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New Senior Dogs To Meet Our 4 Cats

dbg10
December 27th, 2009, 01:04 PM
I hope to adopt two bonded senior spaniels from a rescue shelter :fingerscr

I talked about in this thread about food for them:
http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=864829#post864829

I am expecting them on Tuesday with their rescuer for the home visit. I am not sure whether she plans to leave them here if the visit goes well, but it has been suggested that I meet them a few times before taking them permanently. They had a stable life until May of this year when their owner died and they were moved from home to home and finally to the rescue organization. I would like some opinions on whether people think it would be better for them to stay the first time if all goes well, or whether to have them come back for several visits before finally adopting them. I honestly think it might be better for them to stay the first time, but maybe I'm wrong. Opinions please?

The other issue is I have 4 cats ranging in age from 5 to 12. The 5 year old loves dogs, but the others can take or leave them, but did play with Pepper off and on, when she was alive. I have decided to shut them in the bedroom initially so the dogs can meet us and sniff around the house uninterrupted, before meeting any of the cats. I would like to know what you all think of this idea, and how to introduce them to the cats?

Another question, I have a ton of dog toys around the house, and was planning on leaving the toy box out for them. However, do you think that may be overwhelming for them and I should just leave a few toys out? I also don't want them completely distracted so they don't have a chance to interact with us.

Thanks all for the help with this, I really need some suggestions for this meeting so it goes well for all. :shrug: :fingerscr

Frenchy
December 27th, 2009, 02:49 PM
ohhhhh I'm so excited for you !! :crazy:

I think you're on the right track , leaving the cats in a room at first , then if the dogs are staying , you can open the door and put a baby gate. This way , if your cats need time off , they can go back to that room. These dogs are seniors so they probably won't be too hyper around your cats , which is good :thumbs up

As for the toy box , I don't think it will matter to them at first. They'll probably need a few days to get settled in , you can show them the box and let a few toys here and there.

You'll need to talk with the rescue about leaving the dogs at your place after their visit , all rescues have their own politics about that.

Good luck !!! Can't wait for these guys to be in their forever home with you ! :cloud9:

chico2
December 27th, 2009, 03:42 PM
dbg,how great of you to take on 2 oldies:thumbs upthey look wonderful with their greyish faces.
Older pups are usually over-looked,so you are doing a great thing giving them a home,thank you!

the gang
December 27th, 2009, 09:51 PM
chico sent you a pm, brenda and the pins

dbg10
December 28th, 2009, 02:28 PM
Thanks for the suggestions Frenchy, it helps to know what you think about my plans. I know that she wants the dogs to meet the cats tomorrow so I had planned to keep them in the bedroom until she thought it was time for them to meet. I also thought of putting 2 of them in cages so that all of them couldn't run out when the door is opened. I am wondering if this would make the cats more aggressive than they normally would be, when they meet the dogs. What do you think?

@chico2 thanks, I love senior dogs and they fit into both my lifestyle and future plans well. Pepper was 9 when I adopted her but she had health problems right from the start, so didn't last as long as I expected.

@thegang I didn't receive any pm's so I guess you were posting to someone else.

I think I may have posted this in the wrong forum as I am not getting too many responses. Did I?

Thanks for everything :)

14+kitties
December 28th, 2009, 02:48 PM
I would follow Frenchy's advice and leave the kitties in a room while the dogs are visiting and (hopefully) moving in with you for a while. Let all of them get used to each other's smells before attempting introductions.
Do you know any of the dogs' history at all? As in did they have cats living with them or was it just them. It would make your job so much easier if you knew that the dogs knew that cats are not chew toys. Or visa versa. Although at their ages I would think they aren't going to go after the cats too much. As long as the cats have a safe place to hide things should go ok. I know when I started bringing Sammy in the house at night she did some snipping at the house kitties but quickly learned to leave them alone. That was partly due to me keeping a close eye on them and partly due to the fact that the kitties have these awesome defense mechanisms at the end of their paws.
Thank you so much for considering these two for yours. They are beautiful. :cloud9:
As to why people aren't answering..... it's the holidays. Very quiet around here.

dbg10
December 28th, 2009, 03:06 PM
Thanks 14+ I appreciate your comments. As I added above (probably while you were posting) the rescue wants the dogs to meet my cats at this meeting. I have a history on the dogs, they lived with a priest until May of this year, then were taken by a nun when he passed away. The nun went to a nursing home and a parishioner took them but that didn't work out and they went to a boarding kennel. From there they went separately to the rescue agency where they lived in two different homes and are now back together at one of the rescuer's homes. They have been through h* in the last few months but had a very stable life prior to that. As far as the rescue agency knows they have never lived with cats but ignore the barn cats that live at the rescuer's home. I expect they have been exposed to house cats in the past, but never lived with them.

As for my cats, all of them have lived with 3 different dogs over their lives, one loves cats and the others can take or leave dogs, however, they all got along well with Pepper, and one of their games was being chased through the house by her. I expect them to be very curious about the dogs, and I'm more concerned about how the dogs will react, than my cats. I know the youngest one will be overjoyed to have dogs around again. The oldest cat used to sleep curled up in the tail of 2 of my dogs.

Yes it is quiet here, as would be expected at this time of year. I just wondered if part of the reason was posting in this forum.

Frenchy
December 28th, 2009, 05:27 PM
I'm sure everything will be fine. I'm just surprise that the rescue expects you to let the cats out to meet the dogs right away. :confused: they should know that , when introducing cats and dogs , you should take your time. :confused:

mind you , I never do :o I know my cats and they are fine with dogs , any dogs. They have always been ok with all the fosters and new dogs . I would never take a foster dog if I suspect the foster would be aggressive with cats.

The big day is tomorrow , you must be excited !! :goodvibes:

dbg10
December 28th, 2009, 07:08 PM
You bet I'm excited! :crazy: In my initial email I told her about the cats, describing how each one was with dogs. When we talked on the phone, though we talked about the cats, she never mentioned what she advised me to do with them. She is a very experienced rescuer, so I expect she is not too worried about them. She wanted to bring them to my place for the home visit, so I'm not sure what she wants me to do. That's the reason I asked here, because I thought it better to have the cats shut in a room, rather than meet the dogs immediately. I even thought of putting 2 of them in cages but I changed my mind because I think that might make the cats more aggressive when they meet the dogs. I have also been talking to another foster from the same rescue group and it was she who recommended I take the dogs at the end of several visits. So I really have no idea what she expects with the cats :confused: and will follow her guidance when she arrives. The foster who has them, is quite a distance from me, so I'm also not sure whether she wants to have several visits before I adopt, or whether she plans to leave them with me tomorrow, if the home visit goes well. I am prepared for anything. :)

Jim Hall
December 28th, 2009, 08:52 PM
yup lock em up make you stand back after you open the door though

14+kitties
December 28th, 2009, 10:26 PM
IMHO I would not be tempting fate by having the dogs and cats meet tomorrow. The dogs will be excited and tired from their trip. The cats will be curious about the new entities in their home. Truly I would rather wait to see if the dogs will be a good match for you before introducing them to the cats. And then I would be doing it slowly.
Good luck tomorrow!! :thumbs up

dbg10
December 29th, 2009, 10:28 AM
Thanks Jim & 14+ :)

@14+ I am going to do what she advises but I agree it would be better to leave the cat-dog meet for the next visit. What I expect will happen when I close them in the bedroom early, all but the youngest will go to sleep in their usual places. I expect the youngest one to react the second the dogs arrive by scratching at the door. I hope to spend some time meeting the dogs before introducting the cats. As this is a bungalow and not very big, the dogs will hear the cats and probably be able to see their feet under the door, from the living room. Then if/when I open the door, I expect the youngest, Smokey to come shooting out, and probably Bailey, Tiger and Sam will remain asleep in the bedroom, or pay little attention. Smokey is a dogs cat, he was Pepper's best friend and also loved to play with the dogs prior to Pepper, so I expect him to be very interested in the dogs. The others won't care at that time of day, because they usually sleep then. I may be wrong about the interest, they will show but I don't expect the other three to even approach the dogs in a big hurry, I expect they will keep their distance and probably go back in the bedroom the minute they see them. There are lots of places for them to hide in the bedroom, so I'm not worried about how the cats will behave, more about the dogs being afraid of them. Both Sam and Smokey are big cats, Sam weighs about 20 lbs and Smokey weighs 16lbs, neither have a lot of extra weight on them. So they may intimidate the dogs, just by their size.

I'm so excited about meeting them, it will be fun, no matter what the results are. I hope it all works out well, and we end up with the dogs. That would be the best thing that could happen for me at this time of year! :cloud9:

Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I will write back and let you know the results of the meeting today :D

dbg10
December 29th, 2009, 02:12 PM
The meeting was wonderful :lovestruck: The rescuer wanted me to let the cats out as soon as possible, so after 10 minutes of them sniffing around, I opened the door. The youngest came out carefully (which I was surprised at) and immediately climbed high to observe the dogs from a distance. By the end of the meeting he had moved down to their level and they had a nose to nose meeting without incident. The others hid under the bed, but the dogs had a chance to sniff them without any hissing or spitting. Then they all ignored each other.

They are very happy dogs and they spent more time with my son, than with me. They are a lovely pair but it is obvious they need to stay together.

A health problem had appeared with the female that the rescuer had noticed in the past day or two. She has two mobile lumps on the sides of her neck and was coughing up a yellow substance and her stool was mostly bile. She has an appointment with the vet tonight and took both dogs back with her until the results of the blood work and exam tonight are known. Depending on the results, we will then decide when they will come to live here. If the results of the exam are bad, she may keep them until the female passes away and then he will come to live with us. If they are good, they should be here within the next week Obviously I am hoping she is ok and has just picked up a bug that will be easily cured.
:fingerscr

I am so pleased about the visit and can't wait for them to join our family.
:D :cloud9:

14+kitties
December 29th, 2009, 02:21 PM
:thumbs up Wtg!!! I'm glad the meeting went well with the kitties. I'm not sure I would have done it that way but it worked for you so it's great!!
Sending lots of :pray::fingerscr:goodvibes: for the little lady that she is ok.
You are such an :angel: for bringing these two (hopefully) into your life. :grouphug:

dbg10
December 29th, 2009, 03:06 PM
Thanks 14+ I am so happy that it seems to be working out. I am really keeping my fingers crossed about her, she is such a sweety. :fingerscr

I knew they were 11 years old, but apparently they are almost 12 so older than what I thought. They look so healthy that I hope they will live a couple of years at least. They are also smaller than any of the dogs I've had in the past and smaller dogs usually live longer IMO. I think as long as I watch what I feed them and keep them healthy they should do well once integrated into the family. Of course that's if she is ok. :fingerscr :pray:

The rescue where they are living seems to be very responsible too, and I am glad I found them. They deal only with older animals needing a home and I am glad I found them. :)

hazelrunpack
December 29th, 2009, 04:13 PM
Glad to hear the meeting was such a breeze! I hope the fem will be okay :goodvibes: Maybe it's just a funky case of kennel cough from all their moving around lately :fingerscr

So nice of you to open your heart and home to these two souls in need dgb!

Frenchy
December 29th, 2009, 07:47 PM
wooohoo ! Glad the visit went fine :thumbs up

Sending good vibes for the female :goodvibes: :fingerscr like Hazel mentioned , let's hope it's a kennel cough bug or something .... with the stress of changing homes like they did , it wouldn't surprise me.

when will you get an update ??

dbg10
December 30th, 2009, 11:49 AM
I received a call last night from the girl who brought them and sadly it appears that it may be lymphoma :cry:

The vet found more swoillen glands by her back legs and withdrew fluid from each lump, and sent it off for examination. I know from experience it takes about a week to get the results back and the rescuer said she would call me then when she has the results. She mentioned possible chemotherapy which might give her a year, but I honestly don't believe in giving chemotherapy to a dog. Many of you may believe in chemotherapy for your animals, but as a nurse, I've seen too many people spend their final days in misery, with very little quality of life, when they've had chemotherapy. I would hate to put an animal through that. :sad:

I am so sad for this poor puppy, she deserves a nice stable home before she passes away. The board of directors of the rescue will make the decision about what happens with the adoption once they have the results. I know I will be taking the male, but it will be a decision the rescue org. makes whether I take the female too, for the end of her days. I have to do a lot of thinking about that too, whether I could take a dog who I know wiil die in the next few months. :shrug:

The one thing that will really make me sad is if they want to split them up before she is gone. I don't want to see her pass away, lonely and sad without her lifelong friend, the male. Maybe I'm putting too much human emotion onto the dog, but I have seen a bonded pair split when one of them died when the first of my pair of dogs passed away leaving the female behind. It was so sad to see her looking around for him but after she saw his body, she settled down a bit though she definitely went through a grieving process for several weeks.:sad:

I've at least got a week for my son and I to decide whether we could take a dog who is dying with her mate. My other thoughts are how is the male going to react after her death, moving to a new home almost immediately. Will he deteriorate quickly and pass away too. I have been told he is far more resilient than she is to the moves, and he looked that way when I met him. He was bouncing around the house, checking everything out, while she was content to wander a bit and sniff things.
They both took dog cookies eagerly and apparently her appetite is still very good. I honestly don't know which would be better for him, to come to me by himself before she passes away or stay with her until she passes, either here or where he is now. :confused:

I would appreciate any opinions from those of you who have experience rehoming animals or know more about animal behaviour than I do in this type of situation. I pray they are wrong, which apparently is a possiblity...:pray: and the lumps are from something else.:fingerscr :pray:

hazelrunpack
December 30th, 2009, 12:41 PM
Such a sad situation, dbg. :grouphug:

If it were me, I'd be inclined to take them both now. It would give the old girl a stable place to live out her days and the old boy a chance to adjust to your house now, before he loses her. That way, he's in familiar surrounds with people he trusts when he has to face that loss. I think that might help him to handle it better.

Good luck with whatever arrangement is decided upon. And if there's even a possibility that she doesn't have lymphoma, I'm sending :goodvibes: for a good lab report!

14+kitties
December 30th, 2009, 01:39 PM
Sending lots of :goodvibes: that it isn't lymphoma.
I side with hazel. I would take them both too and for the same reasons. A stable home is what they both need.

dbg10
December 30th, 2009, 03:38 PM
Thanks Hazel and 14+! The rescuer said that no decision will be made until the results are back in a week or so. She seemed quite concerned that I would look for another dog instead of taking the male. I told her as far as I was concerned they were both coming to live with me until a decision is made to the contrary by their Board of Directors. I also told her that if she decided to keep them together until the female passed, that I could wait for him.

The male was so friendly with my son, he kept grabbing his hand so that he would pat him and shoving his head under my son's hand. It was so cute to watch and showed me that he would bond very quickly with my son. So I'm willing to wait. :)

The rescuer wants to wait until the results are in, and also told me that she could not make the decision on her own, but would have to consult the Board of Directors before any final decision was made if the diagnosis is Lymphoma.

I also told her that I would consider taking both of them now, no matter what the prognosis is, but I would have to discuss that with my son before the final decision was made.

I am not sure I could watch a dog die of cancer and not want to put her down when she started having trouble getting around etc. I didn't discuss what the rescue would do as she deteriorated but I had the impression that they might let her die naturally. This would be something that would have to be clear, before I decided to take both of them now.

For both of their sakes I believe they need to be together until she passes away. All I can hope and pray is that it isn't lymphoma, and is something that can be treated easily. :sad::pray:

sugarcatmom
December 30th, 2009, 03:52 PM
I totally agree with hazel and 14+, take 'em both! And even if it turns out that the female has something terminal (but then, we're all "terminal", aren't we? ;)), she can share her final life experience in a home that loves her unconditionally. Hospice care, with careful attention to making the "patient" as comfortable as possible, can actually be a rewarding experience. Of course it could also be emotionally painful for you and your family, but think of it as an opportunity to help another being transition out of this realm. It's a huge lesson in love and life.

chico2
December 30th, 2009, 03:59 PM
dbg,I am so sorry the girl is sick:sad:
I tend to agree with Hazel and 14+,if it is not too painful for you,I think they should both come to your loving home now.
If she only has days/months at least she will spend them in a home.
It might be easier for the male to adjust to her passing,if her scent is in the house.
I am sure the rescue is a great place,but nothing beats a couch in a real home.
:pray:The poor girl is going to be ok:fingerscr

dbg10
December 30th, 2009, 07:21 PM
Thanks everyone for all the support :thumbs up I really appreciate your thoughts and ideas.

I have spent the day researching lymphoma here and elsewhere on the Internet. There are some really good articles in the Canadian Veterinary College Journal (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/journals/202/) that as an R.N. I understand. The prognosis without chemo is very poor, but she will be or has been put on Prednisone. If it is Lymphoma, it is unlikely she will live more than a few weeks.

They are living in a home on a farm at present and they have been there for the last two months. He has been sleeping in her niece's bed for the last week and the female has her own bed in the rescuer's bedroom.

So, I feel that my decision to take them now, may hasten her death :( which I definitely don't want. Since lymphoma progresses so rapidly her condition when I hear from the rescuer next week, should give me a better idea of how long she has to live.

I want to email the rescuer to tell her if I will take them both, irregardless of the diagnosis. It is a hard decision because I know they are being treated like members of the family where they are. I don't want to say I'll take them and then have her pass away within the next day or two.

One thing I was told was that she did not do well in another foster home without the male where she was for 2 weeks. So I know if I take him, it will be very hard on her. :sad:

It is really hard to know what to do :confused:

Frenchy
December 30th, 2009, 08:33 PM
It is really hard to know what to do :confused:

And it's not our place to tell you what to do so I will tell you what Iwould do :o

I totally agree about the chemo , I would never put one of my dogs through that. I would tell the rescue , I'm taking them both , I couldn't just take the male , I think that separating them would be more negative for the female than for them to switch homes, at least they would be together. I think this is the most important thing , that they remain together.

as for not having her too long before she passes .... I only had Chloe for barely a year , yes it was hard when she passed away but , the few months that I had with her , outweighted the pain of her death.

You mentioned your son .... how old is he ? "my" first dog , was my aunt's dog , a black cocker spaniel , when I was about 5-6 years old . I spent a whole summer with him at our cottage , I would pick him up in the morning at my aunt's and return him for supper. He passed away the next winter..... I remember crying , A LOT , when my mom told me. But I think that made me appreciate pets more .... to cherish them because I knew , they would leave one day. Don't know if that helps but , sometimes it's good for kids to experiment those situations. :o

dbg10
December 30th, 2009, 09:17 PM
Thanks so much Frenchy :grouphug: knowing what others would do, helps me make my decision, because you all have the experience with animals and how they react to moves. That's why I asked.:) IMHO knowing others experiences, is an invaluable tool for learning, especially before making a big decision.

I should have mentioned earlier that my son is an adult in his 30's who shares the house with me. We adopted our first dog when he was 13 but he doesn't tend to investigate things the way I do. He seemed surprised but pleased that the male was so insistent on being patted yesterday. I always think of the dog's feelings, but I don't think he does.

My difficulty is that I have never adopted two dogs at the same time, or taken a sick dog. Some of my other adopted pets had their problems, but none of them were obviously sick, let alone possibly terminal. :sad:

Thanks again :thumbs up

chico2
December 31st, 2009, 07:33 AM
dbg,I for some reason thought the pups were in a shelter:confused:seeing they are in a good fosterhome makes it a more difficult decision.
If her diagnosis is,she might not live more than a couple of weeks,I would probably let her live out her life in a place she's used to,not move her and leave the male with her for the time being.
But that's only my opinion and I don't even have a dog,but I know of the bond between animals.
I am sure you and your son will come to a solution that's good for both you and the pups:grouphug:

dbg10
December 31st, 2009, 06:36 PM
It was my fault for not making it clearer in the first place but I didn't really have a good idea of where they were until the rescuer brought them here.

I found out that she is one of the rescues that transports dogs after hurricanes or other disasters. She takes a few dogs to foster (9 right now) most are large or giant breed with problems. I didn't know they were being treated like they were in a home until she brought them here. Before that I thought she was running a shelter. I am really sorry for not mentioning it before, but I hadn't remembered it until I started thinking about what they were leaving to come here. :sorry:

When I learned that it made the situation more complicated for the reasons that you mention. She seemed concerned that I would lose interest in the male if the adoption didn't move quickly so I tried to reassure her, that I was willing to wait if the diagnosis was Lymphoma. I told her the decision should be made based on what is best for both dogs.

I am inclined to agree with you, if it is lymphoma, then I think they should stay together there, if at all possible because from what I've read, she probably won't last more than a few weeks. However, she thought that adopting the male before she dies, might be the best way to handle it. I honestly don't know :confused: I guess I'll find out next week. We still haven't made our decision about taking them both as soon as possible, but I really appreciate everyone's comments, because I agree they might be better together here, because her scent will be here after she passes so the male may feel better with the move.

After I found out that the male was sleeping in her niece's bed, I worried about how hard it will be for him to move again. However, he did seem to really take to my son, so it may not be as hard on him as I am thinking.

The whole situation is so sad, I am really hoping that it isn't lymphoma, but if it is, we make the best decision possible for both of them.:fingerscr:sad::confused::pray:

:offtopic:
Happy New Year to all of you and best wishes for a great 2010 :highfive::grouphug::clown::party: