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Father threatens to hurt the family pet
Sorry for the BTB posts...so much to say!!
My father is 87 yrs old and is nasty to be around, suffice to say. It is just me and him and the little 10 lb dog. The dog barks when he hears noises outside. He is not a noisy yappy dog or anything, it is just the territorial thing. The dog barked this afternoon just as dad settled in for his afternoon nap. He threatened to hit the dog, and sat there, repeatedly saying over and over, if the dog ever barks again 'like that,' he is going to hit him.
I would not put it past him. My father can be a real monster and scares everybody. He is one who has always gotten his way and people cowtow to him. I can't even 'stand up' to him, or all heck breaks loose.
But I will not let him hurt the dog.
Not sure what I can do..? If this happens..? I want to have my ducks in a row in case it does happen. Which, given my father gets 'worse' all the time, it could very well happen. The police around here are pretty much 100% totally useless when it comes to dog complaints.
The dog already shakes terribly when dad yells. Sadly, at times I think about getting rid of the dog, but my (impossible) father would go absolutely ballistic. I have mentioned a couple times that if dad does not calm down, instead of scaring the dog when dad rages, I have a couple of times mentioned I might get rid of the dog...Oh does that set dad off..a whole new ugliness emerges..He loves that dog, but..OMG..
Any advice..? Feels totally stuck between a rock and a hard place, to say the least..:/
Unfortunately, some PWDs (persons with dementia) lose their filters and inhibitions. They may be unaware when they become violent. You cannot rely that they have the control they formerly had.
If the dog is in danger, you must rehome the dog. Animal abuse should never be permitted, even by PWDs.
Can you have a friend take care of the dog for a while until you get your father medicated and less aggressive? I'd so hate to see him hurt such a little, helpless thing.
I had to leave an abusive relationship years ago and a very kind woman who owned a kennel let me board my dog there free of charge for several weeks until I found another place to live and went and got my dog back. It saved me having to deal with all that stress PLUS a broken heart over having to part with my dog.
Try to find a friend who can keep the dog for you for a while, or see if there's inexpensive boarding (usually not as expensive for a small dog as for a bigger one), someplace to keep the dog safe and out of reach of your father's rages. And get him on medication ASAP for his aggression so that your household can settle down.
Another thought - contact a local animal shelter and see if they can help you find someone who will foster the dog while your situation settles down. Fostering is only temporary, so you could get your dog back after your father isn't threatening to hurt it any more. I'd hate to see you having to part with your little dog because of him. A temporary situation would at least give you the peace of mind that your dog is safe and that you won't have to be without the dog once things calm down.
Yes, rehome is the word, so sorry..just my mind is going a million miles a minute right now (or whatever that saying is. I agree. I guess because I asked some dog lover friends, they said it would be more upsetting to the dog to 'lose' his home and what he knows, etc. But I agree, I can't let him abuse the dog. Some of this madness has got to stop, and truth be told, he rants and raves about something every day, every hour, anyway!!
The dog seems to have finally gotten used to the yelling and does not really shake like he used to, but I can't take the chance. A threat like that is a serious threat and should not be taken lightly! My mom used to say he 'loses his head' when he gets angry, and that was some 20 years ago. It is far worse now!!!
On one hand I guess if he ever does do anything to the dog, he will be GONE to a nursing home or something, as he will finally be deemed violent. But I don't want to see that. On another hand, I think he knows his butt will be out of the house if he ever lays a hand on the dog. But I really can't take that chance. It is not fair to the dog. Poor little dog. *sigh*
Don't ask him to take meds. Crush them up and put them in some food he likes so he takes them without knowing it. He lives in your house, you're taking care of him all the time, he doesn't get a "vote". You are giving up a lot for his care, he can manage to do a couple small things to help you out and preserve your sanity.
Yeah, my ex loved my dogs, but he was forever leaving food out that they could get into that could hurt them and make them sick or even poison them. I told him that if he ever hurt the dogs, I would make him move out and I meant it. If it came down to him or the dogs, I picked the dogs! Now he is in a care facility (nothing to do with the dogs) and I and my dogs are relaxed and safe. I thought they would freak out and miss him a lot but they seemed to adjust just fine.
Don't give up - try to find someone who won't mind fostering your little dog until you can get your father stabilized. There are caring people around who might do it, or do it for a small fee so that your dog will be safe and you can get him back when things settle down again. Dogs are such great companions, it would be a shame for you to have to lose that support. Heck, put up a note on the bulletin board in the grocery store if you have to! I'm sure someone out there would be willing to help you and care for your dog for a while. People who love dogs are very understanding and will help out when it comes to other peoples' dogs.
And, honestly, it's not fair to your dad, either. His navigational compass for how to regulate his behavior is gone. You know the dog agitates him just being a dog. To continue to put him together with the dog pretty much ensures that something will happen. Its unfair to say "well if he hurts the dog then he's out of here" when, given some time, he is going to hurt the dog.
Remove the dog and tell him ... anything you want The dog is on vacation, the dog went to stay with his dog family, he's away being trained to be quieter. Your dad may rage, but he will eventually forget and the dog will be safe.
Oh, and I meant to say, the little dog, who tends to be a happy little go lucky little guy, tends to be a cheerful dog, often looks so sad when dad is around. The dog even vomits sometimes in the morning, had the dog to the vet, tried different things, so I think possibly the little dog is nervous, being in this environment. Had the dog go visit somebody for the day a few weeks ago, and the dog was all smiles, all day. Totally different than at home with dad. I do think the dog would do well if he were rehomed. I know he would wonder why his momma did it, thinking I did not love him, and that breaks my heart. But I really can't let the dog be subjected to this craziness. It's bad enough it is taking a toll on MY health.
Rehoming is not going to be easy. I put out some feelers a few months ago when the episodes were particularly bad (not that they have been good at all ever since!!), and sadly it looks like rehoming might be hard. This area is all about large breed dogs. And if I took him to the local humane society, dad would go look there. He won't leave his house for anything much really, but he would get a buddy to go help him look for that dog.
So I guess sadly I need to come up with some reason. Like the dog got loose, or something. Another difficult aspect is dad is under my foot 24/7 (if anyone read my other post, you would know), so it's not like I can have someone come get the dog or I can't take the dog to a new owner, etc. Dad gets very suspicious and paranoid and he is very good at asking lots of questions. He was a detective in his line of work, and he was very good at it, and he still is..
So I will need to come up with some plan that will be as not suspicious as possible.
Oh this breaks my heart, but I agree, I can't take this chance. Not to mention, dad thinking 'nothing is wrong' with dad, I do have to grocery shop sometimes, leaving the house for maybe an hour, and it is a worry that dad will leave the dog outside in the freezing cold or hot humid summer heat, he forgets, falls asleep, and he does not hear the dog barking outside. He also had feeble hands and insists on taking the dog for little walks to the street intersection and back, and just lots of other worries. I know it will be best for the dog, but gosh, this is going to be hard, for so many reasons.
I am so sorry for what you are going through. You must place the dog elsewhere, with a friend, rehome or another family member. You dad will not remember your threats,( butt out the door) , all part of this dreaded disease and he may well hurt your puppy. I truly don’t know if aggression to an animal would become a police matter. If the little dog is afraid of him....that is telling you something.
And telling your dad you had to remove the dog because of your dads anger will only make a bad situation worse. Fiblet”puppy had to go stay at vets for a overnight checkup” or some other creative fiblet.
Until his aggression is under control, please find a safe place for your puppy.
And then you can get him to neurologist for complete check. How I did that with my DH, I didn’t tell him it was a neuro but told him Medicare requires annual check or they would no longer cover us. Perhaps your brothers could come in to help you with that phase. Good luck and he is lucky to have you.
msh7089, if you and I lived anywhere near each other, I'd come over right now and offer to take your dog. We'd tell your father it's temporary, but it wouldn't be. My future daughter-in-law sometimes dogsits. The longest we (she lives with us) dogsat a dog was for, I think it was at least 3 months. (Dog's mother was in her 70s, and needed rehab for many weeks.) Maybe ask your vet if she/he knows of any dogsitters in your area. Maybe put a poster up in the vet's office (along with the grocery store), asking if anyone can foster your dog for a while.
Oh, I would never say I am rehoming the dog 'because' of dad. No ma'am.
I am thinking the best way, being dad extremely rarely ever leaves the house unless I am with him, I am thinking..he does still go for his morning coffee once a week or once every two weeks. That might be the time to drop the dog off at the new owner/no kill shelter. Unfortunately, he goes so early in the morning, like 8am and he is usually home by 9am. But, where there is a will, there is a way!
I think I could just tell him that the dog got loose somehow. Dad is so paranoid, he likely will blame me, and it is likely going to be a whole new Hades to endure, but..I agree, it is not a good situation for the dog, and even though he claims to love the dog, it is also an aggravation/agitation to dad, in the long run. Sometimes it is not what we want, but what we need.
Just a suggestion...when my DH was resistant to meds and PCP was hesitant...I took several cell phone videos to show what the real deal was. Most PCP ‘s are not as well schooled in dementia as we would like to think and DH was very good at putting on a good game face when we visited. Those videos got me a neuro referral immediately and I never told him what kind of dr it was, just that it was a requirement for Medicare.
My heart breaks for you. You are in a tough spot and I know all and any suggestions made are because we care and know what you are going through.
On one hand I guess if he ever does do anything to the dog, he will be GONE to a nursing home or something, as he will finally be deemed violent.
Msh, no nursing home or any facility will knowingly take in a patient who is violent! You (the family) will have to get the PWD (person with dementia) stabilized BEFORE admittance to a facility. This can be done on an outpatient basis with the local geriatric psychiatrist or geriatrician or neurologist, or in a geriatric psychiatric facility.
You already know aggression is a problem. The thing to do is to deal with it now. There is treatment for this.
I can assure you. There will be a day when his "show time" will go away. He will be in the "fog" of this disease. My FIL is there right now. One stage from the end.
Msh, yes, it is maddening. You are living in a new reality. Everything you mention is common with the dementias. If you cannot get your dad to a neurologist now, you may have to wait for a crisis to occur, when he will be transported to an ER by the parmedics. Then you can ask for a neurology consultation. In the meantime, do what you can do now to manage yourself, you sweet little dog and your household, because the crisis will be coming. Make preparations now. Interview facilities now. Read and educate yourself now. There will be many challenges.
I may be missing something, but why are you and your father living together? Are you able to afford a place of your own? Why is everyone telling you to rehome your dog, when it is your father refusing diagnosis and medical help? No one would tell you to give up a child because there is a nasty and potentially dangerous parent in the home. We caregivers are asked to sacrifice so much, time, privacy, freedom, health --now must it be sources of emotional comfort as well? Just how much are we expected to give of our own souls anyway?
It seems as if we are the only class of people who are told to live with emotional and often physical abuse because it isn't the abuser's fault. It may not be their fault (although it really is for refusing to get a diagnosis and take medical advice) but we end up just as battered. Aren't we allowed to stand up for ourselves?
THANK YOU, Unforgiven, for saying this so clearly. Caregivers do have to give up so much for the benefit of the person they care for. For me, having to give up a beloved pet, or being hit or otherwise physically or emotionally abused would be too much to ask. I guess everybody makes their own choices, but it's so sad watching so many things the care giver cares about and is attached to being slowly stripped away for the benefit of a person who will never understand or appreciate what is being done anyway.
Furthermore, rehoming/giving up the dog or moving the dad to a facility are not the only choices. Temporary foster care for the dog that could later be recovered is one option and getting that stubborn, self-centered, spoiled brat abusive dad on medication to calm him down to where his behavior is tolerable is another one. There is also pretty good potential for the dad to end up in a psych ward or even jail if his abuse goes too far and the police get involved, which is the least desirable outcome of all.