Grandpa is a rugged sort well into his 80’s. He loves Quarter Horses, rodeo, hunting, guns, and bird dogs. He has always had these or done these things, well before I ever came along. The rules whenever I went to visit his acreage were “Don’t touch the Stallion”, whose well earned name was Sweet Lips, “Don’t touch the guns”, and “Don’t let loose the dogs, they will kill the cats”. He has a big pasture and has always had at least 3-4 gun or pack horses, and has always had at least 3-4 English Setters. He loves Setters. However, in his declining years, he has had to give up his great loves and the kennels and corral have stood empty for quite some time.
That is, until my aunt bought him an English Setter puppy a few months ago as a birthday gift (he is about 85 I think). Well, as expected, the dog has been spending the last 8 months out in the kennel with nothing to do. His caretaker is too frail to manage Grandpa and the dog, so the dog is back with my aunt, who has too much on her plate to deal with her. So, they called my mom and asked if we wanted her “until Grandpa is back on his feet following heart surgery” or something.
She is a 10 month spayed English Setter girl, about 50 lbs, black and white, and is reported to be very good, but busy. What Setter is NOT constantly busy and on the move? Anyways, my mom is going to meet her and feels guilty now that my aunt has mentioned “the pound”, so wants me to jump in and rescue everybody else from their bad decisions and potential guilt at having to dump the dog at a pound.
Ok, so I do have space (a fenced acre), I am home a lot, my mom is retired, I do have kennels, and I do have other dogs for company. Grym also really needs a bigger dog to romp with more roughly than he is allowed to with the Shibas. Although the dog has been kenneled when with Grandpa and tethered while living with my aunt, it’s not a Shiba. I don’t think the window has closed with her socially since Setters are so predisposed to be social and friendly. She is reportedly very friendly with people and dogs. If it’s just a basic manners issue, I don’t think I can in good conscience turn her away BUT, my focus is supposed to be Shibas. How can I give my time to my current working, showing, breeding dogs when people keep wanting to dump their problem pets in my lap?
I talked a bit more with my mom. She would like to keep the dog with her. She has a very elderly incontinent pomeranian however. Her husband is near fed up with Buddy pooping and peeing everywhere inside and biting. Buddy has dementia and wanders a lot while doing this repetative “I am lost” bark. There really are no lights on upstairs and he doesn’t really eat but once every 2-3 days at this point. My mom is not motivated to take him to the vet, to groom him, or to give him pain relief. I told her it would be cruel for her to bring in a big puppy and expect Wayne and I and Buddy to be happy about it, knowing the burden of care would fall on me. Personally, I think Buddy needs to be sent to Heaven since he is not being cared for in his old age, but I DO NOT feel it is my responsibility to once again, jump in and fix it for her.
Basically, I feel she needs to take care of Buddy first before dealing with a relatives dog. I’m torn, this Setter seems like a good dog, but if Mom won’t do what’s best for Buddy, then I am going to have to be a jerk I guess and refuse to help with this dog and Buddy, because 6 dogs is too much for me right now especially when 3 of them would have special needs.