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Three weeks ago, I had what seemed like the perfect opportunity, a "meant to be" opportunity, to finally bring a dog into my life. I had been applying for dogs and puppies in shelters and researching breeds that might be right for me to bring home from a breeder. I had not been contacted about any of my rescue applications (I assumed because of my single apartment-dweller status). I love bulldogs and was well aware of the potential for unethical breeding, but with the challenges I had been experiencing with rescues I was looking into breeders and trying to get on waitlists. Here came the opportunity: an English Bulldog breeder that I had vetted and followed to potentially get a puppy from, posted that they were selling their 8 month old puppy (as they had personal issues and decided to stop breeding). This seemed perfect, she was older and less work, she was intended to be bred so she was healthy, and I had already vetted the breeder.

I contacted the breeder and they agreed to move forward with me. I was thrilled. I was smiling all week, telling everyone I knew, and buying and reading everything to prepare for her arrival. I spoke to the breeder on Sunday and they drove her to me the following Thursday.

The anxiety set in quickly. As I was getting ready to take her up to my apartment her previous owner said "she doesn't like stairs". Stairs. I live on the fourth floor. I didn't consider this, or how it would work with her, very much at all. She was terrified of them, and I had to carry her up to my apartment (to her protest). She was stressed and breathing heavily and loudly (which seemed not normal for a bulldog). It was concerning and nerve wracking. She was house trained, but the stairs complicated it as she would not indicate the need to go out in order to avoid them. After getting her outside, I discovered her bulldog stubbornness as she likes to stop and not walk. She is also unnerved by the hills in my city.

I didn't eat for the first three days, the anxiety and remorse was a pit in my stomach. I took care of her, worked on her fears and training when I could, and laid in my bed. I got through the first few days and things got better. She is no longer terrified of the stairs, although she obviously hates them and I wonder if it is painful for her to go down them (with the impact on her short legs). She is improving at walking but it still takes a significant amount of coaxing. Her breathing is less concerning as she has gotten less stressed. House training has improved as well.

Besides these challenges, she is adorable and perfect. A typical bulldog. She loves people and attention, and will adorably (and frustratingly) refuse to leave the park because she wants to wait to be pet and fawned over.

I am worried that the stairs and the city are not the best for her. I recently moved into this apartment (and it was a very good deal, I would otherwise not have been able to afford living on my own), so I cannot move. It also saddens me that she doesn't get all of the attention that she would like from me. She loves kids and I feel like she would be much much happier with a family.

I'm also beginning to regret the lack of freedom that I have committed to. Of course I was aware that this would be the case, and was prepared. I felt as though what I was giving up would not even be a thought when it comes to the love for my dog. But of course with the challenges that we have faced, these thoughts are creeping up. I'm thinking both that she is not the right dog for me (as she is not very active, and I am very active), and that there might be no right dog for me right now. I can wait until I have a partner and more space in my home. I am financially stable but am thinking about how this may affect my ability to continue towards my financial goals (although supporting a dog was always one of those goals!).

I know that someone out there will love everything about her and be able to give her much more attention than I can. If she was a rescue or more challenging, I think my thought process might be different. We can make it work, but I don't think it will be optimal for either of us.

This feels like it was a mistake. I know I will learn something from this (if only that I am not ready to take care of a dog by myself), and that I am blessed to have this sweet girl for any amount of time. I am seriously considering rehoming her after I have her spayed later this month. I would also like to ask for a rehoming fee because she is pure bred, I will have gotten her spayed and paid to have all of her vaccines and medications up to date. This feels wrong, and it isn't about the money, but taking on a dog like this is a financial commitment and I would want to make sure that a family is ready for it.

I have reached out to Bulldog rescues and groups, but many will not facilitate rehoming (and are quite judgmental). I'm looking into my options to responsibly find her the best home, and hopefully a bulldog home. I appreciate the non-judgmental advice on this forum. I truly want what is best for her, but am ashamed of backing out of the commitment that I have made, and the stigma that comes with this decision.
 

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Hi KRNB,

I feel bad for you. As far as I can tell from what you wrote, you did your best to prepare, but your preparation was not sufficient, and now you have learned that you made a mistake. This is terribly unfortunate, but these things happen, even to the most well-meaning people. Everyone makes mistakes. It's how you handle the error, and learning from them that is important. It looks to me as if you have learned something and are doing your best to handle the situation correctly with the dog's best interests at heart.

I am not surprised that people are being judgmental about this but I find that very unfortunate and inappropriate. If possible, try not to let these people hurt you or make you feel worse than you already feel. Those people don't know what your whole situation is.

Finding a new home for the pup is clearly the best thing to do. If a group is judgmental to you, find a different one. Maybe advertise the dog on your own in whatever way seems best to you and do your own vetting of the potential new home including a home-check visit. There may be other options to explore.

I don't think it is wrong of you to ask for money for the dog, especially as you plan to pay for her spay. It is also wise to charge something so that a person doesn't get her for free only to turn around and sell her for a profit, which happens a lot. Just be sure that you don't let the amount of money you feel you should have for her get in the way of finding the best home for her -- in other words, let finding the best home be the primary focus.

I think it is a credit to you that you are able to recognize the mistake you made and do the right thing for the dog. And I wish you the very best of luck in finding the perfect home for her.
 

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It does sound like you have given this a lot of thought and it isn't just a knee jerk reaction (you don't say how long you have had her though). There is no shame in admitting you have made a mistake, it sounds like it isn't so much that you shouldn't have a dog, just that a bulldog (stairs, activity levels) is a poor fit.

When rehoming, normally the breeder would be your first point of contact - a good breeder will always want to keep responsibility for the dogs they breed.
 

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Thank you so much for your helpful words of advice. I am confident that this is the right decision for her and I, and I will begin to work to find her a fantastic home once she is spayed.
 

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Hi KRNB,

If it were not for living on the fourth floor, I'd be inclined to encourage you to give this relationship more time. Making her climb up and down multiple flights of stairs at least three times a day is just too much for a bulldog. That's the deal-breaker.

In terms of rehoming her, have you contacted her breeder yet? As JoanneF mentioned, reputable breeders will take back their dogs. It's not uncommon for a sales contract to say that you must return your dog to the breeder.

If your breeder won't take back your dog, I would still encourage you to look for a rescue group. Some rescue groups are more open to owner surrenders than others. If you live in Southern California, send me a PM and I'll direct you. Have you tried any English bulldog rescues yet? They might be more amenable to accepting your dog.

Be very, very careful about giving your dog away. Yes, you should ask for a rehoming fee. I'm a moderator of a "lost and found pets" FB group, and many purebred dogs, especially French bulldogs, are stolen and then "flipped." We've just had two local cases in the past week. There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there. If you give or sell your dog, it would be best to find a person or a family that you know. English bulldogs are a coveted breed. Whatever you do, stay off Craigslist and please never say "Free to a good home."

Take your time to find her a good home. You'll be glad that you did. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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Hi KRNB,

If it were not for living on the fourth floor, I'd be inclined to encourage you to give this relationship more time. Making her climb up and down multiple flights of stairs at least three times a day is just too much for a bulldog. That's the deal-breaker.

In terms of rehoming her, have you contacted her breeder yet? As JoanneF mentioned, reputable breeders will take back their dogs. It's not uncommon for a sales contract to say that you must return your dog to the breeder.

If your breeder won't take back your dog, I would still encourage you to look for a rescue group. Some rescue groups are more open to owner surrenders than others. If you live in Southern California, send me a PM and I'll direct you. Have you tried any English bulldog rescues yet? They might be more amenable to accepting your dog.

Be very, very careful about giving your dog away. Yes, you should ask for a rehoming fee. I'm a moderator of a "lost and found pets" FB group, and many purebred dogs, especially French bulldogs, are stolen and then "flipped." We've just had two local cases in the past week. There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there. If you give or sell your dog, it would be best to find a person or a family that you know. English bulldogs are a coveted breed. Whatever you do, stay off Craigslist and please never say "Free to a good home."

Take your time to find her a good home. You'll be glad that you did. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
I’m definitely aware and wary of all of the greedy people out there who might take her and try to sell her (or breed her, which is why I am getting her spayed ASAP).

Unfortunately, due to the circumstances under which I purchased her (the breeder decided to stop breeding because of a personal issue), the breeder cannot take her back. I’ve made them aware and asked them to send anyone they know who might be interested in her my way.

I’m in Northern California and have reached out to the Bulldog rescue here, but due to the fact that I was asking a rehoming fee, they declined to offer me help. I agree that this would be a great way to go, as these rescues likely have applicants or interested families who just haven’t found the right dog yet! It’s a bit discouraging because these groups would seem to be the best way to find a good Bulldog home. I don’t want to surrender her to any rescues because I am capable of caring for her until I find the right home, and I don’t want her to have to go through fosters or other homes if not necessary.

I will keep reaching out to rescues and other groups, as Madra Anamchara suggested, and try not to let the judgmental responses prevent me from doing what is best for her.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and provide advice, I appreciate it.
 

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Hi KRNB,

Here are a couple of options for working with rescue groups:

1) You surrender your dog to the rescue group, but agree to foster the dog until the rescue group arranges for an adoption. In this case, you won't receive a rehoming fee, but you'll be taking advantage of the rescue group's assistance in placing the dog and presumably their guarantee to take the dog back if necessary.

2) You ask the rescue group to publish a "courtesy post" for you on their website and on www.petfinder.com and www.adoptapet.com. This is a way for you to advertise your dog. You'll keep the dog in your custody and you'll make any and all decisions regarding its placement.

In either respect, I recommend that you have a contract. (You can find lots of free contracts online). Also, make sure that the contact information on the dog's microchip is transferred to either the rescue group or the new owner.
 

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Hi All,

An update: Rescue Me! was a great resource. Thank you SusanLynn for providing it. I got multiple inquiries from people who were experienced with bulldogs and looking to add one to their home. I found her a wonderful family that I know will take great care of her. They are coming to pick her up in the next couple of weeks when she recovers from her spay.

I'll miss her so much, but I will be glad to know that she has this wonderful home.
 
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