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Sister wants a dog

raingirl
December 28th, 2005, 11:11 PM
I need some advice.

My sister mentioned to me tonight that she wants a dog. As you may recall, my nephew (her son) is disabled. As part of his therapy, the doctors have recommended getting him a pet. He was recently diagnosed, but I forget the name of the syndrome...something to do with protein production (he can't build muscle or use protein the same as normal people, so his bones are deformed from lack of muscle to hold them up, so he is in a wheelchair).

My sis is allergic to cats, rabbits, rodents, and birds, as am I, but is ok with dogs, as she was living with her BF's sister who has a german sheppard. My nephew got along GREAT with the dog, and the dog was great with him. He was always making sure that my nephew was ok, and if anything was wrong, he would go get my sister and bring her to him.

I was thinking that my sister would need an older, obedient/trained dog that is known to be ok with kids. Maybe a dog who has been through St. Johns animal therapy courses. I also suggested fostering so she could see different dogs and find one suited to their purpose.

My worry is that my sister is determined, and if no one will adopt to her, then she will go to a pet store, which i don't want her to do (I've already explained the bad things about it, but she is stuck on needing a dog for my nephew asap).

My other worry is that she has never had a dog before, although her BF has. I know her bf works a lot, however, she is home all the time with my nephew, and will be for the rest of his life as he needs 24/7 care. However, sometimes he goes into hospital when he gets infections and such, when she may have to be at Sick Kids in toronto for 24 hours straight. Being that she just moved near me, I dont mind watching the dog or giving it a walk if needed, or even taking care of him if required. So if she got a dog, it would have to be non-dog agressive as well, and get along with Odin.

I know that's a lot to ask for a rescue dog, so do you think it's even possible to find such a dog? Basically, non agressive, good with children, trained, possibly was a therapy dog. She would be a fairly good candidate for a dog with separation anxiety too.

So...what do you think? Oh, and she does live somewhere that does allow animals (two dogs already live upstairs) however, no fenced yard. So because my nephew is in a wheelchair, the dog can't be SUPER high energy and ok with a few short walks a day, unless she got a super good dog that walked well on a leash, obeyed commands, so that she could walk him with the wheelchair as well.

Sneaky
December 28th, 2005, 11:23 PM
Has she considered going for an actual assistance trained dog?
I think that would be the best option, and these dogs are trained to assist both adults and children in need.
Im sure someone on here will have some more information for you.

StaceyB
December 28th, 2005, 11:27 PM
Another option may be retiring service dogs, where is she located?

Joey.E.CockersMommy
December 28th, 2005, 11:31 PM
I agree with getting the therapy dog. Is your sisters son just physically handicapped, it would be great if he could be involved in the training as well. Hopefully your sister will take her time in this, it can be hectic having kids and a dog, in her situation with her high needs son, she definately wants a calm dog. I am sure there is a dog out there for your sister and her son, perhaps when she is ready to start meeting some you can bring Odin just to see how it goes. Good luck.

StaceyB
December 28th, 2005, 11:34 PM
I agree with bringing Odin along to meet the dog. I would also suggest that she foster a dog before she adopts to make sure that a dog will fit into her/their lifestyle.

joeysmama
December 29th, 2005, 12:25 AM
My friend has a handicapped daughter who is in a chair. She has always made sure that her daughter had the same life experiences, or as close as possible, to what's appropriate for her age. She can not be left alone but when her older sister reached the age where they could be left alone for an hour or two together my friend wanted them to have that experience--home without the parents.

She got a german shepherd who has a fantastic temperament, but can be trusted to be protective of the girls when the situation warrants. I do think they got her as a pup. I know she came from a reputable breeder who understood their special needs.

Prin
December 29th, 2005, 12:25 AM
I'm having nearly the same trouble... My bf's aunt is terrified of dogs, but we slowly desensitized her a little bit... She wants a dog to tell her when her son is having seizures (he has a disorder that put him in a wheel chair very early on, I don't remember what it is though). She told my boyfriend that she wants a poodle and that a breeder is too expensive so she'll just go to the SPCA. I'm so afraid she will get a dog who will be hard to handle or will cost a bunch of money in the beginning and just won't stand a chance.

I think my solution for her might work for your case too- how about an older retired doggy from a breeder? When they're not in a situation where they can risk getting an unknown dog, with unknown genetics, with unknown baggage, with unknown health issues, I think that's the best option. Either that or an older dog from a rescue that really, truthfully screens it's doggies. (Of course in the aunt's case, nothing will guarantee that the dog will detect seizures, but they can't afford a "real" seizure doggy...)

And one suggestion for you raingirl: suggest stuff, but then let it go. It can be heartbreaking to think you are helping and then they go off and get a dog at the pet store anyway and then get rid of it in 2 months anyway. It's really devastating and you risk losing your sister over it. Be careful.:)

LM1313
December 29th, 2005, 10:07 AM
Aren't pet shop dogs always puppies? Point out to her what a hassle housetraining and caring for a puppy would be.

And if she insists on a puppy right away, there are always tons at the animal shelters, especially right after Christmas.

But I think the retired service dog idea is a great one.

~LM~

CJ05
December 29th, 2005, 10:56 AM
I agree with a trained dog in your situation. Puppies are a lot of work (training, constantly watching, chewing, different sleeping patterns at first etc.) and require a lot of attention. Went through it all this past summer with my own. I had thought that I had bit off more than I could chew at first, it has been worth it looking back. Even though she is now trained I still have to worry as we now have a new baby in the house and when I go back to work after xmas, my wife will have to juggle the baby and a 10 month old puppy.

raingirl
December 29th, 2005, 06:30 PM
Thanks for all the ideas guys! I believe that a trained assistance dog is what the docs meant, but where would one get a dog like that? how much would they cost (they don't have a lot of extra cash due his health problems, but I'm willing to help them get started). Would that thing be subsidized under some kind of disability payment?

He also has epilepsy, so they want a dog that will alert if something happens. My nephew is 2 now, however, is very small and only the mental ability of a 3 to 4 month old. He doesn't really have any co-ordination due to his lack of muscle, but he is learning slowly.

What breed do you think would be good? her bf already knows German Sheppards, and my nephew has been around one and it was ok. I was thinking GSDs, labs, retrievers, or similar.

How do I find out about retired therapy dogs, or older dogs with that type of training? Maybe I should start contacting breeders to see about retired show dogs (they would be well trained right?).

I know she doesn't really want a puppy, but her bf is a little ignorant. I guess I need to "nip it in the bud" to prevent then from doing something stupid.

meb999
December 29th, 2005, 06:45 PM
Maybe you could check out Victor on the 'available dogs' page on the Boxer Rescue Québec website.... (www.boxerrescuequebec.com)

Sneaky
December 29th, 2005, 08:34 PM
Hi Rain, just a thought, but perhaps if you call the regional disability center in your city, they may have more information for you on a trained assistance dog.
Im sure your sister would find it great to have a dog that not only is a valued member of the family, but one who really could know how to help her child.
Another option is calling a Vet - they may know how to get in talk with the assistance dogs program in your area as well.
I dont know if it would be any more expensive than buying a purebred dog from a breeder honestly, and even if it was a little more, it would be much more worthwhile in the long run.

Bushfire2000
December 29th, 2005, 11:02 PM
They should try for a trained assistance dog if poss.
Your nephew is very young right now and the need for a dog could be satisfied by visits from Odin.
It sounds like your sister is in too great a hurry for this pup/dog. It would be worth while to wait for an assistance dog. Assistance dogs can go any where your nephew needs to go, and many groups offer the training and the dog free of charge but you do have to wait. If your sister is home 24/7 perhaps the dog is more to keep her company than your nephew?

StaceyB
December 29th, 2005, 11:31 PM
Unless the dog were shown through obedience, the "show" dog would not be trained in most circumstances.

mona_b
December 29th, 2005, 11:34 PM
raingirl,take a look at this link.I'm not sure where your sister is,but maybe the National Service Dogs can help.I know it says about children with Autism,but maybe they can point you in the right direction.And if I recall,there is no charge for these dogs.

http://www.nsd.on.ca/about.htm



As for where to aquire a retired therapy dog,you probably won't find one.These are not dogs that are trained from a training service.These are dog owners who have trained them themselves.These dogs have owners.I know a Dane here,Hooper who is a therapy dog.

IMHO,she shouldn't get a pup unless she has the time and patience for extenssive training.And trust me,I went through it when I was training my dog for the force.And so did my neice when she forstered a Lab pup to become a seeing eye dog.This takes hard work.And you cant screw up either.

As for the epilepsy detecting,well that at times can't be trained into them.My Moms friend has seizures,and her dog Radar started to detect them before she had one.Radar was not trained for this.He just picked up on it.

As for contacting Breeders for retired Show Dogs,you can try...But at times you may have issues with them.Remember they retire at anywhere from 5-6 on.Some have not been around younger children.Some are frightened at certain noises.Hate thunderstorms.You get the point right?....:)

Prin
December 30th, 2005, 12:10 AM
As for the epilepsy detecting,well that at times can't be trained into them.My Moms friend has seizures,and her dog Radar started to detect them before she had one.Radar was not trained for this.He just picked up on it.

As for contacting Breeders for retired Show Dogs,you can try...But at times you may have issues with them.Remember they retire at anywhere from 5-6 on.Some have not been around younger children.Some are frightened at certain noises.Hate thunderstorms.You get the point right?....
Yeah, I figured that detecting seizures would be like detecting bad people where some doggies have it and some don't and you never know.

The thing with a breeder dog though that I thought would be good is that the breeder (if they're good) would know their dog well, right? So it's not like picking up a dog at the SPCA where you don't know the history at all. I just know that with Boo, I paid more than a couple thousand in the first few months to get his stomach right and my dad paid $2000 for his doggy's three broken canines to be taken out and I know the bf's aunt can't afford that right off the bat.

mona_b
December 30th, 2005, 06:25 AM
The thing with a breeder dog though that I thought would be good is that the breeder (if they're good) would know their dog well, right?

Yes,they definately would know their dog.But these dogs can change once they get into the new home.

Take Joey.E.Cockers Mommy for example(sorry for brining you into this this.Needed a good example..:) )This is a retired show dog that has some issues.Issues with her younger son also.Mind you,not all are like this.

I think looking into an assistance dog may be the way to go.These dogs are fully trained for this type of work.:)

Joey.E.CockersMommy
December 30th, 2005, 07:45 AM
Mona B

Take Joey.E.Cockers Mommy for example(sorry for brining you into this this.Needed a good example.. )This is a retired show dog that has some issues.Issues with her younger son also.Mind you,not all are like this.

Thats okay, we love him all the same. It could be worse and I am confident we will get his issues worked out.

I think looking into an assistance dog would be a great idea, don't have much more advice to give as it is all so good IMO. :D

meb999
December 30th, 2005, 10:44 AM
Maybe you could check out Victor on the 'available dogs' page on the Boxer Rescue Québec website.... (www.boxerrescuequebec.com)


Never mind....he's been adopted!

papillonmama
January 1st, 2006, 11:10 AM
A special someone for company, like this?

http://search.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=5561269

Or perhaps instead of the care involved with owning a pet, Therapeutic horse riding? I found this site that has links to programs in every province...

http://www.cantra.ca/

Good luck...:)

raingirl
January 1st, 2006, 01:48 PM
Thanks Pappillon, but I think my sis doesn't want a dog that requires grooming (lots of brushing and/or hair cutting).

lm9012
January 2nd, 2006, 09:03 PM
i don't know too much about therapy dogs. but i do hope a rescue dog is at least considered. It's possible to find a great, obedient, trained, older dog that would be a great companion to your sister and your nephew.
Granted there are some rescue dogs that have been mistreated or abused so they may need more work. But not every dog has a sad story! I really lucked out with my little guy. We got him from the SPCA and while no one had any history on him, not even if he was housebroken..he is the calmest and most obedient dog ever. He had a few health issues to take care of..vaccinations and such..but it wasn't too expensive. Main thing is, he is sooo low maintenance. I think that is what your sis needs, a low maintenance dog, full of love, who will be protective of them. I do agree a puppy wouldn't be best at all. An older dog, that's already proven to be good with kids would be a great addition. here in the states, we have a lot of shelters who have dogs fostered. So a lot of these dogs are already in a home, with kids or even other animals. Depending on how long the pup's been with them, the foster parents can fill you in on the temperement, etc. Whatever is decided, I just hope we remember there are tons of doggies out there looking for a good home that will be eternally grateful for being chosen!

Bushfire2000
January 2nd, 2006, 09:52 PM
Thanks Pappillon, but I think my sis doesn't want a dog that requires grooming (lots of brushing and/or hair cutting).

You did say she has lived with a dog previously right?
She is aware that dogs come either needing a hair cut or shedding?
Albert looked like a doll to me.
Also has she considered the extra cost of owning a dog. Vaccinations, food, licence, etc.