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Hi everyone,

I'm sorry this is so long, please bear with me.

I just adopted a 2 year old Spaniel mix from the local Humane Society (no kill) four days ago and I am having an increasingly difficult time knowing if that was a good idea or if I should return her for both my own and her well-being and happiness.

Background: I started a full-time job (8-5pm) two months ago that may require traveling in the future and live alone. My boyfriend of 3 years left the country for medical school in the past month and I have been struggling with the long distance. I have always been a dog person, and our family has had dogs in the past, but I think I jumped into the decision to adopt a dog for myself too impulsively and without considering how my emotional health would handle these big changes already happening in my life. Stepping back now I can see it was a rash decision and I did not prepare or reflect on my situation properly, but at the time I was excited and thought myself ready to adopt.

I went to the humane society last weekend to look at dogs. I was searching for an adult, independent, and low energy dog that wouldn't mind being at home alone while I was at work. I saw Casey and she seemed like a sweet and mellow dog, but there wasn't a lot of information on her card. I brought the card up front to meet her and learn more and was allowed 5 minutes with her alone. Again, she seemed like a low-energy dog, although I know now that you can't tell temperament based on how they act in a shelter. When they went over her file with me they said she was a transfer from a different county shelter and originally an owner surrender, but had no more information on her. I let them know what kind of dog I was looking more to see if she might be a match, and they said she was sweet and gentle, but couldn't provide anything further. After reading the file to me they asked me if I wanted to adopt her. I knew that it might be a risk, but felt pressured and said yes. She still needed to be spayed, so they told me to pick her up on Tuesday after her surgery.

So far she has settled in a little bit and looks to be house trained and sweet like they said. She can't be exercised or crate trained yet because of her surgery and I have to keep her confined in a room during the day. However, she also seems to be a high energy dog that needs to be doing something at all times of the day and night, and isn't happy if you aren't constantly entertaining her. At this point I don't know if our personalities or lifestyles work well together and I'm worried I won't be able to provide her what she needs. I am having a lot of stress and anxiety over the decision to adopt and I haven't been able to eat or stop being on the verge of crying since I got her. I dread coming home from work and can't focus on work while I'm there.

It's completely my fault, not hers, because I think she would do very well in a more stable home with someone who can commit a lot of time to working with her. She's a good dog, but at this moment I only feel relief at the idea of returning her. I don't know if it's fair to continue trying, even though it could be drastically different after two weeks. I honestly don't know if I can keep feeling like this for two weeks.

I know that it was very stupid and a terrible idea to rush into a lifelong commitment like adopting a dog without fully understanding what it actually meant or if I was really ready.

Would it be better for both of us if I returned her? Or should I try to stick it our for two weeks and see what happens?
 

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What specifically is making you feel like she needs to be entertained all the time, and like she's "high energy"? Had you given thought to what kind of schedule you might keep with the dog, and thought about what kind of training classes you might take with it once you brought it home? Do you have the time to devote to training a dog right now, at all?

Should you return the dog or wait? No one here can tell you definitively, and ultimately it's up to you to decide whether the situation is such that maybe a dog isn't for you right now or if it's worth sticking it out a little longer and seeing how everything settles in. Keeping her for a few more weeks doesn't mean you can't return her, and giving her up now doesn't mean you'll never have a dog. Do you have a therapist or psychiatrist, or have you considered seeing someone given all the changes happening? It can definitely be helpful- I say that from experience.

It isn't uncommon for people to experience regret after adding a dog or puppy to their life, although the extent to which you're feeling upset isn't exactly standard. It totally OK if you realize this wasn't the right time for a dog, but 4 days isn't very long. She has just had fairly major surgery and sounds to have been in a shelter environment for quite some time. I wouldn't base your entire evaluation of her temperament on how she acts right now.

I would suggest taking a deep breath, realizing that this isn't the biggest decision you'll ever make, and try to cut yourself a little bit of slack. Go be alone and do something relaxing without the dog and decompress a little bit. For a moment, forget about the long term. Don't worry about the fact that you may have to travel at some point in the future. Think about the here and now, and think about how you want to spend the next few weeks and months. You just started a new job and your boyfriend just left the country for school, so there are some big changes happening in your life. How are you wanting to spend your free time in these coming months. What are thing things you do that are relaxing. Can you fit a dog into these things? Will having a dog around be a comfort, or a drain? Are the "new dog" realities things you can handle right now, or are they going to leave you feeling spread too thin (things like taking a basic training class or starting training things on your own, figuring out how much walking and playing she needs to feel calm, etc). Visualize the next few months with the dog, and visualize the next few months without her. Not "a dog", but this specific dog given what you know of her from your time with her at the shelter and her time in your home. Feel out which future feels more comfortable for you.

I'm also going through some huge changes in my life: I just re-started school and moved cross country to a new state where I know almost no one. For me, it helps endlessly to have a dog in my life. She's not a new dog to me, either, so that helps, but I could totally imagine a new dog being a comfortable addition to me. A lot of my hobbies are dog related, like agility, for one, and those that aren't immediately dog related I can easily fit her into, such as hiking, or I can do at home while she rests, like arts and crafting stuff.

It is also totally possible that your mind if putting a lot of the stress from all the other changes in your life into the change of getting a dog. Sometimes people do that- shifting all their negative feelings of everything that they can't change to one little thing they can change.

Again, no one can tell you definitively that it is a good or bad or better or worse decision to keep or return her. A pros and cons list might help, getting a little separation from her and doing something without her might help, talking with friends or family about the issue might help, and through it all remember that there is no shame in finding she isn't the dog for you and/or now isn't the time to have a dog.

Sometimes a dog doesn't fit in, and sometime it isn't the right time.

If you do decide to return her, going to a rescue (vs a shelter) next time that does in-home fosters of dogs might be a really good idea.
 

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I know when we first adopted Samantha, we for a number of weeks kept thinking and saying to each other, what have we done???? Turned out that Samantha fit into our lives routines and life style perfectly. She is now so much a part of our lives, we can't even imagine life without her. Just looking at her and her antics make us happy, and as much as we love her, she returns that 10 times over. If you can give it a little time, dogs have a way of getting into your hearts, and it usually doesn't take long.
 

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I have been a dog owner for some time now. Our dog of 10 years passed away and a few months later we adopted a dog from the shelter. She was mellow, mellow,mellow at the shelter but when we brought her home she was CRAZY!!!! Well, day 1 was a dream. She was at the time approx 9-10 months old. She is so athletic (jumping on the table with 4 feet like a goat, jumping over baby gates), nipping, waking super early,etc.... Literally, the thoughts that entered my head about her made me feel insane. My family wouldn't tolerate giving the dog back so I'd hope she'd maul me or something just so I could rehome her. Well.... fast foward two months and things are going so much better. Totally not a perfectly behaved dog but she has calmed down and we are enjoying training her. We are actively working with a trainer and practicing on our own. She doesn't seem to enjoy walks so she doesn't walk everyday but we play fetch and flirt pole with her. She has anxiety issues and not so good around dogs yet but I think sticking with her, we've become her people. I'm not saying not to find her a new home but I am saying that it will likely get better with a little work.
 

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I wish you would've at least fostered before making the decision of adopting her. Giving her back is going to put a lot on the dog. Lots of confusion for her. I'd give it a week or two. Let her adjust more, and definitely make time for training. That's the most important thing. I'm sure she'll be a great dog! Give her a chance, 4 days isn't long enough for a dog to completely adjust to a new environment and people.
 

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Would it be better for both of us if I returned her? Or should I try to stick it our for two weeks and see what happens?
Only you can answer that question. And good for you, for thinking out solutions and not just allowing the situation to deteriorate.
It is a no kill shelter which means this dog will have a good home even if it is not with you.
I think you need to decide soon, so this dog will not form a bond with you.
 

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There is always a period of adjustment when bringing home a new pet. Even when coming from a foster home with a set routine, everything is a mess for a bit, then it settles. That has always been my experience, just adopted #5 a few weeks ago.
 

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So far she has settled in a little bit and looks to be house trained and sweet like they said. She can't be exercised or crate trained yet because of her surgery and I have to keep her confined in a room during the day. However, she also seems to be a high energy dog that needs to be doing something at all times of the day and night, and isn't happy if you aren't constantly entertaining her.
So right now your experience with this dog has been a visit in the shelter and caring for her while she's recovering post-op from a spay. This is really not indicative of what she will be like normally. Typically if dogs have to be crated or confined without a lot of exercise like the situation your dog is in now then they will be antsy and restless.

I think to see her true personality you need to give it at least two weeks, maybe even three since she just had surgery. It might be that after a good long romp and game of fetch and a nice evening and morning walk she'll be content to curl up beside you with a nice chew bone and relax.

I think right now you're going through the "puppy blues", and from what you said it sounds like you maybe have some pre-existing mental health problems? If so this can definitely affect you a lot. Just give it a chance and let your new pup recover from the surgery. In the meantime try to get her fun things to do like kongs, puzzle toys or chew toys to entertain herself while she heals. You can also try to practice some non-strenous training like coming to her name, sitting, and maybe giving paw.

Let us know how things go over the next week. We'll help with things along the way! *hugs*
 
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I've read the thread and was hoping for an update. My only thought when I read the first post was that no pet is okay being home alone a lot. That made me sad, especially when I read you'll be traveling a lot for your job. I'm anxious to read about how things are going, so I hope you'll be checking back in.
 
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