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My elderly dog bit.....

(20 Posts)
sarafw Sun 26-Jul-15 15:15:36

hi, first time posting here so please be gentle.
We have had our lovely 11 year old cocker spaniel since he was 12 weeks old and he has welcomed with us 4 children. He is as soppy as they come.
We recently had to be housed by the council for the first time and so whilst we are in emergency accomodation our friend has offered to have our dog whilst we get housed somewhere long term as we were told we couldnt bring him.
Our dog is now 11 years old and blind but is in perfectly good health otherwise.
Last night after 6 weeks of being with my friend and her daughter, our dog bit her 2 yr old...in the cheek.
My friend has been telling me that her little one is always getting told off for bothering the dog non stop and she assures me it was not the dogs fault, it was her childs as the dog was under the bed where he goes to get away from it all and she chased him under there to kiss him goodnight.
She has had to go to hospital and has needed a few stiches. My friend bless her puts no blame on the dog and SHE feels bad about the whole thing.
I am now so unsure of what to do and wondered what would you do in my situation....
do we put him to sleep as he has bit a child?
do we keep him and get him a cage where he can go and hide away when he has had enough, bearing in mind we are breaking tenancy agreement, and could in theory bite one of our children...the ages are 9,5,2 and 4 months, so the 5 and 2 yr old are constantly running around and if the dog cannot see, he is likely to lash out?? or is he because it's us???
or do we give him to a dogs home knowing that he will be all alone wondering what the hell is going on in a kennel all day? and then prob end up being put to sleep anyway as he is an elderly dog....
My husband doesnt have a clue which one to pick and neither do i.
My heart is telling me to bring him 'home' and teach our kids about respecting him and giving him his space...he has never growled at us, let alone bit us, but he is old and blind.
sorry for the essay, my heart is in pieces right now, not only for my Goddaughter (my friends child) although she will be fine, and even as she got home she wanted to still give the dog a goodnight kiss, so no traumatisation there....but as he has been with us always and i feel i owe him to do the best by him.....but what is that?

KoalaDownUnder Sun 26-Jul-15 15:22:03

I think you do what your heart is telling you to do

He's old and blind and confused after being shunted somewhere new for 6 weeks. He reacted out of an impulse of self-defence, not aggression.

I am not in the camp of 'any dog that bites, ever, should be put down'. Context is everything.

Please don't put him in a home. That would just be cruel.

KoalaDownUnder Sun 26-Jul-15 15:25:08

Also - my friends' old dog bit their 3-year-old daughter because she was choking him with a rope (playing unsupervised and making him be her 'pony'). She had to have plastic surgery near her eye. She still loved the dog and he lived another couple of years without ever growling or biting again.

Buttercup27 Sun 26-Jul-15 15:29:30

My previous dog was just as soppy as yours but when on holiday snapped at a stranger who wiggled his hands in front of his nose. This was so out of character but made us incredibly nervous. The next day the dog collapsed in the garden and it turns out he was critically Ill and was operated on that day. The vet thought he had snapped because he was feeling so poorly.
Because this is so out of character for your dog maybe he too is feeling under the weather.

GraysAnalogy Sun 26-Jul-15 15:30:14

You've had him since he was a pup, I think you owe it to him to make sure he's safe and happy. Not just discarded or put to sleep. He's an elderly dog in a scary situation.

You could get a crate, make it his safe space with lots of cuddly toys and blankets. Is there a room that you can prevent the kids from going in when they're being giddy?

Good luck to you, must have been awful for you having to find him different accommodation when you had to move.

Buttercup27 Sun 26-Jul-15 15:32:01

Or just confused, nervous and fed up.

sarafw Sun 26-Jul-15 15:46:37

thank you all for your kind words. You totally get it. Yes he was fed up and we had gone to visit him earlier that day too as we missed him so much.
Ill get a crate and have him home.
thank you all...seriously.

WeAllHaveWings Sun 26-Jul-15 15:52:55

I was bitten by an uncles lab when I was around 4 when I tried to climb under the sideboard where he was hiding to play with him. Only time the dog bit in its life. People can get complacent with friendly dogs and think they are bullet proof, but even the friendliest family dog buttons can get pushed just too much and this is the only way they have of saying leave me alone. As usual the only person who could have prevented it happening was the adult in charge. Love this story on FB recently about two sides to a dog bite

As said above, context is everything and your friend is very kind and understanding. Does she want the dog moved? Could you maybe supply a cosy crate (or stair gate to block a room off from the 2 year old) so there is an area which is totally out of bounds to the dc?

Do you have any idea how long you will be in emergency accommodation? Do you have any friends with older/no children who could take him for a while?

Putting him in a home would be a very last resort (I would not be keen on breaking the tenancy agreement, but would do this before putting in a home).

Hope your housing situation improves quickly. flowers

TheoriginalLEM Sun 26-Jul-15 15:55:04

If this were my dog i would give myself a time limit of a month or two (providing adequate care can be found in the meantime) to find him a home with no children or would have to pts. Not because he has bitten actually but because he clearly isn't able to cope with the general melee that is children anymore. The move will have definately unsettled him further so he needs stability.

The dogs trust are often able to help people who are moving into social housing with dogs etc.

I would try breed rescue - your vet will have the contact numbers, alternatively you can look online. They may be able to offer a foster home while he looks for his forever home.

This is totally coming from the dogs point of view.

TheoriginalLEM Sun 26-Jul-15 15:56:19

Cross posts, i see you are going to have him home. May i suggest something like Adaptil plug ins or collars, they produce pheremones which help dogs cope with stressful situations.

I really feel for you x

Booboostwo Sun 26-Jul-15 19:07:14

An elderly blind dog in a new environment with a child that does not respect his space is, as you have sadly discovered, an accident waiting to happen. The circumstances account for the bite but nonetheless I would take him to the vets to make sure he's not in pain because of some other reason.

All dogs should have a safe space to get away from unwanted attention, and children should be taught not to kiss and hug dogs - are your DCs more used to interacting with the dog safely? With a blind dog you have to be even more careful as he may be more easily startled and he may well find the move to your new place unsettling.

If you cannot guarantee his future please consider putting him to sleep. Giving him to a shelter would be cruel so do what is tough on you but best for him and give him a good end to a good life.

sarafw Sun 26-Jul-15 20:09:25

yes he was there before our children so ours have always been with him. His blindness has been gradual over the last year so we have gotten used to calling him or making a sound as we approach him so not to startle him. Our kids are obviously used to him so i'd say he would be fine with us.
I am in the process of buying a crate so he has somewhere safe he can go to when he is overwhelmed and will go and collect him tomorow as they are still in hospital to ensure no infection is present.
I would rather put him to sleep than a dogs home....i cannot justify putting him in a kennels where he would not have a clue of whats going on and be stuck until they put him to sleep without any love...if that makes sense.
our options seem to be bring him here and have to lie if we got caught, eg- its my nans dog as she is local...
its very hard as we have never been in this situation...we have always rented and worked , i was childminding (thats how good the dog was that i never had concerns) and at chrsitmas we decided we could just about live on hubbys wage so i gave up work...was pregnant with baby and then the landlord decides to sell. We couldnt afford the rents locally and so have now to be dependent on the council to house us who couldn't care less about the fact that the dog is part of the family, hence why my friend was looking after him whilst we waited to see where they put us.
thank you all for helping us make the decision.

specialsubject Sun 26-Jul-15 20:17:44

hang on a minute - does having the dog where you are break the tenancy agreement?

is that wise? If you were renting privately I would suggest speaking to the landlord and explaining the situation, this is a 'permission not unreasonably with-held' and a decent landlord (as most are) would not object to a crated elderly dog subject to you agreeing to pay for any damage.

but how will the council see it? Do you want to risk 'intentionally homeless' by a tenancy breach?

sorry, but the idea of lying is fraud and the council were not born yesterday. Be careful you don't put a dog above the welfare of the human members of your family.

sarafw Wed 05-Aug-15 18:57:28

HI all just to update you, we bought him home and funnily enough the estate agents rang to say the landlord wanted to come over in the evening. I made sure the house was spotless (it was filthy when we moved in) and then i asked him if we could have the dog even though the estate agents had said no. His response ''i cant see what damage a dog can do, as long as you leave it how you found it thats fine''
sooooooo we now have our spike home and with permission!.
My goddaughter had stitches in one of the cuts and the rest were superficial.
I also found out exactly what happened and he had growled at her before the child jumped on him again for him to bite as a warning but caught her due to the way she was lying on him. Hence why my friend was adamant that spike was not to blame and it was an accident.
We have got him a cage where he goes into when the kids want to run around and we have bought treats for him to associate the cage with treat time like pigs ears and bones etc.
He seems a lot happier and is back to playing....as much as a blind dog can play!
@specialsubject.....i am well aware that the council were not born yesterday, i was willing to lie yes but i would certainly not call it ''fraud''...i was trying my hardest to find the best outcome for the situation without giving up on him simply because it was the easier option...
thank you all for your advice and i appreciate the encouragement.

WeAllHaveWings Wed 05-Aug-15 19:38:29

good to hear he's back with his family and you've got permission too! Hopefully he'll settle well into the new house.

Booboostwo Wed 05-Aug-15 19:52:38

Great update, I am so pleased for all of you!

imabusybee Wed 05-Aug-15 22:06:38

Fab news thank you for updating smile

SunshineAndShadows Thu 06-Aug-15 08:24:08

Great outcone OP I think this is a perfect example of a stressed old do pushed to his limits, and it's lovely that your friend sees it that way too
flowers

Eliza22 Thu 06-Aug-15 08:46:51

I'm so pleased for you. Having a pet that long really does make it a family member. Some people (unlike your kind landlord) don't get that.

lilacblossomtime Thu 06-Aug-15 08:55:39

That's great I am glad the landlord was good about it.

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