Monday, September 03, 2007

Puppy Dilemma

Today the puppies arrived along with my uncle, his wife and daughter, and my other uncle. When we explained that no one had asked us if we were willing to care for puppies, my uncle started yelling and threatening to call the police. I told him it was fine with me if he wanted to call the cops, but we weren't going to be taking care of puppies. My second uncle stepped in and tried to say it wouldn't be so bad to care for them and that it's grandma's house, she has a right to get them if she wants. At that point Beorn and I decided to get out of the house and went to dinner.

The problem is, Grandma has the mind of a two year old. She regularly pees her pants and doesn't have the sense to change them afterwards. She would eat herself into a diabetic coma if we let her. There is no way that she can take care of those puppies. They just aren't appropriate for her.

Jack Russell Terriers are fox hunting dogs. They are extremely smart and energetic and so go crazy with boredom if they aren't given enough exercise. Here are some quotes off the web:

"Jack Russell Terriers can be difficult to deal with because they are true hunting dogs. They should be kept on leash when in rural/country areas, because if they take off after a ground squirrel or other quarry, they will not hesitate to dig and go underground. Terriers have been known to stay underground with their quarry for days, with no food or water."

"The majority of dogs (in Russell Rescue) are unwanted simply for being Jack Russells by nature and behavior," according to a pamphlet provided by the group. "Owners often find that they were unprepared for the care required for this feisty terrier and did not understand the nature of the breed and their instinctive desire to hunt."

"Like most terriers, the Jack Russell is a digger and a barker; if not given enough opportunity to indulge these inclinations outside, he may dig holes in the furniture and bark at everything that moves."

"Jack Russells who are not trained on a consistent basis, or are not exercised regularly, may occasionally exhibit aggressive or unmanageable behaviour, including excessive barking, escaping from the yard, or digging in unwanted places inside and outside the house. In America, several Jack Russell rescue networks have to work constantly to find temporary and permanent homes for JRTs whose owners could not meet these requirements for keeping JRTs as house pets."

We told my uncle that we weren't going to be caring for the puppies, but they left them here anyway, so the question is now what do we do? I don't think it's fair to the dogs to simply leave them here and not take care of them, but I don't want my uncle to think he can get away with that kind of crap. Options I have thought of so far...

1. Beorn and I find a new place to live and move out.
2. We inform my relatives that they are going to have to find someone else to care for the puppies, particularly on the weekends when we are the only ones here to watch grandma. If they don't take care of it we find the puppies a new home.
3. We let the puppies remain here, but make sure they stay in the dog run and have food and water.
4. We find the puppies a new home, and then when someone asks what happened to them we say, "we have no idea, they must have run away."

If the puppies stay here the best case scenario is that they grow up to be annoying, untrained brats, more likely in my estimation is that they run away or get run over. Just to be clear, there is no fence around the property and cars regularly speed down the road at 70+ mph.


Anonymous said...

oh dear. first, i am sorry about your grandma. and i can't believe your uncle. i say find them a new home and tell people who ask either the truth or they ran away.

Leslie M-B said...

I vote for #1 and #4, but in reverse order. You're being horribly taken advantage of--poor living conditions (hello--mold!) and working as largely unpaid caretakers.

The puppies situation just totally shows how much your uncles don't get the situation at all.

Leslie M-B said...

Rereading your post, I get so damn mad. Calling the police on you? Seriously, you could call the SPCA on your uncle.

Fang Bastardson said...

Give me a hard one next time: Option #4. "Dogs? What dogs do you speak of?"

Mrs. Coulter said...

Oh god, what a horrible situation. Jack Russell Terriers are wonderful little dogs, but everything you write about them is true: they need a lot of care and activity. Sometimes people think that because a dog is small, it's unobtrusive, but my experience is exactly the reverse: the smaller the dog, the bigger the personality and the needs. Caring for those dogs is going to be a lot of work, and it's going to be entirely on you.

I'm wondering if maybe you have another option: to tell your uncle that you can't take care of two very active puppies, but perhaps you might be willing to take care of an older, more mellow dog (say, an adult and trained retriever, for example).

But if you don't think that's possible, I'm with Trillwing: go for #4, followed by #1.

wil said...

What a crap situation. FWIW, I vote for #1 & #4 as well.

Alanna Kellogg said...

Aiii, dear. I've been there. When my Dad and I were doing hospice for my mother, SHE wanted a puppy. Now she was doing it as a 'gift' for my Dad, she knew he'd need and want a dog when she was gone, we all needed the laughs during a hard time. And then my dad, long a dog person, came to me and said, Please don't get a puppy. I can't take care of your mother AND a new dog, let alone a puppy.

And so it was.

And here, it isn't the breed of dog. It's any dog. It's that they're puppies and need care and attention and training and love and walks and feeding and ... it's too much. You can't take care of your grandmother AND two puppies.

Your uncle needs a serious talking to. And if he isn't willing to take the dogs back (or if you're not able/willing to confront him), then ask for help: will neighbors or friends take the dogs NOW and take responsibility to find them good homes? Or find a Jack Russell rescue group, they'll take them. Otherwise, take them to the local pound. They'll be adopted out in an instant.

But you've got your grandmother and as it's clear, plenty.

May you find laughs -- without a puppy -- during this difficult time. It can happen. But it doesn't take a puppy.

Breena Ronan said...

Thanks for all the support folks. I agree with Mrs. Coulter, I would be fine with caring for an older pound dog if my grandma really wanted a companion. The problem is that my uncles didn't ask us what would be appropriate. I don't think they even did any research on the breed.