Rehoming an animal can be a very controversial topic, especially among those who are prone to equating animals with children.
I am not and never will be someone who says that I think of my pets as my children, no matter how much I love them. There are some similarities, sure. Goodness knows potty training an 8-week-old puppy requires waking up about as often as one does for an infant. However, I can guarantee that if my house was on fire and I had to choose whether to get a pet that was hiding under the bed or my child who is still in their room, I would get the child every time. While I would mourn the pet and wish there had been time to save both, I would feel no guilt for my decision.
We’ve had a lot of life circumstances going on over the past few months which I won’t get into because they are, frankly, private. However, these circumstances made it literally impossible to care for any pet that needs more intensive care than a cat, and a high-energy herding dog who has no dog door and who gets destructive when bored certainly has more needs than the cats.
First we sent him to foster with my husband’s brother and his wife. My sister-in-law is a vet assistant and adores animals, and they did their best to care for Ranger. His needs and herding tendencies eventually got to be too much for them and they let us know that we needed to take him back. Unfortunately our circumstances hadn’t changed, so we couldn’t do so for good.
I considered trying to find a different foster situation for the next couple of months until we could take him back, but making Ranger adjust to multiple moves just didn’t feel right. I also had to face the reality that we’d be bringing Ranger back into our home in the next couple of months just in time to make him adjust to a brand new baby, which would also make it harder for me — his main caretaker — to meet his needs. In fact it would be nearly impossible for me to do so for the first couple of weeks after having the baby, and at least one of the people who would be helping me out most had a hard time dealing with him. High-energy herding dogs, especially as puppies, are no joke and not for everyone.
Basically, as much as I wished I didn’t have to, and had not counted on doing so when we got him, we decided that permanently rehoming Ranger was the best option for both him and us. It was a difficult decision.
I don’t take rehoming lightly. A shelter was certainly not an option, and I didn’t want him to go to just anyone on Craigslist. A pet deserves a good home, and since we couldn’t provide it, it was our responsibility to do our best to find him one.
Thankfully Facebook has a world of resources that didn’t really exist before, and through a page dedicated for people whole love the breed, I found someone who lives only a couple of hours away, who already owned a blue heeler, and who even shared a mutual friend with me (the friend vouched for her as a person and as a dog owner). She promised to bring him back to us to rehome again if their dog and Ranger didn’t get along. I cried the night she connected with me on Facebook because it made rehoming him a reality
So we sent Ranger off to his new family. From all I know (which includes seeing some pictures and getting a couple of updates from the new owner), he and the other dog are adjusting to each other and his new owners love him. Even hard decisions can have happy endings.