I Found a New Home for My Dog by Using Facebook
When we adopted Remi, we fully expected to be her forever home. She was a great match for Axle, and her bouncy personality was always good for a laugh. We watched her blossom like a flower as she learned basic obedience skills and her coat became thick and shiny from good food and staying out of the elements. Sadly, tragedy hit our household towards the end of last year, and we were faced with a difficult decision -- we had to find a new home for one of our dogs. We decided we would rehome Remi, so I turned to Facebook.
When we first got Remi, I joined a Facebook group known as Boykin Spaniel Lovers. It's a group comprising Boykin enthusiasts, members of the Boykin Spaniel Rescue, Boykin Spaniel Society members, and responsible Boykin breeders. It has been a fantastic resource in learning about the breed, as well as sharing in the love for little brown dogs. I turned to the group first when we decided we'd be rehoming Remi. Within no time at all, multiple people contacted me about assisting in finding her a home, expressing their interest in her, and offering other words of advice. Several people offered to temporarily foster Remi or suggested that I turn her over to rescue and let the rescue find her a home. I knew adjusting to a new home would be hard enough, and I was responsible for her. Remi had a home for us until we could find her a new one -- the right one.
Of everyone who contacted me about Remi, one family stood out. They were an older couple who had no kids at home, no cats or small animals, and currently had a nine-month-old male Boykin pup at home. I obtained their address, which I checked against public records and Google map-searched. I had them give me their pet history, personal references, a vet reference, and other pertinent information. I wanted to know what Remi would be eating, where she would be sleeping, and whether or not they had a fence. I also wanted to make sure they had full disclosure of her habits/issues before committing to a life with her.
See, Remi wasn't a perfect dog. She liked to hunt moles in the backyard, meaning there were lots of holes when moles were active. She was an avid barker -- once something set her off, you were guaranteed at least 20 minutes of solid yapping. She was a jumper, frequently tugged at the leash when walking, and wasn't fond of the children in the neighborhood (although she was good with those she met in stores). She loved to give dog kisses, which would be a deal breaker for some people.
She also had boundless energy and would need a home that could handle her exercise needs. She was an avid chewer, and enjoyed destroying a myriad of inappropriate objects (window frames, couches, socks and shoes). All of those are relatively minute things in the grand scheme of all things dog. The real challenge would be if they could overlook what she had done -- she killed my cat.
I'll spare you the details, but I came home to find Remi literally playing with my beloved Fry's dead body. Some people might go so far as to have a dog euthanized who killed another animal, such as a cat who the dog had lived with for over a year. However, I think it's important to realize that dogs are, at the end of the day, animals. Having one dog who had been raised with cats and Remi having seemingly accepted them, we let ourselves get too comfortable in our cat/dog routine. We took it for granted that we could leave the cats and dogs alone in the house (the cats did have a safe room that only they could access), and clearly that cost Fry his life. Was it because of my pregnancy hormones? The change in the weather? The increasing amounts of packages being delivered in preparation for the holidays? I really don't know. Fortunately for Remi (and us), the potential adopters were completely understanding and still very interested in Remi.
The vet and the personal references all gave glowing reviews of the couple in question. In fact, they passed all of my application requirements with flying colors. The real issue was going to be distance -- we lived eight hours apart, and the holiday season had them working too much to travel. Another tribute to the wonderful people in the Boykin Spaniel Lovers group, several members offered transport services. As luck would have it, one member would be visiting with her grandmother over the holidays, less than 20 minutes from my house! She picked Remi up and they were off to Remi's new home.
Although I was very sad to see Remi go, we knew we had made the right decision, especially when we saw how happy she was in her new home. Her new "mom" made her a homemade dinner and cookies. She has her own Facebook page that she shares with her new brother, Sheldon, and they made salt dough ornaments with impressions of their paw prints. For Christmas, they had a tree with toys and treats and ornaments that spelled their names. To hear her new owners talk about her, Remi is a golden child. We're keeping in touch, and I hope to hear lots of wonderful things from them in the future.
I share this story with you in hopes to encourage you to look past all of the Facebook memes about giving animals away online, especially for free. I didn't charge a rehoming fee for Remi. In fact, she came with all of her vetting, including spay and microchip, her heartworm and flea prevention, toys, and grooming supplies. I didn't care about trying to "recoup" money I had invested in Remi; I wanted to find her the best home possible. By taking the time to get to know the potential adopters and following up on their submitted information, I was able to make an informed decision about my dog's new home.
Have you ever had to rehome your dog? Tell us about it in the comments.
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About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it's in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of two dogs (one being very dumb) and one cat. I'm a former quiet nerd who's turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.