Returning a dog I adopted to the shelter?

ccheng82

Member
Dec 17, 2008
45
0
Singapore/New York
I feel like I'm going to get a lot of judgment about this but I want your honest opinion. Please hear me out first.

I'm a 28-year-old woman who have always loved dogs. I've had several pet dogs growing up. The last one I had passed away due to illness when I was 20, and then I moved away for college shortly after. I have not had any dogs since, but I volunteered at the animal shelter when I was in college, and my boyfriend's roommates had dogs whom I loved.

I'd been thinking about getting a dog of my own for a couple of years now. I had not been able to in the past due to my living situation. I moved around a lot and was living in dorms and sharing apartments.

Two years ago, I moved to a new city. I found a decent job and was able to get my own place. When I was apartment hunting, I specifically looked for a place that was dog friendly because I wanted to have the option of adopting a dog. Six months ago, I finally found a place that I liked that was dog-friendly and had a private patio. I felt like I was finally able to settle down and perhaps get a dog of my own eventually.

A month ago, I stopped by my neighborhood animal shelter to fill out a volunteer application, and I saw a dog I really liked. Her name is Toffee. My landlord has stated that I can get a dog but the dog has to be under 30 pounds. I've always like big dogs like shepherds and labs. Toffee was a small-ish dog at 21 pounds, but I still thought she was adorable and very sweet and calm in the kennel. I left the shelter that day, but continued to think about her in the following weeks. I'd look on Petfinder to see if she was still at the shelter.

A week ago, I finally decided to take the plunge and adopt Toffee. I prepared my home for a dog (bought a crate, dog house, etc.) and took her home 3 days ago. My boyfriend and all my friends were so excited for me. They know I loved dogs and have wanted one for a long time.

Unfortunately, things have not gone well so far. I'd wanted a dog that was quiet and low energy and Toffee has turned out to be the opposite. She is constantly bouncing off the walls and tries to chew everything up. She has already destroyed a couple of pairs of my shoes and some furniture. I live in a small one bedroom apartment and don't have enough space to store everything away. I've try taking her for long walk/runs, but when she gets home she'll want to play again. I have not been able to leave my house for the last couple of days because I don't know what to do with her. If i leave her alone in the house, she will surely destroy my stuff and potty everywhere. I tried put her in a crate, but she will literally bark, scream, and claw at it non stop, trying to get out. I don't know what to do with her if I have to leave the house, and I also don't know what to do with her when I sleep. She has been chewing things up while I sleep. I'm gonna have to go back to work soon, and I don't know how this is going to work out.

I feel like I've made a mistake. I hadn't done my research on her breed (Terrier). I should've realized that generally, smaller, younger dogs are more active and loud. Toffee is 6 months to a year old, so she is really still a puppy. I've realized that Toffee is not a good fit for me. I believe I will do much better with an adult dog (at least 4 years old) and perhaps a slightly bigger dog that is a lower energy breed.

So what do I do now? I've been thinking about returning Toffee to the shelter for the last couple of days. The shelter I adopted her from is a low kill shelter. I think as long as they put her back up for adoption if I return her, she should have a good chance of getting adopted. She's young, compact, and everyone who's met her raved about how cute she is. I'm sure she has a better chance of getting adopted than some of the bigger, older dogs I want. Is it wrong of me to return Toffee, and try to get an older dog instead? I would definitely wait and conduct my search slowly, to make sure I find a dog that's more likely to suit me and that I am really willing to commit to making it work with the older dog.

I feel like a horrible person and that the people at the shelter will hate me. Should I give Toffee more time? I know it's only been 3 days, but she simply does not seem to be a good match for me. I feel like it's better to return her to the shelter sooner than later, before she becomes more attached.


Sorry this post became a tl;dr but if you've made it down to here, I appreciate it. I really need some advice! Right now, I'm leaning towards returning her to the shelter tomorrow. I feel really awful about it and I know some of you will say things to make me feel worse about it, and that's find. I just want some constructive, objective advice/insight on the situation.

Thank you.
 

sdkitty

O.G.
Jan 16, 2006
22,562
20,595
San Diego
I'm more a cat person; I'm sure some doggie mommies will weigh in. If you have the time and money, maybe taking her for training would help.
If you do decide to return her to the shelter, I would agree that a young small breed dog should have an excellent chance at adoption. I had a friend who wanted a small terrier type dog and it took her a long time time find one.
Unfortunately, she also didn't really understand what she was getting into. The dog had severe separation anxiety and would destroy the house while the doggie-mommie was at work.
Good luck with your decision.
 

clevercat

catwoman
Sep 29, 2008
13,345
4,465
Where the heart is
Am also a kitty person, but I volunteer at a shelter where we have a lot of dogs pass through.
Three days isn't long enough, in my opinion. Imagine, Toffee is still a puppy, she's been cooped up in a pen for goodness knows how long - suddenly she has a home, of course she has a lot of pent-up energy.....It takes time (much more than you think) and energy to make things work with a young dog, she is going to need a lot of both from you.
If you are unable to give her what she deserves - I think perhaps talk to the rescue centre - we do get calls like this once people have adopted - I know you are worried they will hate you, but they will have your puppy's best interests at heart and be able to advise you.
From your post, I wonder if you have already made up your mind? If not, several of our clients (I am in UK) have had great success with a diffuser called DAP, which calms stress and anxiety. I've read on other threads where people fill konga toys with peanut butter, freeze it, then leave it with pup to play with when they are out.
Not judging you, if you return her , please research carefully before adopting again. It's a horrible situation for any animal to be in, to go from shelter to home to shelter.....
I realy hope things work out for Toffee - and for you. Good luck making that decision - I don't envy you.
 

MustLuvDogs

Member
Aug 30, 2011
989
313
I don't think you are a horrible person. But I do think you are feeling very overwhelmed. It's commendable you chose to rescue a shelter dog. With any pet you bring into your home there is always an adjustment period for both owner and animal. It takes time and considerable effort to help your pet trust you and learn the boundaries necessary for you both to live together successfully. Three days isn't long enough to accomplish that. And it sounds like you are doing this yourself and could use some help. Contact a rescue group, breed specific or non-breed specific, and find a volunteer who can spend some time talking to you over the phone. These volunteers have tremendous experience with your exact situation. They can give you invaluable advice and refer you to other individuals and groups who might be able to help. Visit a dog park where you can exercise your dog and talk to other owners who might be able to share their knowledge and experience. Explore "doggie daycare centers" and pick the brains of the staff. Schedule an appointment with a vet to have her checked over (which you should do regardless) and talk to him/her about your frustrations. When I first brought home my dog as a puppy he chewed a huge hole in the wall-to-wall carpeting of my brand new house! :nuts: But I was determined to work with him and give him a chance to become part of our family. Six years later I can't imagine my life without him. Obviously there was something endearing about this little dog that attracted you to her in the first place. I think with a little bit of time, some dedicated effort on your part and help from the outside you might find she is the perfect companion for you after all. Best of luck.
 

ccheng82

Member
Dec 17, 2008
45
0
Singapore/New York
Thank you all for the responses.... I'm just feeling so helpless and confused right now.

I took the last few days off to help the dog adjust to the home, but as I've mentioned, I need to go back to work ASAP. If I don't make any money, I can't afford to pay for myself, let alone the dog. I have no idea what to do with her when I go to work. Doggie Day Care isn't really an option since I work a late shift (6pm-4am ish). I can't keep her in a crate because she'll scream the entire night and my neighbors will probably call the cops. My apartment has an open kitchen so I can't section her off in there either. I imagine she would easily push over those doggy gates anyway. You should see the way she tries to fight her way out of the crate or the yard's fence for hours. This girl is relentless. If I give her the roam of the house, I'll surely come home to a trashed house with many damaged belongings. It seems like that is the only feasible option right now? That, or to return her to the shelter. Sigh.
 

madamefifi

cat hoarder
O.G.
Aug 23, 2006
5,813
734
virginia
I feel like I've made a mistake. I hadn't done my research on her breed (Terrier). I should've realized that generally, smaller, younger dogs are more active and loud. Toffee is 6 months to a year old, so she is really still a puppy. I've realized that Toffee is not a good fit for me. I believe I will do much better with an adult dog (at least 4 years old) and perhaps a slightly bigger dog that is a lower energy breed.

Here is your answer. You aren't doing that dog any favors, keeping her when you feel like you've made a mistake. Young dogs require a great deal of training which takes time, energy, money, and patience--plus you, the owner, have to be 100% willing to put forth the effort. I think you and Toffee would both be better off if she were returned to the shelter. JMO.

Also, before you even think about adopting another dog, re-read this thread!! You might even turn out to be a cat person!

Good luck.
 

chessmont

O.G.
Aug 22, 2006
12,111
1,820
CA
Not every dog is the right fit for a person or their living situation. I wouldn't think you are horrible for taking Toffee back to the shelter, she may just not be the right dog for you.
 

cats n bags

Stinky's Mum
O.G.
Jun 24, 2008
2,148
188
You would not be a bad person if you returned Toffee to the shelter. She does not sound like she is the right dog for you and your life situation right now.

Take a break from looking for a dog to adopt and do more research on the breeds that might fit into your life right now. If you really do prefer the larger dogs, you may need to just wait a bit longer until you are in a place were the bigger dog would be allowed.
 

BoriquaNina

♥ Loves To Strass ♥
I agree with the previous posters. You are not a bad person at all. Perhaps it will be best for both of you if you return her to the shelter. As for the persistence regarding the crate I completely understand! My Sophie, a Golden Retriever will whine non stop, bark and scratch until she gets yet way no matter what it is. She has been this way since she was nine weeks and now 18 months in finally seems to be improving. Young dogs take lots of time and patience and it doesn't seem you have the time to dedicate to her. Wait til you are in a better place and get an older, large dog.
 

Lakritze

♥
O.G.
Jun 4, 2006
1,054
1
Germany
While I always feel bad for animals that have to re-adjust again I think Toffee is definitely not the right dog for you and your life. Hopefully she will find the right people soon.

She doesn't sound AT ALL like the dog you were looking for. Did you tell the people at the shelter exactly what you were looking for? A young terrier is definitely not a good choice and they should have directed you to much older and calmer dogs. I hope you don't consider Shepherds and Labs lower energy. That could cause the next problems. ;) If doggy-daycare isn't an option I would look for dog sitters. Ten hours alone would be too much for an older dog, too.
 

lindacris

O.G.
Jan 31, 2007
1,575
0
the beach or the lake
I have three dogs but about 15 years ago i had a pound puppy who they thought was a golden but turned out to be a chow. Even though we had an electric fence he went after some kids who cut through my yard in the neighborhood. Even though he was very sweet i took him back to the pound because i couldn't risk him biting someone. The people at the pond put a big guilt trip on me which i thought was unfair since they gave me false information about his breed. I still think i did what i had to do as you will too. Good luck and i don't think you are doing anything wrong as you tried.
 

katkrack

Be the change
O.G.
Jun 14, 2009
381
14
Don't beat yourself up. It sounds like you really tried and find some consolation in the fact you gave the dog a change of pace for a bit. You're a great person trying to do the right thing. The sooner you return her the sooner someone else can adopt her. Hang in there!
 

sdkitty

O.G.
Jan 16, 2006
22,562
20,595
San Diego
Here is your answer. You aren't doing that dog any favors, keeping her when you feel like you've made a mistake. Young dogs require a great deal of training which takes time, energy, money, and patience--plus you, the owner, have to be 100% willing to put forth the effort. I think you and Toffee would both be better off if she were returned to the shelter. JMO.

Also, before you even think about adopting another dog, re-read this thread!! You might even turn out to be a cat person!

Good luck.
madamefifi, you may be on to something......OP, if you make up your mind to return Toffee to the shelter, you may want to consider a kitty. For a single working woman in an apartment, a cat is much more low-maintenance. And they give plenty of love....just don't require as much play and activity. Some of them are more active than others but still not generally as demanding as a dog.
 

Querencia

Member
Feb 25, 2011
90
0
It's hard to hear about someone relinquishing a pet and not be knee jerk judgemental.. I have to admit that. There's a big line in the sand for me though...
Some people treat animals as though they are disposable.
but some people simply have to acknowledge that their home is not the proper place for an animal.

One perspective doesn't acknowledge the well being of the creature or concern themself with what happens to the pet after they leave their home. The other acknowledges the pet's needs and well being and tries to make a decision to put them in a more suitable environment.

I don't think 3 days comes anywhere close to adequate time to adjust for either you or Toffee but the tone of what you've written sounds like you are so totally overwhelmed that in this case relinquishing her back to the shelter might be the kindest choice for both of you.

Even if she accepted crating you mention 10 hour workdays and I'm not sure on if that includes drive time or not.. but 10 possibly more hours of crating while you're at work, then crating while you're asleep could easily be 18 hours of crate time a day, far too much for anything I would be comfortable with... 10 hours is quite awhile for any dog to be left alone.. even if they can manage it while they're younger, strictly from the standpoint of holding their bladder that long as they get older they become less able to.. I just wonder about the situation for any dog. I wouldn't say that a single person who works full time should never have a dog but it does take a great deal of dedication. Even something as simple as running a few errands before or after work or stopping out for a bite to eat or with friends can become an impossibility when you're the sole care taker of a dog... When I had a dog it could become a scheduling juggle even though I shared her care with my mother. Making sure that my mom would be home in time to feed her/take her for a walk/make sure she could go to the bathroom before I could commit to going out with friends...

No unkind words for you though. If you want to try and make things work I'd guess there are many people here, some who have already spoken, who might have suggestions. If you feel as strongly as it sounds like you do in your posting that it's simply not going to work out for the two of you then better to acknowledge it now for both of you...

You might have acted hastily in adopting this dog, this breed, and this age but I stick with their are two kinds of pet owners.. those who view them as objects or accessories and those who understand that they have the responsibility of the well being of a creature to take care of. People who understand they have that responsibility need help and support. People who don't understand that.. Well, harsh words won't help there either but I don't think that's who you are at all.