I have a dog (Lucy)
And 2 cats (Jasmine and Pepper)
Lucy is a rescue. We got her a few years ago when she was 7 months old. She has been difficult, to say the least. She had massive separation anxiety when we first got her. She barked and whined loudly and incessantly the entire time we were out of the house. We seriously felt trapped in the house by our dog. We live in an apartment so we couldn't just leave her to bark. We either had to take her to doggy day care or go places that we could take her with us. It took a long time, but finally with some Prozac and tedious training ( leaving the house for 1 minute, then 5, then 10, gradually increasing until she didnt bark anymore) we are able to leave her at home alone. She still is anxious about us leaving, but she doesn't bark anymore. She has a ton of other anxieties, as well. The biggest problem we now have is that she is terrified of kids. She barks and puts her tail between her legs if she sees a kid down the block when we are walking her. She hasn't been aggressive, she generally wants to get far away from the kids, but she has a scary bark and it can be scary for kids. We didn't know this when we got her. We actually went up to families at the dog adoption to see how she was around kids. She was shy, but seemed fine. We now know she was too scared to even bark at that adoption. Our hope is that she will be fine with our kids because she will be living with them and be used to them, but I feel like that is naive. I'm not sure I could ever really trust her with them. And what happens when they want to have friends over?
They are, let's say...challenging.
The cats are 12 years old and I got them when they were tiny kittens. I adopted them together but they are from different litters. They get along for the most part, but like all sisters, they sometimes fight. Jasmine is definitely the bully and weighs nearly twice as much as Pepper. Over the years they have become more and more stressed. It's mostly because we leave town so much. Most of the time only one of us is gone, but sometimes we're both gone and we have friends and pet sitters check in on them everyday. The cats don't like this and show their displeasure by pooping everywhere. They do not like these disruptions to their lives. When we got the dog a few years ago they started peeing on things. We thought they would eventually adjust, but they haven't. Pepper growls and hisses at Lucy anytime she gets too close. So, we are constantly playing referee to keep all the animals away from each other and making sure stuff is put away so it doesn't get peed on. Now they are peeing on baby stuff. Any of you who have cats know that you cannot get rid of cat pee smell. So, we have had to throw out some things and having twins is expensive enough without having to replace stuff that the cats pee on. Now we have to keep the swings and car seats in the nursery with the door closed anytime we aren't home to supervise. It adds an extra layer of work to an already chaotic time with twins. It doesn't help that we don't know which cat is doing it or if it's both. I take responsibility for the cats being unhappy. They didn't used to be like this. We haven't been paying as much attention to them as we should and I don't see how that is going to change anytime soon.
So now we are debating whether we should find new homes for the cats, the dog, or all of them. I feel like an asshole for even thinking of this. I would love for Paige and Riley to grow up with pets and if I get rid of these pets I feel like I am disqualified from getting other pets later on. The fact is, the cats are unhappy and would probably thrive in a different environment. Lucy isn't the right dog for our family no matter how much I want her to be. We have come a long way with helping Lucy and I'm not sure what else we can do. I can't get her past her fear of kids or her distrust of strangers. It breaks my heart to give them up, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like the best solution for everyone. I want the animals to be happy and we can't give them what they need. We aren't the right home for them anymore.
Anyone have any advice? I'm not sure what else to do.