I have a dog and I love him dearly. I consider him family and he has been with me many years—since he was 8 weeks old. However, I have a problem which I won’t go into which makes it harder and harder for me to walk him enough these days. I do as much as I can but I know it’s not enough and I feel guilty.

I think he’s depressed and it makes me worried and sad to see him sad. I want to do what’s best for my dog, despite my wanting to keep him till the end. Do you think it’s cruel of me to keep him? Would it be better to find him a new loving owner who would see to this need better? I know he would initially not like this solution, but would get used to it with time.

—Unsure (S.Africa)



Your dog is very lucky to have someone who puts his needs ahead of your own desires. Is there any way you could hire someone to walk him or do some kind of barter or trade with someone for walking services? If so, that would probably do both of you of you a world of good. If not, is there a neighbor or a friend who would walk him, at least occasionally? If enough people could walk him once or twice a week, you might be able to have his walking needs covered. You could maybe also post some flyers requesting volunteers at your local humane society if you cannot afford to hire someone.

You might also want to do some Internet research for your area—sometimes there are organizations or individuals who would love to go walking with a dog that aren’t able to commit full-time to a dog. Perhaps you could work something out with them.

I would first consider every other alternative because being with you is probably your dog’s top priority.

Best of luck, my friend.

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