Sad, Sad, Sad, Sad... 4 losses mentioned - Mothering Forums

 
Thread Tools
#1 of 7 Old 10-08-2008, 03:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
maranapanda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Fransisco Bay area, Northern California
Posts: 531
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
My mother has 3 dogs and 2 cats. She has had the cats for 10, and 14 years, and the dogs for 8,7, and 4 years. The eldest dogs are Rottweilers, and the youngest is an American Staffordshire Terrier.

That was all before today.

This afternoon her three dogs attacked and killed one of her cats. These dogs mean the world to my mother. She has suffered the loss of a partner in the last 3 years, and these dogs have not only provided her comfort, but also a sense of physical security. They are by no other definition her friends, and babies. My mother made the heart wrenching decision to send these dogs to the pound tonight to be 'put down'. She has 9 grandchildren, 3 of them my own, who live close by, and feels she can not bear the responsibility that her dogs my attack again, the next time a baby. There have been a few other circumstances of violence among her beloved dogs in the last few years, up until more recently this week. Baby bunnies, birds, rodents, all things she could chalk up to dogs being dogs, but this was a cat that they had all been very friendly with their entire lives.

As the mother of some of the grandchildren she is trying to preventively protect I feel a huge sense of guilt. That is not why I am posting. My mother made her choice without conferring to me. She only called in hysterics after her final choice was made.

My eldest daughter will be 4 in a few weeks. She, like all of us, is very, very close to these precious dogs. How do I explain to her any of this tragedy? We sing songs about how much we love them. And the cat... what do I do with this? I feel so so sad for my mother, and so horrible for the fate of these poor souls that were lost tonight. I know this is all so quick. My mother may be in the minority with the belief that we love our pets unconditionally until they may pose a threat to our children. My whole life I have known this. But, we have never EVER had to have something like this happen. Maybe she acted rashly. I am rambling in this point because I am crying so much. I just got off the phone with my best friend since I was 10. She is a woman without children, and a loving dog owner. She was so accusing in her tone. How come I couldn't just keep my children away until this was all sorted out... Then my mother would have had time to say good bye, to find homes with families that could keep these dogs away from pets, and children.

To clarify a bit, what do I tell my children, we have to give them something...

much love
Amanda
maranapanda is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 7 Old 10-08-2008, 03:33 AM
 
thekimballs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NH
Posts: 5,642
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Are the dogs already gone?

IN NO WAY do group attacks on cats equate to attacks on babies. It's weirder that a group of dogs of those breeds haven't tried to get the cat before now, honestly.

If the dogs are not already gone, she should NOT let them go. I am very, very sorry that anybody told her (if they did) that this had anything to do with safety for humans.
thekimballs is offline  
#3 of 7 Old 10-08-2008, 05:47 AM
 
Cherry Alive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: AccountKiller
Posts: 2,233
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by thekimballs View Post
Are the dogs already gone?

IN NO WAY do group attacks on cats equate to attacks on babies. It's weirder that a group of dogs of those breeds haven't tried to get the cat before now, honestly.

If the dogs are not already gone, she should NOT let them go. I am very, very sorry that anybody told her (if they did) that this had anything to do with safety for humans.
It depends on the individuals. I've met some very cat-friendly Amstaffs and Rotties, but they need to be raised around cats or they can never be trusted alone with cats (this is true with *any* large dog—even retrievers).

But you are right. Cat-aggression doesn't equal human (or child) aggression. I've actually known some husky breeders who's dogs have killed stray cats that have come into their pen, but their dogs are very gentle with people and kids.

Maranapanda, what happened to your mother is really strange. Were there *any* signs of aggression to the cats to begin with (ex- chasing them, growling at them)?

It is very unusual for family dogs to suddenly attack family cats like that.

It's a shame she took them right to the shelter. A lot of shelter workers/volunteers would be livid at someone making this kind of decision as they already have to deal with putting down pets way too much—on the city dollar. Having a beloved pet PTS (even for aggression) is something that needs to be done *with a regular vet*—preferably with the owner right there by that pet's side as he/she is being euthanized.

That said, your mother's situation is very tragic and her reaction is *very* understandable. However, without knowing the entire story, though I could see how some would find it also to be impulsive and cruel. I could understand why your animal-loving friend may be so angry (it wasn't cool how she reacted at you though).

Is this done deal? Do you know whether the dogs are actually dead yet?

If not, I hope your mom (or you) have time to get to that shelter and take those dogs back before they get put down. Unless there's more to the story (previous incidents of aggression) having them PTS (especially at a shelter) is rash, and it is something your mom will totally regret when she gets over this shock. It is very unlikely that all 3 of those dogs need to be put down. In fact, even the main aggressor in the three may be "innocent" if there is a legit medical reason for the aggression (ex- brain tumor, illness that causes pain, etc...).

If you can get them back, put them in a dog crate in another room from the kids. First, take them to a vet to see if there's a physical cause to the aggression. If he/she can't find a reason for the attack, find a reputable animal specialist to do an assessment of the dogs for child safety.

If your mom can't stand to live with them after what happened (understandable), they can probably be rehomed with a local breed rescue. Unless they have shown *any* aggression towards humans (and snapping at your mom in the middle of attacking the cats doesn't count—most dogs will snap at people when attacking other animals), they probably can be rehomed.

If it's a done deal, and the dogs are dead, I'm not 100% sure how you can handle this with the kids. I think they should know the dogs and cats are dead. It wouldn't be right to hide that (my dad used to lie to me about pets dying and it was not cool), but I'm not sure if they need to know the circumstances behind the deaths as it's such a confusing and difficult situation.

Do you want them to know the dogs killed the cats? Do you want them to know their grandmother had the dogs PTS? That can be a lot for little minds to wrap around.

Perhaps you could do something special with the kids to remember all the pets, like have a memorial service (flowers, pictures, poems about the pets, etc...)?

I'm very sorry this has happened to your family. I hope you and your family can work through it.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Cherry Alive is offline  
 
#4 of 7 Old 10-08-2008, 10:50 AM
 
phatchristy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Controlled chaos...
Posts: 9,037
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm with Joanna here--dog on small animal agression isn't the same as dog on human agression. I know several instances where dogs have issues with small animals but live in a family situation and have no problems. Even my sister's dog...he was known to attack and kill squirrels and small animals, but he never had any issues with humans or kids.

I'm sorry for your mom, regardless of what happens. Either way that is a horrible thing to happen. It may be that your mom was so shocked and devistated by seeing what they did that she felt like she had to act.


Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

phatchristy is offline  
#5 of 7 Old 10-08-2008, 02:40 PM
 
thekimballs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NH
Posts: 5,642
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Lil_Mamma View Post
Maranapanda, what happened to your mother is really strange. Were there *any* signs of aggression to the cats to begin with (ex- chasing them, growling at them)?

It is very unusual for family dogs to suddenly attack family cats like that.
Unfortunately, it's actually (in my experience) pretty common. Two Danes I sold to the same family (non-consecutive years; one was 4 and one was 2) killed the family cat when she ran past them looking freaky because something scared her. These were (and are) wonderful dogs; the older was a therapy dog.

One of my breeder friends who has German Shorthair Pointers had his dogs kill a known-to-them Shih Tzu that did the same thing.

It would be unusual for my corgis to do it, but for the dogs that naturally have prey drive all it can take is the familiar cat or dog to look odd and run fast, or make a strange noise. They get very interested in a prey-chase manner and then it feeds on itself because they're in a group.

Now that we have terriers (our own Bramble and my sister's puppy) in the house, we strictly separate those dogs and our cat. The terriers are only 12-ish pounds, but I am not going to risk it.
thekimballs is offline  
#6 of 7 Old 10-08-2008, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
maranapanda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Fransisco Bay area, Northern California
Posts: 531
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
I appreciate you all taking the time to reply. This situation is deplorable. I am so sad for every one that is involved, cats, dogs, people. I am at such a loss of what to tell, or not tell my dd. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to comfort my mother, when I think she acted rashly. I can not change what happened. This whole thing plain sucks.
maranapanda is offline  
#7 of 7 Old 10-08-2008, 03:16 PM
 
Shahbazin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,246
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm very sorry to hear what happened - both the incident & the response. If the dogs are not already destroyed, I would see if rehoming through rescue is a possibility - & while I agree that prey drive towards other animals does not equal prey drive towards humans, your mom's feelings are her own, & if she's not comfortable with keeping the dogs, rehoming would be the best option (if it's still an option).
-------------------------
What to tell the kids; I'd tell them that dogs & cats are predators, that they are animals that eat other animals to live (there are cooked animals in their kibble) - and that your mom's dogs made a mistake, & didn't recognize one of your mom's cats - maybe it was getting so old that it was getting sick & moved or smelled like a strange cat, not a family member anymore - and the dogs' instincts caused them to kill it. That individually, they might not have made that mistake, but people & animals in groups sometimes do things without thinking them through very well, because "everyone else" is doing it, & that might be what happened here.

And grandma was very upset, as would anyone be, so she sent the dogs away to an animal shelter; maybe they will get another chance in a home without other pets, or maybe they will be sent to heaven (or insert your belief here). You can discuss if this was the right or wrong choice & why.
--------------------------
I would not say, "grandma had them killed because she was afraid they'd eat you" as this could result in all sorts of guilt, dog phobia & whatnot. I would not say to your DC that grandma was a bad owner, but would discuss why she made the choice she did (upset, grief, fear), & what you as a family might do if something like that ever happened.

: : SAHM to : (5/06), : (7/07) Plus : & a few
Shahbazin is offline  
Reply


User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 1,964

13 members and 1,951 guests
alexkage50 , girlspn , idler , KerriB , lauritagoddess , MaddyBris , megaluv2give , omarinbox1888 , PrayerOFChrist , Realdeal , skyrocket , vraonarln
Most users ever online was 21,860, 06-22-2018 at 08:45 PM.