Author Topic: Ethical Question - please help  (Read 7534 times)

Offline wantabigpaw

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Ethical Question - please help
« on: December 04, 2005, 05:58:27 pm »
I've posted before - Digger is my baby - but because of her age/health (15 and bad hips) she stayed with my dad (and her buddy, farfel) in NY.  It's been a year, and the heartache is really getting to me.

I wan't so badly to have her here, or, in a case that I am  at odds with, perhaps get another dog.  I'm in Maryland on a 2nd floor apt.  No yard,  sunny balcony, but a helluva flight of stairs.

Here's the ethical question - in 2 parts.  In Terms of Karma, how much universal damage to my core would I be doing by getting another dog while my best friend is still alive.  Would it be like i was replacing her? Finding a cute little wiggler to love, other than my lab/chow/newf mix?  I just feel like it would make me a bad parent.  I didn't abandon her...in NY - she had my dad, a giant yard and another dog - and my dad is semi-retired.


Second Part.  How cruel is it to put a dog in a 2nd floor apt, (1200sq feet - not tiny, but still)???  I know people who have smallish dogs, and they actually train them to go in a litter-box type thing, but bigger, more like an indoor sandbox.  I'm gone for 11 hours a day....and I wouldn't even have a dog walker.  So a puppy is out of the question - but regarding a rescue...could a dog go 10-11 hours a day with  no one there?  Is rescuing a dog and putting it in that situation worse than leaving it where it is?

I've taken some walks at a dog park lately, so i can get my fix.  I'm guessing this is my best option...short of finding people who will let me come over and play with their dogs on weekends...

I've had a rough few years.  Friends, my mom, my grandmother have all passed away - i'm just feeling horridly alone...but I don't want to make a situation worse for a dog...

Any suggestions?  I think I've answered my own questions - but he** - maybe someone can toss me an answer  - - are there any 40lb rabbits that do ok indoors?

Thanks for your time. - Thanks to you all!!!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2005, 07:48:20 pm by Jacksmom »

Offline newflvr

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2005, 06:07:18 pm »
I think you are wonderful to think of the ethics of getting a dog instead of just I want one...gonna get one, no matter what!  I think there are probably wonderful dogs who can take being alone that much, and you are right....it wouldn't be a puppy.  I have no idea the breed that would thrive with those limitations but maybe others do.  I know cats do fine in apartments and being left alone...have you considered that?  There are some pretty big cats out there...like maybe a Maine Coon??

Anyway,  thanks for thinking about what's right for the dog and wish I could be of more help....

Offline Scootergirl

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2005, 06:09:44 pm »
First of all, let me commend you for thinking this through. Here's how I would answer your questions:

1.) You are NOT a bad mommy if you decide to get another dog to keep you company. You have made a difficult yet courageous decision to allow Digger to live in an environment better suited for his age and abilities. While he would love to be back with you, I'm sure, he would likely endure a lot of pain going up and down your stairs. You have given Digger a responsible home, a playmate and plenty of safe space to live her life. No bad karma will come back to haunt you.

2) YES! the right dog CAN go 10-11 hours without needing to go outside to go potty. Mine have done it several times. Granted, they have one foot out the door by the time I get home and pee for about 5 minutes straight sometimes, but it is possible.

I have also had a large dog in an apartment, and for the right dog this is OK, but you have to be very careful about choosing a dog for this type of environment if you will be living in this kind of a situation for an extended period of time.  You need to be sure the dog has been fostered in a home environment similar to yours where the foster parent is gone for a similar amount of time. Has the dog shown any destructive behavior in her absence, is the dog crate trained, what kinds of toys/treats will keep the dog occupied so it doesn't get bored, etc.

3). OK, you didn't ask a third question, but I have a 3rd option for you. If what you're feeling is just a general lack of canine companionship, have you thought about fostering for your local rescue organization or animal shelter? You often get to pick which dog you want to foster, don't claim "ownership" of that dog so you don't have to worry about "karma" with Digger because the dog is only there temporarily, you get you "dog fix", and in return you are rewarded with the greatest feeling of accomplishment knowing that you not only saved a life but helped to ensure that life found the best possible home to live in forever. Then, you get to go on to another dog and save another life, and on and on and on . . .

Think about it - it just may be the best solution for you - or at least a great way to start.

Jeanne
"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between dog and man." -- Mark Twain

Offline Senghe

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2005, 06:10:47 pm »
Your dog is perfectly happy where she is and it would be totally unfair to uproot her at her age. Not to mention it's unfair on your poor old dad who probably loves her as much as you do.

Please don't even consider a dog if you are gone for that length of time. It's just not fair by any stretch of the imagination. If you want a reality check, volunteer for a local shelter at the weekend. Can you not get a cat or two and mesh off your balcony for them? Cats would do far better in that situation than even two small dogs.

I'd only worry about your karma if you decided to remove your old dog from where she is now and shove her in an apartment in solitary confinement for 11 hours a day - or get anothe dog in your current position.

Offline Rachel

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2005, 06:14:45 pm »
I'm in Maryland too. You can borrow Sophie if you want!  ;)  :D  I don't have too much advise but just wanted to commend you for really thinking this through rather then just picking up a dog.   And I think that fostering sounds like a good idea.

Oh and where is there a dog park?   :)
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Offline Kermit

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2005, 06:50:59 pm »
Here's my two cents:
I think if you are hurting for canine companionship pretty bad, which it seems you are, you should perhaps think about moving to a more dog-happy living situation or get a new job that would allow you to come home on lunch breaks for a walk and some lovin. I know those are HUGE changes to make, but in my opinion a dog is worth it. It might be selfish to bring a dog into an environment where he or she would be alone for such long hours (I'm assuming you live alone?) and not given a chance to potty midway through the day. Maybe a dog who gets used to that lifestyle over time could handle it fine, but bringing home a new dog and putting them in that situation right off the bat... it doesn't seem so fair.

I think you are really awesome for giving it so much serious thought.  :)
Good luck!!!

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2005, 08:03:19 pm »
Well....here goes my two and a half cents.

As everyone else has mentioned, you're doing the right thing by asking yourself these hard questions, and soliciting responses to them from others. That's great.

I don't think that you're in a great position to actually own a dog. And, I don't really think fostering is a good idea for you right now either...I mean, a dog still has doggie needs even if its just a foster dog. A foster dog still needs human companionship and potty and exercise time. (Sorry, Jeanne!) I think that volunteering at your local humane society would be a great option, though. I do it, and its super-rewarding. You get to hang out with lots of dogs, walk them, help people make good adoption decisions, etc. Its fantastic. And, you get to sniff puppy heads and breath without having to potty-train! WOOOOOOH! That's the best part.

I don't want to sound negative...I'm truly not. Just realistic. 11 hours a day is too much. It might be really awesome for you when you get home and get that doggie love and kisses, but what about the poor dog for all that time?

I think that Rebekah is right. You can start to make some changes that will make your life more dog friendly. It is hard to do, but its worth it. Let me give you an example. I've got a Newfie mix...Cabeza. He's 6, and really mellow, house-broken, all that. I really want a Newf pup. But, I'm in school right now and we live on the third floor of our building. Not a great time or place for a newf. So, I have to graduate, and we have to buy a house that doesn't have stairs, so that Petunia won't damage her hips. (Petunia is what I'm going to name her!) Its SO hard to wait, but I know that those things have to be in place first. Its only fair to her and to myself and to my boyfriend! hehehee!

Anyway, I hope that you explore the volunteering option, continue going to play with dogs at your dog park, and maybe dog sit for people when you have time.

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2005, 09:33:42 pm »
Would doggie daycare be an option?  Do you have a friend you could drop him/it off with during the day?  Do you ever travel?  Is it possible at all to come home at lunch?  Can you take him with you to work?  Is this a job you will have forever? 

Just trying to come up with some options.  No, I don't think getting another would upset your other dog (I can't remember her name...sorry)  However, I don't know any dog that will bond well being alone that amount of time...even little dogs.  And contrary to popular opinion, neither do cats.  Canaries might...and finches...but they don't have the same appeal.

My heart breaks for you...It really does.  I wish I could give you some answers...

Offline NoDogNow

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2005, 09:50:40 pm »
You really can't. 

Neither can I. 

I'm looking right now for a place in my price range where I can have a dog.  It's not easy, especially in Southern California.  If I can afford it, the neighborhood is just too sketchy.  If the neighborhood is right, I can't afford it or they won't allow animals.  It's not easy. 

That's why I decided to join here.  While I'm hunting around, I can love everyone's dog here long distance, while I learn all about the big paw babies that I want.  (I am DETERMINED I'm not having a yappy mojo.  I want a dog with a respectable bark!)

Love on some virtual doggies with me, and we'll be dogless together for now...

Sheryl, Dogless and sad

Offline newflvr

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2005, 12:06:34 am »
I'm in South. Cal, and if you need some hands on, let me know!  I have some big guys that need hands on anytime hands need loving!  Let me know!!

Offline Leah-n-boy-os

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2005, 01:12:57 am »
You really can't. 

Neither can I. 

I'm looking right now for a place in my price range where I can have a dog.  It's not easy, especially in Southern California.  If I can afford it, the neighborhood is just too sketchy.  If the neighborhood is right, I can't afford it or they won't allow animals.  It's not easy. 

That's why I decided to join here.  While I'm hunting around, I can love everyone's dog here long distance, while I learn all about the big paw babies that I want.  (I am DETERMINED I'm not having a yappy mojo.  I want a dog with a respectable bark!)

Love on some virtual doggies with me, and we'll be dogless together for now...



I share well with others,   :D ;D :D so you are certainly welcome to love up on the crew until you are in the perfect situation. I'm certain that goes for us all around here. Kudos to you for taking a clear look at your life before making such a commitment.

Sending plenty of hugs, fur, gobbers, and zoomies your way...
Leah and the Boy-os
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Zeus (Heinz 57)
Onyx (Newfoundland)
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Being owned by Big Paws just indicates how big your heart is.

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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2005, 01:20:38 am »
yeah, i am in so cal too... which so cal area are you in?

Offline mastiffmommy

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2005, 02:14:50 am »
First I want to say what they have all, already said, GOOD FOR YOU TO THINK ABOUT ALL THE ISSUES BEFORE GETTING ANOTHER DOG  :D

And NOOOO you are NOT a bad mommy for thinking about getting another dog while you still own your old one, a lot of people choose to get a puppy or younger dog when the first one is getting older. Mind you I think the one you have now, regarding age and health and all seems to be very well off living with your dad, and would probably have a hard time adjusting to a life in an apartment on second floor.

Having worked in rescue for many years, I would say that sometimes rescue groups tend to hmmm how to put it, overlook the big picture and get stuck on some little issue so a dog or cat is either not rescued or in foster care for much longer than needed with the result that another animal in a "kill shelter" might not have room in foster.

But there are also the problem that even if there are dogs that can make it for many hours while you are at work, a rescue might not be the very best dog for that, they have already come from a trying environment and are in general more demanding and need more attention. If you could have a dog walker that came once a day and took it for a walk, or maybe doggy daycare, but I am sure that can be rather expensive.

Someone suggested a cat, that sounds like a wonderful idea especially the Maine Coons mentioned, a cat dont come much bigger lol. And most rescue groups for cats, request that the cat is a strict indoor cat, which would work great for you.

I hope you figure out what to do, but please do not feel bad for thinking about another dog, we all know that no dog can be replaced, that doesnt mean we cant enjoy loving more than one though  :)

Marit
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Offline ZooCrew

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2005, 03:12:20 am »
Okay, I'm a little off topic here, but oh well.

If you would consider a cat, and want a big one, look into the Pixie Bob.  They are huge!  Also in addition to Maine Coons, two other cats very similar are the Norweigan Forest cat and the Siberian.

Just a thought.   :)

Offline mastiffmommy

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Re: Ethical Question - please help
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2005, 03:17:27 am »
zoo, I know this is not the place, but ohhhh......... .. I love the pimp and the hmmm well you know, they are adorable and Galahad thought it was bad with an orange wig, haaaaa

Marit
what the lion is to a cat, the mastiff is to a dog