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To refuse this bequest?

(153 Posts)
ploomo Wed 03-Mar-21 15:28:18

DH and I are in our late 50s and live next door to a single woman a few years younger than us. We've always been friendly and she's been a good neighbour. She has a sister who lives in Scotland and a brother in Australia. They don't seem close.

When we moved here we had two dogs — a Border terrier and a whippet — and she became fond of them and would sometimes help out with dog-sitting. In 2018 she bought a cockerpoo and a Biewer terrier, which are now coming up for three years old. Our last dog died last summer at the age of 16 and we are dog-free for the first time in years.

Late in 2019 our neighbour was diagnosed with breast cancer and we have been been walking and dog-siting her dogs when required. They're nice enough dogs but a bit yappy and high-energy. They're not the kind of dogs we'd choose. We prefer short-haired breeds that don't need lots of grooming. When she was first diagnosed with cancer our neighbour said, jokingly I thought, that she'd leave them to us in her will. I didn't like to say no thanks, it seemed mean.

It's now clear that her treatment hasn't worked. Yesterday we stood in our respective gardens, masked, and she told me she has secondaries in her liver has been told that she may have as little as six months. She said she's seeing a solicitor next week to finalise her will. The house will be sold and her siblings will get the money. She intends to leave us the dogs.

I started to say that we had decided that for the next few years we'd like to be dog-free and take the chance to travel more and she started crying and said if we didn't have them, what would happen to them? So being a coward I just said that it was okay, not to worry.

DH is adamant that he doesn't want them. We're both hoping to retire by the time we're 60 and we'd like the freedom to travel without having to organise kennels and dog-sitters, with all the expense involved. And then of course there's the insurance and the vet fees and the grooming.

AIBU to say no, please don't leave them to us in your will? Should I say we'll take them for a short time and rehome them? We don't want to cause her worry so maybe we should just say yes, we'll have the dogs and then rehome them after her death. Or is that dishonest?

I'd hate to think that we might fall out over this. She may need us more than ever in the coming months and it would be awful if she felt she couldn't call on our support.

OP’s posts: |
Youngatheart00 Wed 03-Mar-21 15:29:49

What a horrible situation. I’d say yes, say you’ll rehome them so she’s not stressing and worrying about what will happen to her dogs. If you then choose to rehome them (responsibly) after she has passed that is up to you.

StillCoughingandLaughing Wed 03-Mar-21 15:30:41

I think I’d have to be honest and say I didn’t want them. Could you offer to ask around people you know to see if anyone might take them?

nurseriess Wed 03-Mar-21 15:31:06

Oh that is so sad 😞

Spied Wed 03-Mar-21 15:34:03

I'd say I was happy to take them then re-home tbh.
I couldn't bring myself to cause her added worry.

Myneighboursnorlax Wed 03-Mar-21 15:35:45

I would take them, and then find a lovely home for them after she’d died. No need to upset her further, and she’ll never know any different.

TakeTheCuntOutOfScunthorpe Wed 03-Mar-21 15:35:57

Just say you're happy to have them, then when the time comes rehome/donate/euthanise them ASAP.

She dies happy, it's little bother for you.

picklemewalnuts Wed 03-Mar-21 15:36:38

Contact the Cinnamon Trust.
Spend time lining up new homes.
Contact her relatives so they are aware of your feelings- they may even want the dogs.

Just reassure her you'll make sure the dogs are fine, you'll look after them, you'll make sure they are ok. Doesn't have to be with you.

AlexaShutUp Wed 03-Mar-21 15:36:48

Oh dear, that's a very difficult situation, OP. It's natural for her to worry about her pets, but fair enough that you don't want them.

Can you tell her that you'll keep them temporarily until you've found a suitable home for them? I wouldn't lie, personally, because I think it will only make you feel guilty when she's gone.

rawalpindithelabrador Wed 03-Mar-21 15:37:45

So sad! But I think your DH needs to step up here and tell her no. It's not fair otherwise.

Greentrianglesarethebestones Wed 03-Mar-21 15:38:01

I agree with Youngatheart100.

I know you don't want to be dishonest but sometimes it's just better to be kind than honest. Don't let her spend her remaining time fretting and upset about what will happen to her dogs. It will give her peace of mind to think you will take them. Then you can rehome them to good homes afterwards.

SheilaWilcox Wed 03-Mar-21 15:39:40

I think I'd either:
- say I'd have them but then Rehome.
- Point her in the direction of the Cinnamon Trust Charity
- Tell her I'd make sure they were okay, ie so she knows you will look after them ONLY until you can Rehome them.

Difficult situation. I'm a dog lover and have my own, but my parents dogs are a nightmare and I wouldn't want to be lumbered with them.

BalancedIndividual Wed 03-Mar-21 15:39:59

Tell her youll take them. Try it out. If it doesnt work, then rehome them.

Sometimes, a white lie is a good thing. At least she will not worry about her dogs.

FourteenthDoctor Wed 03-Mar-21 15:40:41

No way would I say no - far too cruel especially as she lives alone. Take them and regime as others have said

FourteenthDoctor Wed 03-Mar-21 15:41:11


SleepingStandingUp Wed 03-Mar-21 15:41:51

Lie. Lie. Lie

Take them and responsibly rehome them. If she mentions it sound positive.

ploomo Wed 03-Mar-21 15:42:45

Thank you all — I feel a bit too close to the situation to be able to see it clearly and I don't like to lie if I can help it.

I don't think it would be wise to start investigating new homes for the dogs until she dies. My mum was told she had three months to live and then went on for nearly three years. I'll just reassure her that we'll look after the dogs and leave it at that.

OP’s posts: |
PurpleFlower1983 Wed 03-Mar-21 15:43:24

I would take them and then rehome them, you should easily be able to find good owners through a rescue or privately (not free to a good home though).

minniemoocher Wed 03-Mar-21 15:43:28

I know you don't want to be dishonest but I would simply let her be at peace at this stage, you can arrange rehoming after she has passed away. Her family may be interested if not there are many who would rehome pets in these circumstances. Let her spend her last months content

WannabemoreWeaver Wed 03-Mar-21 15:43:50

1. Has she heard of the Cinnamon Trust? They specialize in this kind of situation.
2. Although the idea of telling a lie doesnt sit well, do you have to tell her you would intend to rehome them? You would still be taking care of them by looking for good homes.

Sparklesocks Wed 03-Mar-21 15:43:58

Oh that’s awful, what a sad situation.

I think given her circumstances I’d say yes and Re-home later, just because the alternative seems to cause her so much distress. I know it’s a big ask but if it’s one less for her to worry about in such a difficult time I think I’d do it.

CooperLooper Wed 03-Mar-21 15:44:24


Just say you're happy to have them, then when the time comes rehome/donate/euthanise them ASAP.

She dies happy, it's little bother for you.

Goodness why are you including euthanasia as an option in your reply

FOJN Wed 03-Mar-21 15:44:45

As hard as it is I think it's best to be honest and offer to deal with a rescue organisation to find the dogs a new home. Some rescues do a direct rehoming scheme so the dogs would never need to go to rescue kennels, this would also be an option for you if you can't bring yourself to tell her you don't want the dogs.

On a practical matter if you decide to take the dogs short term then make sure the transfer of ownership is completed for the microchip registration, it's just simpler than trying to get it done after someone has died and can't sign the paperwork.

ShirleyPhallus Wed 03-Mar-21 15:46:02

I’ll have them! Seriously, take them and then pass them on to me thanks

SnoozyBoozy Wed 03-Mar-21 15:46:08

Oh gosh, I absolutely wouldn't tell her you couldn't take them! Poor woman must be beside herself anyway knowing her prognosis, the last thing she will want is to be in her last moments stressing about her dogs.

I would just say of course you'll take them and make sure they're looked after, and once she's died, look for a lovely home for them. You wouldn't be lying, because you making sure they're looked after, which is ultimately what she wants to be reassured about.

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