My mental issues and our poor puppy

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by PlainJane, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. PlainJane

    PlainJane Every dog has his day....

    Back story: growing up my mother (undiagnosed mentally ill) hoarder animals. As a young child, I liked that we had cages and cages full of rats, mice, guinea pigs, gerbils, fish, hermit crabs, a dog and a cat (only 1 dog/1 cat because dad was still there to keep to keep it "contained") But there was one summer my dad left us because of my mom's animal hoarding (the smell was gross, she never cleaned the cages) the dog was never house broken, pooped/ peed on the floor and it was a medium sized dog). But we (me and my brother stayed with her.) remember mom let the mice (like 50) go in a nearby field so dad would come home, but the next day, she and I went back to the field and she had me help her find as many mice as we could.

    When mom and dad finally divorced, mom's animal hoarding got worse. We had I don't know how many cats, but she kept them in one room. And never cleaned the litter you know how dirty a litter box has to get before a cat starts going on the floor? the fleas were so back she shoved a towel under the door to keep the number in the main house down. But still we were covered in fleas. GOd only knows how DYFS wasn't called on us.

    As I got older mom hoarded dogs too. And they were never house broken. We walked among poop and pee. A few of them were males and lifted their legs on everything. Cats multiplied too. FLeas, filth, smell, embarassing to have friends over. Mom always put her animals before all people including her kids...

    So now I'm 32, and I no longer talk to mom, 5 years no talking. She was also very abusive but has maintained she did nothing wrong. My life is better without her.

    Last week husband and I decided to get a puppy. We have 2 kids. We are NOTHING like mom. I am INSAINLY CLEAN. I have been to people's homes that have dogs and are not dirty. It is more than possible to have a pet and keep a clean home. So I wasn't worried. Within hours of getting the puppy home I started having very bad anxiety, but I thought it was just feeling over whelmed with the responsibility. I really wanted a family dog. I don't hate animals because of my mother. But within a day, I started crying most of the day, having almost debilitating anxiety, lashing out, nausea and depression. Its like a fell apart.

    And I don't want to go near the dog. I don't hate her. I've been apologizing to her because I just don't want her in the house. I take her for walks and play outside, and I'm fine, but once she comes in I wipe her down with baby wipes, I brush her with a fine tooth doggie comb looking for bugs. This is everytime we come in. I have her gated in the kitchen (tile) and will not let her anywher else in the house. I am terrified she will mess on the carpet, to the point that I am having panic attacks about it. I keep her outside alot, too much in my opinion. And days that is rains if I'm not stairing at her in the kitchen, she's crated. Today she pooped in the kitchen and I was sick with panic and dread. I took her out side, let her finish, then crated her, and I've just been taking her out for walks all day, but I'm afraid to let her out of the crate in the house.

    I know I have to rehome her. I am so angery at myself. At first I didn't realize what was going on. I thought I was being stupid and I didn't know why. I was the one that wanted her. And as long as we are outside of my home, all the aniexty is gone, then when its time to go back in, I'm a mess. It wasn't until today, I was talkin to her while we were out (yup talking to the puppy) and I told her I don't want my kids to grow up in the filth I did, and that I spent the better part of my childhood in filth and had no control over it, and I swore I live in a clean home the rest of my life. I told her that with her I can't keep the house clean. I told her its wasn't her fault, but I guess I will never get to have a normal pet owning experience. :(

    Even as I'm typing this, I'm crying and yet I can't stop thinking about how good it will feel to detail, scrub on my hands and knees every inch on the kitchen floor, clean off all the animal hair, hand wash the kitchen floor and enterance way where she sits to go out...I really wanted to have and love a dog, but my concern for keeping the house free from all animal filth is stronger...

    I'm sorry to type this here. I needed to tell someone. I feel so bad. I dont understand why I cant just get over my issues. This puppy is so wonderful, really a darling little girl. I don't want to let her go, but I cant even let her on our floor without breaking down...I feel so bad.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    You're having a reasonable reaction to your childhood.

    Before rehoming the puppy, whom you obviously really do care for, why not contact a therapist and see if working with them on the PTSD (yes, believe it or not that is what it is) caused by your mom might help you overcome most of your issues. No, it won't happen overnight. But it can happen successfully.

    You're not your mom hon. You keep a clean home. Your children do not live in filth. You know that other people can live with pets and keep clean homes. You can do it too. It's just making you confront the feelings you have left over from childhood. That can be a no fun process, but it can also be the best thing that ever happened to you.

    Worth a shot. If it doesn't work you can always rehome the pup. In the meantime you could work on ways to keep the anxiety out of panic mode at least while pup is inside.

  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I have no experience with the anxiety you are experiencing. I may, in fact, be entirely wrong in my advice. on the other hand your son is five years old and your husband is a "good egg". in my humble opinion you need to find a good home for the puppy, make sure that your husband understands your reaction and supports you and then tell your son that a wonderful family has asked to have your family dog because he is so wonderful etc. etc. AND that "Dad and I are sorry to let him go but our household just doesn't seem to be the right home for XX".

    Your son is too young to understand or to share your childhood trauma. on the other hand I think it's best to end the experiment before there are attachments that result in problems. You have every right to avoid trauma and frankly there are many people in our Family who have not been able to blend difficult child's and pets into a happy family. Don't feel guilty. Hugs DDD
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with finding a good home for your puppy. He will be fine if you rehome him this early and find true animals lovers. You may even contact a rescue.They take great care of animals and screen their applicants. Don't use places like Craig's List and please don't take him to the pound.

    Good luck. I understand your anxiety. Sounds a bit like PTSD. A therapist maybe? (((Hugs)))
  5. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I'm sorry that you had to grow up in such an environment. You were abused, do not doubt it! My mother was a hoarder of objects. They were more important than her family. We couldn't go visit her with the children because there wasn't a chair, sofa or table that wasn't covered in other people's garbage. Boxes of "stuff" loomed high up to the ceiling. I was so ashamed.

    I'm glad you were able to put your anxiety into words. I am in no way a good housewife but sometimes I can't breath when I see the clutter and go through frenzies of sporadic disposal of "stuff".
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I'm just so sorry this didn't work out for you. I have a new older puppy who came house broken but have an older dog who has to use a pee pad often (thank heaven he does well with that ) but he is a poodle and no shedding. I walk them lots and having to get used to the shedding and im NOT a ultra clean freak. Just normal clean, smile. It is stressful. I get worried about bugs too but for sure not at the level of anxiety and flash back feelings you experience. Using a good repellent /monthly use flea and tic medication as well as monthly heartworm and wormer medication relieves my stress. Sounds like for you it isn't that simple.

    As others have suggested, maybe this is not the right time for the addition but a good time to work through the underlying issues. You may still have the normal dream of dog ( or bunny or??) ownership, just maybe not yet. It will be easy to rehome a puppy responsibly. In our humane shelters right now, puppies go in a day or two. They all get fixed and shots etc. Some places are not like that but I'm sure you can find a rescue that is good. Take care of the little girl in you who was hurt. Say to yourself what you'd say to any child who lived through that. Be gentle to yourself as a start, okay?
  7. PlainJane

    PlainJane Every dog has his day....

    Thank you all so much. THis has been such a difficult night because of this realization coming to a head. I do have what's best for her at heart. Because honestly, we could technically "keep" her, but I can't allow her to spend all her time either outside alone or in a crate. Its cruel and I want her in a home with someone that will let her roam freely in their house, cuddle with her without fearing catching fleas (that she doesn't even have) and maybe even let her sleep in their bed. :) I won't bring her to the pound, and I'm very concerned and on watch for people that are from labs or for dogs fights, or people getting a puppy on a whim or in a unstable living environment. I don't know if I have the right to be so picky, but I don't want her to go to a home that they work all day if she is going to be alone or crated all day. The reason we are rehoming her is to give her a home with more affection and attention for her. I will let everyone know what happens..
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with the others, it may be a good idea to rehome her now. It's so clear how much you care for the puppy and how much you want a good home for her. That was one huge realization the puppy helped you to get to, geez, now if you want, you can investigate all those feelings, or not.........growing up like that must have been so difficult for you, I'm sorry you had to experience that. My difficult child has hoarded cats and lived in an environment not quite as severe as you describe about your mothers home, however, not healthy either. My granddaughter might have grown up like you if she had stayed with her Mom. And, my parents were mentally unstable so there are many parts of your story I can really relate to. Good for you for being able to not only see it clearly but have all the feelings too, I know how hard it can be. So, you're the 'in between person' for the puppy, you get to find her the perfect home and you got to acknowledge and express a lot of feelings from the past which can only serve to offer a healthier you. Looks like a win/win to me............(((HUGS)))))...........
  9. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Just sending hugs. I am sorry this has been so hard on you. It would be a very good idea to try to work with a therapist on this. I am sorry things were so bad when you were a kid, and I am glad you are able to create a loving, safe, clean home for your kids. MANY people raised in the environment you were end up creating that environment for their own children. If this is something you want to learn to cope with, a therapist is a great way to do that. As to rehoming the puppy, that is your choice and you have the RIGHT to be as picky as you want to be.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'm going to agree about "timing"... but for the sake of your kids, I believe you need to work through this. This may not be the right time to bring a puppy into your home... (we waited until our youngest was school-aged)... but given that you have kids with challenges? In the long run, they may well NEED a dog - not that they are at that point now, but it may come to it. in my opinion... perhaps good to re-home "this" puppy, but also to find a therapist and work through your feelings, so that if someday a dog is needed to help your kids, you will be in shape to handle it.

    For the record... a dog does NOT need the run of the entire house. We had a dog that we trained to "stay on the lino" - never, ever, went on carpet. Never went into bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. and minimal time in the kitchen (just to eat/drink). He had several really nice dog-baskets, set in strategic locations, and he LOVED to hang out in them near to wherever we were at the time ... the favorite one was actually ON the carpet beside husband's chair in the LR, but the dog stepped in from the lino, not the carpet... We minimized the impact of the dog on the house. And no, doggie wasn't crated for long periods of time - except, that was doggie's bedroom, and he slept with the door shut. But for where you are coming from? You're not ready to tackle this yet.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member have EVERY right to be as picky about her new owners as you want. You even have the right to check their vet records on other pets or to see their home. Some people take dogs on a whim. Some are dedicated animal lovers who consider their pets part of the family (like we do in our house!). Make sure you tell them that if it doesn't work out they can bring the dog back to you so that the dog doesn't end up in the pound. I volunteered in a never know what goes on in that pound until you work there so you have no way of knowing how fast they euthanize animals or how carefully they screen adopters. It was a real shock to me...I was in tears every day and finally had to quit and decided I would only volunteer at no-kill rescues.

    Never give a dog away for free. Even Craig's list says that's a bad idea. People who can't or won't pay perhaps won't take the dog to the vet for all it's shots either...or may just consider it a current amusement. I had to rehome a chihuahua once and it was one of my hardest decisions ever, but I had an older dog who was trying to kill him. We researched rescues, then paid $150 to a no-kill rescue with a good rep to take her. Often there is a surrender fee because good rescues will vet their dogs and the surrender fee is only a tiny bit of their costs.

    Good luck and don't feel guilty at all. This isn't the right time for you to have a dog. Just make sure that you get that therapy. Obviously, the dog triggered bad memories of your childhood...but I believe, as a fellow anxiety sufferer, that you can work it out and get over it.

    Let us know what happens. Big hugs :)
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I hope that my previous post didn't make you feel bad or like I was taking your anxiety lightly, because that wasn't my intention.

    I have PSTD and trust me, I take anxiety very seriously.

    By all means, if you feel the anxiety having the puppy is causing is overwhelming you and you feel he is suffering due to it, then rehome him in a nice home where he can get the love, affection, and care he deserves. It shows how much you care for him that you're willing to do that for him, to make sure they're good people and will treat him as you'd like to treat him.

    I wrote what I did in my original post because it's also obvious you wanted this very much, you just didn't expect to have this enormous reaction to him, it sort of whipped your legs out from under you. I was just trying to let you know there was another option to rehoming him. IF you felt you were ready to give it a shot. If you're not, then of course it's best to rehome him as it won't work out......and it is easier to rehome a young pup than an adult dog.

    You should not feel guilty. You have no reason to feel guilty. Had you known you'd react this way, you'd not have adopted him in the first place.

    However, I was just thinking that instead of viewing this as a failure you could turn it into an opportunity to heal. Pup doesn't have to stay in the home for you to do that. But even if you find him a wonderful loving new family, you can still use the experience as a chance to help you heal from your past. Then perhaps one day in the future you'll feel more confident and comfortable having a dog in your home.

  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ohh, PlanJane, that is so sad! And perfectly understandable. I agree with-others, that therapy is the way to go. However, your chances of "overcoming" this anxiety immediately are pretty slim; it's an ongoing process, and I think rehoming the puppy into a loving home is a good idea. There will be other puppies, if you are so inclined, and you can deal with-that another time.
    It's great that you recognized the anxiety and/or PTSD, and how your past has played into this and that is huge.
    Even while you mourn the loss of the "perfect" family with two perfect kids, two cars, and a white picket fence, you are light years ahead of many people, especially those who have gone through what you have.
    Gentle hugs.