Opinions Please


12 Years
Mar 17, 2011
Small Town, Virginia
My mom has been caring for my late grandmothers dog for several years now (about 8 or 9 years) and the dog is now about 15 years old. She stays outside in a large run, but yesterday while my mom was out trying to clean out the run, dog house, give her clean fresh water and food, the dog made a break for it. Well my mom took off after her and grabber her on the other side of the house and at the same time managed to break her wrist. My parents have already been warned that if she gets out that they will be fined a very HEFTY FINE. The dog looks like a dang bear from a distance but she is as gentle as a lamb, just needs more room.

So now is where you give me your opinion.

Since my mom won't be able to care for the dog for a while (espcially if she has to have surgery) there are limited choices for what to do with her.

Like I said she is pushing 15 years old and she has been with my mom and dad for many, many years. She is a large dog, about 70 lbs. The only reason why my mom has kept the dog so long is because she was her mothers.

Our options:

1. Call the pound (which is NOT a no kill-shelter)
2. Call our local Humane Society and hope for the best (they are a no-kill shelter)
3. Give her away to a stranger
4. Have her put down

Personally I am going with option 4. I feel that it will be more humane since she is so old. I just don't know that she would be able to adjust to another home.

Please tell me what option you would choose if it were you.

I have dogs so my first thought is that sadly I cannot agree with any of your options, this dog devoted many years to your family, and in return she is looking at a very grim future, putting her down just seems like a very cruel thing to do seeing there is nothing wrong with the dog in retrospect. BUT, putting myself per say in your mom's shoes, if it was not possible to care for the dog any longer I would try to rehome the dog with someone who was willing to be patient and spend time with the dog, the no kill shelter would be my very first and likely only choice and explain that the dog is just too much for your aging mom to take and needs someone more capable of caring for him/her. I hope you find a solution other than putting him or her down and I wish you good luck.

What a difficult position to be in. I commend you being so candid with your feelings and concerns. I also wish your mom a speedy recovery! That must have been painful!

I agree with Ema's thoughtful response. As also being a dog owner - I feel like we owe something to these animals that we decide to keep, especially if they have been with us for so long. On the same token, I too understand that your mom is not in a good position to be caring for the dog, nor is the dog in the best position. It may not enjoy having to live outside. I think a no-kill shelter would be my first choice. Is the dog otherwise healthy?
In this situation, I also do not think euthanasia should even be on the charts yet. Unless the dog isn't actually as gentle as a lamb, and has some serious behavioral, medical, or neurological issue, such as dementia. I guess I'd like to hear more about why rehoming is being considered in this case, and need more information and background. I'm not meaning that in an annoying, judgmental way, I just really don't understand the situation fully. Why can your dad not take care of the dog for instance, or a neighbor help out while your mom heals? I feel like I am not seeing the whole picture. Regardless, I would ask around with friends first to see if anyone is interested, and then turn to rescues. Definitely would give the no-kill shelter a ring, especially if the dog is living in a run anyway. I'm not sure if that is the situation or not? But if so, there is nothing to lose there. You don't happen to live near Utah do you?

Edit: Oops, no, Virginia. Used to live out that way. I may have friends there willing to take in this dog if all issues are fully disclosed.
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Thank you, Ema for your opinion. I truly understand where you are coming from. I don't like the idea of putting her down, be at this point we don't even know if the no-kill shelter will take her. They are always so full. I will try there first, I am just afraid they will tell me no. We have only had to put one of our dogs down and that was at the request of our vet. It was the worst thing that I have ever done.
The truth be told, we don't know how healthy she is. My parents didn't have much of a choice when they took her and they have NEVER had the money to do much but feed her. She should have a hair cut about 2x per year and they can't afford the prices for that. She has not even been to a vet in a while, again there is NO money there to do that.

The dog (Shannon) is a chow mix. My uncle gave her to my grandmother when she was just a puppy and we told him then, that she was just going to be too much for my grandmother to even care for and she was. But my uncle was certain that the dog would pass away before my grandmother.

Again, thanks for you opinion.
Thanks for your opinion

Shannon (the dog) is a very gently dog, she is NOT the best behaved, has never been taught, but she is a wonderful dog. You can read my last post on some background info.

My mom and dad are both in their late 60's and don't get around like they use to. They took care of my brothers 2 dogs for a few months (about as big as Shannon) and they nearly killed my dad, just by being so big, no roughness or anything like that. Just him trying to get out the kennel after feeding them. All of their neighbors are scared to death of the dog, they think she looks like a bear and think that she is mean. She seams to love everyone except my uncle (who lives with my mom and dad) so he cannot feed her or do anything else for her.

We can't take her because we already have 3 dogs, 4 cats, 1 rabbit and now 10 chickens. But we are going to take my moms rabbit he/she is the brother or sister to our rabbit, has his own hutch so there shouldn't be a problem.

She does live outside in a kennel. I gave her one of my old kennels and attached it to the one they had so it gave a lot more room.

I have been asking around and until I can find something/someone I will be trying to do what I can. Our no-kill shelter has limited hours, so I will try to call them tomorrow early. There aren't a lot of options. I think if I could find someone that had a farm, something that they could let her run, it would be great, but then again if she was out running, they would probably never see her again.
There are many mixed breed rescues out there... maybe even one for senior dogs.

Try to google and see what you get...

Could even be a chow mix rescue.

I have worked with many rescues, groomed dogs, shown AKC, etc and I know how heartbreaking it can be to have to make a decision. Rescue seems to always be a logical choice (just make sure it is reputable).

Good luck.
That sounds pretty encouraging for finding her a new home if she is just untrained but gentle.
She's old, but that is actually a plus for some people (I prefer old animals myself). Sounds like she isn't living inside and/or having constant interaction with your parents, so I don't think rehoming would be really stressful on her in this case, especially since it sounds like she is welcoming to all people, not just those in the family. Sounds like she doesn't have any obvious or chronic health issues either, so it is likely she can live out the remainder of her life happily with someone. There are some rescues in the state specifically geared towards older animals too, which you may have more success with than a general no-kill.
Even if they are far away, many rescues have volunteers who will pick up Shannon.
Here are some that seem to cater to older animals:

Homeless Animal Rescue Team, Northern Virginia/Washington DC
A volunteer from HART writes: "We are a group that prowls the area shelters, accepts owner surrenders, strays, etc., and places every dog eventually. As of October 2000, we had already doubled our 1999 placement of 500 dogs. We accept puppies and very young dogs into our program, but the majority of our dogs are older. We try to take as many as possible from the shelters, as their short time has run out. Like most rescue groups, we struggle to raise enough funds and awareness to get our work done." E-mail: [email protected]

Chesapeake Shepherd & K-9 Rescue, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, senior dogs and disabled dogs. We serve the Maryland, D.C., Delaware, and Virginia areas.

There are circumstances that we do work with young
dogs, but not on a regular basis. It is more likely to find a seven or eight year old dog in our care than a
seven or eight month old dog.

RCAR is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, retirement and adoption of at-risk, injured and geriatric animals.

Chow Rescues:


If all else fails, contact the huge sanctuary "Best Friends". They do cover costs to fly animals to them. http://www.bestfriends.org/nomorehomelesspets/localnmhpprograms/modelutah.cfm Plus, it's in Utah, so I can check on Shannon for you and your parents in person. The trip may be too stressful for an old dog though, but they have enormous resources to help you.

I only wish we had as many safety nets for people! It sounds like this broken wrist has stretched an already tight financial situation. I wish you all luck and speedy recoveries.

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