait until the children were old enough to understand how to treat puppies.

So I was doing housebreaking with morning sickness.yum.

There was a period, when my pfb dd was small when I felt totally overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a good parent and a good dog owner, but believe me this time passed (as all things do).

For me, what helped was involving the children in the walks - taking them with the dogs everyday in the afternoon, (walking them on my own in the morning) and making this into an integral part of our routine, an extended nature walk I suppose, watching for the bluebells flowering, listening to crickets in the summer, chasing falling leaves in autumn, animal tracks in the winter. (hah, listen to me - I sound like a mad woman, but truly my kids loved it).

And now, my children (now 6 and nearly 5) say the dogs are their best friends, and cry when on holiday that they miss them. They are massively important to our family dynamic and I cannot bear to think of a time when they are gone.

Just as you cannot be a perfect parent, you need (imo) to cut yourself some slack. After all, a contented dog can sleep 22 hours a day (truly), and they will not hate you nor resent you for not having time at the moment, they will wait patiently for your lives to adjust.

frogetyfrog Thu 10-Jun-10 21:31:22

He may be desperately unhappy leaving you and the children and actually be happier with you even 'neglected' until you have more time rather than going to a new home and missing you and kids.

Rehoming centres are awful for animals - a real shock for a family dog.

You will get more time soon - just give it another year and it will be so much easier.

PersonalEnglandCoach Thu 10-Jun-10 21:32:14

Totally agree with Valhalla.
In the beginning my lil Staffy only got around the block a couple of times a day. Now life has worked it's way around and I love the hour+ walks we go for in the woods.

A 15ft lead and doggy water bottle and he's a happy pup!

Slambang Thu 10-Jun-10 21:34:59

Pay for a dog walker?

Then you wont feel guilty on the days you can't manage a decent walk but you can still enjoy your lovely lab.

And it's very good for children to grow up with dogssmile

Alouiseg Thu 10-Jun-10 21:37:10

Your dc will only be little for such a short time, then you'll have more time for your lovely dog. He would be so confused to be rehomed after being brought up by you.

If you can't cope then so be it but my kids are older now and my dog has saved my sanity since they need me less.

If you give him up to be rehomed please choose carefully.

mjinhiding Thu 10-Jun-10 21:38:58

Hi, I had a thread similar to yours (choccy brown lab and teens plus 2 babies).

I sent her for a temporary rehome, it was awful, she is back now, after a huge family row that ended up in me driving streets with babies in car at 1 am.

Since she came home, I have become more selfish, the babies and the dog now come first, the house is messier, also I have started taking the dog more places with me, for example, I now take her to my mothers, and sisters, rather than leave her home, my sister has 2 pocket dogs she takes everywhere, and as I pointed out to my mum, they may not moult but they are horrible, snappy and she puts up with them.

I missed her so much when she was gone, and was so glad she came home.

I have taken to park more than baby groups, also walking to shop, doctors, etc, instead of sort of fighting having the dog I have re-embraced her as a much loved family member, whereas before I was almost resenting her has just another source of chores.

mjinhiding Thu 10-Jun-10 21:41:20

oh and one more thing, re the 19 month old, also instead of walking her if I am too busy, my 2 year old will happily spend half an hour or so throwing her a ball, and she gets excercise this way, it is only since she came home (2 weeks ago) he has been doing this, so it is not long before your kids will be able to join in interacting and excercising the dog, even if it is not in the most conventional way.

jonicomelately Thu 10-Jun-10 21:42:34

I also find those sticks that throw balls really far are handy when I'm pressed for time. 20 mins and my very fit dog is shattered. The kids love to use it and cheer when the dog catches the ball in her mouth. I agree that the dog is probably happier with you than anywhere else. We all think we're not doing a good enough job with our dogs, kids etc. You're probably a far better dog owner than you think.

mjinhiding Thu 10-Jun-10 21:42:52

valhalla just to say - your posts on my thread helped clarify things immensely - I have been meaning to message you to thank you, I love my dog, it just needed someone to remind me of that

sorry for hijack OP

mjinhiding Thu 10-Jun-10 21:42:52

valhalla just to say - your posts on my thread helped clarify things immensely - I have been meaning to message you to thank you, I love my dog, it just needed someone to remind me of that

sorry for hijack OP

Sexonlegs Thu 10-Jun-10 21:46:00


What a dilemna

Vallhala Thu 10-Jun-10 21:49:33

Aw, thanks mj. blush

You'd be laughing if you'd seen me a minute ago... I just shrieked, "That's the lady with the lazy teenagers, I'm SO glad she kept her dog in the end!", and did a mini-jig whilst DD1 actually looked up from Facebook to see what all the fuss was about!

I'm really, really pleased for you. That's made my day.

Sorry Always, whoops, as you were! (But take heed, mj's another one of those "If I can do it, you can, honest" examoles! ;) )

mjinhiding Thu 10-Jun-10 21:52:52

my thread in case it helps OP

Valhalla, yes I have thought of you often when I am walking her - you are an excellent animal advocate

hatwoman Thu 10-Jun-10 21:54:55

you have very high the dog showing signs of unhappiness/stress? I thought, from the beginning of your post, that you were going to say he was getting no walks at all. but he is. and, when you're in the house, he's getting your company - which is often the crucial thing. if he's happy pottling about in the garden, and getting bits of attention as you go about your day, I think you can get through this difficult patch. I agree with all the other suggestions - walking him to places you're going to - not the same as getting a run off the lead, but to a dog it's mental stimulation - interesting sounds and smells. and can you compensate for the shorter works during the week by getting some longer ones in at the weekend? also agree re a dog walker - even if it were just twice a week it would help. you love him and he loves you.

AlwaysMeanWellOftenWrong Thu 10-Jun-10 22:13:01

Thanks everyone. Vallhala, you almost made me cry and I appreciate you taking the time to write such a lengthy reply.

Above all, I want my dog to be happy.

My hubby works shifts and when we both are back at work, when baby is one, both full time, I have to pick up kids from nursery then go out and walk dog in middle of winter when it is blowing a gale and dark.

I can technically afford a dog walker ie. my neighbours son has just started high school and may want a little job, I am by no means rich though, it would mean some string tightening elsewhere.

You all seem so keen to get me to keep him! I am so keen to keep him, I just have to keep my energy and positive frame of mind knowing that things will, as you have all said, get easier.

I will miss him so much. I see pictures of him all round the house at various ages and he is in all my baby videos, thinking about that now is making me cry.

You are all so kind to come on here and try to stop me making a mistake I will regret.

I think I am going to have to persevere, at least till after Christmas when we will both be back at work and it will be winter so we can see how hard it will be.

This is the third time I have contacted the rescue centre and chickened out - they must think I am barmy!

AlwaysMeanWellOftenWrong Thu 10-Jun-10 22:21:34

He is not showing any signs of stress and sleeps when he is not being walked. He is 7 now.

I have sent an email to my hubby at work telling him I can't do it.

I am just going to keep putting in the effort, as you all say, things will get easier.

Thanks again, you are lifesavers.

mjinhiding Thu 10-Jun-10 22:24:58

by then, the 19 month old will be able to throw a ball in the living room for ages, save the walk (its my plan anyway!!!)

I work on the basis, company is more important than walking, and plan long walks in the park on the weekend to make up for it (no way will I be walking her in the dark)

I am already buying up ski wear for the 2 babies to make sure they are warm and dry in the winter (if you can catch it it is going for peanuts on ebay because it is out of season)

Vallhala Thu 10-Jun-10 22:27:36

It will get easier, honest. And to be honest, at 7 he'll find it terribly hard to adjust to foster homes or rescue kennels having spent a lifetime with you.

I really hope that you can make it work... as I said, I did, so it's by no means impossible.

On a lighter note, the workload may decrease as they get older, but as the mother of two teenagers I can promise you that the chaos and noise level doesn't!

AlwaysMeanWellOftenWrong Thu 10-Jun-10 22:28:30

I could, in winter, take him to work with me and leave him in the car and walk him on my lunch break if things are desperate.

I think things are a little difficult with 2 kids and it is an easy option to 'get rid' of the dog to relieve some pressure. A very costly and hurtful easy option mind you.

I have told hubby never ever let me re home him.

mjinhiding Thu 10-Jun-10 22:29:24

more posts from me (I have been in your shoes), I have stairgated the kitchen to keep her out of their (mostly to stop my toddler feeding her anything he can get his hands on) and she is banned from our living room, (need one dog hair free room), but other than that I now leave her in the house with me if I am in the house, I put her basket in the hall, and she spend a lot of the day sleeping in it, or being pounced on by toddler, then in the evening, she wanders into the conservatoty to sleep so I move her basket back

for me the key was realising I loved her, and she is happy as long as she has us about (I do put her outside if i am out all day, as long as weather ok)

another thing I do - I have friends with 2 labs, and if I am out all day, I sometimes drop her there (today for example) and she got her excercise running about with their dogs all day

kid Thu 10-Jun-10 22:31:05

Really pleased you seem to have decided to keep him.
Giving him up would be so hard and you would miss him desperately if he were to go.

AlwaysMeanWellOftenWrong Thu 10-Jun-10 22:31:36

It probably doesn't help that I was cleaning up sloppy poo at 3 am in a power cut the other night - we hve laminate flooring downstairs, but he came upstairs and did it in my sons room on the carpet - !!!!!!!!! who knows why - well i do = he likes to be secure underfoot to poo= it took me over an hour to clean it up by torch light then dawn light.

mjinhiding Thu 10-Jun-10 22:34:23

oh my dog isnt allowed upstairs at all - have a stairgate there at the moment to stop her

frogetyfrog Thu 10-Jun-10 22:37:05

Well done - I am so pleased you are keeping him. You sound like you really look after him well and it will get easier as kids get older, to get him out etc.

He would find it so hard to adapt to a new home aged 7, let alone being put in kennels which would be so distressing. He could well be heartbroken - in my experience dogs really do love their owners regardless of treatment and miss them terribly.

Chin up - all pets are hard when kids are young.

hatwoman Thu 10-Jun-10 22:38:08

just re-read my post. "pottling" is obviously a cross between pootling and pottering. I think I quite like it grin

our lab sleeps all day btw - as long as he gets an average of about 60-80 mins walk a day, over a week (some days it might only be 30 mins - some it'll by 2 or more hours) he's fine. like I said I think you have given yourself high standards - and if he's showing no stress then I'm sure he's happy with the family he loves.

CrankyTwanky Thu 10-Jun-10 22:41:38

I had to give up my dog when I found myself a single parent in a tiny flat working 12 hour days.

I just couldn't keep her. She's howl all day.

It was the single worst thing that's ever happened in my (and my daughter's) life.(lucky I suppose)
I wish I'd quit my job, in retrospect.

(She was rehomed v. quickly, as she was

Vallhala Thu 10-Jun-10 22:47:08

I'm so glad you haven't allowed your concerns to break your (and your Lab's) heart. It's clear he's a lucky dog and I wish that there were more out there like you, understanding of the difficulties when your children are little but willing to go the extra mile nonetheless. I am damn sure that although you might curse the weather and the darker nights from time to time, you won't regret your decision.

Just a thought - if you do decide upon having someone to pop in or to look after Mr Lab occasionally, you might find help by asking your local Lab rescue or other rescue if they have any volunteers who might fancy the job. Equally, post on a busy dog rescue type forum such as DogPages or BigGSD (not entirely GSDs, we talk and own other dogs too_. Certainly if you were in my area I'd be delighted to have an extra canine friend, not for money, just for the joy of it. Surely I'm not the only nutter caring person out there?

kid Thu 10-Jun-10 22:49:45

My son is desperate for us to get another dog after our puppy died. Its only been 2 weeks and despite there being no tears from him for several days now, he poured his heart out tonight and set me off all over again sad

People lose their pets through choice (a really hard choice I should add) and through no fault of their own. Either way, its a really horrible situation to be in and to deal with.

Really glad your dog got rehomed quickly CrankyTwanky, she must have been fantastic.

AlwaysMeanWellOftenWrong Thu 10-Jun-10 22:50:08

my dog is not allowed upstairs either ... we have a stair gate but don't need (364 days a year) to use it - he never goes up, he follows the rules. That's why I am shocked he did it!

He used to come upstairs before we had kids. He used to sleep between us on our bed with his head on the pillow! He was, a child substitute. Now we have the real thing.. poor mite. From a pedestal to the garden in just over 3.5 years.

I am a perfectionist. I try to be the perfect mother. Makes sense that I try to be the perfect dog owner. I am probably better than many but beat myself up because I don't meet my own version of good.

OnEdge Thu 10-Jun-10 22:52:24

I have a 3 year old and a one year old and one on the way.

I just rehomed my chocolate lab.

We just moved house, where I used to live, the neighbour walked my dog 3 times a day, so when we moved here I just couldnt keep it up. I looked at her one day and felt sad because she was just sat there waiting hopefully and I couldnt do it.

I was lucky and a freind of mine who loved Scrumpy wanted her, she lives on a farm and walks Scrumpy twice a day and also takes her when she hacks out too. I see Scrumpy whenever I want and she is invited to all our family parties (coming to a BBQ on Saturday)

In the end i did it for her, she now has a much better quality of life and appears very content. (bed in front of Aga) it was very upsetting at the time but I think I did the right thing for everyone.

AlwaysMeanWellOftenWrong Thu 10-Jun-10 22:55:17

onedge - you knew where she was going and who to and you can still see her - if I knew that, I suppose I would do it.

It's the unknown, the never again and the missing him that gets me. I am resolute to be there for him, as I am with the other 3 members of the family, no matter what.

I agree with others that it will get easier. We have a 4mth old cocker spaniel puppy and a 5, 3 and 2yr old. There are times when I have questioned my sanity in getting a puppy grin but we are managing!! My 5yr old will take her out first thing in the morning for a wee. My 2yr old potters around with her in the house and patio while the others are at nursery.

I like it cos it makes us all go out for a walk together most days and at weekends we are going for longer walks. If I've had a really rough day I can escape with her as soon as dh comes home and he has to put dc's to bed while I calm down on a walk/run with Jura.

If the weather is really bad then I will hide treats for her in the house or just throw a ball for her in the living room.

I know what you mean because sometimes I am overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a good dog owner- I want a well behaved, well trained dog! However my friends reassure me that she is pretty good already for a 4mth old pup!!

I agree with others that it will get easier. We have a 4mth old cocker spaniel puppy and a 5, 3 and 2yr old. There are times when I have questioned my sanity in getting a puppy grin but we are managing!! My 5yr old will take her out first thing in the morning for a wee. My 2yr old potters around with her in the house and patio while the others are at nursery.

I like it cos it makes us all go out for a walk together most days and at weekends we are going for longer walks. If I've had a really rough day I can escape with her as soon as dh comes home and he has to put dc's to bed while I calm down on a walk/run with Jura.

If the weather is really bad then I will hide treats for her in the house or just throw a ball for her in the living room.

I know what you mean because sometimes I am overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a good dog owner- I want a well behaved, well trained dog! However my friends reassure me that she is pretty good already for a 4mth old pup!!

slushy06 Fri 11-Jun-10 14:51:55

I have a 9month dd and a 4yo ds. Dp gets up 20minutes early and takes the dog on a twenty minute run. I usually play with him for about a hour (some days it is hard but I make time). Ds gets in from school at 12 and will play with him for a hour. Dp takes him for a second walk at 9.

In the summer I am hoping to take the kids and my dog to the park each day. On the weekend we usually go to a field with a lake nearby and allow ds to run in the field and the dog in the lake we have a great time. It does get easier. Do you walk your eldest to school could you take your dog to?

Here are my priorities:

See to dc.
See to myself.
see to the dog.
Do cleaning. So having a dog ends up making things easier most days I just skip the cleaning grin.

Vallhala Fri 11-Jun-10 14:57:25

Here are my priorities:

See to dogs.

See to dogs.

See to dogs.

slushy06 Fri 11-Jun-10 15:12:52

LOL valhalla, Sadly I can put up with the puppy eyes but not whinging dc grin.

withorwithoutyou Fri 11-Jun-10 15:30:10

Always, my little dog isn't getting as much exercise walk-wise as she usually does as I am heavily pregnant and not able to do long walks at the moment.

She didn't get that much when DD was newborn and I felt terribly guity for it. Then when DD was a few months old we got into the swing of having mammoth 1.5 hour walks with DD in the buggy. It was great for me, gave me a bit of time to think, meant DD slept (terrible napper!) and the dog loved it.

So definitely things could change.

This might sound silly but if your dog likes to chase things you could try a bubble machine? My dog absolutely loves chasing bubbles here
it really wears her out.

Chatelaine Fri 11-Jun-10 15:32:26

Let him go, for his sake. When your children are older then maybe there will be space & time for a dog. You must know by posting, that he could be having a better time of it. I do believe dogs are a life syle choice. Personally I think that unless you have help around the house, for many it's a chore to combine the responsiblilites of dog ownership (and the civic duty of picking up after them) with having very young children.

gillohare Sat 02-Feb-13 20:22:29

awwww, that is so sad, If my husband would let me, i would take him off your hands, we have a 2 year old black labrador who is full of beans and would love a play mate, unfortunately he wont allow me to have another one, sad I really hope you persevere with him, as they are the most loving, loyal dogs of all, Our's is a complete pain in the bum but I wouldn't swap him for all the money in the world. xxx

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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