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Hello,

I currently live in North / Central NJ. I recently started having severe mental health issues. I am going to start active treatment and am uncertain how to take care of my five-year-old French bulldog.

I love my Frenchie more than anything but think it is unfair for me to have him in the house if I am having trouble taking care of myself.
The thought of giving him away is making me sick. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations about potential foster parents / long-term in house care / etc.

I have looked into long-term boarding but given the cost of my mental health care, I do not think I can afford the daily rate for an extended period of time.

I am truly distraught with the thought of having to give away my Frenchie after 6 years and was wondering if anyone in the community had any recommendations of what I could do / where I could go for help. Just writing this note is making me really upset.

Best,
 

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Unless you feel he's genuinely unsafe or unwell in your house, I would encourage you to keep him. The therapeutic value of a dog is huge. It forces a person into a routine, takes a person outside him or herself, and provides unconditional affection. What you might do, if you have the budget for it, is hire a dogwalker, petsitter or similar to stop by on a regular basis, so there's a safety net for the dog. I am sure you're taking good care of him, but it might put your mind at ease if someone else is "verifying" that he's taken care of as well.
 

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I'm sorry to hear you are going through such a difficult time

If you will need to attend treatment at an in-patient facility, reach out to your local humane society (not HSUS) and/or a breed specific rescue for potential short term foster care. I know its common for them to assist people undergoing surgery and other medical care.
This may however be limited to an end date where if you are unable to care for your dog, they will work to place the dog for adoption so that he isn't in limbo for a long long time.

If you are working with out patient therapy and the main issue is phsyical exercise like walks, a dog walker 3-4 times per week will add a lot of mental and physical benefit for your dog. This is as long as you are able to handle daily needs like feeding, fresh water and potty breaks.

Long term boarding is stressful to a dog, it is an option maybe but not something to consider lightly. A week or even a couple weeks is not "long term" IMO as long as the dog does not have anxiety issues and the facility is good. Over a month is borderline and 2+ months is really really hard on the dog.

EDIT TO ADD:

as long as basic physical needs are met, you would probably be surprised at how much a dog gets from simply being close to a human that loves them. Long walks are awesome, sure, but a good cuddle on the couch and nice back scratching is very good too. Remember that a dog in boarding for example gets little more than food/water/potty

Your dog is not a puppy, he can handle a lower activity schedule for awhile. Use chew toys, tugs and training games to play indoors if going outside or in public is difficult right now.
 

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I'm going to differ from everyone who posted previous to this. "Severe mental health problems" that leave you unable to care for yourself mean to me you really NEED someone else to care for this dog you love. And obviously you came here hoping for suggestions for just that, not advice to do what you can't do. No friends or relatives who would be willing to take him on a temporary basis? Did you get your dog from a breeder who might be able to help? If none of those are options, I would start with French Bulldog Rescue, explain the problem, and see if they know of temporary foster homes. You could also try all breed rescue groups, and even some regular shelters may have foster networks. If all else fails, I would surrender him to a good rescue group or rehome him myself. I know that's not what you want to hear, but it's like dealing with a dog's end of life issues - sometimes we have to do what's right for them even when it hurts.

As you may know, not everyone who calls themselves a rescue has high standards. I'd start with French Bulldog Rescue Network. Not that I know they're the best, but they are linked from the American Kennel Club's site, which I'd take as a good sign if I were looking.

Good luck. I hope your treatment really mitigates your problems and you and your dog are able to reunite.
 

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As the OP doesn't specify about what the mental health issues are (and shouldn't have to, obvs, unless she or he feels comfortable doing so) my advice was based on my personal experience. Mental illness can be really alienating and in my experience a dog helps mitigate that. Sure, if there's something about dog ownership that exacerbates the condition, or if taking care of the dog is truly not possible, rehoming temporarily or permanently is a perfectly reasonable solution and not one to feel at all guilty about. Absolutely.

That said, some years ago I suffered an episode of major depressive disorder (it was more complicated than that, but we can just leave it at that) that was so severe I was basically unable to function. It took all my effort just to get up and get a drink of water or similar. Looking back on it it's quite shocking how low I was at the time. I honestly credit my dog with keeping me alive from day to day, as I was able to care about her, and taking care of her, even when I didn't care about anything else and just wanted to be done with everything. The "depression voice" tried to convince me that she (along with all my loved ones, humanity in general, and the universe) would be better off without me, and I'm really grateful that I didn't listen to it and find her a new home, because she so much helped me get back on track, and once I was, we had many more good years together. I wouldn't say I'm "cured" now so much as "well-managed" and my pets still play an important role in that.

BTW, OP, you should be really proud of yourself for getting treatment. There is definitely light on the other side :)
 

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Hi NJ0504123-

Sorry this is happening, and best wishes for finding your way. It is very difficult when one can't always depend on one's own perceptions. Please remember that things are almost never as bad as they will inevitably seem sometimes. Keep the faith, get help, and look for a way forward. You can do it.

My big concern here is if you give your dog away to someone and then after you recover there is no way to get your baby back. That would just be horrible and heartbreaking. So whatever the solution, I hope it will be made 100% clear to all involved that the arrangement is temporary, and that you fully expect to continue taking care of your guy as soon as you get better.

So many terrible stories on the net about people who shortsightedly sent there pet away because of temporary circumstance and then regretted never being able to reunite with their loved one. Don't want that to happen to you and your guy.

Thinking of you and your Frenchie.

-DL
 

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Hello,

I currently live in North / Central NJ. I recently started having severe mental health issues. I am going to start active treatment and am uncertain how to take care of my five-year-old French bulldog.

I love my Frenchie more than anything but think it is unfair for me to have him in the house if I am having trouble taking care of myself.
The thought of giving him away is making me sick. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations about potential foster parents / long-term in house care / etc.

I have looked into long-term boarding but given the cost of my mental health care, I do not think I can afford the daily rate for an extended period of time.

I am truly distraught with the thought of having to give away my Frenchie after 6 years and was wondering if anyone in the community had any recommendations of what I could do / where I could go for help. Just writing this note is making me really upset.

Best,
I'm sorry to hear you're suffering, and congratulate you for
a) Recognising that and getting help, and
b) Coming on here and asking for advice about your beloved French Bulldog.

Please don't make any long-term, irreversible decisions while you're feeling so low. That voice in your head that's made you write that OP, no matter how loud and clear it is - that's the MH issue, manifesting as a little devil on your shoulder. It is not you talking, even though sounds like you. Because you wouldn't have posted that OP if it wasn't for your mental health issue.

If you need to be admitted for in-patient treatment, then please listen to the advice given and approach shelters etc about temporary foster care, or, if you have anyone close by, reach out to family and friends to see if they can help look after your dog while you're in hospital. But now is not the time to be thinking of surrendering your beloved dog.

I agree with @parus . I struggle with both physical and mental health problems. I'm in an almost constant state of exhaustion. I probably don't look after myself as much as I should.

But. My dogs get me up and out of bed. They get me out into the world because they need their walks. They stop my thoughts from turning completely inward. The thought of being separated from them - even temporarily - is like staring into the abyss.

Be kind to yourself.

You are stronger than you know.

Gentle, long distance ((hugs))
 
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