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Help and advice needed please!

(3 Posts)
RunDougalRunQuiteFast Thu 11-Apr-13 21:52:31

I need to write this down to help myself think.

My dear FIL is very ill and may not have long to go. He has two dogs, collie about 11ish, and a lovely terrier mix aged about 6 I think - both rescue dogs but he's had them for ages. MIL died 3 years ago and they have really kept FIL going, he babies them hugely.

So .... DH and I will end up adopting them, but we have three cats (also rescue, we're all suckers for a hard luck story).

a) Do we keep the dogs, build a big kennel and run in the garden for them and try to introduce them to each other, and hope they don't eat each other / run away?

b) Try and find a nice home for the dogs - DH would be devastated I think, especially about the little terrier, whom he adores.

c) I thought about offering them to an older person / couple who might like to keep dogs, apart from the expense, and we could commit to paying for the dogs, food, bills, insurance etc, in exchange for a nice home and hopefully updates on their lives.

Any thoughts or advice pls? We did have PILs previous dogs and our previous cats on quite friendly terms when we all shared a house for a while, one of the cats and one of the dogs used to curl up together after only a short acquaintance; and I guess this is what I'm really hoping for ...

Thank you in advance for any thoughts / insights / advice about mingling them.

Scuttlebutter Thu 11-Apr-13 22:27:44

Have you actually asked FIL what he would like/prefer? Does that give you any help? A friend of mine died two years ago from terminal cancer and we had lengthy discussions about how her dog care was to be arranged after her death. She found it very reassuring to know it was all in hand, though sadly her very elderly dog predeceased her by a very short time.

Also, is it possible to have the dogs with you for say, a weekend to see how the cats/dogs interact and the actual practicalities of a house full of animals feels. The sooner you can do this the better - it may be that the dogs/cats can get on and you feel that it goes well. Alternatively, you may feel after a weekend that it's definitely not for you. Either way, you'll actually be dealing with a more solid situation. Rescues do often receive dogs after their elderly owners have passed away. While family members may sometimes keep them, it is often not practical and rescues will be used to this. Again, I'd discuss this with your FIL - and think about the rescue you might like to work with - all I'd say is please, DON'T go with the RSPCA, but talk to a specialist like the Oldies Club, the Cinnamon Trust or even your local all breed rescue. You should also think about whether the dogs should/could stay together - finding a home for three together will be much, much harder than finding homes for them individually.

If the dogs are passed to a rescue, or even if they are going to you, please ask your FIL about the practicalities/paperwork e.g. for microchip change of ownership, vet records, insurance policy details and any other paperwork - do you know where to find it?

Lastly, if you do decide to have the dogs with you, at that age, I really wouldn't be keeping them in the garden - I'd be looking at them living in the house. Realistically, with the 11 year olds, you may not have a terribly long time to go anyway though the terrier is still very young at 6.

I am so sorry you are in this situation. sad It must also be a great worry and anxiety for your FIL. I hope so much you are able to talk about this with him and help reassure him; it will also be one less thing for you to worry about at a very stressful time in the future if things can be sorted out now. Wishing you all the best xx

RunDougalRunQuiteFast Thu 11-Apr-13 23:09:53

Thank you so much for your reply, lots to consider.
Unfortunately FIL is not conscious at the moment, though it has been previously discussed that we would ensure the dogs were kept happy and healthy. DH has also been telling him, though not fully conscious, not to worry about the dogs, as he might be able to hear.

All the paperwork is fine, we know where to find it, though they are in mainland Europe so not so easy to try out for a weekend, and will have to do passport shots before we bring them back, if it comes to that.
Definitely the dogs should stay together, they have been together about five years now and I think splitting them up would not be kind.
Great advice on rescue societies too, I hadn't thought about that.
Thank you for your kind wishes too, of course we hope it doesn't come to this but I'm afraid I have to plan ahead to support DH in the worst case scenario.

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