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i adopted my gsd about a year and a half ago. he was four years old when i got him and i used a gsd rescue group in the chicagoland area. i love the dog to death. he's (almost) everything i could ask for. he's so loving and full of life. never has a bad attitude. he loves all people...doesn't particularly like all dogs, but i don't like everyone i meet either.

unfortunately, he's proven to be a medical nightmare. allergic to virtually everything. if he gets into something, small or not, it usually effects his digestive system for days. he had had a hot spot on his tail since i've owned him that was just recently cleared up...only for another to pop up. his food allergies are rather difficult to deal with as i'm unsure if he's become allergic to the fish-based diet he's been on his whole life. the allergies i know about are beef, lamb, chicken, wheat, soy beans, and on and on.

i have a sinking feeling that the hot spots are developing from a sort of separation anxiety. i'm kind of in the dark about what his life was like previously (how often he interacted with other dogs...how often he was left alone, etc.). right now i work a job that requires me to be away longer than the typical eight hour work day. he gets walks, but i feel like those 30 minutes a day don't quite do it for him. he needs more than that. i live in a big city, am car-free, and his disposition towards other dogs doesn't really allow me the opportunities to talk him to the park and run around for an hour or even board him for the time i'm away. in short, i feel like i can't provide this dog what he needs.

there are potential opportunities to keep him within my family. my parents live in the suburbs, he's familiar with the environment and likes their dogs. my step-sister is moving to a two-flat with a backyard and has a dog that he also gets along with. i would hate hate hate to put him through the traumatic experience of be separated from his "family" again. he was so terrified for the first two weeks he lived with me and it brings me to tears that i would even think to consider putting him through it again.

it hurts to write all this. i feel like i've failed at giving him the life he deserves. at least for the time i've had him i wish i was more prepared. i'm scared of being judged, but know that i've been thinking about this for a long time and my interest in only in the health and well-being of this dog. if it means giving him away and never seeing him again...i'll do it if i know he will have a loving family to take care of him.

thanks in advance to everyone. i'd really appreciate any advice you have to offer. (mods, feel free to move to the proper topic if necessary)
 

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My first suggestion is to get an allergy panel done at the vet. They're very accurate and can help you control his diet or anyone he may live with in the future.

I understand having a more in-depth job now, and you're right; it's very unfair to him. Would you be open to hiring a dog-walker to come during the day for an hour or two to play and walk him? That would be the best idea if he can't go to daycare. Or perhaps you could drop him off at your parents to play for the day if they don't live too far away? You could then enroll in a fun class one night that you have free a week (whether he stays with you or not) so that he still feels close to you and you guys can get out and have fun together. Rehoming him SHOULD be your last resort, but if you don't feel like you have the time, then that may be what it comes down to.

Good luck with your decision.
 
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