BIG problem: Iraq, our animals, and family.

  1. I need some help. Or just someone to tell me that I'm not insane?

    DH and I are both in the Army. He's been in for 7 years, me for 4.5. He's been deployed before - in fact we got together while he was gone and I was here in Oregon going to school, almost 4 years ago. He was on active duty so everyone in his family was used to him being gone and were supportive.

    When he got home in 2005 (off active duty), he and I moved in together (and got engaged! WOO HOO!!!). We specifically found an apt that allowed dogs, as he had our lovely black lab/blue heeler Spirit (a dog he's had since he was 15 and she was a baby...she's 11 now). We got her back and then added a new member to our family earlier this spring: Twinkie, a blue heeler/australian shepherd mix. She does remarkably well inside for being such a high energy dog. We are getting a house after the deployment so she will be free to roam much more, we do our best to run her outside and take her to parks and on long walks/runs, etc. Spirit doesn't need as much exercise as she's getting very arthritic in her back and legs, and has Cushing's disease on top of getting tired easily.

    Spirit stayed with DH's parents while he was in the Army and they were always great about watching her, and now watching Twinkie. We'd take them out there if we had duty or, for instance, our honeymoon. We relied on them a lot as they have huge property and other dogs, and they were always accomodating without question. We always would do what we could to keep them at home and not encroach on them too much - and if they said they were busy we never made them feel guilty for not helping us out. It always seemed as if they were very excited to help us with our dogs.


    This brings us to today. We got back from visiting my folks in California for Christmas and dropped by to get back our girls :tup: We missed them! I was doing laundry and drying my hair and afterward DH says he needs to talk to me. He and I go into the guest room and he proceeds to tell me about the conversation he had.

    Basically, his mom told him that they would not watch Twinkie while we were deployed, but they would watch Spirit, because "I don't like Twinkie, she's annoying." She thinks we shouldn't have gotten her and is suggesting that since they were our only option to leave our dogs with while we were gone, we should just give her away to a new home (WHAT?). DH said, no thanks, we will find someone to watch BOTH of our dogs.
    DH's Dad then jumped in with "well, I just don't get why you are choosing to go away to this war and make more money for Halliburton" (WHAT???) DH just said, look, we don't really have a choice, we ARE going, and you're making it a lot harder for us now. You were our support network and now we don't have one.

    The bottom line is that they don't agree with the political situation or the war, and they don't like us being in the Army, so they are punishing us for 'choosing' to go (yes, we chose to enlist and stay in the Army, knowing we could go) by not liking one of our dogs and saying we could give her away so they didn't have to feel bad about not watching her. They never said anything before, but they make veiled comments about our military service all the time yet have the gall to say 'don't you dare say we don't support you'. Well, they don't.

    This thread's foundation is a general discussion topic, but it is affecting our poor dog and it made us feel like crap. We refuse to just give her away, she is our family! My heart broke hearing all of that, as if we could just cavalierly find a new home for a puppy that we are dearly in love with. I just thought I could share this with all of you, I don't have anybody else to talk to and DH and I are just beside ourselves with all of this. Poor Twinkie :sad:
  2. Crap, it is taking a good deal of impulse control right now for me not to say some pretty nasty things about your inlaws. First, please let me say thank you for essentially putting your life on the line so that the rest of us may enjoy our freedom. Of course you have thought about anyone else who might be able to take both there is no one, correct? Have you had a honest conversation with the inlaws about taking the dog this final time..? Is there any sense in these people? Gosh, I almost don't know what to say, I am not much help.
  3. The problem is, it's still about a year away before we leave, but DH and I both have a lot of training and schools that will take anywhere from 1 month to 5, with both of us gone. We could probably find someone to watch them for a short amount of time for the schools (at least the month I'm gone) but we don't have any friends that we could ask to watch them for a WHOLE deployment (total time gone up to 1.5 years). That's a lot to ask of anybody, and my parents have too many dogs and some of their personalities could cause problems with Twinkie (Spirit is crotchety and would either ignore them or snap their head off, LOL) as she's young and headstrong as well. So we can't really ask them, I wouldn't feel right about compromising their happy dog situation.

    We really don't have any options and his parents KNOW that. They know they are our only option for the dogs, we will NOT board them as Spirit has a terrible time with that and boarding for a whole year is just not going to happen, she's too old and deserves to be happy, not stressed.

    I'm almost glad that I was in the laundry room during this conversation, because I probably would have shot off my big mouth and eroded some of our good relationship away. We truthfully had a very harmonious relationship which can be hard to get for people with their inlaws. But right now, I cannot trust them anymore and I feel absolutely disgusted with the lack of perspective and common sense.
  4. I'm not even going to comment on your in-laws Candace, because if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all, right?

    I'm wondering if it is possible that you could get in touch with a shelter who works with people who foster animals, and perhaps there would be a foster family who would be willing to take in your dogs for the time of your deployment? If they are willing to take in dogs without homes, then taking in your dogs while you are fighting for the US wouldn't be such a stretch.

    Just an idea, but it's the only one I can think of. If I lived in Oregon I'd take them!
  5. Are they perhaps angry that you got another dog and assumed they would take care of it for long periods of time? Maybe they are wondering why you chose to get another dog while still on active duty? Did you consult with them before getting the second dog? If not, maybe they are mad about that. It could be that they are punishing you for your service, but if they were doing that it would seem that they wouldn't watch either dog. Does Spirit get along with the other dogs? Are they older and having trouble with her energy levels? It could be a bunch of things. I hope you can find a good solution. Sorry you have to go through this.
  6. ^^ i'm so sorry about you & your DH's situation :crybaby:...i'd be heart broken over your in-laws reaction too...i wish i could think of a good solution for your doggies...hopefully your in-laws will come around & change their minds about twinkie...and if not, maybe you can reach out to other friends & family & see if they can could send an e-mail out to everyone you know & see what happens...maybe a friend of a friend or family member could look after & your DH sound like very strong, brave, ambitious people...and where there's a will, there's a way & somehow you'll find it :tender: (((hugs)))
  7. You asked a lot of good questions that others might be having so I am going to answer all of them in order!
    1. They knew we were looking at getting another dog at some point, and never said anything about it. They don't watch our dogs for long periods of time right now but said they would always be around to help us out because really, they let the dogs outside and leave them there while they are home and feed them twice a day. They have a downstairs 'day basement' that the dogs live in when the weather is bad and it's also where they sleep. So literally there isn't much watching involved, even for a young dog like Twinkie - we have her crate trained and she is very good about hanging out all day while we're at work, but when she's out she likes to do stuff.
    We definitely assumed they would watch any dog we ever had because they told us they would when Jason first got home (all dogs, not just Spirit). We operate off the information we're given, really, so we don't feel it was unreasonable to assume they would be okay with taking our dogs while we're on a deployment (although I will say we ALWAYS ask before we bring them over and always talk to them about our plans, there is never miscommunication on our part).

    2. We aren't on active duty - I should have specified - we're both in the Guard although I have a full time technician job that amounts to being on active duty and DH is in college and working full time for our facility as well. We're basically on active duty but with a little bit less constraint and we are in the town we're used to living in with an apartment and family nearby. The only thing that differs for our situation is we aren't randomly sent to the field for a month at a time like many are that are in the regular Army.

    3. The only reason I said they are punishing us for being in the Army is because watching Twinkie never became a problem until we found out a month or so ago that we were getting deployed about a year from now. Their reaction has been denial ever since they found out, and then anger that we were 'asking' to go and that we were not trying to get out of going. (the most dishonorable thing for a soldier to do, IMO). Then they kept making remarks that we were doing a terrible thing and that we should feel bad for choosing to go, because we are just going to make money for Halliburton (very irrational comment I think).

    4. They aren't elderly, they are quite active and both work full time as nurses ( a very demanding and rewarding job). That's one reason I feel bad, they know what our unit's mission is - the same as theirs, except air ambulance - so it's not like we are going over there to shoot people (another insinuation on their part). Honestly, Twinkie is a pretty good dog. She's young and needs to be taught things, but she's not ridiculously misbehaved. The worst thing she does is have an occasional accident indoors and gets excited and tries to jump at you when you first walk in the door. She's getting much better on all accounts. And like I noted, if the dogs have a bundle of energy (they have two golden retrievers that live in and outside as well), they just open the door and let them run around their property - a considerable amount of acreage.

    5. Spirit gets along with just about everyone, that's the black lab in her, and since she's a little older she's content to lay around and chew on a bone all day. She will go out and run after a frisbee but she will pay the consequences hard, later on, so we don't do that as much with her much as it pains us because she loves running in the park. But her bones can't handle it anymore. DH's parents just said they would watch her because it would be too ridiculous and obvious if they said they wouldn't, since they let DH get the dog when he was in high school, so she's been a part of the family for a long time. Also, she requires less maintenance than Twinkie right now - though she has Cushing's disease (condition in the thyroid that makes her think she's starving and/or thirsty all the time, causing her to drink tons of water and then have accidents indoors because she doesn't know when she's drank too much)...and therefore frequently has an accident inside. She punishes herself when she does that, she knows it's a no-no, but she just can't help it. So she kind of does need to be watched a bit more than she used to.
  8. I should also add that Twinkie will be over a year older by the time we leave, so she won't be as puppy-like as she is right now - I just feel like they are overreacting when they just say they don't like her - she's a very likeable dog and everyone loves to play with her. And also when they bring up how terrible we are for being willing to go overseas and do our duty and our mission - saving's hard to ignore how they feel about that and it makes us feel worse, and like that is behind their decision. They haven't given us any other explanation or reason to think otherwise.
  9. ^^Wow, it really sounds like they are just being mean-spirited and difficult. It is terrible for them to suggest you ignore your duties. Even if they are against the war, they should support you and your husband. Is there any chance they will change their minds and agree to watch Twinkie? I am so sorry you are having to put up with their behavior. Do you think they trying to manipulate you or just punish you? Hopefully they are just upset about the dangers you may face and are irrationally lashing out. In that case, maybe things will work out in the end.
  10. I agree, I am hopeful they are just overreacting right now and will get over it - but based on what I have observed since DH was deployed a few years ago and how they treat him compared to his younger sister (unfairly, we'll leave it at that), I am not sure that this is the case. I'm trying to be positive but it's really affecting DH. I think that manipulation could be happening, in that they just pretended to like Twinkie and really just don't like her, and now want us to get rid of her so they are making it hard for us to leave for a year without anywhere to take her - in the end, if we have to find someone to take her for good, they will get what they want. But if that is what happens, I'm afraid it is going to be at a much greater cost to them than they may be thinking. She and Spirit are our children, and it's just horrible to think that only one would be treated like family. It just makes me cry.
  11. Just look at these could anybody 'not like' Twinkie!? (Spirit is in my signature).
    The ones of Twink and my DH sleeping are from Christmas, and she's closer to a year old than anything else so you can tell she won't be a large, cumbersome dog. She's spry, athletic, and amazing! :crybaby:
    grad day.jpg sleepy.JPG
  12. From personal experience most puppies go through an annoying phase. If you aren't leaving long term for a while this might give your dog some time to mature - and even get him/her trained to overcome any bad habits
  13. I'm also leaning, or perhaps hoping that they are simply overwhelmed by the idea of having their son go into danger again. Perhaps they think that by laying down an ultimatum, they can change his mind about going. :s

    I wish I lived near you, I'd take watch them in an instant! I absolutely LOVE healers (even if they annoy the heck out of my horse) and wish I had the time for one. My heart goes out to you and your kids. :heart:
  14. I'm sure they are just displacing their worry and anxiety about the 2 of you being in harm's way and lashing out in any way they can. I can understand it if not agree with it. If you talked to them before getting the second dog and they agreed to watch her they should not be acting this way. Maybe they feel put upon because you got another dog knowing that you might not be around to take care of her and putting the responsibility on them. The best thing you can do is calmly talk things out. Hopefully you will get to the real source of their problem and I bet it is not an energetic dog.
  15. They know that - I mean they've had many dogs throughout their lives and had up to 4 dogs at once in recent times of their own. From what DH told me, Twink is pretty much just like Spirit, except she can jump farther and has just a tad bit more energy being that she is two energetic breeds as opposed to one.

    We aren't annoyed by Twinkie, they are. And for them to pull this card now, when they could have said it months ago...and never ever acted 'annoyed' by her before...:sad: