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Hello everyone,

I was hoping I could get some feedback and advice about what to do in my situation. I don't know how to handle this correctly, so feel free to be 100% honest even if it is telling me I need to suck it up. I'm going to give a lot of detail so you can get as much of the story as needed. Skip to the 3rd paragraph if you'd like to skip the background.

I am 20 years old and was transferring colleges so I needed somewhere to live that wasn't in a dorm. So I moved in with a young 24 year old girl who recently bought a house (and had an extra bedroom) in August. I have two dogs and she was perfectly fine with me bringing them along. However, she also has a dog.
Let me give you some background on the dogs starting with mine. My first dog is an unknown mix (we think possibly dachshund/spaniel) around 20 lbs and 2 years old. He is a great dog who is full of energy and mostly trained. The other is a lab/vizsla mix who is around 1 year old. He is not as trained, but definitely house trained.
My roommate's dog is a Lab/Pit bull mix who is 4 years old. He has extreme separation anxiety and only has a few teeth left because he has destroyed them chewing through doors, crates, outlets, and anything you can think of. The dog has to be kept in the garage when she leaves because that is the only place he hasn't been able to break out of.


My situation comes down to how to talk to my roommate about needing to take better care of her dog? Here's the story:

My roommate bought a house and was too scared to be alone (before I moved in) so she got a dog from the shelter - a dog that is restricted to have in our town also. She said she basically moved in when I did because she was always gone and the dog was always locked in the garage.

My roommate travels for work every other few weeks, she also travels on weekends for her own pleasure. When she is not traveling, she goes to work and then usually goes out with friends. This leaves me to have to deal with the dog all day everyday since I am home way more than she is. I love dogs, but I have two myself and that's already so much responsibility. I am a full time student and also work so when I am home, I give my dogs tons of attention (playing, walking, petting). When she is home, she pays no attention to the dog. She often says "Go away" "Go lay down" "Get away from me". But here's what I don't get... She claims to love this dog soooo much, but that's ONLY when other people are around. Is this some kind of attention-getting tactic for her?
The dog is always pooping and peeing on the floor and I am the one who always has to clean it up. If I don't fill up the water bowl, it probably won't get filled because she won't do it. She feeds it (when I don't), but the dog is extremely skinny so I suspect she wasn't feeding him as much before I moved in. I suspect this because she admitted she was barely home to deal with the dog before I moved in. Anyway, this dog requires much more than both my dogs do and it's extremely stressful for me to have to care for it.

Going back to when I was talking about having to keep the dog in the garage, I had to tell her 5 times she needs to get a heater in there for him because it's freezing. It took her weeks to get it. If she really cared about her dog and didn't want it to freeze to death, wouldn't she get it as soon as possible?

So I ask this: How do I approach this situation? How do I talk to her and tell her she needs to care for her dog better? How do I tell her that I do not want the responsibility solely on me for taking care of her dog? (I don't mind helping out here and there but it's gotten to the point I have all the responsibility)

I know this was an extremely long post so if you read it all, THANK YOU! I do appreciate your help and advice!
 

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Well, technically it's her dog and she can treat it how she wants. Horrible, yes, but there is not much you can do unless there is obvious neglect. If she is deliberately not feeding it, not giving it water, etc., then you could perhaps call animal control with your concerns and provide proof of your observations.

In your situation, I would simply directly approach her and tell her she needs to step up and care for her animal, or you will take it to the shelter. You will no longer be feeding, watering, or cleaning up after her dog. I would probably approach and say something like "Hey, I just cleaned up your dog's poop for the 5th time this week, and I will not be doing that anymore, nor will I be feeding or watering your dog. If you want, I take it to the shelter for you, but that's it."

Another option, move. Start looking for another place and leave. That's often the only way to resolve these situations, especially if she owns the house.
 

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To each her own... I'm sorry you need to deal with this situation. Separation anxiety is the worst and I would honestly move if I was in that situation. When I had to deal with an SA dog, and not even in a live-with or train-with capacity, I took that stress home with me at the end of the day. There's something about the pitch of vocalization and knowing the dog is in a state of total panic and not being able to do anything about it. It drives me crazy.

It's really nice that you're helping in the ways that you are. But that animal sounds like it is suffering. And although I'd be happy to help the owner help the dog, if the owner has no will to even attempt it on her own, that's not a situation I'd want to be in. My quality of life would be pretty low if I had to live around that.
 

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I would move in your situation. I don't see how this is going to end well for you. Either you're going to tell her to step up, she's not going to and you're going to continue to care for her dog, or you're going to tell her to step up, she's not going to, and then her dog won't be receiving adequate care (which is a situation I couldn't live with, personally). If you call Animal Control, the dog will likely be seized and euthanized since it is a restricted breed and has many behavioral issues. And then you'd have to deal with your roommate being angry and vindictive, which sounds like a very stressful living situation for you.

Best bet is to get yourself out of there and into a healthier environment, both for you and your dogs.
 

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Yeah unfortunately I have to agree with everyone. You can try just having a heart-to-heart with her and being brutally honest about the situation, but I just foresee a lot of awkwardness between the two of you after that. No one wants their flaws pointed out to them, and there is a good chance she would be incredibly defensive and dismissive. It's sad, and not fair to the dog, and not fair to you OR your dogs either. In fact, I'd worry more about your dogs being exposed to all of that than anything else... if it's stressful for you, it's probably stressful for them too.

I'd find a new place to live.
 

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I would move in your situation. I don't see how this is going to end well for you. Either you're going to tell her to step up, she's not going to and you're going to continue to care for her dog, or you're going to tell her to step up, she's not going to, and then her dog won't be receiving adequate care (which is a situation I couldn't live with, personally). If you call Animal Control, the dog will likely be seized and euthanized since it is a restricted breed and has many behavioral issues. And then you'd have to deal with your roommate being angry and vindictive, which sounds like a very stressful living situation for you.

Best bet is to get yourself out of there and into a healthier environment, both for you and your dogs.
This.

Sorry to hear that you have to go through that. She is indeed treating her dog poorly from what you've described. You can probably try telling her directly but I doubt that'll do anything. For a true animal lover, it would be impossible to simply stop taking care of another dog just to make a point... eventually this will end up with a major confrontation, after which you will definitely want to move...
 

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Could you try calling the shelter where she got the dog from and explain the situation? Hopefully they are still interested in the well being of their animals...That way they may take the dog back avoid it being euthanized, as I'm assuming this shelter is in another town where pit bulls are allowed?
 

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I would ask her if she's ever considered returning the dog to the shelter. It seems to be too much for her to handle and maybe point out that your own dogs and school are suffering because you're taking care of her dog as well. If she got the dog so she wouldn't be alone, she's not alone anymore. It sounds like everyone would be better off if the dog were returned to the shelter and found a more suitable home.
 
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