Grief

Dealing with Grief After Rehoming Your Dog: Coping Strategies

Explore effective coping strategies for dealing with the emotional toll after rehoming your beloved dog. Find comfort and healing here.

January 17, 2023
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7 min
A picture of an aging dog

Rehoming a dog is a difficult and heart-wrenching decision that many pet owners are faced with. The loss of a beloved pet can be a traumatic experience and bring about feelings of grief, sadness, and guilt. These emotions can be overwhelming, making it difficult to move forward and cope with the loss. However, there are strategies that can help ease the grieving process and bring comfort. In this article, we will explore coping strategies for dealing with grief after rehoming a dog, providing tips and support for pet owners who are facing this challenging situation. Whether you are struggling with feelings of sadness or looking for ways to honor your pet's memory, this article will provide practical advice to help you heal and find peace.

Rehoming your dog can be a difficult and emotional experience. It's natural to feel overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and loss after saying goodbye to your furry friend. But, if you're struggling with tears that just won't stop, it may be time to seek help. Below are some coping strategies to stop the tears

  1. Allow yourself to grieve: It's important to give yourself permission to feel and process your emotions. Crying, feeling sad or overwhelmed are all normal reactions to the loss of a pet. Allow yourself to experience these emotions and don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or family for support.
  2. Create a memory: You can create a memory book or scrapbook as this can be a therapeutic experience for some. Create a photo album of your pet, including pictures of them as a puppy, playing with toys, on walks and more.
  3. Reach out to friends and family: Talking about your feelings with someone you trust can be incredibly therapeutic. Your loved ones may have experienced similar emotions and can offer support and advice.
  4. Journal your thoughts: Writing down your feelings and experiences can help you process your emotions and make sense of your thoughts.
  5. Seek professional help: If you're struggling to cope with the grief, consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor. They can offer personalized support and guidance to help you heal. This could be in the form of one-on-one therapy or support groups
  6. Volunteer at a local animal shelter: Spending time with other animals can help distract from your grief and give you a sense of purpose. Volunteering can also help you feel good about making a positive impact in the lives of other animals.
  7. Find a support group: Joining a support group for pet owners who have rehomed their dogs can be a great way to connect with others who understand what you're going through.
  8. Create a memorial: Consider creating a memorial for your dog, such as a scrapbook or photo album, to honor their memory and help you process your grief. This is something you can keep long after you’re over the initial trauma and grief.

As you go through the process of grieving, we answer some of your most frequently asked questions about dealing with grief after rehoming your dog.

How do I accept my pets are gone?

Accepting the loss of a pet after rehoming can be a difficult and emotional experience. It is important to allow yourself time to grieve and to understand that the decision was made in the best interest of the pet. To help with the process, try to focus on the positive memories, create a memorial or memory book, and seek support from friends, family, or a pet loss support group. Remember that it is normal to feel sad, but over time, the pain will lessen, and the positive memories will remain.

How long are dogs sad after rehoming?

The length of time a dog may be sad after rehoming can vary greatly depending on individual factors such as the dog's age, personality, and the circumstances surrounding the rehoming. Some dogs may adjust to their new home relatively quickly, while others may take several weeks or months to feel comfortable and secure.

It's also possible that a dog may experience some degree of stress or sadness throughout their life after being rehomed. This is why it's important to provide support and resources to help the dog adjust to their new home and minimize any stress and confusion associated with the rehoming process.

Factors that can influence the length of time a dog may be sad after rehoming include the quality of the new home, the dog's relationship with their new caregiver, and the presence of other pets or animals in the new home. With time, patience, and the right support, most dogs will adjust to their new home and thrive in their new environment.

Should I visit my dog after rehoming?

Whether you should visit your dog after rehoming depends on the circumstances of the rehoming and the agreement you have with the new owner. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Rehoming agreement: If you have a rehoming agreement with the new owner that prohibits visits, it's important to respect their wishes and abide by the agreement.
  2. Emotional well-being: Consider whether visiting your dog would be emotionally difficult for you and whether it might cause additional distress. If visiting your dog would be too painful, it may be best to avoid it.
  3. Impact on the dog: Consider whether visiting your dog would be stressful or confusing for them. If the dog has adjusted well to their new home, visiting them might disrupt their sense of security and stability.
  4. Respect for the new owner: The new owner has taken on the responsibility of caring for your dog, and it's important to respect their role as the new caregiver. Visiting your dog without the owner's permission can be intrusive and disrespectful.

How traumatizing is it to rehome a dog?

Rehoming a dog can be a traumatic experience for both the dog and the owner. The trauma experienced by the dog and the owner will vary depending on the circumstances of the rehoming and the individual dog and owner.

For the dog, the process of rehoming can be stressful and confusing. They may experience anxiety, fear, and loss as they are removed from their familiar surroundings and adjust to a new home. Additionally, if the rehoming is a result of behavioral or health issues, the dog may also experience feelings of abandonment and guilt.

For the owner, the process of rehoming can be emotionally challenging and result in feelings of guilt, sadness, and grief. The owner may also feel a sense of loss and disconnection from their pet as they say goodbye.

Do dogs feel abandoned when rehomed?

Yes, dogs can feel abandoned when rehomed. Rehoming can be a stressful and confusing experience for a dog, who may not understand why they are being moved from their familiar surroundings to a new home. They may experience feelings of anxiety, fear, and loss as they adjust to a new environment and new caregivers.

Additionally, if the rehoming is a result of behavioral or health issues, the dog may also experience feelings of abandonment and guilt. These emotions can be difficult for the dog to process and can lead to behavioral problems if not addressed.

It's important to provide support and resources to help the dog adjust to their new home and minimize the stress and confusion associated with the rehoming process. This may include providing a familiar scent or toy, introducing the dog to their new home slowly and gradually, and offering plenty of love and affection during the transition.

Do dogs care about being rehomed?

Dogs do care about changes in their environment and routine, and rehoming can be a significant change for them. While dogs may not understand the concept of rehoming, they can sense changes in their surroundings and respond to them emotionally. They may feel anxious, scared, or sad when they are removed from their familiar home and placed in a new environment with new caregivers.

However, dogs are highly adaptable animals and with the right support and resources, they can adjust to new homes and form strong bonds with their new caregivers. The extent to which a dog is affected by rehoming will depend on individual factors such as the dog's age, personality, and previous experiences.

It's important to provide support and resources to help the dog adjust to their new home and minimize any stress and confusion associated with the rehoming process. This may include providing a familiar scent or toy, introducing the dog to their new home slowly and gradually, and offering plenty of love and affection during the transition.

Will my dog miss me after rehoming?

It's possible that your dog may miss you after rehoming. Dogs have strong emotional bonds with their caregivers and can experience feelings of loss and sadness when they are separated from them. The extent to which a dog will miss their previous owner will depend on individual factors such as the dog's age, personality, and the strength of the bond they had with their previous owner.

However, dogs are highly adaptable animals and with the right support and resources, they can form strong bonds with their new caregivers. Over time, your dog may form new memories and develop a new routine in their new home, and their attachment to their previous owner may fade.

It's important to consider the well-being of your dog when making the decision to rehome them and to provide support and resources to help them adjust to their new home and minimize any stress and confusion associated with the rehoming process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Grieve Over Rehoming a Dog?

Grieving after rehoming a dog involves acknowledging your feelings of loss and sadness. It's important to remember that rehoming can be the best decision for the dog's well-being. Give yourself permission to grieve, seek support from friends, family, or pet support groups, and remember the good care you provided.

How Do I Cope With Giving Away My Dog?

Coping with giving away your dog starts with understanding the reasons behind the decision and knowing it was made with the dog's best interests at heart. Stay connected with the new owners if possible, to see your dog's progress in its new home. Engage in activities that bring you joy and consider volunteering at animal shelters if you miss canine companionship.

Do Dogs Cope With Being Rehomed?

Dogs are generally adaptable and can cope with being rehomed. They thrive on routine and love, so providing a stable and caring environment in their new home helps them adjust. Dogs may initially show signs of stress, but with patience and care, they usually adapt well to their new surroundings.

Do Dogs Feel Abandoned When Rehomed?

Dogs may experience confusion and stress during the initial phase of rehoming. While they may not understand the concept of abandonment like humans, changes in their environment and caregivers can be challenging. However, with proper care and affection in their new home, they can quickly adapt and form new attachments.

What is the 3-3-3 Rule for Rehoming Dogs?

The 3-3-3 rule is a guideline to understand a dog's adjustment period after being rehomed. It suggests that a dog will take around 3 days to decompress, 3 weeks to start understanding the new routine, and 3 months to feel completely comfortable in their new home. This rule highlights the importance of patience and consistency during the transition period.

How Traumatic is it for a Dog to Change Owners?

The level of trauma for a dog changing owners can vary. Factors like the dog’s temperament, age, and the circumstances of the change play a role. While it can be stressful, providing a loving, stable environment and consistent routine helps mitigate trauma. Dogs are resilient and can bond with new owners and thrive in new homes.

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