The Trouble With Dogs…

by farrah on February 20, 2012 · 17 comments

I realize that this post isn’t going to make me very popular with the animal lovers among us. So, I am going to start with how I got to where I am today with regard to my dogs. I’d also like to point out that no, we are not rich. Any money that we have put into our dogs has been either added to a credit card- or made possible by sacrificing something else.

To begin, I grew up with animals. I had a horse, dog, birds and fish. Our family dog was Shadow- who lived 16 years. We got her as a puppy lived a long and happy life even with epilipsy.

In college- I stupidly brought a puppy home to my apartment. I named her Obie.

I had Obie through some very rough parts of my life- and her devotion was so intense that I worried what it would be like if I met someone and wanted him to share my life. Hesitatingly, Obie accepted my husband and we lived all moved here to SC together. I knew I could not have children while Obie was alive- she was too aggressive and jealous of others, but we were only newlyweds so that didn’t matter. Sadly- I was devestated to lose Obie to cancer in January of 2007 when she was 9 1/2 years old. It was by far and away a loss I have still never gotten over. I miss her every day.

In May of 2007 we brought home our yellow lab Napa.

The first major sign should have been when I took Napa to get fixed. It was discovered that one of her kidneys was adhered to an ovary. We had to see a specialist and paid hundreds of dollars to have it fixed. (OPERATION #1).

Napa destroyed whatever she could. We took her to puppy school, hired an in home trainer, and read books. I know now that we we weren’t consistant enough with our training, so anything that happened was our fault.

Not sure why, but I thought Napa needed a friend. We went to the humane society to ‘look’ and ended up adopting Henry- a sweet little red lab mix.

With two seriously active dogs we paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars for them to attend doggie day care and have a personal dog walker while we were at work. We loved our dogs and didn’t want them sitting around home, bored all day.

This is what they did when I worked.

Soon, we were going to become a family. In Feburary of 2009 I had Brody and the focus was taken off of the labs. Both were big dogs and we still cared for them very much. Henry had recently been to see an orthepedic vet for a limp that wouldn’t go away (ahem) but for the most part no major crisis. Until we saw some blood that spring.

Long story short, Henry was diagnosed with anal cancer. We had many tests run, saw specialists and looked at chemo options (OPERATION #2 removal of some cysts). I ended up finding a holistic vet two hours away that put him on an all natural vitamin regimine which costed around $300 a month. Take away the dog walker and day care and that’s what he got instead. I didn’t mind. I drove there with my newborn to pick up the meds and it helped with long afternoons.

A year later I was pregnant again. Then I was on bedrest with the twins. So Henry was taken off of the meds and we were just going to have to see how it went. Well, now it was Napa’s turn for a crisis. She had some x rays the previous summer when she overate a bag of dog food at my sister’s (another expensive vet trip) and it turned out she had a problem with her kidneys. She needed an emergency surgery for hydronephrosis and to have one of her kidneys removed (OPERATION #3).

For the sake of going on and on and ON here, I have skipped out on many details. Take my word for it- they are things you would shake your head at and say OMG, I cannot believe they did all that. Or spent all that. What.The.Hell. is wrong with these people? I know.

There are now three kids in this house. They sleep. They will even sleep in until 7am. But Henry has decided that he likes to occasionally stroll the yard at 4am, or get up to eat at 6am. So he cries. And he cries until he wakes everyone up.  It’s not uncommon for one of us to go down there, let him out, and because he refuses to come in- sleep on the couch until he’s ready. And NO- this has nothing to do with his ‘anal cancer’. That has mysteriously disappeared for now.

I’m at the end of my rope. I seriously feel so drained by these animals that I don’t know what to do anymore. My husband walks them and we play with them- but all they do is continue to destroy our yard on the rare occasion they will stay outside.  They are now 5 and 4 and I feel like they will never grow up.

I do not think that they love us. I feel like they use us. I know this is an incredibly unfair situation for them as they once used to be our children…but oh wow. Some days I just feel like a schmuck and their servant. Bah.

Before you judge me and say ‘Sorry, this is all a part of pet ownership’- I just have to say that no. This is not. I have had animals. I have never lived in a situation where we feel trapped and used by our animals. I have never begrudged them anything.

In case you’re wondering, there are absolutely NO plans to ‘get rid’ of our dogs. I just wanted to vent how I feel about them in the current sense..because in all honesty I have no idea what else to do.

Anyone else experience this? Am I selfish for feeling this way?



{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Solon February 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm

You have a friend in me. We currently have four dogs & 5 cats, a bird, and dozens of chickens, ducks, geese and Koi, all of which are pets. Vet bills are a way of life, especially if you adopt pets as I have done on so many occasions. We’ve been through Addison’s disease, COPD, Asthma, back problems, leg problems, eye problems, skin problems, teeth problems, ear problems, & assorted other lumps, cuts, etc. Obviously you are the kind of person who believes that when you accept the responsibility for any living creature, it is a responsibility you don’t take lightly. I spent $20K over a 3-year period on a horse with laminitis, so if you’re crazy, we’re both the same kind of crazy. I understand that our domesticated animals can’t take care of themselves and depend on us for everything. You obviously don’t have a selfish bone in your body.


2 farrah February 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I still feel guilty. But we have tried to take them on trips (they don’t like to travel or be out of their comfort zone). They hate to be outside in a very nice fenced in yard even on the most beautiful of days- it drives me nuts. They bang on our doors and windows–it’s exhausting. I wonder how we got here, unless it’s that we spoiled them in the beginning???


3 Solon February 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Oh yes, I would say they are definitely spoiled, but then that’s what you’re suppose to do with babies and dogs. And don’t let anyone tell you that cats can’t get spoiled. I have one that likes fresh water. . . I mean fresh, as in, straight out of the faucet, and meows at whoever is handy to turn on the nearest bathroom faucet when she wants a drink. I just wish should could learn to turn it off when she’s had enough. Now THAT’s spoiled!


4 Greta February 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I have a love/hate relationship with our FOUR dogs (it was a brady bunch situation). They sleep with us every night and bark every morning, waking the kids up. Sometimes I wonder who my husband would choose in an ultimatum…me or the dogs. Seriously, I know how you feel.


5 farrah February 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Holy cow Greta. FOUR dogs and FOUR kids IS a Brady Bunch show!!!!

And the barking…oh my yes the barking. On the one hand I feel like they keep us safe, but on the other it’s so freaking loud. I swear when I was pregnant I had sound sensitivity and their barking drove me mad.


6 Paige February 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Like Greta above, I’m not sure who my husband would chose either. We have 2 Shelties which are small dogs, but they sleep with us and can bark like mad. Thank god we have a fenced in back yard do they can go outside and there barking doesn’t wake the kids up from our there but we have to make sure to make sure they get outside when someone comes home otherwise all hell will break loose. Our first dog was trained pretty good but the second wax a lot smaller and faster so we didn’t train her as well and now the older one doesn’t listen. Even though they were our first babies, now that I have two real babies a lot if days I could do without the furry ones.


7 farrah February 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

For me the dogs are all my doing. My husband didn’t grow up with them and had no idea what he was getting into. He does a really good job of not reminding me daily that they are here because of me- and I appreciate that!


8 Brianne February 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I hear ya! Our Hattie has allergies, to um, everything. Cotton, grass, dust, you name it. Her injections are about $300 for the year. And it doesn’t seem like a lot but we don’t make a lot either. She too gave up day camp for meds. She’s also the one that had explosive diarrea and vomit 10 min into our drive from PA to SC. Fun right?

We love our dogs too so much and I’m so sad that they don’t get the time and attention they used to. They are bored and chew and it’s so frustrating. Our Sam ate through the carpet and wood trim in our BRAND NEW HOUSE. I was so devistated. They are confined to our large cement laundry room while we are at work because they have chewed every piece of wood furniture. I’m a pro at the wood/wax cover-up crayons. Again this reinforces the “We can never have anything nice”.

Pets are so expensive. We rescued both our dogs but even if we wanted to go somewhere, boarding them is the equivalent of a hotel room per night.

I was just thinking today that I will never move until the dogs are gone, and then there will be no more dogs….until maybe I’m like 50 with no kids again.

What happens to the if you get sent to Germany? Talk about freakin’ outside your comfort zone!


9 farrah February 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm

We’re now looking into China as well. Our hope is that family will take them. In my heart I want them to stay together- but I know his parents probably couldn’t handle both. I don’t know what will happen, but I am pretty sure they will stay in the family! Just not my immediate family…


10 Sheri February 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm

We have two big doggies. One is 10 the other 6, and three kids 6, 4, & 3. Our oldest dog got diagnosed with mass-cell tumors and we were basically told to operate and it will grow back, or put him down. That was two and half years ago… a rapid growing cancer???? He’s still with us play…but he is also Neurotic and whiney and throws tantrums. I hear your frustrations. Even though we CHOSE these dogs and I love these dogs….Good grief!! The other dog eats everything in sight, even the entire contents of the sugar bowl!


11 farrah February 23, 2012 at 2:25 am

Woah- how did THAT work out for you guys?!?!?!? Was he running on a sugar high? Haha! I know if I think about his cancer too much it will come back- but yeah- they told us the same thing. and basically acted like the first $5,000 round of treatment was a no brainer. Crazy.


12 jennie February 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I’m right there with you! I have a lovable but very bad dog as well. Although Wado Dog hasn’t cost us much money on medical… Still we can’t help but love them!


13 farrah February 23, 2012 at 2:23 am

I shudder to think at how much we have spent on them medically. My husband likes to point out that before kids I even took Henry to the vet simply because ‘he seemed lethargic’. OMG! What was I thinking?!


14 Lisa Barnum February 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Ours is a one hundred pound Chesapeake Bay Retriever. We had her for five years before our first was born. She is fabulous with the kids, now 1,2, and 4. But boy…by the end of the day when I finally get the kids into bed, she’s got her nose in my crotch because now she figures it’s her turn. So there I am, in the dark, in the back yard, throwing the ball to her. I feel like she thinks she came from my belly because all she does is try to get back up in there. All day I spend chasing her away from the kids and their food…the more she gets the crazier she gets about it. She’s obsessed. I order her outside and then I end up feeling like all I did was yell at her all day and she never even got a walk.


15 farrah February 23, 2012 at 2:22 am

The kids and food really is insane. It’s gotten so bad that I make them wait outside while the boys are eating.


16 Kristin February 23, 2012 at 2:16 am

Thank you for reaffirming why the dogs on our block are our pets.

I also think part of your “trapped” feeling is related to the children…the pets are definitely a tad spoiled (but some would just say cared for), but add three young children to the mix, and then it really becomes entrapment. And self-imposed! You might still feel that way without the dogs, but since you say you don’t feel reciprocal feelings from them, it’s natural to put the trapped feelings on the pets and not the children.

Then again, maybe it’s just the darn doggies.


17 farrah February 23, 2012 at 2:21 am

I think you’re on to something. It’s two more to take care of- and it really can be overwhelming at times to have just the three. We aren’t ‘leave them outside all day’ people- and I do respond to their requests as soon as I they make them. Oy. Mind=blown.


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