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A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

Posted by more_to_grow (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 18, 06 at 10:07

Hello
I have something of a dilema and am interested in hearing some opinions and discussion on the topic.

My mother inlaw has some obsessive tendencies, she has taken a volunteer position at a local animal shelter, and as a result her home has been steadilly filling with animals. She has four children and 9 grandchildren many of whom are allergic to various of her animals.

She first adopted a large, retired, german sheperd female who was surrendered by a breeder who no longer wanted her as she was past her breeding years. She is a wonderful dog, very large in a small home, but it seemed to work out.

Next she adopted three cats, the surrendering owner indicated they must be adopted together, thus limiting the number of potential adoptive families (unrealistic request imho). They are nice cats, again in a small house but she loves them and it seemed to work.

Now she has adopted two greyhounds and this is where the dilemma occurs. The house is in lockdown because the hounds want to kill the cats. There was one close call, my mother inlaw scooped up the cat at the last second, and was scratched BADLY, requiring a trip to emergency room and stitches to close her up.

The yard is approximately 1/4 acre, the hounds are allowed to run for a time, until they begin *digging out* then they come back in to the entry way for the rest of the day/night. They are walked daily, but cannot come into the main house due to the cats. They spend their time in this entry way, the room now stinks, they have begun messing in there, they continually scratch at the doors, have ripped off the curtains, screens, and are trashing the place. She seems to be in denial that this is a bad situation.

To top it all off she travels, which means *we* have to come take care of her animals. She is demanding that they not be alone, so we must come live at her house while she is away. The feeding regimen is ridiculous: 1/2 cup of this, 1/4 can of that, 2 of these treats at this time, 3 of these cookies at this time, put the cats in the basement, let in the dogs, walk the dogs, put them out, let up the cats feed them, and on and on and on. The hounds are able to open doors, want the cats desperately, and are always seeking an opportunity to get them. Noone goes to visit any longer because it is like a zoo there; a shame too cause all the grandchildren used to love going there, we all feel slighted in this.

Now she has foster kittens, two birds, a lizard.

I refuse to be a party to this lunacy any longer, I feel the hounds need to go, she says she committed to keeping them forever and I call BS. Those hounds do not belong in that situation, if the folks in charge of adoption knew the situation I don't believe they would have approved her adoption of the dogs.

Sorry so long winded, tough to give a full picture with less description.

Any thoughts? Am I nuts? Perhaps I should buck up and pull my weight and shutup?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

I think you are correct that greyhound adoptive group would not approve the situation.

Your mother is in denial and needs a wake up call. If she REALLY wants to do what is best for these animals, which I am sure was her intent in the first place - she needs to choose between the cats and the hounds - as they obviously are not able to live well together.

I think you should give your mother the opportunity to choose between the hounds and the cats and tell her that if she does nothing, then you will be contacting the grey hound rescue group to come and check out the situation.

(And of course, you don't want to "snitch" out your own mother, so you give her the opportunity to fix the situation BEFORE you contact anyone. Its in the best interest of not only your mother, but its in the interest of the dogs too.)

And your mother may want to go to some counseling as it seems to be developing into a collector or hoarder type of situation, which is a mental condition that might be helped with some counseling and medication.

And shame on your mother for taking responsibility for these animals and then passing it off on to someone else as she travels. If she really wants to take care of a zoo full of animals she needs to stay home and take care of them, rather than asking someone else to do it for her.

Please feel free to print out this post and ask your mother to read it. And if she would like to email me I would be more than willing to discuss her situation privately.

I think your mother loves animals and wants to take care of them, but there are other ways to take care of animals than bringing them into our homes. Perhaps she could reduce her animal responsibility to just the cats (as they tend to do okay with travelling owners) but still continue to participate in habitat restoration and fund raising for wildlife. Its one way we can help animals without taking them into our homes.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

I do think your MIL's heart is in the right place. It may be to much for her to handle - it sounds like it is for sure to much for you to handle. You could do as above, you could report her, it could cause a family fued. Or you could simply say it is to much for you to handle and you can no longer pet sit for her. Maybe after she has to pay for care she will realize it is to handle on her own. I do disagree with one statement above "shame on your mother for passing the responsiblity on to someone else" It is your/OP choice to pet sit or not.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

It's so easy to get one's self wrapped up in rescue. Often times that persons intentions are good however it can become an obsession to save the world. It sounds as though it has become an obsession with her and a harmful situation for her and the animals she's trying to save.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

Thanks for the input, I just wanted some objective third party input as we are all so close to the situation and it has occured incrementally over a more than a year. I am alone, in the family, in viewing this as a "larger obsessive rescue issue"; but I am also alone, again within this family, in having witnessed this animal hoarding behavior previously.

My MIL's heart is in the right place, no doubt, I truly believe she is in over her head, see's this, and yet feels powerless to reverse the situation.

As for the notion that "It is your/OP choice to pet sit or not" this too is a bit convoluted because she sometimes watches our two youngn's and/or our dog; so the requests for our services do come with a barb.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

While I think your MIL has a little too much on her plate, I don't think it is your place to report her. I think it would only serve to start a family issue and I don't know if you really want to go there. Does your MIL have the sense and means to give these rescued pets good veterinary care? and is she in good health (physically and emotionally). If no to these either of these issues, it is the place of one of her kids to try and talk to her. My feelings on this situation are: you should get a babysitter for your kids and a petsitter for your pet or one in the same if that works for you and you can find someone qualified to do both and MIL should get a qualified petsitter for her pets. Just let her know that there is a change in the care arrangements because you don't want to be responsible for so many pets, no judgments, just not into caring for that many. I totally disagree that she shouldn't be able to travel because she has too many pets. I have six pets and I have a wonderful petsitter who comes to my home and stays here full time while I am away. I spent a month away one summer. She stayed for the month, I paid her well all went fine. She took care of my pets, brought the mail in, watered the plants. I love her, she loves my pets, my pets love her and she has done a great job for me for 8 years. What - should I give up visiting the world because I heaven forbid leave my pets in the care of someone totally qualified to care for them, has my consent to care for the medical needs, I notify my vet in advance of who is in charge of medical decisions while I am gone, and that I will pay any vet charges incurred upon my return?? The inlaw thing is an inlaw thing and unless you want to be the bad guy, I wouldn't say anything more on it. Let her kids try to talk to her. I think if I worked in a shelter situation, I would probably want to bring them all home too. She's alone? More of a reason she can bring alot of them home because there's no one else's opinion or agreement needed to adopt all these pets. Unless you have to physically care for her because of these adoptions, I really think you should try and stay out of it.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

Oops - this is the debate forum... well go ahead and debate each sentence... and I guess I will have to express my thoughts more clearly.

I didn't mean to imply that MIL should not ever travel... and that she couldn't HIRE a qualified pet sitter. However I would bet that she would have to spend quite a bit of money to find someone that would pet sit for 3 cats, a few kitties, 1 german shephard, 2 greyhounds, a lizard and 2 birds.

I do agree that when dealing with in-laws, its best if the parent's birth child does the confronting.

I also agree that they should get different child/pet sitting arrangements. However, I doubt that alone is going to solve problem of the dogs being in a stinky - trashed room. And the situation between the dogs and cats creates an uncomfortable, tense, and heightend aggressive social situation for the dogs, the cats, and the people involved. No animals should have to live that way. I think they should let MIL know that she needs to make some changes or they may have to ask the greyhound rescue group to step in. I don't believe in just looking the other way when a family member (or a helpless pet) is in trouble.

And paragraph breaks make reading long posts much easier.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

It wasn't implied by you that the MIL should stay home, you state that if she wanted to have a zoo she should stay home and take care of them rather than have someone else do it for her. I disagree with that since I like to have pets and travel.

My point in suggesting this change of "babysitting arrangement" to OP was that MIL probably would not be able to get someone to care for all of these pets even if she could afford to do so. You can certainly find someone for the right price. Also, in putting MIL in the position of having to find someone that she has to pay to care for these pets may create a "light bulb" moment for MIL without the intervention of her family.

I think it is a deplorable situation for these poor animals, but I think a certain amount of diplomacy needs to be taken when talking to this woman. I sadly see older people - senior citizens being chalked up as not able to handle their lives any longer when in fact they are. I am not referring to this MIL, just a general observation. I think everyone deserves their dignity regardless of a bad decision. I think this woman's heart was in the right place.

Actually, I am more concerned with the issue of professional care for these animals with regular exams, vaccinations, emergency care and the like, not so much whether she should travel. The travel issue is the least of the worries in this situation.

I will be sure to break into paragraphs heretofore.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

It doesn't sound like she got the greyhounds from a greyhound rescue. I doubt they would have adopted to a home with cats unless they had been proven cat friendly.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

I have no intention of calling anyone OR approaching her myself, it is an emotional issue for her and I have no interest in damaging our relationship.

I did not mean to portray the dogs living conditions as one of filth, it is just that when she moved in I refurbished the house for her, new windows, doors, flooring, paint, etc... to see the damage these rather large animals can inflict on all the nice work I did was a little painful; but it's her house.

She certainly has the means, they are well cared for, but the bills are enormous. Just three weeks ago she called the hounds in from the backyard and one had gotten into something (likely teh chainlink fence) and required stitches and surgery on it's leg $2500; gone.

The family consists of four family units and her, each living in their own homes. Two of the families long ago retreated behind their allergies and have not helped in a LONG time, leaving my family and my broinlaw who bears the brunt by far; he is there all week this week, one of the hounds has loose stool and has messed in the house each day and tracked it around until he got there, patience of a saint.

I agree that we will utilize her less for care of our 2 children and dog; in spite of the fact that we need a babysitter at most 2-3 times a year.

As for her getting outside help. NOONE will come to her home and none of the *kennels* in our area will accept the liability of greyhounds with a history of chasing smaller animals; particularly in the case of care in her home where there ALWAYS a clear and present danger of the cats and hounds mixing.

We're done, which will undoubtedly cause some friction between our household and my BIL but such is life I'm afraid, as I stated in my OP I will not be a party to and enabler of this lunacy any longer.

Her desire to reassemble Noahs Ark in her home has, in just over a year, completely stopped the entire family from going over there for Sunday dinner, casual visits, anything; unfortunately it seems she is the only one who values those GD hounds more than the close/tightknit familial relationship we had all developed.

Sad.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

Maybe your BIL will talk some sense into her.

It is a shame that she can't just keep the kitties which would be managable both in time and money. Not to mention alot of company for her if she's alone.

Why does she think she can care for these very large dogs, or for that matter, why would she want to considering that she lives in a small house situation?

Also, you said BIL was there all last week. Does he just stop in or does he live there?

Does your MIL have a circle of friends with whom she socializes either at her house or out? That may be an incentive to clean things up. I would think her things will begin to smell and it will be obvious to anyone she comes in contact with in public.

I feel for you, but if she were my MIL I would stay out of the situation no matter what the situation, that way I don't have to clean up the inevitable mess that will come of all of this over-adopting.

Best of luck to you on this one.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

A few quotes from the first post:

"The house is in lockdown because the hounds want to kill the cats."

"They spend their time in this entry way, the room now stinks, they have begun messing in there, they continually scratch at the doors, have ripped off the curtains, screens, and are trashing the place."

"The hounds are able to open doors, want the cats desperately, and are always seeking an opportunity to get them."

And then a few quotes from the next post:
I did not mean to portray the dogs living conditions as one of filth

So its not that bad... it stinks and there is constant tension, but its not that bad? And MIL's family has stopped visiting her because its not that bad...

How close is your MIL to the point where she has more animals than she can take care of? Is she at that point already?

Is the problem when she travels and someone else steps in take care of them for her OR does she need help taking care of the animals, even when she is home?

And how often does she travel?


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

joepyeweed

My second post was to clarify having possibly mislead readers of my first post into thinking the house or the entry were unhealty. Yes, they have messed on the carpet, the messes were cleaned up and the carpets cleaned, but stains occur and odors begin to linger with repetition. By trashed I meant more that the walls I painted and doors I installed are getting scratched up.

Yes the door between the entry and house proper has to be deadbolted or they will mouth the knob and gain entry to the home; if the cats were visible the chase would be on.

Yea, I can smell the dogs, they are three large hairy animals, have dog breath and produce an odor; to me it is offensive, but I have accute olfactory sensitivity it may not be offensive to someone else or to MIL.

My concerns were more for the tension and concern (I feel when I am in charge) of the dogs shredding the cats; I will not step between them. Period. Dog bites me in pursuit of the cats and I will put it down on the spot; that's blunt and perhaps cold but not up for debate.

My original intent in posing the question was to get feedback as to whether other animal folks felt this was a good environment for these Greyhounds; in a smallish but largely tidy house with cats where they must be sequestered to one room to keep them away from the cats. I do not think it is, but perhaps when one considers that they come from living in a tiny kennel at a race track, where they are may in fact be utopia to them.

She showers them with love, feeds them, walks them, cares for them, takes them to the vet regularly but I still don't think animals bred to chase small animals should live under the same roof with small animals if they show the slightest inclination toward wanting to kill them.

This will be the last I write on this. I appreciate the input from objective third parties, it reaffirmed my position and I have withdrawn myself from the situation with finality and wash my hands of a situation I feel is an accident waiting to happen and won't allow my children to be there anymore. I could not live with myself if my 4 year old daughter opened the door to the hounds and found herself between them and the cats.

I feel as though I am beating a dead horse at this point.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

joepyeweed

My second post was to clarify having possibly mislead readers of my first post into thinking the house or the entry were unhealty. Yes, they have messed on the carpet, the messes were cleaned up and the carpets cleaned, but stains occur and odors begin to linger with repetition. By trashed I meant more that the walls I painted and doors I installed are getting scratched up.

Yes the door between the entry and house proper has to be deadbolted or they will mouth the knob and gain entry to the home; if the cats were visible the chase would be on.

Yea, I can smell the dogs, they are three large hairy animals, have dog breath and produce an odor; to me it is offensive, but I have accute olfactory sensitivity it may not be offensive to someone else or to MIL.

My concerns were more for the tension and concern (I feel when I am in charge) of the dogs shredding the cats; I will not step between them. Period. Dog bites me in pursuit of the cats and I will put it down on the spot; that's blunt and perhaps cold but not up for debate.

My original intent in posing the question was to get feedback as to whether other animal folks felt this was a good environment for these Greyhounds; in a smallish but largely tidy house with cats where they must be sequestered to one room to keep them away from the cats. I do not think it is, but perhaps when one considers that they come from living in a tiny kennel at a race track, where they are may in fact be utopia to them.

She showers them with love, feeds them, walks them, cares for them, takes them to the vet regularly but I still don't think animals bred to chase small animals should live under the same roof with small animals if they show the slightest inclination toward wanting to kill them.

This will be the last I write on this. I appreciate the input from objective third parties, it reaffirmed my position and I have withdrawn myself from the situation with finality and wash my hands of a situation I feel is an accident waiting to happen and won't allow my children to be there anymore. I could not live with myself if my 4 year old daughter opened the door to the hounds and found herself between them and the cats.

I feel as though I am beating a dead horse at this point.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

May I ask what was your reason for posting this sad story? You state you dont intend to talk to the woman or to visit further? Most of us on this forum would confront the woman with the fact that she has crossed the line and become a compulsive pet hoarder. The cats deserve better than what they are getting. Eventually one or both will be maimed or killed. And they certainly dont deserve to spend their lives confined to a bedroom. Its a shame and horribly sad, but if you have "withdrawn" there isnt much point in asking for advise, right? But if you wanted advise, our advise would be to talk to her. Open a line of communication and try to help her and her animals.

One reason experts give for people who hoard pets is that their emotional needs arent met by family and friends. Thats not always the fault of family members. Sometimes the personality of the individual is such that they just dont socialize well. They find comfort in the nonjudgmental attitude and dependency of animals. In the end its a lose-lose situation.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

I would by no means call the woman a pet hoarder. She doesn't have any more pets than alot of us here on this forum do.

Probably more_to_grow posted out of frustration (because of the greyhounds) and in the hopes of someone responding with a very simple solution that he/she hadn't considered. Unfortunately, things are seldom that simple when dealing with a family member... not if you want to keep peace and harmony.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

Maybe you could help her find the greyhounds new homes? If she knew they were going to good homes, she may be likely to give them up.

My concern too is that cats who live with that kind of stress often act out (ie: urinating outside the box, hiding all the time, etc...).


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

When she travels, she should hire someone to care for the animals instead of imposing on you.

Maybe you could find a good petsitter (ask the vet), and very nicely give your MIL the information the next time she asks you to sit.

Her situation doesn't really sound all that extreme to me, it's just not how YOU would choose to live. That's perfectly reasonable, to each his own.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

I foster greyhounds and have three of my own along with three cats. I would not think your MIL's home is the right place for these dogs. Greyhounds love their people - they are couch potatoes who enjoy spending time with their families, not being cooped up in a foyer. I would believe she did not get these dogs from a rescue as a rescue would have given her cat friendly dogs (quite a few greyhounds are fine with small animals) and not the kitty terminators those two sound like. IMO, the dogs should be surrendered to a greyhound adoption group that can find them suitable homes. If she wants a greyhound, find a cat safe one but in all honesty it sounds as those your MIL has enough to worry about without the greys.

BTW - normally two large greyhounds would be less concern than one large shephard. They actually have a lower activity level (by far) and are less prone to doggy odor when cared for properly since their coats are short, one layer, shed less and they don't emit the same oils as other dogs. These two greyhounds are perhaps a bit wired since they know the cats are in the vicinity - truly not cat safe greyhounds will not rest if they know their "prey" is near.


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RE: A 'proper ' Greyhound home?

I think you should find a local greyhound specific rescue group and encourage your MIL to contact them.

You are right, the greyhounds should go to a home that does not have cats or other small animals.

Sounds like they desperately need to be fostered by someone experienced in teaching racing greyhounds how to live as house pets.

The dogs are stressed and cats are stressed and someone is going to get hurt again and again. It is a bad situation but just withdrawing from it won't help.


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