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to want to keep my dog?

(76 Posts)
whizzyrocket Tue 02-Aug-11 21:18:39

Hey there,

This is quite a saga I'm afraid. I have a three year old poodle cross called Maisie, who is a cracking little dog: friendly, obedient and very sweet. My mother bought her first (against my advice) and then decided she wasn't a dog person so I inherited her. I have put in the time and money training her and getting her immunised etc. but my grandparents (in their 70s) have looked after her from time to time and have tried all sorts of emotional blackmail to get their hands on her.

I have thus far stood firm even though my mother has wanted to give her to them just to get them off her back because poodles have hair that grows inside their ears that needs to be plucked or their ears become horribly infected and painful. They would not be prepared to do this and I don't want to see my little dog unnecessarily unwell. They would also feed her far too much- their last dog was a little tank with a leg at each corner in the end.

My husband doesn't want or even like dogs, but is ok with me having this one because she is small and well-behaved. I am pregnant and so can't just get myself another dog as I wouldn't be able to train it as I would like to in the three months I have left. I live on an RAF base a few hours from all my close friends and family so really appreciate the dog's company.

The problem is this: I recently had to go abroad for a friend's wedding and left the dog with my grandparents thinking that they'd quite like to look after her for the week I was gone. I was right. While I was away they managed to convince themselves that I had given them Maisie, completely ignoring/choosing to forget that I had told them when my husband and I would be back to pick her up. My grandmother cried when I took her away. I felt dreadful.

A couple of days later my grandfather had a stroke. He has been discharged but apparently isn't himself. My mum says it's as if he had dementia (I don't drive or I'd have been to visit) and has suggested that having Maisie might be wonderful as some sort of therapy for him, especially as he loved her so much before. If he really isn't himself any more my grandma might also find Maisie a huge comfort.

If Maisie were really some cure-all I would give her to them in a heart-beat, but I doubt she'll do that much, and now my grandad, who was the more active of them, is unwell, I wonder whether they'll be able to cope with a young, bouncy dog.

Am I being selfish to want to keep her because I don't think I could get another dog for possibly the next five years?

Would you give away an animal that might help your relatives, even though you knew it would damage the animal's health?

Do you have any solutions? My husband and I have been talking about dog-shares and lending her to them, but wouldn't I just become even more the "evil-grand-daughter" every time I took away "their" precious dog, and couldn't that shock cause further illness? I'm feeling responsible enough about having taken her just before my grand-father's stroke without anything like this happening again. I know my aunt is blaming me for it.

I feel no matter what I do I'll be held accountable for anything that goes wrong so I'd really appreciate any advice.

FeelingaBitSick Tue 02-Aug-11 21:22:05

Oh poor you. No real advice but am thinking if your Grandad has had a stroke they really have their hands full already without having to care for a dog on top.

RabidRabbit Tue 02-Aug-11 21:23:26

You have a responsibility to your dog, and if you think it will be healthier and better looked after in your care, then keep it with you. Don't be guilt tripped into giving it away.

Bizarre behavior from them confused

midori1999 Tue 02-Aug-11 21:24:25

She deserves better than to be passed around like a possesion, even though to many people that may be what she is. She is your dog and if she's happy and settled with you then she should stay with you. The dog's welfare is more important than anything else here IMO.

Can't your Grandparents' get their own dog? Can they ask for a Pets As Therapy dog to visit?

squeakytoy Tue 02-Aug-11 21:24:34

No, yanbu, and you shouldnt give up your dog. But, you could offer to help them with looking into adopting a rescue poodle.

frownieface Tue 02-Aug-11 21:27:02

I have been in a similar situation. My brother bought a dog, after the cute puppy stage, didn't want to know the dog.

Fast forward a couple of years (brother not living at home),me and my mum and dad had been looking after the dog, he pitched up one day and took the dog. He only looked after the dog for about 8 months before it was back home.

This was 5 years ago and I haven't spoken to my brother since. But after that I would take the dog over my brother any day of the week.

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Tue 02-Aug-11 21:30:33

Totally removing the people from the situation, what is in the best interests of the dog? Is your grandmother capable/willing to look after the dog with all that entails? Is she able to leave your grandfather alone whilst she gives the dog the walks it needs, particularly as you've said they overfeed dogs? Will she really not maintain it's ear hair - don't start me on ears, I've spent hours with drops and cotton wool buds cleaning out stuff I'd rather not think about.

It sounds like the dog is better off with you.

As to whether to 'share' the dog, it sounds like the distress of the dog leaving would outweigh the benefits of the dog 'visiting' them. Just don't use them as dog sitters anymore. It wasn't the most sensible plan when you've said they have been trying to get her for years.

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Tue 02-Aug-11 21:31:51

FFS don't help them adopt a recue poodle.

Lucyinthepie Tue 02-Aug-11 21:39:32

I agree with the above, what is best for Masie? Sounds to me as if it is that she should live with you and have the right sort of life for a young dog that needs some special care.
Nothing in your posts leads me to believe that your grandparents are suitable candidates to take on a rescue dog, so I'd leave that idea well alone.
Once you get out and about with Masie you will find other friends who have dogs, and a solution about what to do with her when you go away will appear.

whizzyrocket Tue 02-Aug-11 21:50:31

No, I didn't think a rescue poodle would be good for them either- dogs like that can need more care or training than a puppy would.

As far as Maisie goes, she'd be perfectly happy to live with them. She's not tremendously loyal and just loves anyone especially if they'll indulge her greed! I do worry about her ears. I don't have the standing in the family to be able to insist they do it- I'm quiet and seen as quite young (I'm 25) so get shouted down a fair bit. It would be ok if I could take her back every now and then to make sure it got done while she was with me, but as I say, I think that would be more stressful for them when she left.

The thing that makes me hesitate over whether to let her go is that I love my family far more than I could love any dog. My mum in tears over the phone because her dad isn't the same man he was last week is heart-breaking. Wouldn't you feel horribly callous to withhold anything at all that might help him form some mental links? He's not 'gone' and the doctors say he will probably recover to quite an extent but will need language therapy, so couldn't it help to have something he loves there?

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Tue 02-Aug-11 21:58:55

I think if you lived 5 minutes away then it might be different.

If you give her up who will walk her?
Who will do her ears?
Is that a house that needs a dog around right now?

I can see that she could be a great blessing. I can also see that she might be neglected and become the focus of frustration.

whizzyrocket Tue 02-Aug-11 22:11:35

Agreed. We've just been posted to Oxfordshire and there are no RAF bases in Kent so we've no chance of even asking to be closer.

I don't know how capable they'll be which is just the problem. My grandma would walk her but not as far (Maisie's only the size of a jack-russell but I walk her 3 or 4 miles a day) and as yet I've no idea of just what my grandfather is capable of. All I've been told is that he is very confused and that his language has suffered- but in that case, could it not be that walking could provide stimuli to help him recover?

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Tue 02-Aug-11 22:19:31

Without full information you can't know what his condition is. A stroke could leave a slight paralysis on one side and affect speech or leave someone in a wheelchair. It could be that a dog would be a great aid to his recovery or that he won't be too bothered about her anymore. I wouldn't make any snap decisions or promises until you have more idea how he actually is, and you'll probably only find that out by visiting yourself. And if you take the dog you'll find it very difficult to leave with her.

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Tue 02-Aug-11 22:26:05

I am sorry that you're going through all this. You didn't cause his stroke by removing the dog and you can't make it magically better by giving her back. He should have a referal to a speech therapist and any other rehab he requires. I'd give it a few weeks for things to settle down and for a routine to establish itself. By then it'll be easier to see if the dog could be a blessing or a burden to your grandma. I hope your grandfather recovers well.

ddubsgirl Tue 02-Aug-11 22:28:06

shes your dog,you keep her,sorry but i think your gran will have her hands full looking after your grandad,trust your gut,if they wont care for her the way you would then the dog needs to stay with you.

FabbyChic Tue 02-Aug-11 22:28:19

Why would you want to give your dog away? I would never ever give my dog away he is part of my family, seems to me you don't really give a monkeys about your dog.

whizzyrocket Tue 02-Aug-11 22:29:28

Yes, thanks, I think I will have to. I'll have to be careful not to let mum agree to anything before I can get there though. At the moment too, I think invitations are likely to be thin on the ground too as they're terribly proud and won't want us to see how much he's changed.

ddubsgirl Tue 02-Aug-11 22:32:22

also next time you go away think about other arrangements for the dog so they cant get `confused` that you gave them the dog

MrsBaggins Tue 02-Aug-11 22:33:12

They sound like they are emotionally blackmailing you - why on earth should you give up your dog ! Ignore them

whizzyrocket Tue 02-Aug-11 22:37:07

FabbyChic, that's not a useful tone. Of course I care about my dog- quite an irony to be accused of not caring! I yearned for a dog through my childhood, and now I have one, and such a nice girl too, I really don't want to give her up. I would have to be a bit of an unfeeling cow though if I were to put loving my dog before loving my family.

No, my question was what is best for them, and I wanted some reassurance that I wasn't being callous to even think of keeping Maisie.

SleepyFergus Tue 02-Aug-11 22:40:01

Totally uncalled for Fabby, what was the point of your last remark? Nothing.

OP - poor you, talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. I agree with the others that Maisie is better off with you. Good luck and hope your grandfather makes a good recovery.

whizzyrocket Tue 02-Aug-11 22:43:55

...And yes, I think I'll have to ask our local reliable teenage boy next time. He takes better care of her than kennels would, but I get stick from my family for leaving her utterly alone overnight. I did only leave her with them because it was put to me that they would enjoy having her for the week. They have always been healthy so I thought I was doing something nice, not just using them as a dumping grounds.

whizzyrocket Tue 02-Aug-11 22:47:54

Thanks Sleepy. Any prayers any of you want to say for him will be appreciated.

I'm really tired so I'm off now, but thanks all of you. It's good to know you agree that keeping her seems the best plan- I needed to know it wasn't just me being selfish and wanting to keep her for my own sake.

Mare11bp Tue 02-Aug-11 22:48:31

Keep the dog.

The clincher for me is the fact they wouldn't look after it properly, and with lots on their plate may be less able to.

Don't feel guilty. You have done nothing wrong.

OscarLove Tue 02-Aug-11 22:51:34

That's very nasty fabby hmm
If the OP didn't 'give a monkeys', she wouldn't be asking this question on this thread ffs, and be so concerned about the wellbeing of her very obviously, loved dog.

I do think your dog should stay with you, OP, so you can at least monitor her health issues and give her lots of nice walkies. Perhaps, she could visit your grandparents one weekend a month and stay over a few nights from say, the Friday, and collected on the Sunday? smile

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