Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Puppy trouble

My neighbor, owner of the two "rat dogs", the miniature pinschers about which I have written, has taken to feeding a stray puppy. It's a pit bull mix, perhaps part retriever of some sort, caramel tan brindle with the most striking gray/green eyes and white toe tips. He's a young dog, probably less than three months, but obviously going to be big when he's grown. Her daughter is calling him Caramel, in fact. He's an attractive animal but I'm hoping that she doesn't keep him.

Her twenty-something son, according to her youngest daughter, is in favor of keeping the puppy and finding a new home for the min pins, a difficult task because they are over 10 years old and not reliably house broken, and she doesn't want to split them up. When you think about it, the son's preference is obvious, though. What pet would a young man want - a pit bull mix or a couple of yappy rat dogs? But none of the family seem to be very pet-oriented past the "have a dog out in the back yard" level. The min pins were the late husband's dogs, and my neighbor has already said that she's only keeping them because he liked them so much. She's a self-admitted non-dog-person. The youngest daughter is even allergic to dogs. No one in the family seems to give them a lot of attention, although they get good treatment - food, water, shelter, vet care. It just seems that they don't get much interaction, socialization or love. I feel sorry for them and try to fill in with love and attention with I can. They were both consummate escape artists and were constantly slipping out of the fence and roaming the neighborhood. Neither dog has any road sense at all and were in danger of being hit by a car. Thank goodness it seems that the neighbor has finally solved the escape problem because neither has been outside of the fence in several weeks. I go to the corner of the fence to talk to the poor dogs and toss dog biscuits.

The puppy and the min pins aren't getting along - the pup's already bigger than they are and very rambunctious, and the other dogs are older and probably don't appreciate rough play. If she is going to keep this puppy, she needs to instigate some rules right now or the min pins are in danger of being harmed. The male min pin has hip issues an the female dog is very small and fragile. Even unintentionally, the puppy could hurt them. I don't discount pit bulls out of hand, but I have known several people with pit mixes, and while they were great people dogs, they were intolerant of other animals.

Since my neighbor and her son work a lot of hours, and the daughter goes to school and is allergic to boot, I can't imagine that this puppy with get the attention and training that he's going to need to start him out right and make him a good pet. I envision an awfully lot of barking and car chasing in the future, as well as unmannerly behavior and possibly aggression. So it's kind of a mess. I've already started my "the neighbor lady is really nice" training this morning with petting and dog biscuits and also trying to instill some manners by discouraging jumping and clothes tugging, and making him sit down to be petted. It's only smart to be on this dog's good side if he's staying. Hey, it's worked for years with other neighborhood dogs. Haven't met a dog yet who couldn't be bribed with a cookie.

In the meantime, the local shelter probably isn't the place to take a stray dog right now because the Humane Society yesterday raided a pet store in the local mall and carted off all the puppies and other animals because of substandard treatment. This has contributed to the city Animal Control's chronic overcrowding issues. I'm all for this raid because the puppies in that pet store looked sickly (products of puppy mills), but there is only so much room in the shelter. While it's not a no-kill shelter, it does keep the animals longer than other places I've seen and has a pretty good placement record. They try to only put down animals that are non-adoptable due to aggressive behavior reasons or bad health. But, if you look at their "Pet Parade" program of dogs available for adoption on the cable On-Demand channel, almost every one there is part pit bull. It's obvious. So this little guy may not have a good chance if he's taken to the shelter. It's a mess, all right.


Paula, the quilter said...

Good luck with this dilemma. At least the hoarder next door to me does not have pets.

momtofatdogs said...

Our animal shelter is full too. Seems the first thing to go when hard times hit, are the pets. Never been that way for me. My pets are family. Non-Dog lovers don't understand that. And now that we are empty nesters, the PETS are VERY well cared for & pampered. The min-pins sound like they have a hard road ahead of them. Poor things. Puppies are cute, but they don't STAY puppies......I'll keep watching your "dog" saga.


Kathryn said...

This is an awful situation and you have my sympathy. I'm not sure of the situation in the USA, as it doesn't exactly correspond with things here, but there may be scope for a little discreet research with a specific breed rescue. By specialising in one particular type of dog, they can often find homes that might not be available to hard pressed general shelters. For instance, our greyhound charity regularly places quite elderly dogs (Boola was 10 when he came to us) which would be almost unthinkable for an ordinary dog's home run by a charity or Council. A loving Min Pin enthusiast may be out there willing to take on the terrible twosome. I know how hard this must be for you - watching any vulnerable creature, whether child or animal get sub-optimal care is horrible.

Tanya said...

It sounds terrible.. I don't think big and little dogs mix all that well and in any case they all need a LOT of love, attention and training to make it through... Watching all that from afar would be living hell for me...