Heartache

It breaks my heart when mankind – who are supposed to be the dominant species on this planet because of our intelligence – chooses to abuse animals who give love unconditionally. And believe me when I tell you that the kind of abuse inflicted by Michael Vick isn’t the only kind there is. As with abuse of humans, there are more subtle forms of abuse one can inflict on animals.

This story has it’s beginning perhaps 30 years ago when I was a child and we had our first dog – a black mini-poodle called Brutus. We had him when we lived in an apartment complex and he roamed the little ‘hood and was fine. Never had any problems more than a scratched up nose when he got into it with the stray cats. When we moved into a house, though, that was a different story. He got out of the house one night near Christmas and disappeared. To this day we have no idea what happened; we’ve assumed he got run over somewhere in the neighbourhood, but never got confirmation.

Right after Christmas that year, my mom decided to get a new dog. She’s allergic to most dog breeds, but my parents did research and discovered that schnauzers are okay for people who are allergic to dogs because they don’t shed. So we searched the papers and found a breeder in a town called Denham Springs, Louisiana whose schnauzer just had puppies. I think we all took the ride and came home with Heidi, our first in a long line of wonderful schnauzer companions.

We decided to breed Heidi once and when we were looking for a stud, we met the woman who I will now refer to as the Mental Case. The Mental Case provided us with a stud with whom we bred Heidi. She had a nice size litter and at the time I wanted to keep one because I thought I wanted to give showing a try. As luck would have it, though, I kept a different puppy. So then we had Heidi and her daughter Annick.

After Heidi passed away, we wanted to get another companion for Annick and rather than getting a brand new puppy, the Mental Case offered one of her “young adult” dogs. At this time, MC was beginning her collection of dogs that would eventually spiral out of control. Unfortunately I don’t recall the names of all of the dogs we got from MC, but they were all adult dogs that MC had to get rid of to make room for her others.

We lost contact (thankfully) with the Mental Case after Hurricane Katrina and one of our current dogs – Nellie – is the last one we got from her. She still breeds unfortunately and is breeding too close in generations and has even lost an entire litter of puppies because of this. I have loved every dog we have ever had because they have loved us all unconditionally, but Nellie has always been kind of stand-off-ish. She’s never been the cuddly type, she’s terrified of loud noises and she’s never been a playful dog. I now contribute all of that to the fact that she spent her formative years with the Mental Case.

Fast forward, then, to Christmas 2009. After years of claiming she would never get another dog – much less a puppy – my mom declares that she wants one. We knew without a doubt that we did not want another puppy from the Mental Case so mom did research again and found a breeder across the lake from where we live. This time it was my parents and brother who visited the breeder and were satisfied with what they saw. Our new little family member, Nola, has been a joy to have. It’s been trying sometimes because it’s been 20+ years since we’ve had a puppy, but none of us would trade a moment of the last year we’ve had with her.

Unfortunately, Nellie doesn’t want anything to do with her. At first we contributed it to the vast age difference as Nellie is at least 14, but over the weekend we ran into a woman at PetSmart who had her brand new schauzer puppy she adopted who gets along well with her older dog. So I’ve since realised that Nellie dislikes Nola purely on a social level because the Mental Case didn’t socialize her properly.

About a week ago, the Mental Case found us and talked to my mom by phone for a good while. Though my mother heartily dislikes the woman, she very nicely stated that she’s not interested in any more dogs. We don’t want any puppy or dog that’s going to be fucked up mentally and potentially physically because of her ineptitude. The part that really got me riled up, though, was that when mom told the Mental Case about Nola and the breeder we found, the woman had the gall to imply that because he didn’t show his dogs, they were somehow inferior. Just typing that out makes me angry all over again.

Yesterday, my mom calls me at work to ask about getting another dog. Apparently the breeder we got Nola from is being very sensible and no longer breeding dogs as his health is declining. Mom asked how I’d feel about taking one of his dogs that is a year or two old. I’d really rather not because I don’t want Nellie to feel like we’re trying to shove her out. At the same time, though, I know Nola deserves someone she can play with and the new dog certainly deserves a loving home. I just don’t know what to do. *cries*

I do know one thing, though. I’m going to work on trying to get the Mental Case discredited as a breeder. The woman does not deserve the love her dogs most assuredly blindly give her.

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6 thoughts on “Heartache

  1. Oh wow…I don’t blame you for being so angry! Just reading that has my blood boiling.

    I wish I had some good advice to give you, and maybe once I’ve thought on it some, I will..but I see your dilemma. And I completely agree with you needing to get this breeder discredited. It is inexcusable. Nellie is still paying for that negligence.

  2. Well on the matter of getting a new Dog. I understand your concerns. I am sure you still give the older dog attention and love. I don’t think that will change. What you need to look at is weather the rest of your family is willing to work with the new dog. As you know we have many problems here with our dogs. If you are going to be the one left to teaching the dog the rules, so to speak, your family needs to help. I think if you continue to give love and care to the older dog, though she may never interact well with the other dog, she can still be happy.

    Nola would no doubt love the new friend. I know it is not much help but you need to do what you think is best. *hugs*.. good luck.

  3. I agree with rana! As long as you continue to let Nellie know that she’s still an important part of the pack by giving her one on one time and lots of love, then there’s no problem with getting another member of the family! Maybe you can take the approach that many parents of multiple siblings do and have special “dates” with Nellie…like a walk or a drive in the car with just her. She may not be as demonstrative as the others, but I am sure she enjoys and cherishes those moments as much, if not more than the others.
    As for the breeder, I encourage you to do what you can to stop the cycle. But be circumspect on how you go about it! Good luck!

  4. As you know Westies are not prone to shedding…but one of the reasons we got Spark above the other 6 applicants/interested parties, was because the owner of his parents wanted him to have a “proper family life”…too many dogs are just kept for breeding and socialise poorly..good luck

  5. Sorry I’m late with my response– wanted to wait to read when I didn’t have to keep going back and forth between work.

    If you’re concerned about adopting, why not spend an afternoon talking with a doggie trainer to see if there’s a way you can train Nellie to properly socialize with another doggie? I don’t know what sort of interaction with other dogs pre-Nola that Nellie has had, because that might have impacted Nellie’s socialization. I’m more a cat person than a dog person, but when introducing other cats into my “family”, it’s a long, slow process and there is a lot of growling and hissing involved before they “get their love on”…

    As far as getting another dog goes, if I were you, I’d see if I could talk to a trainer and do some online research about socializing dogs. That is… if you decide you both want and can adequately take care of another dog– you have space, are willing to walk ’em and can afford food and shots. (I’m sure you’ve already decided you could, but there are a lot of people who don’t think about that.) If you think you can and it sounds like it would help Nellie learn to socialize, go for it.

    From what I’ve heard about MC, she’s selling dogs like wildfire because she doesn’t have a handle on the dogs she has now. Contacting animal control about the number of doggies she has might be a good idea… I agree with you that you or anyone else in your family should definitely NOT adopt another dog from MC.

  6. I agree with Jadewik; contact animal control and get her shut down. Too many people neglect animals thinking they are not worthy of the same level of respect as humans. In many cases, these people don’t treat other people with the same level of respect. It is abuse.

    Had I the resources, I would get a puppy from this woman, simply to save it’s life. My wife has allergies and is asthmatic, so a non-shedding dog would be a nice change of pace. (We have a long haired border collie who sheds everywhere).

    Good luck with all this.

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