in-laws (v. 3.0-3.9)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

If you missed the first two installments, you can find them here and here.

Here is the latest scoop/complaint/issue. (Two things, actually.)

Number One: They got a puppy

Now, objectively we have no problem with this. We love dogs, and our two pups are very precious to us, and I think it is great when people get dogs. Here are our specific problems with their decision:

#1: They bought this puppy online from a breeder in Idaho at 2 months old. The puppy had to be SHIPPED to them on the East Coast.
#2: It is a border collie.

Number one, both our dogs are rescue/SPCA dogs. We got the privilege of bringing them home because someone else didn't want them. They were both house trained, and you can just tell that they are so grateful to have a warm home and a loving family to be a part of. Nothing against people who still buy their dogs, but I think before you buy a dog from a breeder, you should check out your SPCA/shelter to see who is there longing to be a part of your family. In-laws did not do this. Instead they bought a puppy over the internet and had him shipped. It just makes our stomach turn.

Number two, you should read wik.ipedia's entry on border collies before you read the rest of my rant. Did you catch this part:

One of the prime reasons for getting rid of a border collie is their unsuitability for families with small children, cats, and other dogs, due to their intense desire to herd, bred into them for hundreds of years and still one of their chief uses outside the household.

Okay. Now, they do not have small children or other dogs. But guess who does? WE DO (or will, anyway). They have just willingly purchased a dog who is widely known to NOT be good with children and other dogs. We are beside ourselves with disappointment. How will we ever relax during a visit with them again? Their previous (mean, unexercised, unsocialized) dog bit Banana on our first visit that we had her, and things were never the same. Now that dog has passed away (due to complications of arthritis thanks to no exercise and overfeeding), and they have just bought a dog who is known to be destructive and aggressive if its extreme herding/mental and physical exercise needs are not met. Dare I mention they live in a metropolitan area with a 0.3 acre chain link fenced yard? AND that they both work 11 hours a day? AND that the reason that MIL supposedly wasn't responding excitedly to baby emails is that she is too tired from working during the day?!?! How on earth does she think she will have enough energy to raise a puppy when she can't even muster a 45 second email to us? This dog is not going to be outside being worked or herding for hours a day like they are BRED to do. It is going to be sitting in a crate all day going crazy, getting ready to go beserk on our baby or our dogs because it has too much pent-up energy.

Luckily, Mr. A is just as upset as I am, so that makes me feel a little "better", in that he doesn't think I'm overreacting this time.


(I should also note that I know they are very smart dogs, and a friend's mom has raised them for years very successfully. But she is a stay at home wife, and she works them 3 hours a day outside on chores (on their 15 acre property with its 2 acre pond), and 1 hour a day inside on obedience. She also competes with them in agility contests. There is just no way that my inlaws are going to be able to offer this much time/training to their dog.)

Number Two: They want us to come visit this weekend, i.e. Mother's Day

Now on any other weekend, I would have no problem with visiting them, especially because we want to socialize their puppy with our dogs as soon as possible. But here is the thing:

It's Mother's Day on Sunday. For the last 3 years, I have sat in church and cried when they ask the moms to stand and go on and on about what an honor and gift it is to be a mom (it is), and how worthy a vocation (it is), and what more could a woman ever aspire to be (many things, especially if you don't have a choice)? This year, while our child is not on the outside, I am a mom. I don't have to cry anymore or feel like I am worth less than the women who stand, surrounded by their children.

But they don't go to church. Ever since we have started trying to conceive, I have dreamed of the day Mother's Day Sunday when I wouldn't have a heavy heart. And if we visit them for the weekend, we will not make it to church.

I really hesitate to make a big issue about it, lest I/we seem like a prude or a "holier-than-thou" person. I really do not look down on people who don't go to church regularly- confession, I was there at one point, too. It is not that I think I'm better than anyone- it has just become part of my week that I really cherish. And especially this Sunday, it is what I have been dreaming about for years.

Our options seem to be-
*Drive up to and back from their house in one day (Saturday). This would leave us probably 4 hours of time hanging out with them and my two BIL's. We would also miss the "Mother's Day Brunch" they suggested we make at their house on Sunday morning. The "con" is that it is a long day to drive up an back the same day, but the "pro" is that if the dogs don't get along, we don't have to endure any more time of it, and that we'd be able to go to our home church on Sunday.

*Stay overnight and find a church with a very early service and go before brunch. The "con" of this option would be that we'd have to leave our dogs in the small bedroom where we stay, and I'm not sure they would appreciate that. (Because of the new puppy, we just don't trust them to be roaming on their own in the rest of their house without us there. Not that we don't trust our dogs per se, we don't really trust his parents' to keep an eye on how the three dogs are interacting.) The other "con" is that they would probably crack some jokes about our going to church (don't really appreciate them looking at this habit condescendingly).

*Stay overnight and skip church. Of course the "con" is that it would be contrary to my dream come true to go to church as a mom on Mother's Day, but the "pro" is some brownie points in family politics, and of course I think it is inherently nice that we'd be with his mom and the rest of their family on Mother's Day.

I really don't want to make an issue out of it with them, and so this morning when I woke up, I thought maybe we should just go with option #3. But......

I wonder how many versions of these in-law posts there will be!!!


Praying for Hope said...

ILs: can't live with them, can'tlive without them (although trying to might be nice). I apologize, I'm not much help. My MIL is currently staying with us (post-surgery) with her dog who is a needy, domineering, unhousebroken toy poodle of 13 years. Her presence in the house always puts a damper on us and on our cat and dog. She tends to chase them when they try to play so they don't play while she's around.

As for how to approach having a child around the dog, I'd always keep space between them until the child is old and big enough that the dog understands that he/she is part of the Alpha pack and cannot be herded. It's a situation we're going through now with my brother's German Shorthaired Pointer. He's a good boy, but he's not used to children and snaps at them when he wants his personal space. He doesn't do it with adults. Kids must appear to be lower on the pecking order due to their size. We'll need to keep Kate out of his way until he understands she's above him, not the other way around.

nurslouisa said...

Ugh..... I hate it when people buy animals that they don't have time for, so unfair to that poor puppy. As for the church thing, I guess if it were me and I really wanted to go to church I'd do the drive up and back on Saturday. But it sounds like a crapy situation either way.

TeeJay said...

Man, that's tough. I'd be worried about my dogs and child too around that breed after reading how they could become aggressive. Not sure what to do on that front. If it were me, and this is only my opinion, I'd go to their house and do the brunch. You will still be celebrated as a Mom and you will be around family. I understand how you feel about finally feeling good about Mother's day, but those feelings will be with you no matter where you celebrate. Just my thoughts.

ruth said...

congrats on being blessed with such a HUGE MIRACLE along the way. I've followed your blog for a while and have to say your story is such a testimony and an encouragement to many of us to hang in there and wait on the LORD. Iam encouraging you to celebrate and enjoy this time, and bask in the LORD's goodness. Don't get side tracked into complaining and bitterness.

AL said...

A border collie? I'm with you that they really should have researched the breed a LOT more before purchasing....this is a dog that needs a lot of exercise and attention. It just doesn't sound like a good fit for their lifestyle. maybe you could talk them into taking the dog to doggie day care a few times a week or something like that so the dog gets adequate exercise and stimulation?

As for mother's day weekend, I would go with option B to try to please all parties and still do what you want to do.

Mommy-In-Waiting said...

I think you need to do what feels and works best for you and your husband. This is your first mother's day, celebrate it how you want and if they want to join you-great. If not, their loss. There will always be time to bond the dogs later, what you are going through is much more important and they need to respect that in my opinion.

Having said that, I'm sorry they did not realize how foolish it was for them to just purchase a puppy rather than rescue one. All four of our pets are rescues. Our chows were bought from breeders by the previous owners, but were unable to keep them during their divorce and were going to take them to the shelter. So we stepped in, just like we did when we adopted two cats near death. Best decision ever made! I hope it all works out, but I fear that with her not taking the time to properly train that dog that it may not. At least you are aware of the risks going in, so you can be better prepared. I wish you all the best!

Josey said...

Not sure if this helps, but we have a border collie rescue dog. He doesnt get near the exercise he should, but he is VERY good with kids. Hopefully your parent's dog will be the same. It's definitely too bad they got a high energy dog that they don't seem to have time for tho. :(

the misfit said...

For me, going to Mass on Sunday - every Sunday - is a non-negotiable matter, as it's one of the laws of the Church (attend every Sunday). Even in Protestant denominations, which (AFAIK) don't have the same exact rule, people who are serious about their faith go every Sunday, and I would think their friends and family would expect them to miss plans on Sunday morning. So I'm surprised they didn't automatically work around this. If it were me, I would either (a) go to vigil Mass the night before, (b) suggest that they move the brunch hour back (we usually do Sunday brunch around 1-2pm ourselves), or (c) tell them you will be at Mass but will join them as soon as it is over. Personally, I wouldn't worry if they made fun of you for going to church - that's their problem, not yours, right? You could share what you've said here - it's a precious part of your week (and you're looking forward to raising your child in the faith!).

Coco said...

Oye. First of all, a border collie? Bad idea. Super bad idea. I have been around the breed A LOT, and they are superb working dogs... but really not so good in a domestic setting unless you REALLY work at it. My advice, for what it's worth.... I have a sister with a border collie who regularly snaps and bites her children. She has "trained" her children to stay away from the dog. Freaking pisses me off. My other sister has lhasa apsos (sp) that are super nippy and pissy with kids. I love both of my sisters very much BUT I refuse to allow my child within 10 miles of their dogs. We meet at parks, or they can come to my house. Period. It is simply unacceptable to have a dog nipping or biting my child. It happened only once at my sister's house, and we have never gone back with our child.... in almost 4 years. Sucks, but if they want to see their grandchild... then they can come and visit you... IF they leave their dog at home.

As for this weekend, I think you should stay home and HONOR YOURSELF! This is a weekend you have dreamed about and worked for and cried about FOR YEARS!!! You deserve this weekend. They should understand. And if they don't, it doesn't sound like they understand much anyway so they'll get over it. Don't take one for the team. This is YOUR weekend!!! Bow out gracefully and reschedule. *hugs* I hope this weekend is all you ever dreamed it would be! :)

Lady Grey said...

Oh wow, it's such a big deal Mothers day isn't it at church! I really feel it because it's usually me who ends up with the job of getting up and saying thank you to all the mothers and talking about what an important job they do (though I would never say it's the only important thing!). I'm so very, very sad that this Mother's day is once again a sad one.
But I am so very, very thankful that this year you have your baby. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MRS A! We are all so thrilled and happy and excited for you. And no matter what you decide about the in-laws, I will be sitting in church on Sunday saying thanks to God for your little one and that you are a mother at last.
It's so hard to know what do to. Whatever you do, I hope it is a special day and that the border collie turns out to be extra gentle and lazy! xoxo

M said...

Wow. Any breed of dog can be great or harmful around children. It depends on the temperament and training of the dog. It is unfair to make generalizations of any breed. Reading something on Wiki doesn't make it so.

Honestly, it is not your business what breed of dog they get or how they get it. Have you ever thought they may have bought from a breeder in order to ensure they were getting a puppy from a line less apt to those so-called horrible traits? Shelter animals are wonderful; I have some. But if you want more information on what the parents were like and a chance to train the dog from the beginning, a breeder is often a better choice. So, unless you bought the dog or your in-laws lived with you, not your call.

Melissa said...

I understand where you're coming from. My ILs have a yellow Lab (that they also paid $400 for) & although he's supposed to be good with kiddos, he gets jealous of our baby. I mean, he used to be treated as their baby but now that they have a grandchild, not so much. It worries me too since they take care of Vivian.

Hopefully you guys can come to an agreement for Mother's Day.

Last year I was pregnant on Mother's Day & while I knew I was a Mom, I did take a back seat to my MIL, Mom & sister who are already Mom's with their born/already there children. So, it's hard...I know & a day that you're so badly want to celebrate after dealing with IF...but sometimes, I can tell you this year, Mother's Day means a whole lot more to me now that she's actually here.

good luck.

babytears said...

Definitely understand your worries but the good news is that we have a border collie and she's a total sweetie with babies and kids. If anything she's more scared of them and avoids them. Never seen her attempt to herd them or be aggressive. We do exercise her heavily and make sure she doesn't get overly bored. My husband rides on his bike and has her pull him to the park and then play fetch and then ride back every day so I think we keep her pretty tired and happy! My mom has a westie who doesn't have a 'bad reputation' but she's way snippier and grumpy with kids than our border collie so you never know! Of course we bought our puppy pre-baby and wanting an active dog at the time so we're making the most of it... I think I'd be pretty frustrated in your situation. My parents built a house with little regard for being baby safety and it constantly annoyed me so I totally understand!

Jennifer said...

Oh A! I so get the whole crying every year in church on Mother's Day. Last year I almost had to walk out. Our church also makes a big deal out of it. This year I told Barry as soon as we brought Ellie home that there was NO WAY I was going to miss going to our church this year. His parents live a couple hours away and we usually do something with them. Not this year! So I totally understand you wanting to be there.
Do what you want to do!
As for the dog issue. I can't even begin to understand this. Crazy if you ask me!