Elder dog jumped and snapped at babies foot.

(21 Posts)
CollyWombles Wed 19-Dec-18 07:55:46

This is my now 14YO JRT. I got him from a rescue when he was ten years old. My children are all older children, his previous owner thars had him since a pup had one older child so he has not been around many babies. I will mention at this point that I posted here earlier in the year about JRT snapping at my teen daughters face, however, for reasons unknown, she blew on him when he was sleeping.

I recently met up with an old friend who has a four month old baby. Of course I was dying for a hold and was stood in my lounge giving her a cuddle when my JRT wandered in, spotted her and snapped at her feet whilst she was in my arms. Thankfully I reacted quickly and lifted her higher and he didn't get her but it was a hell of a shock and could have been worse. I was mortified and obviously massively apologetic, the JRT was removed immediately and my friend was much more understanding than I would be in her shoes.

This was about five months ago now. Obviously JRT can't be around babies which is fine as I don't have babies and can take steps to keep him out of the way with any visiting babies. Until I found out three months ago that I am expecting in June next year. Completely unplanned, huge age gap between other kids but there you go.

Now, I don't know what to do. I have a busy household. My 4DC. Their many friends in and out of the house, sleepovers and so on. A 9 month old lab cross pup (who doesn't try to bite babies). Keeping JRT separate with the use of stair gates and so forth, just won't work. They will get left open. I know it will happen and I will be in a constant state of anxiety.

JRT is mostly blind now and usually spends his days sleeping a lot. He is such a loving dog, but is very possessive of me. Please, what should I be doing here?

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Doggydoggydoggy Wed 19-Dec-18 08:23:13

I think in your shoes, I would probably put him down personally.

He is 14, he is blind, he isn’t going to want the stress a new baby brings, it wouldn’t be quite so bad if he had just growled or something but he has demonstrated that he will go so far as to bite with no real provocation, you could try to rehome him but I would argue that being uprooted from his home and everything he knows would cause him immense upset and confusion, that is assuming you can even find a suitable retirement home.
Rescues are largely full and there isn’t much demand for elderly dogs.

CollyWombles Wed 19-Dec-18 08:38:01

I specifically got an older dog for the very reason that older dogs aren't wanted, my JRT had been fostered for a year before I took him.

I absolutely hate the thought of putting him to sleep. It honestly feels like murder. Pretty much the same reason that I couldn't terminate this pregnancy either, despite it being unplanned and changing everything (just how I personally feel, not a judgement on anyone else) I'm not capable of killing a bug, never mind a dog that I have loved for four years and deserves to live out his last years in peace.

Rehoming him, I would have to be completely honest that he can't be around young children and I'd never forgive myself if he hurt someone's child.

He has also started to go in the house in the past six months, despite being completely house trained from the moment he came home with me. He is in good health despite his age so the vet thinks maybe his mental capacity is beginning to decline and he may have had a mini stroke a few months ago too.

It's not his fault I got pregnant. This is so hard. Feels like he is going to suffer no matter what I do.

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BertrandRussell Wed 19-Dec-18 08:43:26

It sounds very much like it’s time for him to go. He’s blind, his brain is going, he’s not able to be clean, he is facing huge additional stress- it’s incredibly hard but remember, better a month too soon than a day too late. So hard for you though.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Wed 19-Dec-18 08:44:02

I'll start this off by saying that I'm certainly not someone who believes in putting dogs down for behaviour unless they are truly, unmanageably dangerous.

If he's mostly blind, it's possible he didn't really know what he was snapping at. Is it possible he's becoming a bit confused in his old age? He does sound like a grumpy old man who, if human, would probably give the grandkids a clip around the ear with his walking stick. Has he been checked recently for pain? That's a common cause of snappiness.

You've got 6 months before baby even makes an appearance, and at his age there's a good chance he will naturally decline anyway. I would take a look at his quality of life in five months. It may be that PTS would be on the cards at that point in time anyway for medical reasons.

I'll presume you don't have friends / relatives with a quieter home who already know and like your dog (and vice versa)? You also mention baby gates not working as they'd be left open; I had a Dreambaby one that self closed and locked really well so they do exist.

BertrandRussell Wed 19-Dec-18 08:45:21

He has lived out his last years in peace. And remember, being PTS is far from the worst thing that can happen to a dog.

Alwaysgreener Wed 19-Dec-18 08:50:59

If he's mostly blind, it's possible he didn't really know what he was snapping at. Is it possible he's becoming a bit confused in his old age? He does sound like a grumpy old man who, if human, would probably give the grandkids a clip around the ear with his walking stick. Has he been checked recently for pain? That's a common cause of snappiness.

You've got 6 months before baby even makes an appearance, and at his age there's a good chance he will naturally decline anyway. I would take a look at his quality of life in five months. It may be that PTS would be on the cards at that point in time anyway for medical reasons.

This.

Don't worry about it for now, stress isn't good for you or baby. The situation may have effectively been taken out of your hands a few months down the line.. Try to enjoy the next few months of your pregnancy and of your old boy's life. Life goes in funny twists and turns and 6 months is a VERY long time in thr life of a 14 year dog flowers

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Lucisky Wed 19-Dec-18 08:51:26

14 is a good age for a jrt. I know they often go on longer, but, like yours, they start to decline. There is nothing to say he won't decline further during your pregnancy. Honestly? If he was mine, I would have him pts before you have the baby. Rehoming would not be an option. Having a dog pts is never easy I know, ever if they are patently at the end of their life. Give him lots of love and say goodbye/pts at home before your due date.

CollyWombles Wed 19-Dec-18 08:58:12

My mother absolutely loves my JRT and he does her. Unfortunately she has a grumpy older JRT herself who does not get on with other dogs at all.

I was planning on waiting as long as possible to make any kind of decision anyways, I just feel like I have let him down really badly. If I hadn't been daft enough to get myself pregnant, he would not be on borrowed time as such. I am one of those that hates when family pets get rehomed because a baby comes along.

Even with self locking stairgates, I would constantly be anxious, because I know he would have hurt the baby I was holding if he could have reached her. I don't doubt that in the slightest sadly. I defended him massively in the incident with my daughter blowing on him as he had provocation but I can't defend him on this, he wanted to hurt that baby.

It's my DH first baby, my other children are to my ex husband, so you can imagine his opinion on the matter.

I'm going to have to put him to sleep aren't I. I think I know deep down it would be the kindest thing. I don't know if I will ever forgive myself though. I will wait and give him as long as I possibly can. My poor boy.

OP’s posts: |
CollyWombles Wed 19-Dec-18 09:00:56

Sorry, I meant to say I have had him checked at the vet and aside from a few age related moles, the vet believes my JRT to be in good health. He certainly displays no signs of being in pain, in some ways he is still youthful, having his funny five minutes in the evenings, eating well, drinking well, wagging his tail. He just mostly sleeps a lot really.

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BertrandRussell Wed 19-Dec-18 09:08:26

“I just feel like I have let him down really badly. If I hadn't been daft enough to get myself pregnant, he would not be on borrowed time as such”
He’s 14 and blind and his brain is starting to fail and he very nearly bit unprovoked. He’s on borrowed time anyway. Please try not to beat yourself up about this. And please (sorry if this is from the school of the bleeding obvious) think about whether you are displacing concerns about your unexpected pregnancy onto the dog. You’ve got a lot going on at the moment-be kind to yourself.

eggncress Wed 19-Dec-18 09:22:52

He is 14. By the time baby comes along he may have passed away.
On the other hand if he is in good health he will still be around. I would do my utmost to find a solution and PST would be the very last resort.

Do you think you could get him a dog cage and start getting him used to it from now? Plenty treats and nice experiences for him so he eventually likes being there.

Or contact JRT rescue who may find him a foster?

Obviously when baby come along you’ll have to be careful. But he may treat your baby differently as he see it as a member of the family . My old 14 year old Yorkshire terrier was like that. She hated other kids but when my first baby came along she was very gentle.

eggncress Wed 19-Dec-18 09:23:40

Pts not PST 🙄

Iloveautumnleaves Wed 19-Dec-18 09:27:31

How upsetting for you, it’s a sad & difficult situation.

Try not to get upset about it for now, you have quite a few months and you don’t know what might happen, if you keep telling people about your situation you might hit upon someone who would have him for you. If I had older children I would seriously consider it because it’s not a long term commitment (when a JR is already 14). Your Mum’s dog might not still be around....

He’s pretty much blind, maybe he thought he was protecting you?

Don’t let DH pressure you into anything.

twinnywinny14 Wed 19-Dec-18 09:28:12

He is 14, chances of finding him another home is unlikely and as others have said he may well not live until June anyway as he is already unwell. I would wait a few months and see. You could try a crate like others have said or part of your home sectioned for him, and you probably won’t have lots of people tearing around the house once you have a baby anyway so gates etc are a possibility? Personally I agree you need to keep baby and dog separate but you will need to do this for your younger dog anyway surely? And in reality how much longer is older dog likely to live?

Aridane Wed 19-Dec-18 09:31:35

Bless you- PTS

Alwaysgreener Wed 19-Dec-18 11:04:58

You HAVE not let him down OP, not remotely. I see dogs that have been let down by their so-called owners and you're not one of them. You've loved him his whole life and done your very best for him. At the end of the day he is an animal, they cannot reason. He doesn't feel hard done by. He is a terrier and even a young terrier may have got silly and excited at the sound and smell of a newborn baby. Do not feel guilty. You have given him a wonderful wonderful long life, just enjoy the next few months and see how it goes. Yes you might well have to make a decision you'd rather not but as pet owners we know we will likely to have to face that decision sooner or later and to have given him 14 long wonderful years is the very very best you could do for him. Stop beating yourself up and just make the next few months happy ones xxxx flowers

missbattenburg Wed 19-Dec-18 11:26:16

I would agree with others not to make the decision until much closer to the time - though perhaps be aware of not leaving it too late that you're having to deal with grief etc at the same time as giving birth.

If you do decide to PTS it does not strike me that you will have let this little dog down at all. With the situation being as you describe (incontinent, blind, mentally infirm) it sounds to me like you are doing the opposite. You are making the hard decisions with the dog's best interests at heart right when he needs you the most. May all dogs be so lucky.

CollyWombles Wed 19-Dec-18 11:43:30

Thank you everyone, I haven't had my JRT since a puppy however, I adopted him when he was 10, so I have had him four years. I will wait and see what happens over the coming months. Thank you for being so kind and understanding.

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bobstersmum Wed 19-Dec-18 12:21:00

My beloved jrt started to deteriorate at 14. Firstly was just deaf. We lucky knew because he no longer went mad at the postman. Then the following year he started zoning out, he'd be stood there, staring at nothing, then he'd close his eyes and go wobbly then fall over. The vet said was probably dementia, he was given some tablets that made no difference. Then he started pacing, endlessly pacing for no purpose. Again the vet said he was confused. I asked if he could be in pain and was told he seemed OK! At the very end he was just turning 17 and he started struggling to go up the stairs, he'd get halfway then lose his balance and on one occasion he fell back down. By this time he'd started to soil himself and I'd come home after a short trip out to poo all over the kitchen that he'd trodden in as he paced. We were devastated but we decided it was time. It was the hardest thing ever but it was the kindest thing by far. Looking back I am so guilty that we let him go on so long, he had no dignity left at all.
Please don't let your dog get like this.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Wed 19-Dec-18 20:20:24

JRTs do have a reputation for having a good life expectancy. The trouble is that for some, the mind fails before the body does.

Most who have ever wandered around a geriatric ward or care home have come across people in equivalent situations. I only hope euthanasia is an option for me if I get to that stage, even if my body is still technically healthy.

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