My favorite folks ! :)

05 January 2010

NO Pets!

Some folks have no business owning pets.

My in-laws put down their dog this last weekend. He was elderly, about 13 years old. My ILs have been married almost 8 years. Duane's step-dad loved that dog, but my MIL did not.

The problem started a while ago. For a time my FIL was away half the month, one week on & one week off, & the dog missed him alot. Now he is away indefinitely. He has been home for Christmas & New Years, but he didn't know until the last minute he'd be home. We don't know when he'll be home again.

The dog, his name was Bear, used to be his constant companion. Bear used to have run of the house & got a lot of attention. Starting last summer he was banished outdoors & not allowed inside. Now that it is colder at night, he's been allowed in the house but only on a small rug in the hall. He isn't - wasn't - allowed in the living room or the kitchen or upstairs where he used to sleep. He no longer had anyone, except me occasionally & sometimes my BIL, giving him any attention. I've known for a while that the dog was depressed.

Last weekend, his master, my FIL was home. He was again given attention. My ILs went to church Sunday AM & the dog went wild. He tore up the screens on the back sliding doors, He scratched & damaged the glass doors. Then he chewed up the wooden gate & got out & wandered the neighborhood. He was brought home & my BIL kept him in the house. Bear went upstairs & lay by the bed on my FIL's side. He wanted his master home.

And so, my irate MIL had the dog put down.

Two days later she is still irate. "Why would he do such a thing?" she asked today.

"He was lonely." I responded, & then she was angry with ME.

"We fed him! Scott was here! He wasn't lonely! We gave him food!"

What could i say? There was nothing to say to that. She doesn't understand. The dog had been depressed for several months. When his beloved master came home & then went away he became desperate. It is not a suprise to me that poor Bear "went wild." It seems entirely predictable.

She has disliked poor Bear for some time. He shed a lot & she had to clean up after him. She told me a couple of years ago that he'd fallen into the pool & she considered letting him drown, tho she did not. I am very, very sad about this, for i feel that Bear didn't deserve to be treated so. But i'm glad, in a way, that he is gone for if she treated him poorly before i hate to think of how she would treat him now. Things would not have improved for the poor dog. My FIL could not have taken him with him to the jobsite, & my MIL would have hated him more & treated him even worse.

He didn't deserve this.

I could discuss the difference in the way dogs live now vs. 100 years ago, but there is no point. We've created pets to be companion animals & they want to be with the people who own them. It is cruel to treat them well & give them attention & then at a later date remove that love & attention. To such an animal, used to human love & attention, "giving them food" is not enough.

Bear with Grandma in the summer of 2007.

P.S. - i'm very thankful there will be no more pets in that house. My MIL doesn't want them. She's been calling Bear "the last dog" for a while now.



Meadowlark said...

I suck. To me, dogs are still farm animals. Period. No animals on the couch, no animals on the bed, no people food.

I know it sounds harsh, but maybe look at it this way, just for another point of view: Just because your FIL loved the dog does not mean that your MIL does or even HAS TO. I'm not sure that what she did (not the putting down part) was actually MEAN to the dog... dogs have lived outside for years and done just fine. While I think putting him down because he tore up the house was excessive, at what point should the person to whom the dog is attached - the person that the dog "lives for" - leave and put somebody else in the position of being "surrogate parent".

I know I'm not describing this correctly, but it's kinda like cats... my husband could have a cat and love the cat and live for time with the cat, but if Husband were to be gone all the time, nothing but nothing would make me a cat person. I'd feed it, make sure it had water, but play with it? Give it cat belly rubs? Probably not happening. I just plain don't like cats.

I guess I still am not saying it right but maybe your MIL has never been a dog person and maybe, without you guys knowing it, Bear has been a bone of contention between the two of them for years. Maybe it's just. too. much.

Anyway, you can delete. I just wanted to throw that out there.

And yes, when our 13 year old dog had a stroke, I had him put down. And now that my mom's 14 year old dog has lost control of it's bodily functions, I'd do the same. I'm sorry that I'm a farm girl, but I am. Hope you don't hate me. And I am sorry you're sad. At least she didn't take him out to the country and say "oops, he got lost".


lisa said...

I am not going to say what is wrong or right because that is not my place. If it would of been me, I would of tried to find a good home for him and if I couldn't I would of taken him to the pound. I love dogs and they are aloud in my house!

Kathryn said...

Meadowlark (do i know your name? i visit your blog), i don't hate you. And i understand your point of view. My own family were farm folk from south central KY & north central TN & i was raised with cattle, sheep & goats as well as outdoor dogs & cats in western MT.

Sometimes i just want to protest the world, i guess, because it seems so unfair. I have had animals put down when necessary. I've also had them die naturally. When you are attached there is no easy way to lose someone/some pet. It simply seems unfair that this loving dog was treated in such a way when he was so distressed.

Lisa, we didn't find out until after the fact, & so taking him or finding him a home wasn't an option. Frankly, with so many folks losing their homes & giving their pets to shelters, it is hard to find a home for an older dog. Most of the shelters around here are high kill shelters & have a problem placing most of their animals. I don't know if we (Duane & i) could have provided a home for Bear, but the point is moot now.

Amrita said...

Oh my goodness Kathryn, I feel like crying after reading this, I would never recover if this happened to my precious Sheeba.

I can 't think of marrying a man who wouldn 't accept my Sheeba.

My cousin had a dog who was the 'apple of his eye ', but after marriage his wife disliked her and they treated her almost like you MIL. But they did not put her down - but gave her away to a servant. I don 't know how that poor dog faired.But I think it was gross injustice to the poor animal. I can 't understand how people can do this,.

I still cry for my Jimmy who died 3 years ago.

Rosemary said...

I guess I'm a bleeding heart because I don't think she treated Bear right and he didn't deserve to be treated this way.

Okay, an animal is an animal - does not have the qualities of a human - okay, I get that. BUT, I believe man has been entrusted to be caretakers of the earth and for that, we are to show kindness to the lesser creatures of this world. That means, to me, that we don't treat animals cruelly (whether it is ignoring a family pet, beating a mule, or pulling wings off a butterfly) and we are respectful of what animals provide for us (food, clothing, etc). We don't waste or abuse our resources. MIL obviously didn't want to give any attention to this poor little Bear and resented the loved your FIL gave him. I'm really sorry and if someone hates me for having an opinion, I don't give a flip. This pisses me off royally. I have a cat I adopted from a rescue because her former owners didn't want anymore because she wasn't a cute little kitten. And the parents let the kids decide this, all I can say is - great, and you supported this? Wait until they pack you off to the old folks' home because you aren't CUTE or useful anymore. We need to stop being so frickin disposable in our world and accept that things get older, need more attention, and need to be taken care of. I have seen farmers love and take good care of their animals, so I don't want to hear the excuse that it's a farmer way of thinking. BS

Meadowlark said...

just checking but surely you didn't think that I was saying that farmers DON'T take good care of their animals??? I simply said that farmers who have WORKING DOGS see them as exactly that... working dogs. Not pampered house pets who sleep on the furniture and eat people scraps and challenge the order of the pack. I hope you were able to see that in what I wrote.

And as far as my old dog having a stroke, I feel that when I start asking myself "well, what would I do if this was a PERSON..." then I've crossed a line that just doesn't work for ME. Not for anybody else.

I've never been cruel to an animal, our current dog is a rescue dog and she lives in the house after work hours and has her own bed and knows her place within the pack and is quite content with that.

Anyway, I just wanted to check.


Kathryn said...

I guess what i'm saying, is that when anyone - human or animal - is used to certain conditions, having that removed can be very cruel, especially if the human or animal isn't able to comprehend the change.

Farm dogs are farm dogs & if that is all they have known they are content. They help the people during the day & then retire to the warmth of the barn. That is what they know. Many of them probably wouldn't respond well to being made into house dogs.

And vice versa. Dogs that have known living in the house & having a lot of attention (i'm not talking about sleeping on the bed or furniture but just being companion animals) are used to that. When removed from the situation or having the situation changed (such as an elderly dog suddenly banished & deprived of company), the dog is going to have problems.

I'm not talking about a farm animal vs. a house pet & which is better. I'm saying that removing affection & situation from an animal (or human for that matter) is going to require an adjustment that the animal (or human) might not be able to manage.

And that,, i feel, is cruel.

Rosemary said...

@Meadow, I understand now more your point of view. I wasn't saying farmers are mean to their animals and I do understand the concept of a working animal. Again, it's how they are treated and working animals are miserable if they aren't working.

What I think (and maybe Kathryn articulates if far better than I do) is that when an animal has been a companion that taking it so far out of its comfort zone by banishing it, ignoring it, etc., does seem cruel. I agree that when an animal is rapidly going downhill and the quality of their life is painful, then it is a kindness to get them put down. But out of convenience, nyah.

Peace to you too, I don't think we're on two separate pages, we just express our points differently. Sorry if I came off strident, if you see my other comments over here you see I'm far from that. :-)

Meadowlark said...

Thanks Rosemary!
I think Kathryn, you did such a great job in your last comment... it really got me looking at things in a bit different light.

That is yet another reason I love the bloggy world - it challenges us to think outside our boundaries.

Peace to you all.

Land of shimp said...

Hello, checking in late.

The thing for me, Kathryn, is that I think your father-in-law truly was the person who failed poor Bear, not your mother-in-law. She didn't offer love, and withdraw it. She made her feelings known about having a dog -- although I deeply question why any person on the face of this Earth would consider letting a living creature drown because they are inconvenient -- and your FIL likely should have found Bear a new home as soon as he realized he could not be there for his dog any longer. Forcing your MIL into being the caretaker of a pet she clearly, clearly did not want is not right either. Just as clearly, she didn't deserve the dog...because again, that pool incident is very telling about the worth she placed in the poor dog.

The only creature out of the three in this who is blameless is the dog, who only knew that he was once loved, and then was not. Bear was just being a dog.

Ultimately though, I find it hard to blame your mother-in-law for simply not wanting the dog. She never loved him, that's clear, she had no obligation to him born of love, although I think she spectacularly failed in the obligation of sheer decency that we all have. It was your FIL who had taken on Bear, encouraged him to love him, and then left him in the care of someone who did not want a pet. I don't like your MIL's attitude, but she is well within her rights to not want a pet. Better that than the seemingly endless people who have pets simply to mistreat them.

One of our dogs, Angus, was a Scottie rescued from a similar situation. Angus (not his name when we got him, we changed it) was a wonderful, loving, dog and he was quite loved by his master, but his master's wife hated Angus. She lock him in the bathroom for the twelve hours a day her husband was at work, then she'd beat the poor dog because he soiled his little prison.

One day, she decided that the dog must be put to sleep, and Angus's master went along with this. Luckily for Angus, my dog groomer was a certified rescue worker and intervened, talking the husband into signing release papers to put him up for adoption, rather than allowing him to be put to sleep (the vet tasked with putting him to sleep, called the groomer).

The groomer called me and begged me to take Angus. We did, and we loved him tremendously, right up until the day he died. But a few days after he came to live with us, his master tried to get him back. He was told he couldn't, he'd released custody of Angus to the rescue agency. The man hired a lawyer, and thankfully since the groomer was certified, she had had him sign legally binding documents, otherwise poor Angus might have been yanked from the only good home he ever had.

Whenever I tell that story, everyone focuses in on how horrible, heinous, and cruel the wife was....and lord knows she was...but I always put more blame on the man who claimed to love him. He claimed to love poor, beaten Angus, but he did so in an entirely selfish manner. It didn't matter to him if Angus was beaten and mistreated throughout the day, as long as he got to see him at the end of that day.

I'm not trying to slam your FIL, but he's the one that I think really fell down in responsibility to Bear. He loved Bear, your MIL never did.