Help please - I need some good advice...(22 Posts)
We're longtime dog owners who sadly lost our last dog a few weeks ago. Last week we decided we were ready to rescue again and made an application to a breed rescue - very different breed from our last dogs. We have a beautiful cross breed on two weeks trial adoption. A bit of background, DH is physically disabled and we need to make sure that any dog isn't too boisterous so that DH doesn't get knocked over etc. Our DS (19) is Asperger's and lives with us.
So far DH and I feel it's going very well and barring anything drastic, we are hopeful we can go for a full adoption. However, DS is struggling. Our lovely dog was 12 1/2 when he died, so very calm and chilled - and he'd been part of our family for 11 years. Having AS, DS was very attached to our dogs and although we discussed rescuing another dog very thoroughly, he is not happy. He has forgotten how much time a 6 year old dog demands (plus the fact that the new dog has been in kennels for 3 years and is obviously not chilled, though not hectic), and is anxious when I go out leaving him and DH with the dog. He is quite prepared at the moment to hand her back at the end of the two weeks.
In return I am struggling with the idea of returning her to what would be kennels again - she has had no enquiries in all the previous years. I know that if we keep her if DS doesn't want to, he won't trust us again. I know that we should all be in agreement, but think that in time he will love her as much as our last dogs. It's the AS and the black and white thinking, but I can't make him see that in time it will be fine. I'm worried that he will change his mind in a few weeks - after she goes back. He's not a child, but he is very emotionally immature compared to his peers.
What do I do? If he was 9, it would be DH and me making the decision alone. He shares the dog care with me (DH can't beyond cuddling), and is fine feeding, walking (with me) and playing.
Sorry, I'm going round in circles - just need some advice. Keep her despite what DS feels or tell the rescue that we can't keep her?
Can you not explain to the rescue centre about your son and say that you just need an extended trial? I'm sure they would be will to accommodate, especially seeing as it means it's one less dog in the kennels and costing them feed.
Maybe make a photo framed gallery of your old dog? Let your son see what a fab life u gave your furry friend and how much of a happy life the new dog could have all down to him being there for it now?
That's an idea I had considered, and wil put it to DH and DS. Wether it will make any difference to him, I don't know. Often when he's made up his mind, that's it. His anxiety is quite high at the moment . It's definitely worth a try.
Missgraeme - I have tired that angle - he said I was emotionally blackmailing him...
Sorry about your dog losses op
This sounds like a really difficult situation for you. I don't know anything about Aspergers so shouldn't really comment, but we have a adopted a reactive dog with issues (now 5yrs) who has been delightful and demanding all at the same time.
If change is difficult for your DS, could that mean that he would find every new dog difficult? If so, then I think I would stick it out with your current dog. Good luck with it!
Do you walk her together? Would he be willing to get involved in throwing a ball for her and watching her run after it, (and then be nice and worn out when she's back) or is that more likely to exacerbate his anxiety? Can you sit with her and have calm cuddles so he can see that she can be quiet and calm?
Or how about explaining it to him in terms he understands? IE, she's just like him. When he's in a new, strange place he gets anxious and doesn't like it, but the more time he spends there, the easier it is and the less anxious he feels, and that she just needs time to do the same?
Sorry, I'm probably just suggesting things you d already tried
I do the morning walk and we do the evening walk together. He's great at playing with her in the garden, throwing a ball - he sees her being chilled with me. I think the change is the key - and you're right, any different dog would be difficult. I like the idea of relating her feelings to his.
And just wanted to add that I think it is very understandable and natural for your DS to be anxious (and even more difficult for him with Aspergers of course). A new dog is a huge step for everyone ( I was massively anxious about whether I would be able to cope or not) especially when you have all been so bonded to your previous dogs. So he's bound to be worried; but I'm sure those fears will subside as the dog settles in. All the rescue dogs of my acquaintance have taken about a year or so to settle in fully.
You said your previous dog only died a few weeks ago. That's not very long in the scheme of things. I'm sure your heart is in the right place but do you think perhaps it's just too soon for your son?
bluetongue - this is something DH and I thought of too. As a family, we talked it through very thoroughly, especially this point - but I think the reality is very different for DS.
I know dogs go into temporary foster all the time - would it be cruel to send her back? Or do I say to DS she stays?
its up to you if you want to send her back, but have you asked about extending the trial?
You know your son best, do you think he just needs more time to get used to her, or do you think it's just too soon/she's the wrong dog?
Thanks for hanging on in with my circular thinking...DS is so black and white and often unshakeable from an opinion. But that can be unpredictable too. I'm beginning to lean towards the too soon idea - he liked the idea of a dog again, but is still grieving.
I'm going to chose my moment today to talk to him about extending the trial period before I contact the rescue.
Losing a dog is awful, and getting a new one is often coloured with guilt of "it's too soon"/ feeling guilty that it might seem like you're trying to "replace" the previous one, and that's with out the added complications of something like Aspergers.
There's no need to apologise and no need to worry. You need to do what feels right for your family, and only you and your family know what that is
Lara I have Aspergers, not that we are all the same but I can relate to your DS. If I lost my dog I would almost 'need' another dog as the change to living without one at all would be too much. In short, the 'lesser of two evils' is to have a dog I'm not used to than have no dog at all. So I don't believe you've done things too quickly.
What I will say though, is it might actually be that he doesn't bond well with that particular dog? I went from one dog to two and couldn't bond with the second one so much that I had to rehome her She's actually in a fantastic home now so it worked out for the best and I don't really miss her to be honest. I had her for 6 months. Was he there when she was chosen or did you chose her because she hadn't had much attention from perspective adopters? I think letting him chose is a good idea personally as I almost know straight away if I like/dislike an animal (although not sure if that's Asp related I think it probably is).
If it's nothing to do with that particular dog then I think giving him time will help, but he probably won't thank you for it until the time actually comes where they have bonded so things might be tense for a while.
I can totally relate to him feeling like the reminders of the 'happy life' of the other dog being like emotional blackmail. That's exactly how I'd react, but you can clearly see you're just trying to do what's best so don't feel guilty or bad about it (but obviously don't do it anymore).
Sorry for rambling, also if anything sounds a bit blunt then that's the Aspergers talking I think you're doing a lovely thing for your family and it doesn't sound like being a household without a dog is right for you? If you agree of course
YourNewspaper - thank you, you have really given me an insight into DS's (possible) thinking. I think it's any dog - we had looked at two - I asked if it was because we didn't get the other dog - he said it wasn't.
I can't imagine not having a dog - I think he'd be fine in time, though he doesn't see it. Looks like I may need to prepare for a bit of tenseness.
You don't sound blunt at all - I'm used to no holds barred DS - who hasn't yet got the concept that it's not OK to offend people
Ds2 has asperger's - he would quite happily have sent our dog back when we first got him .... He said he was worried about the cats' reactions, but the real reason was he hates change. We had a difficult few months during which I tried to minimise contact between them unless it was fun for both of them and eventually ds2 came round and now he loves the dog (I'll quite often come into a room and find the two of them cuddled up together and as ds is really uncomfortable with most physical contact that's lovely to see). If you can, I'd give it more time..,
Thank you for all your ideas and support. After my panic, DS has (for reasons known only to him), had a complete change of heart and has fallen in love with DDog. We have (with DS's blessing) formally adopted her!! Yay!
She is just gorgeous and she has decided that she really loves DS - so we're a happy dog family again!
That's fantastic news! Congratulations.
Great news op! Congrats! (And lovely when op comes back to update)
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