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Would you rehome a 16 year old dog?

(80 Posts)
BonnesVacances Sun 01-Oct-17 08:02:51

A bit of background first. DD(15) is a huge animal lover and wants to work with animals when she's older. She has ME/CFS and has been ill for nearly 2 years. She's desperate for a dog, but more so now for the company at home. I also know that it'd help getting her out the house and give her a mental health boost.

But DH and I both work and are out of the house all day so it wouldn't be fair on the dog when DD is better and back at school etc. Also we don't actually feel we can make a commitment for that length of time, especially when DC will both leave home at some point and we'll still have a dog!

So onto now. A friend of mine has shared a Facebook post about a 16 year old border collie whose owner has gone into care and the dog is now in kennels. It's looking for a home to spend the rest of its life in.

I was wondering how feasible it would be to offer this poor doggie a home. He'd have a lot of love and company and if able, would take it to see its owner in the care home. DD & DS (12) would be made aware that he is very old and that imminent upset would be on the cards when he goes. In fact it was DD's idea to offer a retirement home to a dog anyway to solve the time commitment issue.

My family all have dogs so we are realistic about the daily commitment of walks and not leaving him all day etc. But maybe less so about what it's like to live with an old dog. DH is saying no as he just doesn't want a dog so I'd like to show that I've looked into it properly and addressed whatever issues might be thrown up.

Any thoughts or advice please? Thanks.

Lucisky Sun 01-Oct-17 08:43:37

It is very kind of you to think of offering a home to a (very) old dog. You have mentioned the fact that it will pass on sooner rather than later - and this would be very upsetting for everyone. Also, an old dog usually does not need long walks. All my dogs who have got old spend most of their time sleeping and like short walks with plenty of sniffing opportunities, and watching the world go by, rather than a route march. The dog may also need quite a lot of vet care, the costs of which mount up quickly. It also may have continence problems.
Your biggest hurdle is your OH. If he is not on board with the idea it could be difficult.

olliegarchy99 Sun 01-Oct-17 09:14:42

You are very kind-hearted to consider this.
I had a very difficult last 6 months with my old dog (who I had had for 9 years) at age 13+ and although I loved him dearly and was devastated to lose him I really wanted him as he was when he was younger - active, loving, not messing his bed and finding his walks difficult. Then there is the difficult decision to make of when to pts and much as I love dogs and feel for this poor old dog he is really better where he is and honestly will not have long to live. If the rescue is any decent sort of rescue he will be kept comfortable and may not even be aware of where he is.
No doubt he spent many long years with his previous owner and he does not have years to adapt/settle in your home. He is probably confused enough with his current circumstances and would find it difficult to adapt to another new home.

BonnesVacances Sun 01-Oct-17 09:41:00

Hi Ollie. He's not in a rescue. He's in a boarding kennels where he went when his owner went into hospital and then a care home. I don't know who's paying for it or many other details tbh. Some people have suggested the Cinnamon Trust for him where he would be cared for.

olliegarchy99 Sun 01-Oct-17 09:48:01

sorry - I assumed that 'kennels' meant dog rescue kennels.
I believe dog rescue kennels would be the best option. Has the previous owner been able to make his wishes known?

olliegarchy99 Sun 01-Oct-17 09:50:55

I agree - the cinnamon trust looks to be a good thing to try - there may be other similar charitable organisations who could help this poor dog.

Oops4 Sun 01-Oct-17 09:51:32

I think that's such a hard one. If he was even a few years younger I'd say go for it but that is very old for a collie so I'd be worried that it really wouldn't be a positive experience. It's hard when they get very old as walks are so much shorter if needed at all, they often start having accidents in the house and you're likely in for hefty vet bills. If your husband really isn't keen I'd be concerned that taking on such an old dog would just reinforce why he doesn't want a dog.

I think it's very kind to consider offering him a home but I'm not sure I could do it. Guess it's a head vs heart decision

eurochick Sun 01-Oct-17 10:02:50

I think it would be a wonderful thing to take him in. Could you afford hefty vet bills?

Whinesalot Sun 01-Oct-17 10:06:13

Going to get flamed but I think the best thing would be to put him to sleep. It's not fair to make him adjust.

RandomMess Sun 01-Oct-17 10:25:32

I would find out more. Is he still clean, does he still need walking?

Perhaps go visit etc.

stayathomegardener Sun 01-Oct-17 11:15:54

Different views and all that.
On the basis that DD and I both have CFS I would get her a puppy and would do anything to facilitate that including paying dog walkers if necessary.
Until you have experienced CFS you just don't appreciate how debilitating it is both mentally and physically.
DD is now at uni and I look after her puppy. For me he is a perfect way to now increase my activity levels without overdoing it and he really is a joy when life can be very difficult.

Floralnomad Sun 01-Oct-17 12:49:40

Our dog was brilliant for our dd with CFS , but I'm not sure I'd take on a 16 yr old border who could potentially die very quickly ( and expensively ) . Have you been in touch with the cinammon trust to see if they have a dog you could foster ? When do you think your dd will be back in school ?

Slartybartfast Sun 01-Oct-17 12:51:32

i think 16 year old collie is far too old to take in. and too expensive. he is housed now.

Slartybartfast Sun 01-Oct-17 12:54:15

my dog was pts at 17, and the last year of her life was so emotionally painful. i would not take on a dog at 16.

birchandrowan Sun 01-Oct-17 14:02:01

I took on a fifteen-year-old collie nine months ago. He had been removed from his previous owner and the rescue were keen for him to have a home for his remaining time.
I'm older and have known from the start that he wouldn't have all that long to live, and I also have another younger dog. For your daughter it might be very difficult though.
Practically, my collie nearly pulls me off my feet in his enthusiasm for his walks, and covers well over two miles a day. No pottering around for him! He's perfectly behaved in the house but a bit leaky so keeping the house clean and fresh-smelling is a bit of an issue. ( He limits himself to certain areas so it could be worse).
He costs me quite a lot - he can't cope with commercial foods and is on painkillers and, at the moment, antibiotics.
He's a wonderful old boy and I have no regrets, but these are factors to be borne in mind.

BonnesVacances Sun 01-Oct-17 15:50:33

Thanks all. Lots to think about.

DD is incredibly empathic with animals and is ok with the fact that this doggy would only be with us in the short-term. She says giving him a home at the end of his life would give her a sense of purpose when she's able to do little else.

Unfortunately DS has more mixed feelings so I think that might trump DD's health and need for a dog. He's been through a lot too and his life has been so different since DD has been ill, I don't think we can ask this of him too.

DD is very unlikely to be back at school tbh. If she recovers she will be studying for exams at home between getting better and starting college hopefully in September 2019.

birchandrowan Sun 01-Oct-17 16:18:25

What a lovely attitude your daughter has!

nodogsinthebedroom Sun 01-Oct-17 18:30:32

I'm going to go against the grain and say that so long as

- the dog is currently in a decent state of heath and enjoying life (otherwise I'd suggest it should be pts)
- you and your children are realistic about the eventual end and could cope with that
- vet bills can be covered (does the previous owner have insurance that could maybe be carried on?)

Then you should go for it. It would be a lovely thing to do.

nodogsinthebedroom Sun 01-Oct-17 18:32:37

And if you decide not too there are lots of other dogs which are "older" but not quite so old as that so please don't write off the whole idea!

BonnesVacances Sun 01-Oct-17 21:22:34

What a lovely attitude your daughter has!

Yes she does. She has little empathy for people but bucket loads for animals.

the dog is currently in a decent state of heath and enjoying life (otherwise I'd suggest it should be pts)

I have spoken to the owner's daughter and this is the case. He has arthritis and has medication for this which they will carry on paying for. But he had a check up a month ago and the vet said he had a good few months left with a good quality of life. I guess this why they haven't had him pts and are trying to rehome him.

you and your children are realistic about the eventual end and could cope with that

DD would cope and we would remind ourselves that we did it for DD. Not sure about DS.

vet bills can be covered (does the previous owner have insurance that could maybe be carried on?)

Yes, she mentioned that he had insurance with the Blue Cross and she would find out how that could be transferred.

ihatetosay Sun 01-Oct-17 22:47:16

do it would be a lovely thing all round

megp89 Mon 02-Oct-17 00:09:54

It's so sweet that you & your daughter have been considering this older dog. If a vet has looked at him & said he’s OK (& esp if he’s insured) I'd not discount taking him on, if you'd like a quieter companion for your daughter. Older dogs can suffer from ill-health but some remain quite well until near the end, may only need minor adjustments for their care & be far easier to look after than a puppy!
16 is a good age but border collies are often long-lived & hardy - I've met/known collies who lived well into their teens (one was still herding sheep at 15!). There's one locally, who’s 16-17yrs old - he's in good shape, happy, alert & I regularly see him having nice, slow strolls through the local orchards with his owner!
I own 2 rescue collies myself & have been around the breed most of my life – they’re wonderful dogs, real characters but very sensitive, intelligent & keen to please. My guess is that even an older collie would be eager to bond & able to adjust to a new home... he'd certainly appreciate being out of kennels!
My mum, who I live with, is really poorly with ME/CFS. I’m in charge of the dogs’ care, but mum adores both collies & loves spending time with them, including, when she can, coming for walks with us & they’re extremely attached to her. The collies bring a lot of happiness to us both, we wouldn't be without them.
I'd definitely be thinking about going to meet the dog & see if he could be a fit in your family - if your daughter is keen, it could be a really rewarding experience for you all smile

numbmum83 Mon 02-Oct-17 00:26:33

How would it affect your DD if you took on the dog and she got attached for the inevitable to happen? At that age the dog hasn't got much time left. It could affect your family to lose it .

BonnesVacances Mon 02-Oct-17 07:54:30

We are going to ask the owner's daughter to bring him round to meet us and will see how we go from there. smile

DD will be fine when he goes. She knows she will be very upset, but that she gave him a good home will console her. We have talked at length about this as one of our main concerns for her is that the grief will reverse any of the health benefits from having the dog in the first place. But she has pointed out that she has lost one of her small furry animals through old age since she's been ill and coped with that. (She does have an answer for everything!)

Whether we will cope is another matter. sad I've actively avoided having a dog as I know I'd find it very hard when they go. But this isn't a good lesson to teach DC and tbh this illness has put us through the mill enough so far anyway. We can do this to bring some joy to DD's life and widen her world through forming a new relationship, giving her a sense of purpose and getting her out the house to give him little walks. And the rest we'll just have to file away under things we've had to suck up as part of the whole illness.

My view of how this will go is that we will have some problems with the dog and will have moments where we wonder what on earth we were thinking, especially when he passes on and we're all bawling our eyes out. But we'll see the difference it made to DD and will remember why we did it and DD will feel a warm glow knowing that she made a difference to an old dog's life and maybe we will too.

megp89 Mon 02-Oct-17 22:08:44

Aww, I'm so pleased to hear you're going to meet the dog, I really hope it all goes well! Good luck with it all smile I'm sure your daughter will get a lot out of having him around & having him to care for & to keep her company.

Losing pets, especially dogs is so hard of course, but you'll have to keep in mind that you did a really wonderful thing for this old boy, letting him enjoy his remaining time in a nice warm house, with a family. He's very lucky!

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