Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm preemptively cringing at the emails I'm going to get

I haven't blogged much about the dogs, because I'm not sure what to say. As far as the accidents indoors, we've pretty much remedied it. We have absolutely no rugs in the bathrooms or kitchens, since that seems to be the root of the problem. Last week when it was raining nonstop I put a towel down to wipe their paws and within an hour Murray had peed all over it. It is frustrating, but I live without bathroom rugs and I tossed the kitchen rug in the trash because Murray wouldn't stop peeing on it. The front hall rug is the same, but I refuse to get rid of it and just watch him like a hawk. I keep them out of the carpeted basement, and I occasionally clean up messes in the living room and dining room.

Although it isn't a perfect situation, I consider the retraining a relative success because the vast majority of the time I live without indoor accidents. I still feel frustrated, though, because Murray dislikes Gabe and Gabe finds the two dogs irresistible so I spend a good chunk of the day yelling at either the dogs or Gabe. For a while I was locking the dogs in the kitchen to prevent the chasing, but lately I've been trying to keep the dogs in their bed and Gabe away from the dogs. It's hard and Gabe gets sent to time out several times a day for bothering the dogs, but it is the best I can manage right now.

Josh on the other hand, continues to be anti-dogs. He is perpetually annoyed by their behavior (because truthfully, they don't listen anymore), he hates cleaning up after them, feeding them, and is exhausted from the constant correcting. It is a source of friction between us and we seem to be constantly arguing about the dogs, to the point that I banished them as a topic of conversation because it is stressing me out too much.

I'm not sure what the solution is, because as I said to him today only half-jokingly, I feel like the dogs are going to drive us to divorce. I have taken over the vast majority of the dog responsibilities, but he continues to feel angry and exhausted by the few responsibilities that fall to him.

Bottom line, he wants to get rid of them. I don't. Or at least, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt over the fact that we made a commitment to these dogs who played a huge part in our lives up until we had kids. I cannot believe we are becoming THOSE people. I never thought I would ever consider getting rid of the dogs, but this is where we are. If it were up to me, I would keep them and deal with the annoyance and the frustration, but I can't keep fighting with my husband over this. It is too exhausting.

I'm not sure what we'll do, since the idea of not having them is surreal. One thought is to beg my parents to keep them for a few months until we get past this whole house-selling, possibly moving, very young baby and toddler, crisis mode we are living in, and in the meantime we reevaluate. Maybe at the end of this little trial separation Josh will decide the dogs aren't as much work as he thought, maybe he won't. Maybe my parents will love having the dogs (doubt it), maybe they won't. At least we won't have this constant source of conflict for a little while.

Ugh, it is a horrible situation and I feel like such a shitty dog owner for letting it come to this, but I'm at my wit's end.


Maribeth said...

Ok, take a deep breath. You are in the middle of a high stress time. I've had them too. With 4 dogs and a husband who had a stroke, there have been days I have stood in my living room and said, "It is all too much!"
Here is the prescription from Dackel Princess.
Use your kitchen and the gates to keep the puppers contained. Put their beds in there, their food, etc. But have gates where they cannot get out and the kids can't get in.
Then look for a house that you can easily fence in the yard. Giving the dogs an outside area, in a fenced in yard for running and working off their energy. Be prepared to do the poop scooping so the kids can also play, (or separate the area the kids will play in from the doggy poop area.)
The kids will grow and if you calmly teach them to treat animals with respect they will be better people for it.
Good Luck!

Sugar & Spice said...

We were terrible dog owners. We had 2 small dogs when our older daughter was born. They were not good with kids. We tried it for a few months but when one jumped up and bit my 5 month old baby for just sitting on my lap. I knew it wasn't going to work. I never wanted to put my dog in a situation where she would really hurt that baby and she would have she was known for bitting kids/adults.

For a long time I felt really bad about it. They were our first babies but they are happier now than they would have been staying with us and being nervous all the time.

It's a hard choice and no one wants to be that "dog owner" but you have to do what's best for your family and the dogs.

Summer said...

Could you FedEx the dogs to Cesar Milan?

I'm only half joking. If you could find someone who would board your dogs for a few months and in that time do some intensive retraining of the dogs, that would be perfect.

You might want to consider calling a rescue group -- it seems like all breeds have a rescue group specific to that breed -- and explain your situation, and see if they have any suggestions. I'm sure that any rescue group would rather talk to you now, before you get to the point of taking the dogs to an animal shelter. They may have someone who would be able to foster your dogs for a while, or they may just have some breed-specific tips that will make living with them easier, like Maribeth's excellent suggestions.

But if it comes down to the fact that you have a dog who simply does not like children, then you would be doing everyone a favor to find the dog a new home without children. As long as you place your dog responsibly, in a safe and loving home, you should not feel guilty about it. I had to find a new home for a dog once -- the dog we had when I first got pregnant was very aggressive, and would not have been safe to have around a baby. We were able to find him a more appropriate home. It felt terrible to have to give up the dog, but we knew we made the right decision, and it wound up working out well for us, the dog, and his new owner.

Ninotchka said...

I hope you find a workable solution for all of you. We were THOSE people but worse. We had a large lab in an apartment when we weren't supposed to, got caught, sent the dog to my parents "temporarily" and he ended up living out his life with them through their second divorce, various moves with me trying to find him a better home several times to take the responsibility (that they never asked for) out of their hands, etc. But here's the kicker: We got Charlie in between all of that, after we bought our house. Our old dog was notorious for not liking children which is why we didn't take him back. I thought we might be able to work with him, Guy was dead set against it. It caused friction but mostly a lot of guilt on my part. See? You're not the only one. Fuerte abrazo! Hang in there, mama.

Chatty Cricket said...

Well, there's the guilt which I totally understand, but then there's the flip side of being fair to the dogs.

When I was pregnant with Lady, and we had the nephews and we saw how very much Lovey HATED the nephews, we got a little nervous about how he'd do with Lady. During the course of one conversation with my Mom, she offered to take Lovey for us in order to keep everyone happy, in the event that Lovey hated Lady as much as the nephews.

Fortunately, Lady was a baby who did not move for at least a long enough time for Lovey to check her out and decide she was fine to keep and they actually developed a nice bond and Lovey has accepted OUR children as his own yadda yadda.

Though it broke my heart to consider giving Lovey to my parents and I immediately told my Mom Absolutely NOT, I did keep it in the back of my mind as an option. It seemed like the best option for a dog who (potentially) disliked the kid in the house, to be gifted over to a house where he'd be the king and given all sorts of attention.

Aside from the poop in the house and the peeing on the rugs which are typical pet issues, I think the bigger point to consider is their happiness. If Murray doesn't get along with Gabe, and they are constantly being banished to their bed, then what kind of a life is that for the dogs?

I have lots of friends who have had to find a new home for their pets once kids come along. Better to consider the dogs' needs than not.

Rev Dr Mom said...

No advice, just sympathy. It's sort of like trying to blend a step-family when the kids don't all get along!

I'm trying to decide whether to get a puppy (just blogged about it) and it's good to be reminded of some of the pee and poop in the house potentially!

Good luck; I know it is all stressful.

My Wombinations said...

Do what you need to do, N. Nobody will blame you if you can't make it with the pups and anyone who would is a judgmental lame-o:) Seriously, though, I came home today from kickboxing/Sam's art class to a pile of wet, slimy dog poop that I then smeared all over with the door. I still had to feed both kids, get them down for their naps and wash Sam's sheets and lovey after an accident. I wanted to cry and was snapping at Sam b/c of it.

NOT worth the stress. If I did not think Rob would divorce me if I tried, Rocky would be halfway to the glue factory. Seriously.

liz said...

I second the separating the dogs/kids suggestion and giving the dogs a safe space where the kids are not allowed to go for a while. I would also talk to your vet about the situation and ask for recommendations for a trainer who has experience in retraining dogs experiencing difficulty adapting to the advent of children.

This also may be an issue because of the fact that your kids are in diapers and are thus "marking" the areas where you change their diapers.

Angie said...

Do you have a fenced backyard or kennel area where they can go out during most of the day? I put my little poodles out each morning when I feed them and leave them out to nap in the sun or chase whatever comes to the fence line. They run around until they are exhausted. I don't have to keep remembering to keep the 3 yr old away from the dogs and the dogs can't relieve themselves in my house. I, too, have a rug that seems to draw one of the dogs attn and as long as I keep it off the floor I have no accidents from this male.

Anonymous said...

Please change your 'Hallowe'en' theme! Very old, very boring. Forces me to skip over your blog!