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Mom lived on her own with 2 dogs, because seriously ill, after weeks in hospital we brought her to stay with me and my husband. Didn’t think she’d make 6 months but with proper meals, companionship, and managing meds she’s quite well now. Have agreed to let her live with us but we do not want her two dogs. We are not dog people. Now the guilt trip, saying we are forcing her to move back to her place because we don’t want her dogs. Feels like she is choosing her dogs over her own daughter. It seems like a trivial thing, but taking care of her is enough work without the smell and mess and upkeep of pets. And we can see more control issues coming. We’ve told her it’s her choice: re-home them or continue living in her own house. Are we being unreasonable?

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I used to volunteer at an animal shelter. If these dogs are surrendered to a shelter they will wither away and die, if not euthanized first. It's a sad situation.
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Being that a real, living being / companion means so much to your mom, would you be willing to reconsider her wishes? If you never bond, you could always give the younger one away when your mom leaves the world. (The older one won't be around much longer.)
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texasbrit, I'm glad your mother has moved out with her dogs, and that you have your house back! As I'd posted previously, I in no way think you were wrong for not wanting her dogs at your house. I wouldn't have wanted them, either.
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texas, we went through almost exactly the same thing with my mom, minus the dogs. We asked her to come to help her out with money, no expenses for her, about 6 months or so.... toward the end it was getting hard - very different lifestyles. The hard part was she refused to move, and I couldn't make myself force her out or evict her, so we all had a hard time for the next 2 1/2 years! We eventually were yelling at each other as I was insisting she leave, and she refusing; when she raised her hand to me, my husband broke it up. The next day she went to her minister to complain and he told her to move back in where she had lived before, which she did. She didn't let us help with the move and hardly spoke to us for about a year, but we've been much better since, even friends now. As an an animal lover, I see your mom's point; it also was a lot about control, and would have become much worse. Seems to me you stepped up to the plate for her crisis, and that's the end of it; you aren't meant to be together in the same house long term, same as we weren't. So if she gets sick again, I hope you will find another solution, as I will; since my marriage is very important to me, too... poor hubby had taken to spending most of his time in the downstairs bedroom - not doing that to him again! Or to her; she was miserable; can you imagine how bad it would be if you had convinced her to get rid of her dogs, and THEN you all found out you couldn't live together? Would she EVER have forgiven you?
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I hope things smooth over with your Mom. I am sorry she has made things so hard, but at least you know she is safe.

For what it is worth, I wouldn't have been able to handle the dogs living with me, either.
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I agree with Ahmijoy. Enjoy the peace and quiet and ur home. By the way, husband said the dogs would have never been welcomed in our home.
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Let mom have her fun. My mother delighted in telling everyone our beautiful house was “a barn”. My cousin even told me he went up and down our street once looking for a barn. She also told the maintenance man at her apartment that she would need help moving because I was too busy to bother with her.

I suspect Mom is having a good time feeling sorry for herself and being mad at you. I also suspect you dodged a bullet when she went back to her own house. Between your animosity and her’s, I think her home is the best place for her.
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I'm sure it doesn't feel like it at the moment, but you seem to have arrived at a fairly good outcome there. I'd hope and expect that in the fullness of time there will be a rapprochement - but one that doesn't involve living together! Plus, you've got your house back...
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Again thank you for your perspectives. Sorry I know people love their pets but I cannot equate them to human beings, to immediate family members. Yes, giving up pets is asking a lot, but its not the same as giving up a child or a daughter. Everyone involved gave a lot to try to make this work. And it just didn’t.

Mom chose to go back to her own house with her dogs rather than rehome them and stay with us. In that final coversation which lasted more than an hour, once she realized we were firm that she had to make a choice, she started attacking, throwing out all kinds of criticisms and judgements about me (this is all my fault because I must still be going through menopause) and my marriage (she complained that my husband spoils me (!). Even complaining about my now adult children and how we raised them. I know she was just lashing out. With each complaint and judgement I just said it sounds like you aren’t very happy here.

She proved there’s little or no dimensia, because the next day she organized some volunteer movers and a rental truck and had her furniture, clothing, and everything else out and set up in her house in just a few hours. She remembered every single nick-nack, every item in our fridge she had bought, and all of her booze. Little stuff that was buried out of sight in the garage she remembered. Didn’t overlook a thing. To be clear, we don’t want her stuff, but this showed me her mind is still operating at peak performance. I think this entire conflict was as much about control as it was devotion to pets.

Now she’s telling folks we threw her out. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.

I do hope after some months things will begin to heal and we can re-establish a relationship. For now she has cut off all contact. My sister is staying in touch with her so we know she is safe. We are grieving the loss of relationship, but we were already losing it, and would have lost it eventually anyway if she had stayed. But now we are made to feel like the bad guys because we at least tried for months to make it work.

My advice to anyone reading this and considering taking in an elderly parent, be very careful. These boundary and pet issues would be been handled much better before she moved in. Do not make such a huge decision during a health or other crisis. Let the crisis run its course and only later make decisions on bringing them into your home when you can more clearly see and discuss the potential issues and conflicts and not only the crisis in front of you.
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Again, I am not a dog lover. I don't have any cats at the moment because I tired of cleaning up after the last one. D _ _ m if I'd clean up after 2 dogs who were not mine. The compromise for me would be a kennel in the yard with a dog house and protection from the elements. Too hot or too cold they could come in but would be confined to the kitchen or a mud room. Yes, and they would be trained.
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No, you are not being unreasonable to not want messy untrained dogs in your house.

Yes, you are being unreasonable to expect your elderly mother to give up her dogs in order to live in your home. Those dogs are willing (and probably eager) to be with and interact with your mother 7/24/365. Is there anyone else ready to give her that level of companionship?

It's OK to say that you would like to have Mom move in with you _if_ she didn't have such a different lifestyle.

Find a compromise. Either support your Mom in a home where she can keep her dogs or find someone to train the dogs to a point you could tolerate them in your home and/or find a way to confine the dogs to a portion of your home and hire someone else to come in an clean up after them.

As to your Mom picking the dogs over you... Not only do the dogs provide your mother with companionship, they are also dependent on your mother for their care. Your mother probably realizes the dogs are not well trained and would not be good re-homing candidates - so that means they will most likely die if she surrenders them. You are an independent adult, they are her dependent "children". If you were asked to choose between the best interests of an independent adult and a dependent child with no control over their world, who would you choose?
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The constant in and out problem with the dogs could be solved in her house or yours, with a pet door. Even Senior dogs learn quite quickly to use them. Are the yards fenced? The dirt and smell of the dogs can be controlled with a good groom every few months. Schnauzers are a breed who need regular grooms anyway and it wouldn’t hurt the mix to have regular baths as well. Controls must be put in place with their feeding. Mom is killing them with kindness. There are diet foods for dogs. A vet can advise. Mom is told if she wants to keep the dogs, she stops over feeding them. Period.

I pick up on some real hesitation to turn your party of two in your home to a party of three. You are right to be concerned about the effect it will have on all relationships involved. I just read today that there are more than a few apartment complexes in my area who are “pet friendly”. I’m sure there are some in your area as well.

Please let us know what you and Mom decide to do.
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I'm sorry, Texasbrit, I missed your post with the further-and-better-particulars.

Your mother picks up a schnauzer??? Impressive! Is it a miniature schnauzer?

Just remarking, as an English person, that those dogs would be both healthier and happier if they were made to behave.

You're not going to be up for that, are you? Dang.

Hmm. I wonder if there is anyone in your neighbourhood who might be? The saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks is complete tosh. If the new tricks involve winning the approval of the pack leader (you - dogs know who's in charge) they are always keen to learn.
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You're not being unreasonable, but you're not being very insightful either.

You don't like dogs, fine. You are - are you, really? - seeing this as your mother preferring the company of her dogs to that of her daughter.

How hard have you tried to imagine how your mother feels about her companion animals?

I know (and love) several people who are not animal lovers - not abusers, either, just not people who form bonds with anything except other people. And that's fine. They too can get to heaven.

Where I have before now seen difficulties is when non-animal people (or NAPs, as I shall call them) either can't or won't make allowances for the sentiments of ALs, or Animal Lovers.

That bond is real. It is important to the person who has it.

I do not conclude that you "ought" to love your mother, love her dogs. But don't either get huffy about her dilemma and pretend that it's simple and she is being silly and dramatic. What you're asking her to do IS a big deal for her.

I have to declare, if not an interest exactly, then a bias. I have just lost my dog and am pet-less for the first time in more than 25 years. I am 55 and keep pleasantly busy and have things to look forward to, but I still miss my constant companion more than I can say. Your mother on the other hand is older, and out of her familiar place, and occupies her time how?

I think the really important thing is to detach yourself emotionally from the decision about what is her best choice, and not take it as some kind of rejection - or, indeed, grounds for that "guilt" - if in fact, giving proper consideration to everything else, it might after all be best for your mother to head off home only with proper, structured support in place.

The thing is. If you are already feeling under emotional pressure from her, and she hasn't even got going yet... are you even sure you want her living with you? Those hounds may yet prove a handy get-out clause for you, you know.

Or... What sort of dogs, and how much do you dislike them?
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How long until the house repair is completed? (How much longer do you have to put up with those dogs?)
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If she has no money, now is the time to start the Medicaid application, get with an elder law/Medicaid specialist attorney to help with the application, from all I've heard, it is not a DIY process, use her money to pay attorney .

I am a dog lover, just not untrained dogs. I have to say that you can train an older dog, it is just super time consuming. I had my dads untrained 11 year old and I had to keep a constant eye on her and spend untold hours teaching her to go potty outside, it was exhausting. She now asks to be let out and does all her business outside, yea!

I think you have other issues as well as unruly, bad pet guests. If you are already feeling control issues this is your red flag warning.

Best of luck finding mom a good fit.
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JoAnn29
Some feel the way about many people. I know I do
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In other words you do not want them around in the unfortunate event they would pass and would be dealing with a possibily emotionally upset mom. Not good odds for a chance someone would want them do to age and being untrained. 
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Well, my opinion changed after reading that these dogs are not at all trained. I've been through that situation. And I would not at all blame you for not wanting untrained dogs in your home.

And I think this raises another issue if she did go home, or if she went to a senior community in IL. There will come a point when those dogs are going to be behavioral problems for the neighbors.

I think she may allow them to come and go as they please, and may not have trained them, b/c it might be too difficult for her to get up and let them out. But at this point, I doubt if they're trainable. I tried with an 11 year old and a rescued 7 year old but it was impossible.

At this point, what I would do is probably more drastic and emotionally upsetting and I don't think it would work in your situation. What I did was contact rescue groups and try to find homes for the two that I inherited. But I don't think your mother would be able to handle the emotional detachment of losing her pets. And it would be tough, and distressing for her.

I don't know of any good suggestions in this situation. Wish I did, but it's a tough one.
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Thank you for your views, I do appreciate the perspectives. It is a difficult dilemma.

She is currently living with us along with her dogs. Her house is being repaired and will be put on the market soon. We have to sort these issues out before she sells, and decide if she goes back to her own house or stays with us.

Her dogs are terribly spoiled and untrained, a 12yr old schnauzer and a small mixed breed. For years she just leaves her back door open (even during cold winter and hot humid summers in southern Texas and pouring down rain).. so the dogs can come and go as they please so she doesn’t have to get up. They bring the dirt and smell and come in soaking wet and wipe themselves on the rugs and furniture. Her house absolutely reeks. When they bark she picks them up off the floor and puts them on the sofa. When they bark again she puts them on the floor. They keep barking until she moves them.

We of course don’t do these things. They want in and out of our house on demand, sometimes less than a minute we have to go open the door again. When we don’t respond immediately they start scratching our door and walls and destroying both the inside and outside of our house. She thinks we are making a mountain out of molehill. She equates our criticism of their behavior as a rejection of her. She also grossly over fed them because she would feed them every time they beg, they are terribly obese (40-50% overweight). I’d rather focus on taking care of my mother, not retraining and rehabilitating terribly behaved dogs. How much time and effort to retrain a dog that has been spoiled for 12 years? I seriously doubt it’s worth the additional stress and strain on the relationship. Not only between me and my mom, but between me and my husband.

Once her health improved she did say she was ready to move because she was lonely. She is capable of taking care of herself now, but we don’t know if she will. She doesn’t want to cook or clean, so if she reverts back to frozen TV dinners (or worse, just skipping meals) we think its only a matter of time before she relapses.

It is interesting many of the posts focus on the helping the elderly parent adjust. This cannot be the only priority. Shouldn’t the parent be willing to make sacrifices to help the caregiver and her husband adjust? Everyone is giving up a lot (independence, privacy, alone time, freedom to travel).

I think going back to her home and hiring some occasional help is the best answer for now. It will be a tearful discussion. But finances won’t allow this for long.

My fear is sacrificing the relationship between mother and daughter out of sense of duty to care for her. Having a 3rd party step in, at her home or AL may save the relationship and keep her healthier and safe. But of course finances weigh heavily on these options.

Thank you again for your support and perspectives. There are no easy answers, just trades offs, lesser of bad options.
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Think about what you wrote: "...Have agreed to let her live with us...." and "Feels like she is choosing her dogs over her own daughter."

It might just have been a choice of words, but it might also reflect, in addition to the approach to the dogs, that she's not welcome there. It may also seem to you that she is making the choice of her dogs vs. you.

I think it would be helpful if you each sorted out your feelings and decided realistically how you feel about this arrangement.

Your mother's adjustment will be harder without her beloved pets, and that would be an additional challenge for her in living in your home. Yet it is your house and you're undertaking the care.

Have you discussed her remaining in her own home with outside help? You wrote that she's "quite well now." Is she lonely, or does she really need help? I think that might the starting point, then go from there to determine if she can stay in her own home, with care if necessary, and perhaps some neighborhood kids or a dog walking service to help with the animals.

It may not seem that important, but for dog lovers, being parted with a beloved pet can be very traumatic. Coupled with living in someone else's house and feeling unwanted could complicate the trauma.
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I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. I wouldn't want to take care of someone's dogs, either.

Is she living with you now? If so, where are the dogs now?
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We, the caregivers, were told by the other siblings that we could not bring out two dogs to mother-in-law's home when we moved in to care for her citing the dogs would be a nuisance and destroy the home and no other dogs had lived inside as the in-laws never permitted this. We could prove our pets were better behaved but that did not matter to them. In the end, we were able to bring them because no one else wanted to move in to provide care. Low and behold, one of the dogs took to my mother-in-law and she to her and now they are like Velcro. The little dog runs from her pen each morning to find my mother-in-law who lights up when it jumps into her lap to greet her for the day. Mother-in-law feels this dog's emotion for her and it for her. Dogs can be conditioned to accept a new environment to meet your needs better than you may think. Our dogs did not sleep in a penned area before we moved and they have adjusted to it well. We installed a small dog door and they go potty when they need or we place a pad in the penned area they sleep in. It's about love and what you are willing to accept to facilitate it. If the dogs are not potty trained, it would be very hard to accept them in your home so contact a trainer to see if there are volunteer groups that would take on the training. Otherwise, hiring a care person to tend to the dogs at your mother's home is a good idea.
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Texasbrit, I see your point. I am not a dog lover and I wouldn't want the care of them. I am a cat person because...they take care of themselves. Even if Mom goes to an independent living or AL, she has to be able to care for her dogs. I realize how people get attached and I wouldn't want to be the one to make her give them up. So maybe it would be better if she went home with some help.
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People who love their pets will go to any lengths to keep them. I know. I am one of those people and I understand how Mom feels. The idea of making my much-loved dog an “owner surrender” to a shelter at some time in the future sickens me. I know she will be euthanized. But i also understand that there are people who see dogs as filthy creatures who exist only to make messes and get underfoot.

If you cannot tolerate Mom’s dogs, hire caregivers to come to her home. I can guarantee you she feels your animosity. You hint that the dogs are only the tip of the iceberg and you are anticipating more “control issues” to come if she moves in with you. You brought her to live with you and she seems to have surprised you by surviving beyond the 6 months you anticipated.

I can see a very unhappy couple in my crystal ball. If Mom moves in, you’ll be posting again in a few months. If she is at all able to manage on her own, hire caregivers. Consider, even, an apartment for her. A lot allow dogs. Some Independent Living communities do as well.
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I guess everyone has a line they won't cross and for you it is pets. That's OK, but try not to make it a contest about who she cares about most, all you have to do is read the pet threads on this forum to understand how deeply attached we can become to our pet family members. Could there be a third option for your mom, perhaps a new pet friendly seniors apartment with hired help or an AL?
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