Norlene's husband left her with a five-year-old miniature Schnauzer named Bailey. This was very much her husband's dog, his baby, and his companion. Norlene had little to do with her, although the dog did sleep in bed with them each night. Bailey has no leash manners or training, and is stout enough that Norlene can't comfortably or safely walk her. Bailey barks a lot when people come over, which is happening a lot since her husband passed away. Norlene has a friend who comes over and walks Bailey outside three times a day.
Norlene's trying to decide whether to keep Bailey or re-home her. She says, "I love Bailey, but...."
The decision is never easy, and there is no right or wrong answer. But what do you think? Some day you or a relative might be in this situation. It's worth thinking about...ahead of time.
POINT: Norlene should re-home BaileyThis poor woman has enough on her plate already. She never personally bonded with the dog the way her husband did. She's not even a "dog person." Caring for Bailey is a physical struggle, since Norlene can't even walk her outside (and doesn't want to). The barking is an agitation that Norlene doesn't need right now, as she's trying to sort out her life. Bottom line: both Bailey and Norlene would be better off if Bailey were re-homed. It should be easy for Norlene to find a really good, loving home for Bailey. There are organizations ready to help screen prospective owners and place her in an appropriate setting. Bailey will live a fuller, richer life elsewhere, getting more exercise and unconditional love. Norlene will be freed to pick up the pieces of her life without being burdened by the dog. There is no reason for Norlene to feel guilt or obligation to keep Bailey, particularly if she can provide her with a better life elsewhere.
COUNTERPOINT: Norlene should keep BaileyIt's been only a week since her husband passed away. Norlene should not make any hasty or radical moves for a couple more weeks, given her fragile and emotionally desperate state. When thing settle down, she should choose to keep Bailey, and she'll probably develop a true love for her. Bailey is the one heartbeat that still ties her to her departed husband. Without Bailey, she would be totally alone. Chances are, she and Bailey will finally bond more closely than ever. She can get in-home training for her and Bailey, and help mold her into the dog that she can live with and enjoy. The dog will also give her reason to get up in the morning and reason to start walking outside. This will be physically and emotionally good for Norlene, and Bailey will live a good life in her original home environment. Bailey sleeps in bed with Norlene now. To be without her at this time could be really awful, making the impact of Norlene's loss even worse. Bailey will be a true comfort and blessing to Norlene as time passes.
Worth considering: "Re-homing Bailey" was my first suggestion to Norlene. It is the less emotional, more hard-nosed and streamlined approach, which I often tend to take. On the other hand, "Norlene should keep Bailey" is the idealistic approach, but I know it's totally possible and potentially life-enriching for Norlene, if things go the right way.
What do you think? By the way, Norlene is my sister-in-law.
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