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.