Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pets


I have a dog (Lucy)


And 2 cats (Jasmine and Pepper)



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. 

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? 

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. 


14 comments:

  1. What a difficult decision! I'm so sorry you have to make a tough choice. We've never had pets, but I've been really begging for a dog recently. My husband doesn't want one because we're so busy and we're gone from home so much. I know he's right, and the poor dog would just be neglected. I hope you can find the best possible option and be at peace with your decision for your family.

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  2. This sucks, Jen. It's so hard to think about getting rid of your pets...I got rid of my cat when M moved in with me because he's so badly allergic, and I never got over the guilt of it. But my parents took him in, and it was always nice coming to visit them because I knew I could visit my cat too. Is there a relative or close friend that could take one or all of them? That way you could still see them and know they're being taken care of.

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  3. Aw this must be so hard! About Lucy- think about all you HAVE done for her... You rescued her and now you can help in finding the right home for her, you know? I don't have cats so I don't have any advice there. I do think, though, that when the time is right you could get another pet... One that is right for your life at the time :). XO

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  4. As hard as it is, I think you have to do what's right for your family and what's right for your pets. If they're miserable, keeping them out of a sense of guilt isn't helping anyone. I hope you can find good homes for them and, like Aramis suggested, maybe still be able to check in on them to see them happy and thriving with their new families. Good luck!

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  5. Many years ago I was faced with a similar decision . We had purchased a labradoodle and while she was a sweet dog , she had sever people anxiety and we lived in NYC. She would get stresses and have major bouts of stomach issues. Would offen require medication and hydration from the vet. When we traveled she stayed with a dog sitter out of the sitter and was never sick. Finally it occurred to me that while I loved her and the kids adored her ( they were 1-3) we were not the right family fit. I asked the dog sitter and she agreed to take her and she's been the healthiest dog for the past 10 years. A few years later we got another family pet and it's been smooth sailing. I had an enormous amount of guilt at the time but it was the best decision for both of us.

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  6. Shoot, Jenn. This is such a hard thing to consider. Our fur babies are so important when going through infertility. I can only imagine how hard this must be for you. Hugs

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  7. I have peeing issues with my cats and put them on antidepressants -they stopped peeing and seem more mellow. Ask your vet about it!

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  8. I'm so sorry Jen. I have no advice for you and feel terrible knowing you have to make a decision like that. I have no idea what I would do in your situation but it's very clear to me that you love them all and want the best for everyone. Good luck with your search for the right answer.

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  9. People like you are just plain assholes. How are you going to rehome pets with issues? Have you talked to vets or trainers to help remedy these problems?

    You are one of THOSE people who want pets in their life until they get the human babies and then you toss them out with the bath water.

    Pets are for life - not when it's convenient for you. Hope your children treat you the same way when you are old and inconvenient to deal with!

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  10. First of all, it's apparent that "Anonymous" is a total asshole. Pets are important, but kids are more important. PERIOD.

    I agree with all above comments (except for the asshole one) and think you need to do what's best for your family. Allergies are rampant in my family, and I have a real fear that it will be an issue when Molly is born. It goes without saying that her needs and health come first.

    It also sounds like you are dealing with this the absolute correct way. Some people would just dump off their pets at the SPCA at the first sign of conflict, or worse, just leave them on the side of the road. I mean, at least you're weighing your options and making an effort to find your pets a new home. Clearly you care for them, even if you are no longer the right fit.

    Plus, if your pets are unhappy in their situation, then you're correct that the best course of action is to find them a better one. That's the compassionate solution! Good luck. I know you'll make the right call.

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  11. My sister and I do kitten rescue and raise and adopt out 40-50 kittens per yer. Here is the reality. NO ONE will take the cats. I'm not trying to be mean, and I totally agree that your family is the first priority. But you need to find a solution for the cats that keeps them with you because no one wants a cat that pees on things. One possible option is to create a safe outdoor area for them with warm, waterproof houses and lots of climbing things. Look at drsfosterandsmith.com for a number of outdoor options, including large mesh, double-decker containment homes and heated houses. Another option, if your backyard is already fenced, is a product called Fence-In, out of Sparks, NV, that makes it almost impossible for the cats to get out and for other creatures to get in. (http://www.catfencein.com/) Their customer support is fantastic and they will help you every step of the way. The cats can then come into the home when you are ready to play with them and supervise their potty behavior. Really, it's sort of like providing a good environment for the tiger at the zoo, and it can be done safely for all.

    The dog may be possible to find another home for since it sounds like he would work well in a home with adults or a family with older teens. Contact the various rescue groups in your area (you can start with PetFinders.com to find the rescue groups). It may take a while, especially since we are all getting puppies and kittens coming fast and furious, but the dog rescue groups will understand the issue and you just need to find the right person to work with.

    I hope all works well for your family and the animals, and please adopt another pet when you are ready and you find a cat or dog that will work for your family.

    Jeanette
    jeanette1ca2004 at yahoo dot com

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  12. I have to assume that Jeannette is not the same anonymous commenter from above, because that person is just a jerk. I don't have pets, so have no advice, except that you have to do what is right for your family. If you can find good homes for your pets, who's to say that isn't the best solution for your pets as well as for you and the babies. I know even the thought of re-homing your pets is difficult for you. I hope the best solution presents itself to you soon, if it hasn't already.

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  13. News flash Amber - PETS ARE FAMILY!! They aren't "for now" or "until we have kids"....they are feelings and love their humans. How would you like to be "rehomed" because it's not convenient for you to live in the only home you've ever known?

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    1. Funny you ask that actually. My sister and I WERE "rehomed" as children (she was 8 and I was a teenager) and it was the very best thing for us

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