AIBU to find this unforgiveable?

(91 Posts)
smoko Tue 26-Oct-21 07:05:23

First off am in animal rescue - so against the overbreeding of purebreds/designer dogs & trade of pets on Gumtree et al. Dog breeding rings/scams are an issue close to my heart.

A family member decided they wanted a dog. Adopting pets during Covid was understandably difficult.

They complained at the process of being interviewed to adopt a dog. I advised them to
- Check FB groups for rehomings
- Be proactive in calling rescue groups
- Look at smaller rescues with more relaxed rules
- Being patient & waiting until lockdowns eased & could enter pounds/shelters again

Family member does none of the above.

They decided to purchase a pup on Gumtree. They drove out the front of the home, a lady came out with a pup, handed pup to them through the car window & they drove off.

There was no viewing of the litter, the parents, reportedly no sounds of barking or dog activity coming from the home. The dog purchased is not the same dog in the ad.

I was hurt & unhappy, but this was their choice & came to terms with this.

It becames apparent quite quickly this dog is not the purebreed they were sold as, but a mix. The pup is "spirited" & grew twice the size one would expect. (Weighs approx 10kg so not a huge dog here, but not the lapdog they were sold as).

My family member became put off from the pup by the time they were about 12weeks old. I thought it was puppy blues (which is common & understandable). Family member becomes a grandparent at this time & entire focus becomes grandchild.

The pup became ignored, was left untrained & were admittedly very annoying & destructive.

Family member declined all advice to take dog to puppy pre-school, to try different techniques, to look on YouTube for advice (Eg: Cesar Milan, That UK show "It's me or the dog" etc).

By about 5 months they started to openly tell people they hated the dog. At first they seemed ashamed at their poor purchasing choices. It then started to become something of a joke to them. Basically the pup is now the scapegoat of the family. They refuse to tickle/cuddle dog, they throw food in a bowl twice a day & don't engage. They basically give the dog the silent treatment they are known for, which isn't a recommended form of behaviour for either humans or dogs!

I try to give advice like "when pup jumps up, step forward, don't cower. Step forward or turn your back to them" - they don't try this even once.

Their excuse is they "just don't click" with the dog & openly admit that all their attentions & love go to the grandchild, that they can't help but feel this way. They claim the dog is ugly, that they never once liked the look of her. They giggle about this, like it's cute & funny.

Admittedly they do say they regret getting them, that this was a mistake. But it's mixed in with giggling about how much they hate them, so they might regret it, but there is zero remorse.

Family member enjoys the finer things in life & having a pristine house/backyard is v.important to them. Things like a hole dug, or a houseplant ripped up become massive dramas to them. Things that I would say are normal pup behaviour, especially one left alone.

Family member starts talking about rehoming the dog. This caused a scene where I said if they did this I would never forgive them & said if they do this, they had best not get a dog again.

I eventually decide that enough is enough & take the pup, even though this has pushed me to capacity & impacted my dog rescue operations, as pup takes the place of another, so can now help save less dogs.

Within 2 weeks pup's behaviour has improved dramatically - Still spirited, but eager to please, highly trainable. If she were my only dog she'd be a breeze basically. Everyone we meet enjoys her. She has stopped jumping up on people, great.

Family member is now denying that I ever told them not to purchase a puppy from Gumtree. They have form for denying events which have happened, but to say this is laughable, as anyone who knows me will tell you how I feel about #adoptdontshop

They recently admit they paid over $1500 cash for the pup. They claim they told me how much the pup cost. I know they didn't or would remember this 100%. I am disgusted.

AIBU to find their actions unforgiveable? That the dog is symbolic of their fickle, shallow nature? That they don't enjoy things that are too hard or not fun anymore, that this highlight a serious personality flaw in them?

The other day they sent me a snarky message that I don't ask how they are enough. I wrote back was too busy looking after their impulse purchase & have been very cool with them since.

How do I get over this? How would you deal with this situation? Am I being too harsh on them?

They say they thought the dog would grow on them & that this is just an unfortunate situation. To me this was a series of poor choices & attitude, which is not really an unfortunate "situation"

Please advise or give my head a wobble, because am feeling a lot of anger & hate towards family member here.


OP’s posts: |
Noorandapples Tue 26-Oct-21 07:09:59

They absolutely should re-home the dog, more so for the dogs sake! They can't change their actions and they are not going to tell you they messed up. Just imagine how much love and care the dog will get with a new owner who actually wants it around and will invest emotionally. Take a step back from your family member as you clearly have different life views, arguing with them won't achieve anything now.

Noorandapples Tue 26-Oct-21 07:11:34

Sorry what I mean is try to find the dog a new home with an owner who has no other dogs, plenty of time and is looking for a pet!

BlameItOnTheBlackStar Tue 26-Oct-21 07:12:25

I don't understand why you protested against them rehoming the dog when that would clearly have been for the best for all involved.

rosie1959 Tue 26-Oct-21 07:13:44

You have every right to be angry some people should never be allowed to own a dog
They clearly have no idea

MrsLargeEmbodied Tue 26-Oct-21 07:13:50

who has the dog now?

smoko Tue 26-Oct-21 07:17:39

I have taken the dog, the dog was rehomed to me.

I felt the pup’s needed training or would end up at the pound again, as she had become unruly due to zero training or rules.

My folks are well off & the pup had the best of toys, beds, huge backyard, was allowed inside…

There was no love but many dogs live in worse situations.

Also I was there frequently so could make sure pup got a tickle & cuddle when was there.

I thought they were taking the easy option, rather than doing some basic training. I wanted them to step up.

This is outing but I lost my dog & never found them. I have what you could say is a trauma to “not knowing what happened to them” & the thought the pup could end up in a worse situation

Anyway she’s mine now

OP’s posts: |


smoko Tue 26-Oct-21 07:21:49

I say in the post have had pup 2 weeks & her behaviour has dramatically improved due to basic training.

Also the way she was speaking, my gut was telling me she would rehome to the first person, not screen them or care where pup went to

I said do not rehome her so I wouldn’t go there one day & she’d just be gone.

The idea of now knowing what happens to them makes me cry just thinking about it. I get that’s my issue.

Never found my old dog & lost my job as was too busy looking for them & had a nervous breakdown. I know this isn’t a normal reaction

I mean generally is my parent’s attitude & behaviour unforgivable here

OP’s posts: |
MrsLargeEmbodied Tue 26-Oct-21 07:21:54

good, op, give her the love and training she deserves.

SickAndTiredAgain Tue 26-Oct-21 07:22:33

Family member starts talking about rehoming the dog. This caused a scene where I said if they did this I would never forgive them

I know you have now taken the dog, but I don’t really understand this attitude. Rehoming it sounds like the one good thing they could have done for that dog (obviously only if they rehomed it properly, which I appreciate may have been unlikely). Their actions prior to that were unacceptable.

spotcheck Tue 26-Oct-21 07:24:24

Is this really about the dog?

Camblewick Tue 26-Oct-21 07:25:25

I'm glad you have the dog now and your parents have been cruel and irresponsible, but they would have been better to re-home the poor dog when they realised they didn't want it, rather than ignore and neglect the poor dog. I wouldn't have tried to talk them out of that at all.

MrsLargeEmbodied Tue 26-Oct-21 07:27:49

it is awful how your parents have behaved

smoko Tue 26-Oct-21 07:30:15

I wasn’t against her being rehomed - am in dog rescue, could find her a home myself if needed

To explain I didn’t want THEM to rehome the dog

I also felt the dog deserved a chance. All the other dogs in our family are treated like golden children, doted on dearly.

It baffles me this pup has been made a scapegoat. Am shocked this has happened

I know she does it with humans, but to a pup?

OP’s posts: |
OurChristmasMiracle Tue 26-Oct-21 07:30:39

I am so glad you have taken that pup! She clearly just needed love and attention and the fact that her behaviour has improved so much in a short time probes that! There was never anything wrong with her. It’s the original dumb owners.

Personally I would be stepping back from them anyway because the fact that they could be so cruel to a defenceless animal,

mumtoallbhoys Tue 26-Oct-21 07:30:42

"Family member starts talking about rehoming the dog. This caused a scene where I said if they did this I would never forgive them"

My dog came from the pound, he had to be surrendered. We love him so dearly. Don't get me wrong the lack of trust/ fear of abandonment was heart breaking to see.... but he has a very happy life. Why is re homing a bad thing? If the person who couldn't mind him had kept him he would have a rubbish life

Harlequin1088 Tue 26-Oct-21 07:33:08

I run a pet care business and see so many examples of terrible pet owners so you have my sympathies. Literally nobody listens to a goddamn word I say and it always ends up being the pet's "fault".

trumpisagit Tue 26-Oct-21 07:37:20

Well done for looking after pup. You and family member are on very different pages re animals.

smoko Tue 26-Oct-21 07:37:28

@spotcheck good question…. It’s about the dog yes but dog is a symbolism of how cruel this parent can be. I have been that scapegoat, given silent treatment.

The dog is given everything they can want materially, but no training or guidance then blamed for falling short, ignored when she isn’t perfect.

How can you blame a puppy for chewing, being spirited, annoying? Why get a puppy in the first place?

I deal with older rescues, dislike the puppy stage too. So I don’t get them. Am now in the situation where I have a puppy I didn’t choose to have, because of her selfish actions.

I feel like I am paying for her mistakes & once again she gets to live an easy, charmed life without any repercussions, zero self reflection.

OP’s posts: |
Chunkymenrock Tue 26-Oct-21 07:37:30

They sound utterly dreadful and should never own a dog or any pet again. Are you in the USA? The $ and mention of a backyard? Just curious if it's a similar situation to UK re Gumtree etc. Well done OP. That poor, innocent dog.

Foolsrule Tue 26-Oct-21 07:37:35

Reminds me of SIL. Wanted a kitten, couldn’t cope with it (didn’t like litter tray/cleaning) and so got rid. Despicable!

Imnothereforthedrama Tue 26-Oct-21 07:38:26

The right thing to do was re home the dog , I agree they have treated this poor dog terribly and ignored all your advice . I too think this is wrong and i would be upset and disappointed with your family . You have the dog now let’s just hope they don’t even think about getting a dog again and if they do they listen to you next time . Your a good person op and a animal lover but move on from this now , hopefully lessons learned.

smoko Tue 26-Oct-21 07:48:29

No am in Australia

Think it’s like I can now really see how cruel she can be. She has shown a cruel streak but hides it well.

Once she started joking how she hated the dog & that she has always thought that dog was ugly…the silent treatments….

I see them for who they are, all their weaknesses & their complete unwillingness to learn, adapt, grow

Also their unwillingness to love someone for who they are, Rather too focused on what they “should” be

now the dog has to live in an apartment with me, she used to have a big backyard… I feel like her quality of life has reduced living with me, though she seems happy to be part of our pack.

My other dogs are not so happy. Ironically family member adores my dogs & is genuinely very concerned of the impact on them hmm

OP’s posts: |
Veterinari Tue 26-Oct-21 07:49:14

I think you need to just let it go. You have a dog now, enjoy them. Also it may be worth reflecting that you don't have quite the informed moral high ground that you think.

* Family member declined all advice to take dog to puppy pre-school, to try different techniques, to look on YouTube for advice (Eg: Cesar Milan, That UK show "It's me or the dog" etc).*

If this is genuine advice then please educate yourself and stop recommending abusive and unqualified 'celebrity trainers'

Please do some reading about actual dog behaviour and successful, non-punishment based training techniques. The APDT and ABTC have trainers who can help you

I recommend the book 'in defence of dogs' by John Bradshaw.

Veterinari Tue 26-Oct-21 07:53:06


Worth a read of what the various international behaviour and training expert groups think of the advice you recommend

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