Celebrating the life of a much loved pet.

I made the awful decision on Tuesday the 10th of November 2015 to have my dog put to sleep.

She had been diagnosed with a mass in her spleen in April 2015. It was unknown if it was cancer or not. There were tests available to find out what we were dealing with but if it was cancer the test would encourage it to spread. And if it wasn’t then the test would encourage the “blister” to burst. Either way the test would make things worse and I was told that operating although removing the problem would technically shorten her life as average statistics were a month survival after surgery.

I was back and forward to the vets several times in the next 6 months with mounting vet bills. But it was worth it. She had a better quality of life, we sorted out her incontinence and put her on medication to help with the pain we thought she was in.

We had an extra 6 months, a few extra walks when she was fit, a short break away and more time together.

Then the time came when I had to make the decision to make an appointment to take her to the vets to be put to sleep.

But even now a few weeks on I find myself wondering if I did the right thing. I work during the day and I was terrified that she would become very ill and I wouldn’t be there to help her or comfort her. I don’t know for certain what was going on in her body, but she seemed to start to forget things. This wouldn’t have usually been a problem, but she “forgot” that she didn’t go to the toilet in the house. With young children this became another strain on family life.

I decided that we couldn’t continue the way we were with things gradually getting a bit worse. So I made that appointment at the vets.

I was upset throughout the whole appointment and desperately wanted to shout stop I’ve changed my mind. But I kept watching and trying to convince myself I was doing the right thing.

I came home and cried, I sat up for a few hours and then headed to bed. As I lay in bed there was this loud noise that made both myself and my other dog jump and look around. That’s when I realised why I recognised the noise. It was the same noise when my older dog jumped on and off the bed somehow I found this comforting, the last few weeks she hadn’t been fit enough to mange this.

Then a short while later I stretched out in bed and my foot touched a dog, I hadn’t realised my other dog had jumped on the bed… She hadn’t. There was an unwritten rule between my dogs. The younger one slept on the bed while the older was on the floor. That night my younger dog stayed on the floor all night.

For the next few days I was distraught, but I had to continue with looking after the children, working and life in general. It’s getting easier but I still find myself wondering if I’ve done the right thing.

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The juggling act which is being a single parent.

So it seems that I’m not invincible. I’d like to be able to do everything and mange effortlessly. But it’s not looking like that’s possible.

It doesn’t matter how many people tell me it that it will get easier or his threats to fight for custody of the children are empty threats. It still gives me bad days and sleepless nights.

I’m not sure I can remember when I actually slept a full night through. It wasn’t recently anyway!

But when I think about things sensibly I can see why I’m finding things difficult just now, as well as why things are difficult.

* I’m a single parent to 2 children under 5. Everytime they stay at their dads I dread what I’m going to be accused of when they come back, and another reason I’ve apparently given him to fight for custody.
* I am lucky I have 2 healthy and happy children. But that is getting harder when my oldest is now telling me that he doesn’t want to go to daddies.
* I am lucky I have a full time job which allows us to remain in the life we are accustomed to. But also this is an added pressure and strain to limited family time that I have.
* I have a dog to look after and unfortunately I recently lost my older dog due to illness. So I’m now grieving as well.
* I want to have the perfect nice clean house. But as I said I have a dog and 2 children. This is somewhat unlikely. But recently it’s been stressful that I’m not managing.
* I come into contact with so many people every day. And I “act” and put on a “show” that shows everyone I’m fine. This is also emotionally draining.
* Added to all of this I have the financial worries of managing to provide for my family.

As well as these daily difficulties I don’t know where the next argument is going to come from. I don’t know when I’m next going to be told I’m a bad mother and he thinks he should go for custody as I don’t put our children first.

I do have my good days where I feel like myself. But I’m starting to wonder if it would be easier to fight for custody and move away. Then at least I would have some less stressful things in my life.

Sometimes everything is so… Confusing!

However much I would like this break up to be clean and for us both to move on amicably… It’s becoming clear that it’s not going to be possible.

I think now it’s the confusion that I can’t process. Things are settled and going reasonably well. Then out of nowhere something goes wrong.

My ex-husband and I have been using a shared calendar app following a mix up with our dates and who had the children. This seemed to help with communication about the children and was mainly helping.

Then last weekend he didn’t read the app properly, he assumed for some reason that he had the kids on Friday night into Saturday. He text asking if he should pick up the kids on his way home which was when we realise about the mix up. I asked my oldest (4 years) where he wanted to stay that night and he answered with mummy (he has said with daddy in the past). So decision was made… Or so I thought. My ex then phoned a short while later saying he knew this was a genuine mix up but would it mess up our plans if we changed them. I explained that it would be better not to change what they are expecting and the plans that we had. But he kept pushing and told me it was odd that I hadn’t just asked our oldest. I suppose I was fed up with him constantly getting on at me and thinking he knows best. So I lost control slightly and told him I had already asked and he didn’t want to go he wants to stay here but I thought it would be nicer not to say that to him and was trying not to say anything, but his constant pushing was leaving me no choice.

I’m not sure but I think his next text was him having a go at me.

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I didn’t bother responding to this. I don’t need the argument and frustration that it causes.

Then the next morning happened. I would like to post the texts but there are too many sent from him and I don’t know what ones are the most important anymore. He basically told me that he wanted to see the kids on Saturday morning and I was to cancel all plans so he got what he wanted. When I refused because we already had plans he told me I was breaching our legal agreement (our agreement has no specified dates as I have to work round his shift pattern), he was going to come to the house anyway and take them, that as their dad he could decide anytime he wanted to see them, what he said went and lastly that I should get a lawyer. (He didn’t get the kids as we already had plans, but this might be the first time I’ve properly stood up to him since we separated)

Situations like this are so stressful and emotionally draining, I’m fed up with them! I’ve had enough now!

But then to make it more confusing he then acts “normally”. I drop the kids off on Sunday as planned and he asks that since its our youngest’s birthday on Wednesday would I like to come round for the cake in the morning before we go out.

I mean really how am I meant to understand what’s going on? I don’t know if we are arguing, amicable or almost friends?

Animal behaviourist 1st appointment – assessment.

This appointment did not go at all how I was expecting. I though it would be the first of several and I would see a change in my dog’s behavior over a period of time.

The trainer/ behaviourist arrived and was with us for about two hours. During this time we discussed various things. The main points being the following:

Preventing her from stealing food in future which is what caused her to “bite” me. This involves training her to lie on a mat whenever we are eating until we are ready for her to move. Sounds easy but this is going to take patience and persistence on my part. But it will be great if she lies down out the way every time we are eating.

Training her to drop her toys when I ask by associating treats with the word drop it and tapping the ground at the same time.

Touching her during a “game” to make her associate being touched with a treat. (We think that me touching her while she stole food from the table is why she turned on me).

We had an interesting discussion about sleeping arrangements and if this would make any difference to her behaviour. It did not seem like this would be affecting her behaviour at all.

But most interestingly we had a long discussion about how the changes in the household could be effecting her.
* I have 2 young boys who’s behavior will be unpredictable for her at times.
* I have separated from my husband who has always been here when she was here.
* prior to separation there was a lot of shouting.
* my other older dog became very ill. This resulted in my other dog having toilet accidents round the house and behaving in different ways than was normally accepted between the two dogs.
* both dogs had free run of the house. But when my older dog became ill I swapped who slept in the room and who slept downstairs depending on the older dogs incontinence.
* last week my other dog was taken to the vets for euthanasia.

When you consider how difficult this has been for me it is no wonder that our pets are affected by more than we realise and result in unexpected behaviors.

This was our first appointment and she felt that my dog was actually well trained and would be as confident as someone could be to say this was a one of incident. Although this could clearly never be guaranteed. We left it as I was to get back in touch if I needed anymore advice and to let her know how we got along.

When is enough really enough?

I’m fed up feeling like shit because he’s making me feel that way. I thought when you separated that meant that your lives were separate. Not your ex still tries to manipulate and control things that you do from a distance!

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Unfortunately I understand that we have to communicate for the sake of the kids. But I still think he’s looking to pick arguments. But I start to wonder if I’m just as bad. These feelings are all from texts I’ve been getting from him over the past week. And more recently tonight.

I’m feeling miserable and fed up and then I find a text I wrote 2 months ago, I have no idea what I was planning to do with it. But it’s making me think how little some things have changed.

I can’t believe how angry I feel about something that is so insignificant.
Every trace of my family and friends are deleted off of his facebook while I’m the petty one.
Im being off with his family while they are trying to be supportive to me? They are his family and I can’t drop everything to talk to them.
Their relative had made me a single parent of 2 children under 5. He has shouted at me, he has slammed doors, he has pushed me, he has cheated on me. Sorry if I’m having a bit of trust issues at the moment!
Oh and on top of all this my dog is really ill. But don’t worry about any of this as I’m stronger than any of you think I am!

If things have changed so little in the past few months. Then maybe people that love me are right and I need to start standing up for myself and showing him he can’t make me feel this way anymore! The strength I had doesn’t feel as strong anymore. I need you fix that too!

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Finding an animal behaviourist isn’t that easy!

I am honestly starting to think that I am the unluckiest person!

So the decision was made to find a dog trainer/ behaviourist. I phoned someone local who currently isn’t taking any aggression cases as she was badly bitten. To be fair she sent me a photo of the bite and I don’t blame her.

She gave me the phone number or two others. The first one was full and could possibly squeeze me in on a weekend in a few weeks time and said she would normally recommend the trainer who I had phoned first.

So I phoned the second person. Although I had to leave a message for her this was much more successful. We arranged to talk later that night. We discussed the behavior problems that I was having with my dog and arranged an appointment

The evening of the appointment was extremely bad weather and she got it touch to say that trees had fallen on the road so she would need to rearrange.

Maybe we will meet a behaviourist/ trainer eventually.

Dog rehoming centres not that helpful.

For a few years I have donated to the dogs trust via a regular monthly payment. The dogs trust had always been promoted as being more humane to animals rather than the RSPCA or the SPCA.

However when I needed help I didn’t think it would be so difficult to get. My last blog discussed my dog turning on me and biting me. last blog here

I contacted the dogs trust who got me to fill in an application form that the manger assesses to see if they can help with rehoming. This was sent to them Friday morning and I was to wait until Wednesday for a response.

I knew the longer I kept her the more her behavior would be excused and she would end up staying with us. So while waiting for the dogs trust I started calling other rehoming centres.

I called a local centre who advised me that I could address her behavior instead of rehoming and as less important point they didn’t have any space anyway. I came off the phone feeling even more guilty that I wasn’t trying to correct her behavior.

I then phoned a not so local centre that specialised in rehoming border collies. I reckoned it would take me 4-5 hours to drive to take her. But it would be worth it to know I wouldn’t have to put her to sleep. After all she didn’t actually hurt me although she did bite me.
Again I was spoken to like I was dirt for trying to rehome my dog in what I thought was a responsible way. I was advised several times that it would be my responsibility to get her to them and asked several times if I was sure that I had her since she was a puppy. Then at the end of the conversation I was told that they don’t have space for her anyway! I’m not going to lie. I came off this phone call angry.

Then Tuesday afternoon I received a voicemail from the dogs trust. They had assessed her situation and felt it would be difficult for her to adjust to kennels. (I had told them she goes to kennels with no problems when I’m away for work or holidays).

I felt completely lost, I didn’t know what else to do. But I had been told by 2 people now that training may help. Maybe it was worth looking into.