If you’ve ever had a pet die, you know the feeling of grief and loss. But what about when circumstances in life force you to find a new home for a perfectly healthy, happy pet?  It’s a very different kind of pain.  This personal post is to share my experience with loss of a pet and how I’m getting through it.  It’s hard.

Chelsea

Briefly, my personal story is that I was laid off more than a year ago.  I started Camping Dog Supplies as a way to do something I love on a subject I love and to find a way out of the trap of being an employee subject to the whims of corporate economics.  This has turned out to be  harder and takes  longer than I was led to believe.   Like millions of others, I face an uncertain future.

My dogs are my family and it’s more important than anything else that they are happy and well.

To the millions who are facing this emotional catastrophe, I want to share what I’ve come to feel.  When you’ve lost everything, it’s easy to fall into blame of yourself or others, anger, and all sorts of “what if” thinking.  Then there’s the self doubt, fear, and other thoughts that run rampant.

In those moments, the companionship of pets becomes even more important and the bond becomes even stronger.  I adore my dogs and I can honestly say they have been instrumental in keeping me moving on the really bad days.  Giving them up is one of the hardest choices that anyone can be forced to make.

It’s About Your Pet, Not You

“If you love them, let them go” is a saying to remember.  The bottom line is that my girls are with people who love them, give them what they need, and that they are happy.  If I find that for them, it gives me one less thing to worry about and I can sleep knowing I’ve done the best that I can.

Chelsea, my border collie mix, is a bright, sweet, sensitive, and friendly girl who loves everyone.  Of my two dogs, I know that she will have an easier time adapting to a new environment.  In finding her a new home, there were certain things I knew she needed to be happy:

  • Someone who is happy giving her the constant attention and petting she craves
  • Someone who is gentle and loving, as she is
  • An environment where she has constant companionship of beings with either two or four legs.  This is not dog who can be alone for any length of time!

I’m glad to say I’ve found the perfect home for her.  In a week or so, I will be packing up her favorite toys and bed, and take her to her new home.  It’s a couple who have two Burmese Mountain Dogs (so she’ll have company and someone to herd), love dogs, and are very steady and stable in their manner and style.

You Are Giving Someone Else a Gift

When we confirmed this on the phone, it dawned on me that I am giving a wonderful gift to someone who will honor and appreciate it.  It’s clear that these folks “get” what they’re getting with her and realize that it’s a huge gift.  Even though I will no longer have the sunshine personality of Chelsea in my life, someone who appreciates it will and their lives will be richer because of it.

Dogs Have Tremendous Love To Give To Many

When they’re in a healthy environment, dogs have tremendous love to give to many, many people.  Chelsea loves everybody.  I’ve had people say unhelpful things like, “How can you give them up?  They love you!”  Of course they love me!  But dogs have the capacity to love many people.

If you can remember these things, the wrenching process of finding new homes is easier.  Yes, you’ll still be an emotional mess, but it will be free of guilt because you know you’ve done a good thing both for your dog and for their new family.

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