How to deal with giving up a beloved pet?
May 6, 2010 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Help me deal with having to give up one of my dogs...

We are moving to japan (he's air force) and they will only allow us to take two pets - which means i have to rehome one of my dogs and he, his cat. (i have had the dogs far longer than i have had him, for the record, i was kind of a package deal)

i am trying all the usual avenues - immense networking (he even has his own facebook page!), begging of friends and family and family and friends of THOSE people. i've resorted to craigslist and haven't had any luck yet. so now i'm having to look into shelters (there are two or three very good no kill shelters here, but still).

this is tearing me up. first, to have to even think about giving him up. then to think about not being able to find him a home and put him back in a shelter (he was a shelter puppy). he's had 9 years with me, in a cush environment.

this whole thing is just... well. you can imagine.

how do i deal with this? with the guilt? how did YOU deal if you had to give up an animal?
posted by unlucky.lisp to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why don't you pay yourself to transport the dog to japan?
posted by zia at 10:44 AM on May 6, 2010

The issue is probably housing, zia- if they're going to live on base, there's probably a limit on how many pets you can have.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:45 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Everything I know about the US military I learned from JAG and NCIS. However, this can't be anything new for the shelters near a military base. How long will you be in Japan? Maybe someone will do a long-term foster? I can't even imagine what you're going through.
posted by crankylex at 10:53 AM on May 6, 2010

Netpets is a non-profit organization that finds foster homes for pets of military personnel. The goal is to provide safe and loving temporary homes for the pets of military members who cannot take their pets with them to their assignment. You'd be able to get your dog back when you get back to the states or when your housing situation changes in Japan.
posted by jamaro at 10:54 AM on May 6, 2010 [20 favorites]

Operation Noble Foster seems to provide foster care for this situation, i.e. with the intention that the pets will be returned to the military family upon return to teh US. I have no experience, but I've heard about organizations that do that. Here's an article from the Humane Society that talks about military fosters. It includes some additional options.
posted by bunnycup at 10:56 AM on May 6, 2010 [4 favorites]

(Alternatively, if the 2 pet limit is just on shipping vs housing, try to find someone else heading to Japan to bring the dog under their allotment. My USAF dad moved his half-dozen dogs from Japan to California doing that.)
posted by jamaro at 10:59 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm looking for a dog, what kind of dog is it?
posted by unixrat at 11:37 AM on May 6, 2010

Response by poster: the issue is the housing - we are required to live on base (for the entire 3 years that we'll be there). as for bringing him in under someone else's allotment... that is a serious violation if we get caught. so that's kind of out. (and it's not like we aren't trying work arounds - i've even got an official letter labeling him as a psychiatric service animal)

unix, i sent you a memail.

and thank you for the other sources -- i'll look into them!
posted by unlucky.lisp at 11:47 AM on May 6, 2010

I may be missing the place to find this, but is there any way you can give us the region of the US that you live in? For dog lovers out there, such as myself, I feel your pain in this situation. Maybe one of us could help care for your dog while you are away - granted we are near where you live.
posted by Brettus at 12:49 PM on May 6, 2010

Please let us know how this turns out. I have no resources for you, only tons of empathy coming at you electronically.
posted by bearwife at 12:49 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, PLEASE try some of the military fostering options -- I have friends who've participated in this and it's a wonderful option. One elderly lady I know had her dog die, and didn't want to get a new dog and have to train it and everything (and we being kind-of "I'm going to die soon" morbid about it), but was so lonely without one. She ended up fostering the dog of a soldier who had to go overseas, and it was perfect -- she had well-trained canine company and a reason to go for walks 3 times a day (good for her health), the dog had a very loving home (with a retired woman who was home most of the time, walked him a lot, and gave him tons of affection and squeaky toys), and the soldier got lots of letters and pictures and cookies from the dog's foster owner, who had plenty of free time to write to him.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:19 PM on May 6, 2010 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Brettus -- I'm in Florida right now, but I'm willing to get him pretty much anywhere he needs to go in order to be loved. I travel to NC frequently, and VA as well. New England is definitely not out of the question, and I will go further for the right home.

I appreciate the offer so much!

I would like very much to find him a permanent home. Since we are being PCSd (permanent change of station) for three years, there is absolutely no telling where we'll go after that, or if we'll even be able to come back to the states. :(
posted by unlucky.lisp at 4:01 PM on May 6, 2010

I was poking around on Facebook looking for your dog's page to link to, and found Military Pet Outreach, which might be of help to you. They seem to seek permanent homes for pets.
posted by donnagirl at 7:18 PM on May 6, 2010

I hope you've found him a new home, but if you haven't, maybe you could contact this rescue:

They do really good work.

Your situation sounds so hard. My heart goes out to you and your dog.
posted by hungrytiger at 7:33 AM on May 23, 2010

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