A Dog Drama Rant: By Maddi
This isn't about anyone here.
It's about my sister.
---WARNING, RANT INCOMING---
Anyone here who knows me knows I love dogs. Like crazy. I mean, I love them more than my kids... because I don't have any kids. My dogs are the closest thing. They're all I know. They're the only ones who haven't left... would never leave. Dogs have been my savior and guiding light in my life for 17 years ever since my first rottweiler pup. I'm fiercely defensive and sensitive about dogs. When someone gives me excuses for ignoring them or hurting them in any way, I try my best to explain... but when they IGNORE ME... then... well...
My sister begged for her first rescue dog at around the age I got my first pup. The differences between us are staggering (could be because we're half sisters, could be we're 7 years apart.) When I was out with a 50' leash training my pup on recall, she was inside on World of Warcraft raiding with her guild while she shut her dog in her room with her. At the time I was socializing my pup by walking him around public parks and introducing him to young and old alike, my sister was leaving her pup at our house while she spent the night at friend's houses. Well, that's all well and good when you're young and don't know how special dogs can be, but fast forward a few years and have a few babies... the aussie/rotty mix is giving her some real problems.
He attacks her children.
So they shut him away in a room.
The baby-daddy hits him when he's aggressive, teaching him to deal with discomfort through violent physical aggression/lashing out.
Now, we all know how to help an insecure dog like hers, Taz. She never socialized him or gave him tools. And when she had her children, she never trained him or helped him understand what his position still was/was at all when her children were born. My sister has thyroid issues, two children and not a lot of dough, so whenever I told her to:
1. Get him on better food
2. Walk him (not bringing him to my parents house and letting him run in the yard alone)
3. Train him (Give him activities to do with her and her children to solidify his place in the pack and help him learn interactive techniques that AREN'T snapping/growling)
... she gives excuses.
"Mom dumped Taz on me, what am I supposed to do?"
"I exercise him as much as I can, but I'm so tired."
"He's just too scared, he'll never learn."
"My [boyfriend] doesn't like it when he's around, so we just put him away."
Did I mention that Taz also has demodectic mange? A skin condition that requires attention and special shampoos. Which they do not provide.
-------WAIT FOR IT------
Today, she told me she was getting a puppy.
Over the years, I've really tried to help her understand how much of an asset Taz could be to her family if only he was given the proper care. She just gave excuses. Today she sent me a picture of a stray puppy she found on the street in her apartments, and mentioned, "Maybe this puppy will 'distract' Taz and play with my children!"
In essence, she was placing the IMPOSSIBLE MANTLE of this new puppy "fixing" the problems in her house.
I wasn't rude, but I was like, "Ok so. You don't know this puppy. You don't know what kind of medical attention it may need. It could have worms, it could have mange (like Taz) and it could have a host of other problems that, with your thyroid medication, being unemployed and having two kids, may really cut into your budget."
She accused me of "being a know it all" and "mothering her."
Then I said, "Well, if you already have a dog with aggression issues, or issues you haven't trained, a puppy is an absorbent little sponge and most of the time puppies will look to older DOGS and not PEOPLE to model themselves after."
She accused me of "not giving this puppy a chance" and said "You don't know all dogs!"
Then she told me I never ask about her children, then told me I HATE her children (which is totally reaching because... wow)
... and blocked me.
Well, you know what? No. She does not need another puppy. She cannot financially and mentally give a new puppy what it needs. And, to think a new, young dog will "fix" her pack? Atrocious. Sorry. I mean... I could very much be diplomatic and stay quiet... BUT NOT WITH DOGS! Don't bring a dog into your house hoping to "fix" things.
... in that way, it's like children. Don't have a child to "fix" your relationship, you know?
But she blocked me. Accused me of "mothering" and "disrespect."
... why won't some people listen?
Sorry. Just hurts. She's my sister and family, but my heart bleeds for poor Taz, and I would NEVER want a new pup to come into a place like that.
----- RANT OVER------
Thank you for reading.
I totally understand. There's not a lot you can do here, except remain cool/non judgmental and maybe she will realize some of the things you brought up were valid concerns and not you trying to be hurtful. I've had more than my share of drama to deal with last year, and the biggest thing I've learned is that people who are hurting (for any reason) sometimes try to hurt others. A lot of the times it's just their insecurities coming out.
If it makes you feel better my older sister stayed with me for a visit last summer and has still refused to talk to me since her stay because my puppy (4 months at the time) barked 3 times during her stay. I've continued to send presents for Christmas and birthdays, but to be honest I've decided I'm tired of it. If she comes around she does, otherwise I'll direct my energy elsewhere.
Ugh family is the WORST sometimes, right?!
I TOTALLY understand your frustrations. I have a lot of the same issues with my sister. We're two VERY different people, and I don't understand a lot of what she does. Thankfully, most of my issues with her life/decisions are more related to her idiot baby daddy than her dogs, so I can bite my tongue and carry on. But I'm as devoted to all dogs (well, animals in general really) as you are, and find it extremely difficult to bite my tongue when confronted with deep stupidity that negatively affects an animal. You think it's hard to get people on board with dogs? Try FISH. I am as obsession with my underwater pets as I am with my dogs, and you should see the reaction you get from people when you try to lobby for the well being and happiness of a fish.
I really hope she gives some serious thought to what you've said to her and makes a smarter choice than adding a new puppy.
PS - if that baby daddy of hers ever so much as raised a hand to their dog while I was nearby, I can guarantee he would regret the decision. I have ZERO patience for animal abuse of any kind, but physical violence pushes me over the edge. ERR!
I totally agree with you. She sounds an awful lot like my step sister. I have learned that people no more want to hear my opinion on how they should raise their dogs than how they should raise their children. It's funny because when you are clearly succeeding where they fail they still don't want to hear it. Most people can't grasp the way an animal thinks so when it does something they don't like they automatically blame the animal and decide it must just be bad. They are just like kids, they don't know what you want until you show them. Unfortunately as I'm sure you know, there isn't really anything you can do to help, which is super frustrating. It's funny how people can learn math (which is some super hard witchcraft to me) but they can't learn training + socialization =good dog.
Ah Jeez. :(
I'm sorry. It's one thing to just be uninformed simply because you've never been exposed to the appropriate information. It's another thing entirely to choose to be willfully ignorant in spite of all the reasons not to. THAT really pisses me off.
Thank you everyone. I knew that I could post this here and get encouragement and support.
My dogs are my family more than my actual family. Everyone knows me as "The Crazy Dog Lady" but it's so hard when, even your family, looks in the eyes and says, "It's just a dog."
NO. It's not "just a dog." These creatures are amazing and wonderful and deserve respect, and if, as a family member, you won't even step out of your box and listen to what I'm trying to help you with...
... well it's a very helpless feeling with horrible side effects.
Thank you all for your posts. I feel a lot better, now!
Without being over the top, if the poor dog is getting hit and has an untreated skin condition and is being locked away, I'm afraid I would be reporting her to an animal protection agency.
Sorry if this sounds harsh but dogs can not ask for help themselves and if I knew this was going on with someone I know, family or not I would report it.
It must be very difficult for you as an animal lover and I really hope they don't get another puppy :(
I've tried time and time again to help her, recommend her shampoos for the mange, healthier cheap alternatives to the crap food they feed... and I was very serious when she told me her dog was nipping/growling at her children so I gave her a full work up. How long to walk him and how, which essential "tricks" or "interaction tools" she needed to help him learn, and even what activities they could all practice together to help ease the tension between Taz and the rest of the family.
To no avail.
It's not harsh to think/say that, Rach, but it IS hard because she's my sister. But for whatever reason she never listened to me and always felt "bullied" when I would try to help her with the dog she begged for so much when she was younger.
... what hurts worse is she thinks I "hate" her children, which I literally CAN'T because I've never met them and honestly, who cares? They're your kids and I know you think they're super great! I just don't get it, I don't understand how that equates to "hate."
It's extremely frustrating. And sad.
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