Help me deal with my parents and their ass-eating dog.
December 16, 2009 11:41 AM Subscribe
HomeForTheHolidaysFilter: Help me deal with my parents and their ass-eating dog.
posted by granted to Pets & Animals (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
About a year and a half ago, my parents' 12-year-old longhaired German Shepard (Skye) was given about two months to live. My dad was heartbroken and immediately started looking for a replacement. My mother, however, was looking forward to the independence offered by not having a large dog in the house. But my dad begged my mother for a new dog, and eventually she told him, “I don’t want a dog but I can’t stand in your way either if you're willing to care for the dog.” He got a 1-year old Shepard (Maya) from a rescue shelter.
Fast-forward to the present: Skye is still alive but can barely walk (he requires a lot of care), and Maya has become a serious problem. I'm visiting for the month (usually I'm away at school), and I am finding the situation unbearable for the following reasons:
-THE HAIR: Two German Shepards shed an incredible amount and hair covers almost every surface, but my parents don’t vacuum often. I find the hair upsets my breathing a bit. Part of the problem is that they cannot brush Skye because it causes him pain. They also do not brush Maya (for reasons unknown to me). My dad is responsible for vacuuming but he doesn’t do it. Anytime I bring up vacuuming, it provokes a fight. I have tried doing it myself but I get resentful especially because the Maya ate some of the vacuum attachments, making it hard to get the hair up (and my dad won't replace them because he claims he "fixed them.").
-TRAINING: Skye is very well trained (we adopted him after his past family sent him to obedience school) but Maya has no training. My dad refuses to send her to obedience school, contending that they can train her himself. So far, he has done some haphazard clicker training but doesn’t do it often enough. Usually Maya finds a way to get to the source of the treats and eats them all in one fell swoop anyway. She has also taught Skye some bad new habits, like drinking out of the toilet. Maya has an oral fixation and typically destroys anything in reach. We now cage her when we go out but she still gets into trouble when we’re home.
-WALKS/EXERCISE: Traditionally, we’ve taken our dogs out three times a day for longish walks. But now, because Skye can barely walk, we just walk Maya about ½ block and my parents refuse to take them on separate walks. I think Maya just has too much energy. She runs out back sometimes but there aren’t any kids at home to play with her.
-HYGIENE: The dogs have just made the house super dirty, and it's disgusting. For example: Skye will take a shit, Maya will spend 20 minutes licking his ass and eating his dried shitballs, and then run around sticking her nose in everything.
-THE FIGHTING: Despite his frustration with her, my dad has grown attached to Maya. Meanwhile, my mother has grown more and more resentful. My mother's resentfulness and my father's distaste for household chores has led to a great deal of tension. "The dogs" have become a "third rail issue" meaning that we really can't talk about them honestly. We cannot have a dialogue, for example, about whether to put Skye to sleep and we cannot discuss how best to train Maya. Any suggestions I put forth cause a fight. Meanwhile, my mother refuses to do more than the bare minimum for Maya because my dad adopted her on the promise that he would take on the primary care role. To be fair, I do contribute to the tension by losing my patience with Maya and making my opinions about her odor, her behavior, and the state of the house known. I'm ashamed to say that I don't always express my opinions in the most mature way (a la, "get away from me, you stupid ass eater ")
I know there are obvious solutions to these problems, but anything I suggest turns into a fight. If I say something to my father, my mom just starts yelling at my dad, saying she hates the dog too. My parents resent my coming home and telling them how to live their lives, and they seem unable to commit any more time to the dogs (they put a lot of time into caring for Skye already - and, as I said, my dad will not entertain the suggestion of putting Skye down). How can I cope with this situation, given my physical discomfort, my resentment, and my parents' unwillingness to address the giant hairy elephant(s) in the room?
(Posting for my gf, who will respond to questions by proxy)