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We had to rehome our dog. His new 'forever home' have sent him back to kennels.

(44 Posts)
Twingler Sun 26-Feb-17 08:30:51

This is going to be so long because it's eating away at me. I feel so sick and gutted. I don't even know exactly why I'm posting here. I guess because I hate myself and feel the need to confess or be told that I did the right thing. I can't bring myself to tell my husband and I feel like I'm lying to him by not telling him. I spent last night trying not to cry thinking about him back there. Have name changed for this because the situation is identifying. I feel like I need to give lots of backstory because I feel so fucking disgusted with myself and guilty.

The dog belonged to my husband's family. They bought him as a puppy. My husband and his brother were either late teens or young adults when they got him and living with their mom, so he was looked after by all of them but really belonged to my mother in law. When my husband and his brother moved out, the dog stayed with her. I looked after him whenever they were on holiday and loved him to bits but he was very difficult and not really trusted with my son.

Unfortunately, my mother in law became terminally ill. I provided daily care for her but was also pregnant. I essentially did everything in her house as well as providing personal care, trying to lift her etc whilst going through a high risk and very stressful pregnancy, with spd, suspected diabetes and out of control blood pressure and a history of eclamptic seizure meaning constant monitoring and being hospitalised a few times. I became far too pregnant and ill to be able to cope with her care but another family member was luckily able to take over by then. The dog had been living with us on and off at that point, depending on how he was behaving around carers, but there had been a couple of instances of him becoming aggressive, stealing and destroying things, stealing food from my mother in law because she was too weak to stop him and pulling out a tube by jumping onto her. I had hoped that my brother in law would be able to take him in but they then said he wouldn't get on with his wife's cat and bought another dog...

This left only me and my husband. We were his favourite people and my son was over the moon to have him, but he's not very good with children. My mother in law died and he came to live with us full time. It was a nightmare. I was desperate to keep him and tried my absolute best to address his worst issues in time for the baby's arrival but there were so many I couldn't cope. He bit me a few times. Once just for being in the kitchen when he'd somehow managed to get into the bin and pushed a chair over to the counter and used it as a step to get up! He frequently ate his own poo, then threw it up in the house, often under my bed, and then tried to bite me if I tried to move him away to stop him eating it again and clean it up. Frequently ate stones, sticks, anything really. He hadn't been trained at all and I think my mother in law's husband had been hitting him and throwing things at him as punishment, making him aggressive and protective as soon as he had something. He'd also been teased a bit by my brother in law. I don't think that was done in malice, but he really needed training from a young age and hadn't had it. I felt so frustrated that everybody else had washed their hands of him and I was left with an 8 year old, stubborn, overweight dog who needed some intense training and I was completely inexperienced and ill with not much energy and a short time to be able to focus on him. I wanted to get a dog behaviourist but we couldn't afford it until we received our inheritance and it took a long time. I upped the exercise and stopped the treats, as well as moving him onto better food, so he was losing weight and becoming much healthier. We did make some
headway in some areas but it was hard going. Unfortunately, he pulled a lot and had been encouraged to chase cats in the past, so having spd made it agonisingly painful. I can remember crying and being unable to move on one walk because I'd had to pull him back when he'd tried to chase a cat. He developed severe separation anxiety as a result of leaving my mother in law's house. He followed me from room to room which was fine with me, and I'm a bit of a homebody anyway, but have to do the school run and go to medical appointments. The few times we left him in a room, he destroyed everything he could reach, even though we thought we'd dog proofed it. He somehow managed to lock himself in when we first left him and we ended up having to kick the door in! So I was also attempting to crate train him, but the problem was that I didn't have time to take it all slowly before having to use it, so the training would be going well, then I'd have to use it and he'd be terrified of it again. He was quite big and strong and itd be five minutes or so of me trying to shove him in there while he bit up my arms and bashed me in the stomach trying to force his way back out. God, it was so upsetting. And he would howl and howl so I'd have to rush back home because I couldn't stand the thought of him being that scared and upset. His throat would actually get sore from howling so much sad I read lots of articles on how to prepare a dog for a babies arrival it there was no chance of it happening when even the basics hadn't been dealt with. I did have a friend of a friend who was a dog trainer, and very kindly agreed to help me, so there had been lots of long emails back and forth where we discussed how to train him and help him with his problems. A big problem that we had was that he didn't like being in an active house. He was 8 and despite being very youthful when he played or went on walks (or got up
to no good) he mainly wanted to be left alone at home. He seemed very stressed out by the constant noise and activity of my son, who was 8 at the time. Often tried to get away from him but my son is very intense and full on, doesn't really stop moving or talking at all. I tried putting his bed in a different room so it would be nice and quiet for him but he was too scared to be in a different room to me. The best I managed was putting it behind a settee but the noise and activity still bothered him and I could see that he felt stressed whenever my son was at home. There had also been a few incidents of him stealing my sons brightly coloured toys, because I don't think he could tell that they weren't meant for him. My son was old enough to understand not to try to take it back from him though he did growl at him a few times. By this point I had realised there was no way he could be trusted around a baby or toddler. I couldn't even imagine walking through the door holding a baby with the way he bounced all over us and scratched us.

Then I had an appointment and was told I had to be induced that day, so I was in hospital for a week. Luckily, one of my parents had the week off and took my son and the dog to their house and were able to stay with him all day. The birth was difficult and I had more problems. Then the baby was tongue tied and not feeding properly. When we came home I was an absolute mess. My midwife took me to the doctors and told them I needed to I back on antidepressants, I spent the first few days having panic attacks and crying all the time. Started pumping which was so difficult. The dog wasn't with us. I couldn't cope with it all. He needed to be constantly watched and I just couldn't do it anymore. I finally told my husband that I didn't think it was going to work and he was so angry at me. He didn't realise that babies live on the floor after a certain age and have their toys there. I could predict that one day, he would take one of the toys and the baby would go towards him wanting it back and he would bite him. Or the baby would make too much noise or accidentally hit/hurt him and he'd bite him. I just couldn't take that risk.

I found a breed specific place that would take him and rehome him, despite the biting. They don't put dogs down. The dogs live communally which I thought he would love because he loves company. And then he was adopted within four months, despite his age and his issues. We were over the moon! Went to a child free home where the woman was at home all day and they had another dog. It sounded perfect for him. Had the urge to check on him yesterday, actually prompted by considering whether we could adopt a dog which is child friendly. And then I realised that he's been sent back to the centre. I am gutted. I feel sick. I hate myself for even having thought about taking on another dog when he is out there without a family. I know realistically that we couldn't have him back. They wouldn't even let us have him, they've said he needs to be in a child free family because of his possessiveness. But thinking of him there without anybody is unbearable. And I feel like I've let my mother in law down. We promised we would look after him and I told myself that we had done that because he'd found a new home where he'd be happier as could get the attention he needs. It it turns out that he hasn't now. I can't bring myself to tell my husband and I feel like I'm carrying around this horrible secret and lying to him. And none of this is the poor dog's fault. I've spoken a little to people in real life about this when we decided we had to rehome him but they're not dog people and they don't get it. I was told 'it's just a dog' or even the he should be put down.

ineedamoreadultieradult Sun 26-Feb-17 08:35:43

It is better he is sent back to kennels than live with a family that can't cope with him and risk being neglected or abused or sold on Gumtree. The rescue will now have even more info on the dogs behaviour than you were able to give and will keep working to find him the right home.

Obsessedalready Sun 26-Feb-17 08:45:58

Honestly you didn't have a choice. You were being responsible and it sounds like you did all you could.

He is being looked after by the rescue. Don't feel guilty, focus on your children. You are absolutely right than you cannot have a biting dog and a small child!

7to25 Sun 26-Feb-17 08:51:03

Why on earth was your husband angry.?
You have much bigger problems than the dog. Reading this is heartbreaking. You seem to be the family dogsbody and conscience.
Your husband would be looking after devil dog in his new bachelor pad in most people's world. The dog must be old and I would have thought untrainable. He should have been PTS when your mother in law died.
Imagine if he had hurt your baby.
And ask yourself how you have been cast in the role you are playing.

gettingoutofdebt Sun 26-Feb-17 09:01:03

I expected to read your post and be my usual judgemental self however you did everything you could and more. You haven't let anybody down - being brutally honest his issues sound like they stem from earlier lack of training and treatment. He is in the best place for him now and will be helped to find a suitable home flowers

Monkeypuzzle32 Sun 26-Feb-17 09:01:56

It's not your fault but your in laws have failed that poor dog-the dog wasn't trained, was tormented and was clearly feeling upset and stressed at not being with your MiL, possibly suffering from grief as even dogs feel this, oh and what effort had your DH put in with the dog? None by the sounds of it-your home is not suitable for that dog but could you speak to the centre and see if there's a way you can help him by donating or progress reports-I don't know really but just wanted to say you were in an impossible situation and did your best for him which is more than the BiL did.

EdenX Sun 26-Feb-17 09:04:00

This whole situation is insane. Why on earth was your husband angry? Its outrageous that he ever put you in the position of trying to look after this dog while you were pregnant and unwell.

ImBrian Sun 26-Feb-17 09:10:45

Stop beating yourself up, you did your best. He sounds like a very difficult dog and quite possibly that's why he's back in rescue, at least he's safe and looked after.

Athome77 Sun 26-Feb-17 09:14:21

If he's in a rescue that won't put him down, ask if they will keep him and sponsor him. For example you pay £5 towards his food each week, go and walk him and take him toys. That way your not abandoning him.

hmcAsWas Sun 26-Feb-17 09:19:57

Oh my goodness, you couldn't have done anything else and have nothing to feel guilty about

chocolatespiders Sun 26-Feb-17 09:23:35

I love athomes suggestion. You really did everything you could so please stop going over it all.

Keeptrudging Sun 26-Feb-17 09:30:15

You cannot put your children at risk by having them around such an unpredictable dog. You've absolutely done the right thing, you shouldn't even feel guilty about it. You didn't create this situation. We had a rescue dog who started growling/snapping at my DD when she was a toddler. He just couldn't cope with the unpredictability of small children. He bit her on the wrist one day when she was just standing quietly beside me. He had to go, no question. Luckily my mum could take him and he lived out his days in a quieter environment. He was not safe around children. I don't normally agree with secrets, but in this case i wouldn't tell your DH. The dog's in a safe place, being cared for. You'll end up having to have him and he WILL hurt your children.

Lovemylittlebear Sun 26-Feb-17 09:30:48

Please don't give yourself a hard time. You have done the best you could in the situation you are in. At the end of the day your children's safety comes first and you have done the most responsible thing that you could. X

Mungobungo Sun 26-Feb-17 09:30:57

I don't think that you should feel guilty. You did everything that you could under very difficult underlying circumstances to help the dog and be able to keep him.

Unfortunately, this poor dog has been failed early in life and his issues are far deeper than you are able to deal with. There are so many people out there who get a dog and expect instant good behaviour without even making an effort to train them, then dump them/stick them on gumtree/shove them in rescues. You are not one of these people. You've obviously tried very hard and you were responsible in sending the dog to a no-kill shelter. It's unfortunate that the dog had ended up back in the shelter, but he's obviously not suited to that last person who had him and therefore it's better for him not to be there.

It's your choice whether you tell your dh or not, but he sounds like an unsupportive arse. If that dog had bitten your son or baby, would he still have been angry at you?
This is not your fault, you've done all you can to help this dog and by admitting that you reached the end of the road and can do no more, you've made sure that your family is safe and that's the most important thing.

BiteyShark Sun 26-Feb-17 09:31:26

It sounds like you did your best for you MIL and the dog so I would give you head a wobble as you have nothing to feel guilty about. Your husband on the other hand sounds bloody awful and has no reason to be angry at anyone but himself hmm

Twingler Sun 26-Feb-17 09:34:06

Thanks for the replies, I know I added a lot of detail in my original post, was just trying to explain how awful it all was at the time. People asking why my husband was angry, I should have been clearer with this. He was very angry at first. We had recently lost his mom and were still grieving, we were very close to her. He was desperately clinging onto the hope that it would all work out because he was struggling to deal with losing his mom AND his dog. There's no doubt that my husband was his favourite person. When he lived with his mom, he was the one who did the most with him. He had no experience of babies and didn't realise that things would get more difficult when he became mobile rather than easier. The person looking after the dog once I'd brought the baby home unexpectedly turned up with the dog at one point. This made me very angry. His reasoning was apparently 'to make me see sense'. I allowed them in but held the baby very tightly and up quite high. I don't allow them to remove the dog's lead. He darted towards us a few times but was his usual adorable self other than that. This visit made me absolutely sure that it wouldn't work but it gave my husband hope. He turned around with a big grin on his face once they'd left and said 'I think it will be ok as long as we just keep all the baby's things off the floor, won't it?'. He'd not been around babies much before and didn't realise that they don't stay small and portable forever. Within a few months not only would all of the baby's things be on the floor, but the baby himself would be! His anger was really just an immediate response. He now sees that we made the right decision and it would have been impossible. I can't fault him for reacting like that whilst still being deep in grief over losing his mom. He did also do things for the dog, walked him whenever he was at home etc but I ended up dealing with most things because I was here all of the time when they needed to be dealt with! When the dog was at the other persons house before the rehoming centre could take him, he was splitting his time between me and his new baby, work and going to the house to walk the dog, feed him, take him to appointments etc. He is a good person, my original post didn't reflect that! And I'm the type of person who always thinks I can cope with more than I can.

As far as being a general dogsbody, it's not really true. My mother in law's husband looked after her on evenings. My husband saw her as much as he could every day around work, but she needed someone with her all the time and I was the only one not working. I volunteered to do this because I loved my mother in law and she was desperate to stay at home. I did come to resent clearing up after her husband and started to refuse to do this, as I felt he was taking advantage of the fact that I would do it, but she was very house proud and it really upset her. The relationship between her and her husband wasn't a normal one. They married when she thought she had days left to live. But that's not really relevant to all of this. I decided that it was more important to make her as happy as possible so I put myself out for her. Who wouldn't do that for a dying woman?? Obviously there came a point where I said I just couldn't do it anymore but somebody else managed to take over. And with the dog... I do feel annoyed that it all fell to us. My brother in law is quite oblivious to things, so I don't think he was aware of how difficult that was for me, but I wasn't really going to push it when they were grieving for their mom. My sister in law has since said she can't believe they all left him with me and she has no idea what they were thinking. I don't think they loved him the way we did so I don't think they would've been willing to put in that effort. They are good people but it was a very tough time. None of this makes me feel any better about the dog being back there, though. I'm not sure whether I should tell my husband. I was all ready to discuss the idea of us getting a more manageable dog but doing it knowing that he's out there is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I like the idea of frequent donations but would have to tell my husband before bringing this up. It's all so tied in with losing his mom that I think it will be devestating for him.

Resideria Sun 26-Feb-17 09:34:49

You're a very kind person and have done everything you possibly could have. Your MIL couldn't have asked for more. The rescue sound like they look well after their dogs, and he'll be happier there than he would be in your busy household (not that that would be an option!).
And don't feel guilty about considering giving a suitable dog a home.

OliviaStabler Sun 26-Feb-17 09:44:17

You have done everything you could, please do not be hard on yourself.

The dog was failed early on with no training, the fact he was allowed to be teased etc. It is not the dogs fault but the safety of you child comes first.

Remember that even though he is back in the shelter, it could be for a number of reasons. They are no kill and will look after him well.

troodiedoo Sun 26-Feb-17 09:46:04

I am not a dog person at all but your story is heartbreaking. Please don't feel bad or guilty you've gone above and beyond in your commitment and devotion to the dog and have more than honoured your promise to mil. It is not your fault he was brought back to the shelter. Give them a donation of time or money if you like but definitely give yourself a break and put your own mental health and your family first now

Your husband I'm not so impressed with, but I'll bite my tongue on that.

troodiedoo Sun 26-Feb-17 09:49:19

I would say though, please hold off on the idea of a new dog for now. Wait until the dust has settled and baby is older.

Twingler Sun 26-Feb-17 09:52:42

My mental health is fine now, I didn't take the tablets as I was breastfeeding! What looked like anxiety and depression to was really just that my hormones were all over he place and I knew my baby wasn't feeding properly but nobody had listened to me until I got home. The baby isn't so young anymore, he's 16 months old now. Do you think it's still too young for a dog? He's quite a calm and placid child.

coffeetasteslikeshit Sun 26-Feb-17 09:57:46

I think you did all you could have done, please don't beat yourself up about this. flowers

lljkk Sun 26-Feb-17 10:01:02

It's only a dog, FFS.

troodiedoo Sun 26-Feb-17 10:02:52

Only you can decide that, you know your situation best. You couldn't guarantee that it'll be a child loving dog though, how would you feel if you had to give another one up?
As I said though, I know shit about dogs.
Have you discussed getting a new one with your hub? Is he willing to put effort into care and training as well?

therealpippi Sun 26-Feb-17 10:12:32

Lljkk what an insightful reply.

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