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Topic Dad's Dog Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By WitsEnd On 2009.01.07 16:35
It's been up and down for the past couple of months with dad. When he got out of the hospital I thought the end had come. He bounced back for awhile though, started urinating without the cathither again, resumed eating and sitting up in a wheelchair.

He doesn't want to go to his room anymore. He prefers to sit in the personal care dining room. The past couple of weeks he's been going downhill a lot again. He now has a bad cough that won't go away.

The dementia has gotten so bad that I can't leave his beloved dog Molly with him at the personal care home anymore. It's as hard a decision for me as taking the truck keys away was, but he hit her quite hard on the head the last time I took her for a visit and he's just so far into the dementia now that the time has come. Most of the time he doesn't even recognize people and he isn't able to communicate much. He's seems lost in the past or in activities that only he knows.

I got Molly's heart condition stabilized. She is gaining wait and is living with me and my 3 dogs. She will have to have heart medicines for the rest of her life which will probably be shorter than most dogs given her enlarged heart. (BTW I appreciated the suggestion to check her thyroid--I did just that and it was okay.)

Molly spent most of her life glued between the chair arm of the recliner and dad's leg and has separation anxiety when left alone even for short periods. She wants to be with people. When she is left alone (even with my three dogs) she drools big puddles. Otherwise she is a terrific dog and follows instructions better than most people.

I work full time and haven't been able to find anyone in the Houston area who would be willing to adopt her and give her the love and care mom and dad did--especially spending lots of time with her. I've been told that because she is a little over 10 years old and an older dog with medical issues to have "good luck" with finding a home but to plan on keeping her.

Frankly between my surgery, my job and dealing with dad's issues, dealing with dad's dog medical condition for awhile there seemed like the straw that was going to break the camel's back. It's not as bad now, but I feel so sorry for little Molly because she lost her "person" too. She's bound to be confused when she jumped up in his lap and he hit her. When I am at home with her and my other dogs she has this "lost" look in her eyes as though she can't figure out where she belongs anymore. She only seems partially content when she is laying on the chair next to me with some part of her touching me.

My neighbors who watch my 3 dogs think Molly (#4) is just too much and I'm not going to be able to get them to pet sit for me anymore. That's going to be a real problem. I really need Molly a new person who can be home most of the day with her.

If anybody knows of anybody who is home a lot and would be interested in adopting Molly (a Jack Russell terrier), please let me know. I've already tried Best Friends and Jack Russell rescue. I don't have the heart to take her to a shelter or have her put to sleep. I also don't have time to put up signs, do web postings and try and "market her" to get her adopted when I've basically been told that's a one in a million long shot anyway. There's just not enough hours in the day. If you know anyone who would want to be Molly's new "person" I'd really like to hear about them. If not, please say a prayer that with time she will adjust and I can find some neighbors or friends who don't mind pet sitting four dogs--including one that drools.

And in any event....thanks for just listening.

By annwood On 2009.01.07 22:21
I don't know that this topic has been introduced before. In all that happens with PD we sometimes forget about those faithful creatures who don't care how we behave as long as we are with them. My husband had a black lab that stayed with him at all times. They had such a bond. The two weeks before my husband died Beau would stay under his bed. Periodically he would bring his dog toys in and lay them on the bed. He looked so forlorn when he got no response from his master. After he died Beau went through a period of grief and a year later he is still a different dog. He is still very clingy and now is with me at every step. He looks sad and he is only 4 yrs old.

I don't know what to tell you about Molly. As you have said a 10yr old dog with significant medical and psychological issues will be almost impossible to place. I hope that you find a way to keep her but also know the problem of dealing with it. At the risk of angering some people it might be more humane to put her down but that is a tough decision. I had to put my beloved Lasa down last year at age 18 - it was a bad year all the way around. If you put her into a shelter I feel certain that would still happen and she would be so frightened and alone. If you put her down force yourself to stay with her and keep her calm. It is actually very peacful.
Good luck in your decision.

By lurkingforacure On 2009.01.08 19:39
OK, I would do the following. I would contact one of the rescue groups in your area that specializes in Molly's breed, in Houston, a huge city, there should be one. If not, look for a rescue group for small breeds, or terriers in general.

Tell them the situation, and ask them to either post a "courtesy listing" of Molly under their rescue name on, or surrender her to them and let them place her (this might be best since you sound like you are stretched to the max with enough to do already). You can go there and see what a great site this is, a nationwide network of pets in shelters/rescue organizations, grouped by type, sex, age, location. It is fabulous. We have used it to look for all of our pets, although not always successfully. If they will do this, they can list Molly and her story and perhaps someone with the right home situation could help.

You can always try as well, and list her yourself, for free, under their pets section. The advantage of this is that it would keep it local, and you would personally meet the folks interested in her, and maybe could perhaps get visitation rights to be sure Molly is adjusting well. This would take time, though, again, something you don't have right now.

I hope these tips help, I don't know what I would do without our dogs, especially our dane, anyone who has ever had one knows what I am talking about. The fact that he now outweighs me and can drag me across the grass on his leash, to our kids' squealing delight, only endears us more to him. They are indeed one of the family, so hopefully one of the above suggestions will help you in this difficult situation. Good luck.

By sooboo On 2009.01.08 22:02
I agree with lurkingforacure. Here is a national rescue organization.

Greater Houston Dog Rescue Groups

Here's a list of Jack Russell rescue groups nationally. Scroll down for Texas

I had a good friend that used to feed/take to the vet/rescue feral dogs in downtown Los Angeles. Whenever she would find a purebred, she would call a national rescue agency and oftentimes they would fly to L.A. to pick up the dog. Call around. There are options. People are nuts for those dogs. Even a 10 year old with health problems.

By Pick On 2009.01.11 14:31
Do you know for a fact that your local shelter euthanizes pets that can't be placed? Not all shelters do. The humane society in my state (Connecticut) has no time limit for adoption. They will not euthanize an animal unless it becomes untreatably ill or dangerously aggressive. Good luck.

By WitsEnd On 2009.01.15 13:43
Thanks so much for the ideas. I tried one of the Jack Russell rescues, but not the other. Ya'll have definitely given me some more ideas.

She still looks lost at times, but she's also having some "happy" times now where she gets excited and runs and plays with her toys. She's also drooling less most of the times. Maybe she just needed to go through her own grieving stage too.

The time dad fell before he went to the hospital they said she got close to him and curled up around his head as though she were trying to cradle his nose and head. Seeing him fall and with the dementia was probably stressful for her too. Trying to protect him was probably a lot of responsibility for a little dog.

Thanks again so much.

By annwood On 2009.01.15 14:04
I am so happy that it seems to be working out with Molly. I know that these animals grieve. They give us such unconditional love. I don't know what I would do without mine despite the fact that they have grown so used to me being here alone with them that they are truly obnoxious when anyone comes to visit. One weighs 137 lbs and thinks he is a lap dog. The other weighs 19 lbs and thinks he is a Mastif.

By Tara On 2009.01.15 21:08
Hey there.

I haven't posted in a while, mainly because classes have started this week and Dad seems to be doing fairly well (that is, no really bad problems), but also because of the brutality over the "starting a family" thread. I don't really have much time, so I'm only responding to this one and the one directed at Pick.

It's not just dogs that are intelligent and caring. Just earlier this evening, Dad was sitting in the living room, staring with rapt attention at nothing but a corner of the ceiling, which he does fairly often these days. My three parakeets, which I let fly freely around the room, were assembled on the ceiling fan above him, watching over him. They looked at me, standing behind Dad, and looked down again at Dad, then back at me. I know what they were thinking: "Are you going to make sure he's going to be okay?" (Don't tell me I'm crazy; I know better -- parakeets are extremely intelligent parrots and can communicate very effectively.) I lifted my hand in a symbolic high-five, to let them know I'm on top of it.

Just thought you all would like to hear something positive. There are moments of tenderness and love to be experienced everywhere in this world, and we only need to be open to them to experience them.

By WitsEnd On 2009.01.22 14:54
Thanks so much for the positive Tara. I think we can all use as much of that as we can get.

Annwood..that's a pretty big lap dog. The picture of that made me smile too.

It's probably going to take Molly awhile but the progress has been so encouraging. My dad always had a natural way with dogs. I picked up a little bit of that so I have to be grateful that God didn't give me a task without at least some tools to help me with it.....and I must give pretty good doggie massages. Even my neighbors' dogs greets me on their backs with tummies turned up for rubbing.

I just finished my last visit to physical therapy for the wound care from my surgery yesterday. I am so happy and grateful for that too. They were so sure it was cancer that my surgeon called the Chief of Pathology and had him double check the findings when the report came back benign.

I try and stay upbeat. Things could be so much worse. If I hadn't had someone point out how I could get VA benefits for Dad we never could have afforded the personal care home. If I hadn't been exposed to a lot of the experiences I have had I wouldn't have been able to deal with a lot of legal, financial and medical stuff either.

Before Mom died she and dad were BOTH in the hospital at the same time. The hospital made a mistake and submitted claim information to Medicare confusing DOD for date of discharge with DOD for date of death. Social Security sent me a letter and told me I had to bring my paralyzed mom and dad in with a photo id or they were cutting off their Social Security. I didn't know what to do and nobody at Social Security would listen so I e-mailed a local consumer reporter and he made a call and got that straightened out at Social Security for me. I think next to the disease and medical problems the bureaucracy has been the most challenging.

...But somehow God has always put people in my life or given me the knowledge to help me when things got leading me to this site and all of you. Thanks for being there and listening.

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