Nonny Blackthorne (nonnycat) wrote in seattle,

Elderly Doggie in Need of Home

Hi! I haven't posted here before, but as we are trying to get word out, it occurred to me it might be worth posting here. Hopefully this is within rules. :)

My girlfriend is in need of a new home for her 16 year old (as far as we can guess; she is at least that old, perhaps older) Aussie Shepard, Sadie. She does not wish to rehome Sadie, but we are faced with very few options. At this point, she has had to make the very difficult decision that she can no longer adequately care for Sadie due to disability. We live in the Olympia, WA, area.

Sadie is a lovely dog. She is friendly, easy to get along with, she's awesome with children, no issues with cats, or other animals. She will growl if cats or other animals try to steal her food, but she has never bitten or snapped at the animals, or people.

Here is the problem. She's getting older, and at this point she has a three hour bladder, almost like clockwork. She has always been an indoor dog, and is utterly terrified of the outdoors. We have set up a dog run and despite our best efforts, she has managed to tangle herself in the line regularly. She will do this until someone comes out to untangle her, but upon someone going inside, she will immediately re-tangle herself. She is also Houdini dog and will wiggle out of her harness regularly and try to bury under fences. She must be an indoor dog.

She is also going on a hunger strike due to being outdoors. She is scattering her food and refusing to eat unless someone is with her. The apartment that my girlfriend and her family have been able to find (temporarily; they moved cross-country and are job-hunting but being in training w/o pay does not count as income for renting a house) does not allow dogs, and my rental home does not allow indoor dogs. Even if we could have Sadie indoors, most of our household is disabled and on vacillating sleep schedules. It is simply not possible to arrange to walk her every three hours (or less; it has crept up to every hour at points), especially now that she is not signaling when she needs to be walked.

More minor issues are that she is arthritic, although she does not seem to be in pain. She is deaf in some ranges, but not completely. Prior to my girlfriend and family adopting her, she spent five years in a household that did not care for her and actively abused her. This has resulted in a few things, such as she is triggered by men in plaid shirts and baseball caps. She was never properly trained (commands such as sit), and by the time my girlfriend adopted her at age five, no amount of verbal training was successful. She is not ill-behaved, beyond the frequent walking needed, and some amount of gesture training has been successful.

Unfortunately, nearly everyone in the household is disabled with chronic pain at this point, with the exception of those who are working and thus cannot walk a dog on a three hour schedule. It is simply not possible to give her the care that she needs, as much as we want to. This is not a decision that has been made lightly. She is very loved, and this is breaking my girlfriend's heart, but my girlfriend wants the best for Sadie, and none of us simply have the capability to provide for her needs at this point. She is not in pain, and we do not want to put her to sleep.

She is very sweet, lovable, and kind. She likes to tuck people in at night (my girlfriend adds to this that she comes to the side of the bed and will tug the blanket over her), and she protects those she loves. With her age and arthritis, she is not very active, but she is very loving. She is an amazing dog who just needs people who are physically able to meet her needs. There is a video of her here, if you would like to see video.

Again, we are in Olympia, WA. We are willing to drive her to Seattle or Portland (or another city of similar distance, but 2hrs is about the max based on health issues). If anyone is interested, please contact Omi at omimouse@hotmail.com, and please CC her husband Louis at louis.adkins@hotmail.com.

If anyone is willing, re-posts and signal boosts would be appreciated. Thank you very much for reading.
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  • 29 comments

itsyspy70

July 26 2014, 02:23:20 UTC 5 months ago

Have you contacted Old Dog Haven?

http://olddoghaven.org/

Could be worth a shot.

That said, I have a LOT of mixed feelings about geriatric, special needs dogs being rehomed. Please consider how stressful a new home environment may be for her, and the hygiene and quality of life issues that 1-3 hour bladder schedule entails. I do hope she has seen a veterinarian to evaluate her appetite and bladder issues. Inappetance can be an indication of a variety of conditions that need attention in a senior dog.

Best of luck to you all and Sadie.

runningnekkid

July 26 2014, 04:58:31 UTC 5 months ago

From reading the post, it sounds like they *have* considered Sadie's stress level and feel that rehoming would be less stressful than not having her needs met, or being put to sleep. If anyone has mixed feelings about Sadie's situation, it is probably her current owner.

nonnycat

July 26 2014, 17:47:44 UTC 5 months ago

Thank you. This has not been an easy decision. Financial issues also mean that elderly doggie care is simply not possible, which is something my girlfriend is incredibly upset about. Things were different when they got her in the first place, ten years ago. She and her family simply do not have the resources at this point to care for Sadie, as much as they want to. My own finances are such I don't have the money to provide the care needed, either. This is why we are seeking an alternate home. Thank you for understanding.

itsyspy70

July 26 2014, 21:01:16 UTC 5 months ago

From reading the post it sounds like she hasn't had veterinary attention in some time, and that a few issues need evaluating.

I get that this is stressful for the owners, but when given a choice between saying nothing that may be construed as criticism and advocating for the pet, I'm going to advocate for the pet.

This isn't to say that I don't feel for the owners - I do, but that doesn't negate the need for medical attention or make it so that all options (including unattractive ones) aren't fully discussed and considered when making a serious choice about rehoming a geriatric, special needs pet.

kaligrrrl

July 27 2014, 08:04:34 UTC 5 months ago Edited:  July 27 2014, 08:08:48 UTC

so, you got any concrete help besides guilt-tripping the OP and completely ignoring all the reasons they laid out why what you're saying is best isn't at all feasible in this situation? like maybe you could pony up the money for the vet visit and subsequent treatment?

otherwise, you're really coming across as an asshole here. there's advocating for the dog and then there's ignoring that the owners are disabled, low income and trying to do the best thing for a beloved animal in a really difficult situation.

itsyspy70

July 27 2014, 09:02:25 UTC 5 months ago

You can ignore my original and first suggestion to contact ODH. Other commenters have seconded it. Think what you want.

kaligrrrl

July 27 2014, 09:17:09 UTC 5 months ago

so not willing to come through with that finanical help then, huh?

itsyspy70

July 27 2014, 10:01:05 UTC 5 months ago

No. I don't generally overextend my financial support beyond my means, nor do I take on expenses that would negatively impact my ability to take care of my commitment to my own geriatric dog.

Thanks for assuming so much about me tho - you can get fired up with righteous anonymous internet indignation about discussing uncomfortable topics but I do a lot of community outreach, education and even help facilitate care at reduced costs when I can. Knowing the full situation, asking questions and having frank, candid discussions is pretty important when there are so many issues at stake with a life and many people's emotions caught up in the fray.

Feel free to chip in yourself tho, or just continue taking potshots at me if it makes you feel better, it won't change things for the OP or Sadie.

Haven't seen any new listing on ODH's FB page for Sadie and I've been checking. I hope it's in the works. Doney clinic or The Pet Project could be worth looking into as well.

nonnycat

July 27 2014, 10:23:42 UTC 5 months ago

We'll be contacting them Monday. It being the weekend, we assumed there wouldn't be staff available. If this is not the case, I'll let my gf know so she (or someone else in the household; needless to say, this is very difficult for her) can contact them. Nice to know that you assume we just don't care, though. I'm glad for the recommendation, but I'm beginning to regret having made this post here in the first place.

itsyspy70

5 months ago

nonnycat

5 months ago

itsyspy70

5 months ago

itsyspy70

5 months ago

louisadkins

July 27 2014, 11:37:29 UTC 5 months ago

Hello, I'm Louis - I'm the one mentioned at the bottom of the post.

We are seeking assistance in re-homing her - a decision that was reached after much thought. We appreciate that you wish to offer assistance in making this decision, but it is not necessary; the decision has already been made.

Your assumption that Sadie has not had veterinary attention is inaccurate. (Nonny misunderstood some of the details about her care.)

We appreciate your suggestion regarding "Old Dog Haven" and will be contacting them, shortly.

itsyspy70

July 27 2014, 12:04:59 UTC 5 months ago

Hi Louis. I'm sorry you and your family are in this situation.

I rarely assume anything... if you re-read you'll notice that I asked in several spots about her veterinary care status and expressed concern/hope that this hadn't been overlooked. It wasn't explained in detail in the original post, hence me inquiring about it. Thanks for assuming I'm assuming?

I'm not really interested in having other commenters continue to dogpile on me and assume I'm some asshole that doesn't give a shit. It's 5am and I'm researching resources for other people's pets. Clearly I'm a heartless wretch. OP is welcome to reach out to me in private if desired.

Best of luck. She looks like a sweet pup. ODH is awesome and Judith and the whole team busts their asses to help pets.

louisadkins

July 27 2014, 12:30:43 UTC 5 months ago

Regarding Assumptions, "From reading the post it sounds like she hasn't had veterinary attention in some time, and that a few issues need evaluating. "

Honestly, I feel that my response to you was civil, if not polite.
I'm not sure why you feel the need for the dramatics (referring to yourself as a heartless wretch, and some asshole that doesn't give a shit.)

As for Sadie, she is very sweet. Here is to hoping we can find her a good home for her twilight.

itsyspy70

July 27 2014, 12:40:37 UTC 5 months ago

Dramatics are a result of it being late and crossover annoyance from kaligrrrl's delightful responses to me. Easily solved by me excusing myself from further involvement in this conversation, sorry if it felt like it was directed at you, it wasn't.

Your response was civil.

"sounds like" would be the qualifier in allowing that perhaps she had been checked out by a vet, and those details weren't provided in the original post. Known medical issues are a good thing to disclose if you are asking others to take in a pet, so I asked if she had been seen as details about her medical status weren't shared. That's all.

nonnycat

July 27 2014, 12:48:28 UTC 5 months ago

I just want to add this, even though I said I was going to not engage, but I just saw this and felt it worth a note. If you wish to continue this conversation, Louis is the one you want to speak to, because he has cared for Sadie (as well as my girlfriend) for ten years. He has more information, and he knows her better; there are already things I have been mistaken about. Just as a FYI.

faithful_summer

July 26 2014, 07:50:22 UTC 5 months ago

I second contacting Old Dog Haven. At the very least, they can provide a courtesy listing for her on their Petfinder and Facebook pages. Best case scenario, they may have a foster who is able to take her on. They're a fantastic organization.

nonnycat

July 26 2014, 17:48:25 UTC 5 months ago

Thank you; we were not aware of that organization. We will look into it, and see if they are able to help. I hope they are, because she's a wonderful dog, and she deserves the very best care that we are unable to give.

nonnycat

July 26 2014, 17:55:33 UTC 5 months ago

Sadie is not showing any sign of pain, lack of appetite, or difficulty urinating; quite the opposite. I doubt very much it is an UTI, and we don't have the money for vet (finances were different when Sadie was adopted). If it's something more than an UTI, we definitely do not have the money.

This decision is something that has caused my girlfriend no small amount of heartbreak, and I'm not sure if you are aware that you come across quite callous here. We want the best for Sadie, and we simply cannot provide for her needs at this point. We don't want to put her to sleep, when she is not in pain, and as much as it may be stressful, I fear that the current situation is moreso. If we thought there was a better solution, we would be going for it.

The luck, however, is very much appreciated.

itsyspy70

July 26 2014, 20:53:29 UTC 5 months ago

"walk her every three hours (or less; it has crept up to every hour at points), especially now that she is not signaling when she needs to be walked"

"She is also going on a hunger strike due to being outdoors. She is scattering her food and refusing to eat unless someone is with her."

"More minor issues are that she is arthritic, although she does not seem to be in pain."

Has she seen a vet in the last year for any of these issues? Arthritis is painful, many breeds are notably stoic and will not overtly display signs of pain, doesn't mean it's not there. Not eating/hunger striking/refusing food and 1-3 hour bladder schedules are things that need to be paid attention to. Again, they can be signs of something serious, and advanced geriatrics (16+ years for a medium to large breed dog well qualifies for that) have a smaller margin of error/reserves to recover.

I am advocating for Sadie, and I know that cold/clinical recommendations for things that aren't financially feasible can feel callous, but more than you or your girlfriend I am worried about Sadie. Upon rehoming, a veterinary evaluation is likely to be one of the first things that needs to be done.

For my own pets, rather than consigning them to a new home at an advanced age with possible kidney issues and arthritis and what sounds like some degree of cognitive dysfunction - I would choose to know that they weren't confused why their family was gone, to know that they were taken care of the way they needed to be until the end. It's a personal decision though, and that is me from having dealt with many pets (my own and clients) and end of life decisions. I can tell you how many times I have heard anyone say that they shouldn't have euthanized/euthanized too soon - never. These are not easy calls, and even when it's the right decision it doesn't mean there isn't heartbreak involved - I have BEEN there, believe me. The voices and recommendations that were grounded in advocating for my dog were the ones I ultimately listened to and I have zero regrets about it. It still wasn't easy, and it certainly wasn't fun, but they weren't being mean to be mean - they were advocating for the dog.

I do wish you the best of luck and again, strongly recommend reaching out to Old Dog Haven which was my first and primary recommendation to you.

nonnycat

July 27 2014, 10:39:00 UTC 5 months ago

Currently, we simply don't have the financial resources. We would like to, and it's been something that's been discussed and gone over to see if we have the money, but it's just not there. Right now, the only person capable of work is in unpaid training for a position that won't start until mid to late August. My own finances are a shambles, and I have less than a hundred bucks in my account to cover food until the next paycheck. Believe me, if we had the money, it would be the first thing we would be doing. This is part of the issue; Sadie needs a home where people can afford to get her the treatment she needs.

Regarding the arthritis, I may be going too much by my cat, who has arthritis, and has been very vocal about pain. She received treatment and an ongoing prescription (originally seen in 2012). Something I should probably explain is that we are polyamorous and my girlfriend and I are in separate households. My finances are generally better but this summer has been horrendous as I have had to leave my home and stay with my girlfriend due to a housemate who has turned abusive but hasn't crossed the line into physical, so I can't get a restraining order. So, we have been paying for necessities at two different homes, which has been a great strain on our finances.

My girlfriend and her family just moved here from cross-country which required draining her husband's 401k, as he had lost his job and there just weren't jobs there. The cross country move exacerbated a lot of her conditions, but we don't have the money, and we want the best for her. If you would have suggestions on how to acquire said money, I'd love to hear them. Our experience with trying to crowdfund in the past has not been great.)

As I said in my original post, finances were very different ten years ago when she was adopted. Since then, at least three people in the family have lost jobs and become disabled, and the disability system is fucked up beyond belief; the previous state they lived in were actively abusive, cruel, and have caused PTSD in regards to trying to apply again. I'm hoping th. This has happened at literally the worst time possible, and I do appreciate the suggestions, believe me. We will be contacting the organization you recommended Monday (due to move, we have been BUSY, and we honestly didn't expect anyone would be there over the weekend).

Prior to this with Sadie, I had promised money to a friend who is looking at homelessness, to try to get an apartment, but she may have another option. If this goes through, I will contact our vet and see what the cost would be to get her in and looked at, since you do make very good points regarding elderly animal health, and it would be best for my girlfriend and Sadie to not be broken up (but the problem still exists that we cannot have her in the apartment, she is scared of the outdoors, and it will be at least three months before they can find a house due to how her husband's pay schedule will be; my home is near Joint Base Lewis-McChord and we have quite a lot of loud booms from artillery training, and it scares her. My landlady will not let us have an indoor animal except for brief periods. I don't know how to solve that issue, and I'm worried that infrequent contact would be worse for Sadie than rehoming with someone who could be there for her all the time. If you have suggestions or thoughts, I would appreciate, since it sounds like you have been through this yourself.).

itsyspy70

July 27 2014, 11:51:00 UTC 5 months ago

Glad you're still willing to engage in conversation. Money problems suck, health problems suck, housing problems suck and pet problems suck. Heath care in this country and accommodation and understanding for long-term, chronic disease processes is deplorable. It's extra fun when you don't "look sick". Moving with pets is also hard - I would have had MANY more housing options for my last move if I didn't have a large dog, nevermind if she had been a breed that is commonly restricted.

Just like in people, different pets can have different reactions to pain. I've had a lab who has had all manner of real injuries (lacerated paw pad, grass seeds in eyes, etc.) with no change in his behavior and my current GSP mix will yipe for 5 minutes if she whacks her own tail on a corner too hard. Beau (accident-prone lab) always got treated with pain meds for those injuries because even if he was keeping a stiff upper lip, those conditions and issues are known to be painful in humans, and there isn't any evidence to indicate it's not also painful for animals.

Text medium is awful for this, but please read this all in a candid, neutral tone. Explaining not because I think you're an idiot but because I have learned repeatedly not to assume anything when it comes to discussing animal health issues - there are many misconceptions, and it doesn't matter if those misconceptions are due to honest lack of knowledge, malice or wishful thinking - it results in ineffective communication and more often than not it's the animal that suffers for it.

I am not sure which vet you use, but I know in the Seattle area there are many low-cost clinics that are focused on affordable, rational vet care. Urban Animal in Capitol Hill and Priceless Pet Clinic in Normandy Park ($34 exam btw) are two I can personally vouch for. Many vet clinics have coupons for free first exams on their website or on coupon sites like Val-Pak. Most of the VCA clinics have a free first exam offer, but double check their websites for specifics. Likely any vet will want to run a urinalysis at the minimum, and a chemistry panel wouldn't be a bad idea either. Exam prices vary but those two bits of labwork (sometimes running a bundle with a complete blood count ends up being cheaper than the 2 a la carte) should be around $130 max.

I have had a LOT of clients who have had good luck with facebook and links to either paypal/gofundme/etc. for their pets. One lady had a guy who met her dog once, years ago donate something like $2k towards additional diagnostics and care. YMMV but it's worth sending the ask out into the universe.

Is further dialogue or arranging a short term agreement with your landlady possible? I don't understand what "brief periods" means - just visiting, not living there pets?

The last few places I've lived had stipulations about pets (# of pets, breeds, weight) that were posted but when I asked about it they were easy about making exceptions. Last place had a 2 pet, 60lb combined weight limit for ALL pets together restriction and they didn't bat an eye about us having 2 65lb dog and a 44lb dog.

Any neighbors that favors can be called in with or trade for potty breaks?

Honestly from all you've posted I don't see a lot of solutions in the immediate short-term that wouldn't potentially be stressful for Sadie, nor do I know Sadie personally to be able to say what would be easiest for her. My own dog is fairly low key and as long as she's got food and someplace warm and comfy to sleep she's good - but if I am stressed she goes on cloth-eating benders. Boyfriend's lab is scared of bushes, frogs, noises, new places and will stress pant, not sleep and not eat with any changes in her environment. It's a lesser of however many evils, and keeping close tabs on how Sadie is responding. In general dogs tend to do best with as much stability and regularity in their life as possible. Routine is important to them, and while they are immensely adaptable to many situations, they really do best with predictable home life. It's ok to try piecemeal solutions to see if they are feasible - if they are not working for Sadie then stop and figure out the next thing to try.


continued

itsyspy70

July 27 2014, 11:51:25 UTC 5 months ago

Keeping her in her existing home is the best, and veterinary care could help with that, which is why I have been championing it from the start. There are medications that can be used to help with incontinence (Proin) and that alone could help to keep her there if it stretches out her bladder schedule to something that is doable for the household.


http://www.doneyclinic.org/

Pet Project funds are for for clients with HIV/AIDS, I had thought it was low-income/disabled/etc. mistakenly. Not sure if that helps.

Kitsap Humane Society has an assistance fund "Jimmy's Fund" - doesn't look like Thurston county is eligible territory, but reaching out to them may be helpful as they may know of a group closer to you that could help.
http://www.kitsap-humane.org/jimmys-fund

Concern for Animals - http://www.concernforanimals.org/pet-services.php

Check out further down - discretionary fund.

Covenant Care - sounds like bible thumpers but w/e
http://covenantcreatures.com/whatwedo.html

http://olddoghaven.org/resources/other-resources/
Many links here!

Again, even if these places cannot help directly or your situation doesn't qualify, please reach out. People who work in veterinary medicine and rescue network with many organizations and are happy to provide contact information, you just need to do the legwork (which always sucks). Luckily most of it can be done via phone or email.

Hope some of that helps.

nonnycat

July 27 2014, 12:04:49 UTC 5 months ago

Thank you; I appreciate the links and resources. Louis (my girlfriend's husband) has responded in some more detail and clarified some things I was mistaken about (particularly regarding medical care). It's late and I'm tired, so I don't have the energy to write a more detailed response, but again, thank you for the links given.

louisadkins

July 27 2014, 11:58:14 UTC 5 months ago

Walking Sadie every three hours only began in the last month, or so. I suspect it was a stress reaction to cross-country travel, and living in hotel rooms. We ended up stopping every hour or two on the drive, so she probably also got used to it from that.

As far as not wanting to eat, that has only started in the last week, when we had to put her outside. She despises being alone, and is stopped eating only once we put her outside. Hunger strike is a pretty good definition of her actions. She wants inside, and we aren't in a position to give her that, at this point. (Even this is by setting her up in Nonny's backyard - we have a strict no-dog policy at the apartment complex, and this is all we can afford, currently. 800 glorious square feet.) We are going to be here for at least three to six months, and possibly longer, depending on finances.

Also, bluntly, no one expected her to react this badly to being put on an outside leash. Her previous (abusive) owner kept her as indoor/outdoor, and we have (until now) kept her as indoor. When she was younger, there were times she would slip out the door and have an Adventure for a few hours, before showing back up to come inside.

As far as "cognitive dysfunction" is concerned, I'm not clear on where you are getting that from.

While I can appreciate your expressing empathy, the choice to rehome her is what we have decided on.

In case it is not clear, euthanizing her is not an option we will ever accept unless/until she is in the grip of some sort of terminal disease or issue. We will not euthanize Sadie, just because we can no longer care for her - that is no reason to kill her.

Any further suggestions or help in re-homing her is welcome.

itsyspy70

October 11 2014, 05:58:50 UTC 2 months ago

Was thinking of Sadie and the rehoming situation, were you able to find a new home for her?

nonnycat

October 14 2014, 13:28:44 UTC 2 months ago Edited:  October 14 2014, 13:30:17 UTC

We were not. Old Dog Haven told us that she was too old for them to help us with, and we haven't had any luck with any other resources. She's been staying in my backyard (clarification: I say "my" but I have actually moved out and am living with my girlfriend and family) by virtue of my parents allowing it (my, well, now ex partner and I have been renting their second house for years), and actually seems to quite love it. Our main concerns are that winter is coming(TM) and we're looking at trying to build her an insulated doghouse with the large amount of wood that my (other) ex left in the garage when he moved out, especially since he left the table saw.

Problem being, my dad's moods change like the weather and he has grown attached to Sadie and is convinced she's going to freeze to death in the winter (despite said doghouse) and that he'll have to watch another dog he loves die... so he just doesn't want her there. My mom has been going back and forth with him, but I don't know how long we can keep it up, and I haven't had any luck finding even fosters in the area, either.

At this point, we're hoping to be able to find a rental house that allows dogs but that will likely need to wait until tax return comes in because my bf's mother, who promised money to help with getting into a house (deposits, etc), has gone back on that, and we are definitely stuck in the apartment until we can afford that, which is going to be higher because I'll be bringing my cat, which brings it to 3 cats + 1 dog, and pet deposits are not cheap.

At least on the good side, she's very very happy outdoors, which we were NOT expecting. She used to HATE being outdoors, but she's been cheerfully loping around the backyard and has made herself a little nest through the side of the blackberry bush. A spot on her back where she would anxiety chew at her fur is finally starting to grow back, so at least we know now that being outside is an option if not a preference!

That might be a little more info than you wanted, so apologies for the ramble.