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Mental Health & My Dog

Community Member

A year ago I survived Domestic Violence after realising I’d been mentally and emotionally abused for 2 years. Unfortunately due to my loneliness in the relationship I had gotten a Labrador puppy just a month earlier. The domestic violence lead to hospitalisation, homelessness, coming to realise I was a drug addict thanks to my ex, quitting my job to go to rehab and then also finally after 8 months of begging for help, finally getting a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, CPTD, insomnia, substance abuse and I already had suffered depression for 20 years as well as anxiety. 
it’s been a year since my world fell apart. I’ve worked tirelessly to keep my puppy. I’ve worked so hard to train him each and everyday. We live in a 2 bedroom flat with a small backyard where he gets bored. We have no money and I need to work. But he will destroy the place while I’m at work. And I know I’ll be tired when I get home as I am still considered to be in a crisis situations despite it being a year on. I have such guilt that it’s just him and me and he whines out of boredom despite me walking him twice a day. The breeder I purchased him off made us sign a contract saying that if he needs to be rehomed he must be taken back to her to get a good home which is good. But if I do give him up how do I live with myself? If it wasn’t for him I’d be dead a million times over this past year. But if I didn’t have him I wouldn’t have any anxiety about working, I’d be able to focus on my recovery and wellness and exercise and health. But for so long it’s been either me or him and I alway choose to have his needs tended too first. I see him as a child. 
I don’t know what to do, and borderline personality can’t be fixed with a pill. It’s lifelong. I don’t know how we will survive financially for the next 10-14 years if I can’t work due to my anxiety over leaving him. I m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. 

His 15 months old now and 37.5kgs. The vet can’t believe his size. And it’s caused problems such as him pulling me to my knees 5 times over the period of 3 weeks injuring my meniscus. I’m scared I’ll never run again. And I used to run and weight train before Covid for mental health.I even did a half marathon. As I said, it’s either him or me and I never choose myself so I suffer. 

3 Replies 3

Dear Cass310321

Welcome to the forums.  We are so sorry to hear that you are feeling this way, and that you are in such a difficult position right now.

We hope that you find the support you are looking for here; it’s times like these when we really do need to know someone is there to listen and care.  Our forum members are a great support and may have experience with some of the challenges you mention.  We think they will find great value in your kind and courageous words and you never know who will read your post and feel less alone in their own experiences.

Kind Regards

Sophie M

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Cass310321,

Welcome to the forums and thank you for being here and sharing what's been happening for you.

Gosh, what a difficult position to be in.  You've clearly come so far and I want to acknowledge your resilience to keep working on your mental health after being in a situation of domestic violence.  


There's so many different things that come to mind when thinking about your dog.  Certainly there's different toys to keep active dogs occupied, but when you're looking at a long term solution I know it's agony to think about the idea of giving up your dog to be rehomed.  As to your question about how to live with yourself- you will, because while the decision will probably feel awful and lonely, to your dog; you're giving him the absolute best care that he needs.


Another option that might be worth considering is to see if you're able to organise foster care.  I know in my state (SA) we have Safe Pets Safe Families which is an organisation that takes care of your pets temporarily while you're able to get back on your feet.  This might be something to look into or to see if there's an equivalent in your state.


It's such a difficult position that you're in, but I want to reassure you that none of this is your fault too.  You're allowed to love him and re-home him, it's a sacrifice, but it's a healthy sacrifice for him and maybe something that you can do to take care of yourself.


I hope that you don't feel pressured or swayed by this comment; just another dog lover here imagining what it might be like and wanting to know that whatever you feel and do is completely okay.




Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello Cass,

Dear heart, you've had to deal with so much. I read your post & feel so much for how difficult the choices you have are.

I realise you posted this a month ago, so, unless you've already made your decision, I'd like to try to help.

I'm thinking, while you could look at all the pros & cons, your decision is about the lives of the two of you, & what is in your best interest & what is in your dog's best interest. Whatever decision you make comes with consequences & a lot of emotion.

Seems to me, you are a resillient person, going through what you have, & getting out of that relationship as you did. I would like to know what ongoing support you have for yourself?

I like the idea rt has, but I have no idea if fostering a dog costs heaps of money or only daily costs like you already have, if you can still have lots of time with your dog, too, would be important.

Seems your dog is going to be a large dog, & living in a small place with a small yard would be very difficult. Being large, jumping, pushing, dragging on a leash, also will be very difficult unless the dog is very well trained. I'm not comfortable with the idea your dog is inadvertantly injuring you, just because he's a big enthusiastic puppy.

Being large does mean a higher food bill, too. & yeah, they need more room, & maybe this dog in particualr, needs more company. Dogs do tend to be social animals, so being alone while you are at work or needing to go anywhere where you could not take him, means he's alone a lot.

Sorry, I'm thinking, in the long run, for you & your dog's welfare & happiness, it would be better to have the breeders re-home him. You might like to ask if it could be possible to find someone willing to allow you to continue to be a friend, & to visit? Do you think that might be a possibility? I hate to think you have bonded with this pet, & now have to let him go to another home.

I wish you all the best,

Warmly 💖💖💖