General chatter - What the heck have I done?

View Full Version : What the heck have I done?

12-08-2011, 12:40 AM
So, I'm losing my job maybe as early as February. That's fine since I had decided to go back home and go to school.

I have a 1-1/2 year old Labrador that I adore probably more than is healthy (she's my everything at the moment).

And my mom texts me today with this:

Mom: "Want another dog?" (now, she didn't really want me to get my current dog and she knows I want more but has been against it for very reasonable, legit reasons that I completely agree with).

Me: "What? Are you serious?"

Mom: "Yes, 4-month-old pitbull, your choice male or female. Same breeder as *a friend's puppy earlier this year that my parents loved* dog."

Me: "Are. You. Serious?"

Mom: "Yes!"

The whole story is this: My mom's friend is living with my parents while she gets on her feet. She's had a rough life (much of it brought on by her own actions but some not, like all of us). She has a lot of mental health issues and just general issues. She's 51, homeless (for the most part), with no job and - yea. It's tough. I'm actually caught waiting for her to leave my parents house before I can move home; if she's still there when we get laid off, I'll be camping out in their travel trailer until she does lol

Anyway, she left a relationship she had down close to where I live a few months ago for reasons that are not entirely clear. A "he said/she said" situation; she said he drinks too much, he said she drinks too (they met at a bar for crying out loud). Anyway, my mom came down with her today (I didn't know this) to pick up all of her stuff (actually, her friend had been here for a few days because her ex was apparently quite sick).

He has these 2 puppies from the same breeder my mom's friend's son got his puppy from earlier this year. That dog, at 4 months, was the sweetest, most well behaved thing. Even better than my dog at that age. My parents have always been a bit prejudiced against the breed whereas I have always said it's a combination of bad breeding and bad rearing that leads to problems. There are certain things in their genes that you cannot ignore but you can help them redirect that energy if you're dedicated enough. My parents really liked that puppy and kind of opened their minds about pitbulls in general. Anyway, the boyfriend's landlord came over while mom and her friend were loading up stuff. The boyfriend was drunk as a skunk; falling over, swearing, just plastered. The landlord told him he had to get rid of the dogs, that he wasn't allowed dogs there and he'd been given several warnings about them. He turned to my mom's friend and said "you take 'em.. if you don't.. i'mma..dunno what i'll do.. i'll shoot 'em or.. give them to the SPCA.." Down here, many people that take pitbulls are not the type of people who should have them (i.e. drug dealers, wannabe thugs, etc. It's bad that the city I live in now ships pitbulls out to other communities because as soon as they get them in, they get the dealers and the gang bangers looking to "adopt" them). The shelters are overrun with dogs, especially pits and pit mixes, and the prospect of him killing two puppies was just too much - so my mom and her friend grabbed both of them, tossed them (not literally) in the van and took off.

Last night, my mom's friend asked my dad if she could bring one of the puppies home with her and he was livid. My dad is a quick-to-temper man and gets mad at just about everything whether he understands or agrees or not. You tell him "Hey, the Canucks got rid of (this player)" and he's all "those son'sof$*%&es don't know what they had blah blah" even though he probably couldn't pick the guy out of a lineup and doesn't know that in, for example, 30 games the guy hadn't scored a single goal. He was also infuriated when my sister got her cat, but he did get over it. He was mad when we got our papillon but after a while (and a loong while) he eventually started taking her out for walks and now she's his walking buddy. So he gets over things.

He doesn't know my mom and her friend are bringing back BOTH puppies.

I have agreed on the condition that I like the puppy and I think the temperament is something I can work with, that I will take the female. My mom's friend was trying to get me to take both dogs, but that I just CANNOT do. I really can't take the female, but how was I to say no? Either I take one of them, or they both go to the shelter where they may/may not be euthanized. It's not THEIR fault they came into the word; it's not THEIR fault they got stuck with a loser.

When my dad finds out, he is going to FREAK. They have 2 dogs, I have 1 dog, if I take on another there will be 4 dogs in the house and 5 dogs until my mom's friend leaves (she wants to take the male, but she doesn't even have food to feed herself with).

My thinking is this: I will see the puppy, check her out, see what her temperament is like and decide. If I agree to take her (she'll have to stay with my parents until I move home; my landlady will not allow another dog), the plan is to socialize her, obedience train the heck out of her, spay her, and then adopt her out.

Am I crazy?
I feel crazy.

I am the type of person who, if I had the money and space, I'd have a huge pack of dogs. I didn't really want a pitbull (nothing against them at all) as they aren't my FAVORITE breed, but I do like them and I do think I could do right by her, even just to give her a solid foundation and work hard to find her the perfect family.

But at the same time, I feel like a complete idiot: here I am losing my job, going to be going back to school (albeit by correspondence) and I already have a dog, taking on a new puppy.

I must be stupid.

12-08-2011, 12:53 AM
Why don't you see if there is a Pitbull rescue group in the area? Pitbulls are a breed that are hard to home, and really for the dogs' sake it'd be better for them to go while puppies to a group that understands the breed and can re-home without the pressures of a landlord or an angry dad or whatever. If there aren't specialized pit bull rescue groups, look for a general dog and puppy rescue group. Otherwise I'd say your plan is sound, but since I own a rescue Shepherd that went through 6 (six!) homes before I got him and he came with SERIOUS baggage and anxiety issues I'd hope you'd do what you could to minimize the psychological impact. If you take a puppy at it gets attached to you, and then you give it up, that's hard on them.

12-08-2011, 01:06 AM
Shelters get an undeserved bad rap. The fact is, except in big cities, the local pounds very often never have to euthanize a puppy. You or the owner could call the shelters and pit bull rescues (rather than assume euthanasia would be the result) and find out what the shelter's adoption rates and euthanasia rates were for pit bulls (in some paranoid areas, pitbulls are euthanized on principle, but this is extremely rare except in areas where dog fighting is a problem).

This way - only people who wanted a pit bull puppy would get one - and likely this is much better than handing out the puppies to people who may not want or be prepared for taking on a dog of this breed. That's why the shelter or a pit bull rescue is actually much better than randomly finding homes for the pups - because these organizations generally screen applicants.

Most often it's only the oldest, sickest, and most emotionally damaged dogs that have to be euthanized, and often that's a much better end than being forced to live in their current painful state. I volunteer in my local humane society, and it's terrible to see how many people abandon old and sick dogs at shelters because the dog is suffering terribly. It would be more humane to have the pet euthanized than to make strangers do it (hard on the dog and on the shelter workers).

I've lived in fairly good sized communities, and have volunteered at humane society shelters, and the euthanasia rates, especially for dogs, are actually quite rare, far rarer than most people assume. In fact, in most of the communities I've worked in, only the very sickest, most hopeless cases were ever euthanized.

12-08-2011, 01:52 AM
Don't do it. I love pit bulls I have one that I adopted at 10 weeks who is now 10 years old. I have had many pits and pit crosses in the past. They can be wonderful dogs they are very devoted to their people and awesome with kids. However they can also be dog aggressive and it usually doesn't rear it's ugly head till they hit puberty (around 6-8 mons or so) I used to work at a shelter years ago and my job was assessing temperament of dogs.

My girl was a sweet, submissive girl, who unfortunately was spayed at 8 weeks, we had a 7 year old staff/lab cross who i had since he was 6 mons. She loved him and he loved her, we took her everywhere, I worked with her hours a day with training, she was housebroken in a few days, we took her to puppy classes, she was is very smart, she played at the dog park and with other dogs everyday. Then on the last day of puppy class she went after a pup that was real jerky and the owners had no control over, we had to sit to the side of the class. A few months later we came home to a bloody scene, the dogs were separated with a baby gate but something happened and the gate was down. My beautiful staff/lab cross who was 8 at the time and had never been in a fight before had his ear half hanging of his head and multiple puncture wonds to his face and legs, he had a huge gash on his leg and he was so scarred and in shock. My sweet pit girls face had multiple punch wounds and was swelling, she also was terrified and in shock. I patched up my boy, had to save the hair behind his ear (I could see his skull) cleaned the wound and packed it with raw honey and wrapped his head and leg in a bandage. We had to take my girl to the vets for some antibiotics, it cost us about 200 dollars for the exame, cleaning of wounds and prescription. I was so sad, I cried and cried for weeks. That was their worse fight we had to keep them separated when I wasn't around, they were for the most part fine when I was there. I think it was a fear think with Daisy, if Jeremy would bark and scare her she would jump on him put I could brake it up without any real wounds. my boy died 2 years ago and let me tell you it was a very stressful 7 years. Daisy is still super sweet with people and so awesome with my son, she has never showed any type of aggression towards humans ever. But I have a really hard time walking her, always afraid some off leash dog will approach us, having to muzzle her. It breaks my heart.

You are correct that a lot of problems with pits are bad breeding and bad owners but pits have been selected and breed over the years for their tenacity and aggressiveness to other animals. They were mostly breed to fight and it is in their genes. It is actually very rare to have a pitbull with human aggression and breaking up a pit fight is a lot easier then with other dogs because as they were being selected and bred to fight, pits that showed any type of human aggression were destroyed (traditionally) So that the handlers would not be bit. Just like retrievers retrieve and shepherds herd and guard, pits fight and they don't give up easily once they do. I think these dogs could be re homed with someone fantastic that understands the breed and knows how to work with them. I agree about calling a pitbull rescue club. If you didn't have another dog I would for sure say take her as you seem like a very dedicated dog owner but I would caution you getting into this and putting your lab in harms way (yes not all pits are fighters or dog aggressive but at 4 mons she may just not have reached that maturity yet and may turn and any point) I also think it will be easier to home a 4 mon old then an older dog.

Now in terms of shelters in some areas of Canada there is a pit bull ban and yes pit bulls that come into shelters in these areas may be destroyed :( It is a real misunderstanding of the breed and horrible but I know it happens here in Toronto.

If you do decide to take her please do not leave your dogs alone together or any chance of them accidentally getting together. We had to use a crate with Daisy after their first fight. It was not worth the risk to either of my dogs to just use the baby gate when I wasn't home. Good Luck I will send out vibes that these two pups who found themselves in a crappy situation (as many pits do :( ) find wonderful forever home quickly.

12-08-2011, 02:03 AM
Thanks for the advice everyone.

After some thinking tonight and likely more overnight and tomorrow, I'm going up to my parents on the weekend to see her and see what she's like. The other dog from the same breeder (I do not know if this is a backyard breeder or a legit breeder; if the latter, perhaps handing them over to the breeder is a good option too) is a very nice dog who was interacting with our dogs very well. But you are right butterflymama, pits do have animal aggression more so than people aggression and I would not want anything to happen to my Nilla. As cruel as it sounds: she comes first.

I'll take a look at the pup and see what I think, but in the end I am leaning more towards a rescue or even just the local SPCA. Where my parents live doesn't have as much a problem with the gang lifestyle as where I live so adopting them out may be better there than down here.

Financially, I can't afford another dog and I don't know if I can afford one emotionally as well.

In the long run, it probably is for the best to hand them both over to a rescue, or the SPCA. My mom's friend is CERTAINLY in no position to take care of an animal when she's literally homeless and has absolutely no income.

12-08-2011, 02:28 AM
I live in a big city and our SPCA does not euthanize unless there is a behavior problem or a medical problem that makes them unadoptable. My brother volunteered there for a couple of years and he said even then, they rarely euthanize. If they are good natured dogs, I'm sure they will find a loving home with people who have the means to take care of them. Yeah, it's not the dogs' fault they were born into this situation, but it's not YOUR fault, either, and you can't rescue everyone/thing! Maybe you could do some digging and find a no-kill shelter, or like another poster suggested, a pit rescue organization if that would make you feel better about where they are going. I've also seen a bunch of people making facebook accounts for homeless animals lately and trying to get the word out that way.

If you see the dog, will you get attached to it? It would be very hard for me (and you have said that you are very attached to your current dog) to raise an animal for any length of time and then give it up. I think if you don't want/can't have another dog right now or in the immediate future, you should probably not spend time getting to know this one.

12-08-2011, 06:16 PM
Be very careful of no-kill shelters, because some of these are actually far more inhumane than shelters that euthanize when it's necessary. Some are run by "collectors" who take far in too many animals than they can care for, and the animals often die slowly and horribly of terrible neglect and disease (so the humans all feel good about not killing an animal, but are allowing the animals to suffer terribly).

Even many of the legitimate no-kill shelters simply refuse all but the healthiest, most adoptable animals - and if an animal in their care becomes gravely ill or becomes aggressive they simply turn around and abandon the animal at a shelter or turn over the animal to a veterinarian who will do the "dirty work." They get to keep the blood off their hands, by simply turning over the responsibility to someone else (or worse, subject an animal to prolonged suffering).

12-09-2011, 01:21 AM
Alert the media: My dad was NOT, I repeat, NOT mad. He even told mom "I'd have done the same thing" and he kind-of-sort-of fell in love with them. Mom's already smitten (and she really does not like pitbulls b/c of the bad rap they get).


Beach Patrol
12-09-2011, 12:16 PM
Pits are incredibly smart dogs - many have been used as search & rescue dogs. And not all pits are "animal aggressive" - I've known some pits that crawl on their belly to greet another dog & roll over in submission to dogs smaller than they are! I think it's important to note that ANY DOG can be/show aggression to another dog. We have a 3yo Tibetan Spaniel that often growls at our 15yo Spaniel/Dachshund mix for no good reason whatsoever. (But the 15yo keeps his little furry self in check!!! ;) )

But I digress. :dizzy:

I commend you for your loyalty & dedication - I could NEVER foster a dog (or cat... or horse or gerbil or hippo, LOL) because I fall in love and KEEP THEM. :cp: ...that's what happened with my last kitty... I offered to foster her til we found a home for her... within two weeks, she was mine all mine... :D

Keep us informed!! - I'm anxious to know how it all goes!! :)