What to do about an unwanted critter living in our house?
February 7, 2013 9:07 AM Subscribe
About three years ago, my wife was visiting her mother when they discovered a cute puppy running around on the property. The mother took the puppy home and there was great rejoicing. Flash forward one year.
posted by anonymous to human relations (45 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The puppy was now a big galumphing hyperactive critter (it's a hunting breed) and too much for my mother-in-law to handle. My wife proposed bringing the dog to our home. I told her I did not want another dog, and I believed we couldn't handle a puppy (we live in a one-level slab home with no fenced yard.) When she became insistent, I told her I couldn't force her not to bring it in, but I would have nothing to do with the dog.
We already had two dogs at the time, an elderly Bichon (another Mother-in-Law Legacy) and a sweet middle-aged Beagle, and 3 cats. The Bichon we recently had to put down due to advanced age and illness, and one of the cats died. We still have the Beagle and 2 cats who I love.
I hate this huntin' dog. I hate having her. I still have nothing to do with her if at all possible. My wife has not housebroken this dog and regards walking her as an onerous chore, so she foists its care off onto our daughter (who was not consulted when the dog was brought into the household.) So at any time I'm liable to encounter a pile of dog crap or puddle of pee in the house from dog or dogs unknown. These, I will clean up...I can't bring myself to just ignore/walk around a pile of dog crap in my own home, although that's an inclination I've had to fight.
I have permitted this dynamic to affect my interaction with the Beagle, who I love. Every time I leash up the Beagle, my wife starts a fight about why don't I leash up the Huntin' Dog and take her with me too -- I might as well! Well, the Huntin' Dog is a drag (literally) and Not My Responsibility. So I ignore Beagle's needs, to my shame.
I love my wife and I'm tired of this being an issue between us. Nothing has happened that makes us any more suited to have that dog. It's stressing us all out. I asked our daughter to take the dogs for a walk when we got home last night and she stormed out, saying "YOU never take care of them!" I know I'm setting all kinds of poor examples for her in this situation. But I feel that if I don't stick to my guns about boundaries and whose responsibility this dog is, it'll be just another bad example. I'm considering simply dropping my expectations of my daughter with regard to this dog, and letting my wife manage her expectations of our daughter with regard to Huntin' Dog. I.e. I'd say, "Daughter, please walk Beagle" and let my wife tell her what to do with Huntin' Dog.
My wife asserts that she is looking for another home for Huntin' Dog. I haven't seen any evidence at all of her efforts...and when she is asked about Huntin' Dog by potential rescuers, she gives out false negative indicators like "she goes crazy around cats" (did I mention we had 3? She is playful and sometimes tries to play with a cat that's not in the mood but stops after a gentle nose-swiping...but nothing traumatic for cat or dog.) She will argue me into the ground about how she has to tell people "she goes crazy around cats" as in a spirit of truthfulness.
Should I offer to help her find a new home for Huntin' Dog? My policy has been, "I didn't ask for Huntin' Dog and even though you've amply demonstrated that you don't want her either, I don't want to be The Monster Who Kicked Out Huntin' Dog. You brought her here, she's your responsibility." I fear that my wife will torpedo any success I have with finding the dog a home with her ostentatious "truthfulness" mentioned above.
What are my other options? Accepting Huntin' Dog sometimes seems tempting. How do I do it without surrendering my future expectations of setting boundaries with my wife, who by the way has notable difficulties honoring boundaries in general? Not to mention, I have little doubt that if I were to take on a rational level of responsibility with regard to this dog, my wife would abdicate her responsibility as she's done with many many other things before...her frequently demonstrated capacity for dropping her tools the instant she sees me take up mine is another long-standing issue between us.
(Therapy has failed to change these things. I see no changing any of these things via therapy, either couple or individual. I accept these things about her and don't judge her for them, rather looking to arrange my life so that I don't have to worry about them.)