My foster daughter is driving me bonkers
I have a 17 soon to be 18 year old foster daughter. She is emancipation out of care in December and going off to college. She is afraid. Stupid me came up with the idea of a service dog for her numerous mental illnesses. What a mistake this has been from the beginning. We have been searching for the right dog. She of course wants everyone we see and falls madly in love and is devastated when we have to turn the dog down. This past weekend we interviewed a husky that our trainer recommended. The dog was perfect but just as we were about to sign the adoption papers, the trainer suggested he introduce him to his Rottweiler to see how the dog did with other dogs. The dog went crazy, very ferocious. So I said no. She tantrumed all the way home. Finally I could not stand it anymore and let her pick out this dog from the humane society. It could not have been a more inappropriate dog. Darn thing is so hyper. It is peeing everywhere and humping everyone. The dog is yippy and wakes the baby. But the dog is not the problem. She is. She is rude and disrespectful to everyone since bringing the dog home. Did not go to college the first day because her allergies were bothering her, and because she did not get any sleep because of this neurotic dog. Gets all bent out of shape if anyone touches her dog. We fight constantly about her taking him for walks. I have warned her repeatedly to stop yelling at me. She is six foot tall and three hundred pounds and uses her size to try and intimidate people. She is a second away from me disrupting her over a stupid dog. It is so ridiculous. All of our expectations regarding the dog were discussed prior to this but I should have known I was being suckered. I am furious with myself for allowing this to happen. I had worked so hard to get her to this point in her life, battling social workers that wanted to just institutionalize her. All summer I fought with her to get her GED , forced her to complete barista training and now have her in a good place for her future, only to be foiled by an adorable little dog that in no way will ever qualify as a service dog. I am just so frustrated. If we return this dog, she will fall apart and resort to violence. If she does not get her act together and keep up her school work, etv will take back her money and she won't have money for an apartment in December when she transfers colleges. Just really ticked at myself.
Can you get the dog fixed? That might help big time with the hyper and the humping..........sorry you are having a hard time. I don't think you were stupid at all, animals can be very very healing for people.
Take the dog back! It won't qualify for a service dog, it's your home and if she is in the frame of mind you say already then it's not a good thing.
Call law enforcement to stand by when she finds out. Find someone to house the dog for a bit (if you want to avoid the drama a little) and say dog ran off while you were gone. She can't find dog at pound cuz its not there.
I don't like the dishonest thing but it's that or straight up tell her the dog goes and call for back up.
You beat yourself up enough already, remember and move forward, your heart was in the right place in this.
This might be traumatic for the poor girl Unhappy I would think carefully about this...
I think dig gave good advice. If it'll soften the blow, I don't mind the lying/dishonest approach. You need to do what's in her best interests, and yours. If a white lie will keep you safe and her frame of mind a bit less unstable, go for it.
First off, you are speaking of a service dog like you can just pick one up. I think you mean "companion animal" which would be able to accompany her to some places but not all. A service dog is usually trained by a non-profit. I raised seeing eye dogs for a national seeing eye dog foundation.

This dog needs to be taken back. To even start training a companion animals you need a calm natured, intelligent and willing breed. Think lab, golden or german shepherd, australian shepherd, etc. This is not the dog for you.
A foster child might have some serious issues with rejecting or abandoning a dog like that.

You could get a dog trainer to help you and your FD with the dog. Or find a training class your FD could enroll in and take responsibility for training the dog herself.

There are a lot of different breeds that are being used as mental health assistance dogs but many people just get their pets trained so they can take them with them everywhere they go.
I would find the service dog your FD needs, then trade it out for this yippee one. Sounds like she will attach to a new one just as well.

It is too weird that the one that you found suddenly needed to be introduced to another dog to see how it does...that doesn't even make sense. Dogs are trained for months before being qualified as service or companion dogs. It sounds like the owner didn't want to give the dog up and staged it so that this dog reacted...just saying. I've known a lot of people who have trained service dogs and they take them from a pup and raise them around other dogs, children, noise, everything that they will need to protect, lead, guide their forever owner.
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I can't see how this girl would live independently with this dog in the picture. Roommates would throw her out and landlords wouldn't take kindly to a dog that pees on and humps everything. This dog either needs to go to an intense training place to fix these behaviors (doggy boot camp, they exist but are pricey!) or should "run away" while your daughter is at school. A real service dog or certified companion animal just can't have this temperament. Try googling for service animals for the mentally ill. I'm looking into 4pawsforability.org for my son's autism and epilepsy as well as his anxiety. They don't charge as much as some and have a good reputation. Your daughter may be too old for their services but I'm sure if you contact them they'd have ideas of agencies who could help her with a service animal. Getting a real service dog is a long process and your daughter will need to participate in some pretty intense training to become a certified handler, and in most cases you'll need to be there with her at the training site. It's worth it though! I realize losing this dog could create havoc for her emotionally and possibly result in violence and escalating chaos but it really doesn't sound like keeping it is a long-term option.
MountainMommy said...
First off, you are speaking of a service dog like you can just pick one up. I think you mean "companion animal" which would be able to accompany her to some places but not all. A service dog is usually trained by a non-profit. I raised seeing eye dogs for a national seeing eye dog foundation.

This dog needs to be taken back. To even start training a companion animals you need a calm natured, intelligent and willing breed. Think lab, golden or german shepherd, australian shepherd, etc. This is not the dog for you.


That is amazing that you did that. I was at the movies once and the person in front of me had a golden retriever puppy who was being trained as a service dog. He couldn't have been more than 4 months old. He had a little bandana stating "Service dog in training". My daughter wanted so badly to pet him and play with him but I told her we couldn't interact with him. I was shocked at how well behaved the dog was. He sat down next to the owner. Took a nap for a while. Woke up and looked around. Never got up to walk away, no barking, nothing. So impressive. He'll make a great dog for someone some day.

I agree with other posters that OP's dog must go back. Picking up a dog from the pound is awesome but it has to be a good fit. It has to get along with family members and other pets. And you have to think about what training you are willing to commit to in order to have the dog you want.

If the dog is a good fit (with the exception of his hyper active behavior and fact that he isn't housebroken), you can pay for a trainer. It's expensive but worth it if you want to keep the dog.
Kat-L said...
That is amazing that you did that. I was at the movies once and the person in front of me had a golden retriever puppy who was being trained as a service dog. He couldn't have been more than 4 months old. He had a little bandana stating "Service dog in training". My daughter wanted so badly to pet him and play with him but I told her we couldn't interact with him. I was shocked at how well behaved the dog was. He sat down next to the owner. Took a nap for a while. Woke up and looked around. Never got up to walk away, no barking, nothing. So impressive. He'll make a great dog for someone some day.

I agree with other posters that OP's dog must go back. Picking up a dog from the pound is awesome but it has to be a good fit. It has to get along with family members and other pets. And you have to think about what training you are willing to commit to in order to have the dog you want.

If the dog is a good fit (with the exception of his hyper active behavior and fact that he isn't housebroken), you can pay for a trainer. It's expensive but worth it if you want to keep the dog.



Yep, we start at 7 weeks (and even before that they have tests) and work them on socialization, noises, etc. from day one. From 7 weeks to 18 months they are out shadows and once we turn them in they are ready to have their final training and go on to guide people. It's an amazing program and we were proud to raise three dogs (two passed) before becoming foster parents. One day we'll raise again. It's a lot of work!
It doesn't sound like you were looking for a real service dog but an emotional companion dog and those don't need to have any specific training. They could even by hyper and wild. They do, however, have to be a good match with the owner.

It sounds like getting this dog wasn't the best idea at this time, especially if this girl is about to go away to college on her own. Can she even care for a dog herself? Will she be able to find an apartment where she can take the dog? Can she make the long term commitment that is needed to keep a dog? The dog will be 100% dependent on this girl for many years to come. If the dog is young it could live for another 10-15 years. Will she even have the funds for vet care if the dog gets sick? Since the girl has mental illness is there a risk of future hospitalizations? If so, where would the dog go when she's away? Imo you have to think of the dog's best interest too and I could see this not ending well for the poor pooch.
Even if you were to keep the dog now do you foresee this being a long time thing or something that will fall apart sooner or later anyway?

There are other options to taking the dog back to the shelter and maybe even something that the girl can accept. How about trying to find the dog a new home or a foster home until a home could be found? I don't know how this girl functions but if she cares about the dog maybe you could use the approach that the dog would be happier and safer with someone else. Tell her that you think he's unhappy because he has no dog friends so he needs to go to someone with other dogs that could take him to the woods to run every day, etc. Maybe if you could get her to feel that she's helping the dog she would accept letting him go. Maybe you could replace him right away with a more manageable animal like a guinea pig or a cat. Kittens are a lot of fun and often a bit emotionally needy which makes it easy to bond with them. Having a cute little kitten that wants to hang out on her shoulder all the time may be enough to get her to accept the dog leaving for a better place. Of course a cat is also a long term commitment that costs money and requires work. If I were to get a pet for a kid I would first make sure that I could take care of that pet if the kid couldn't or wouldn't take care of it. Cats are much easier, though, and it's much easier to find an apartment with a cat than a dog. Guinea pigs are even easier but maybe not as much fun.

Just curious, what kind of dog is it and what kind of place did you get him from? If he's from an actual pound I hope you don't return him there. It's a hellish place to be and the dogs that aren't adopted in time are put down.
Please do not lie to her about the dog running away- or turn out the dog- or even return it to the pound. If you got it from an animal rescue/no kill foundation that is one thing- if you got it from a kill shelter- well, you are sending it back to its death.

I am a huge animal rights person and I hate it when animals have to be returned, but PP's are right- it has to be the right fit. Any dog can be trained but some take a lot more time and resources to do so. And there is a big difference between a service dog and a companion animal.

Dogs are a LOT of work. I also agree that it does not sound feasible for her to take one away to college. Is she going to live in a dorm? If so, I can't imagine that would be a good life for a dog. If she is in an apartment- a cat would be a much better fit, but again you should be 100% certain she can care for the animal before getting it for her. Animals can be amazing companions but they are usually a 13-15 year commitment AT LEAST and deserve to be in homes where they have the space they need and care they need (just like kids!).

To me, it seems like the best choice would be to re-home the dog with a friend or relative so that she can still visit him when she visits from college.

Will you continue to parent her after she leaves? I can't imagine someone with those issues living on their own at college with no family support. I barely made it without having mental issues! I feel bad for her and I hope that you are able to work this out so no one gets hurt.
Im a huge animal person as well. Not really fair to the dog to give it to an owner who really is not going to be able to take care of it on its own. Plus if you return it to a Humane Society as PP said theyll put it down and deem it unadoptable usually when they get returned. Thats really sad.

I get that animals can be healing...but you wanted a service dog and gave in and got her a dog from the humane society.

This situation honestly baffles me a bit.
This will be a service dog. We received paperwork approving her of a service dog and are working with a trainer of service dogs. The rescue husky was said to be great with other dogs. The dogs foster mom said that it was because he was on a leash that he was attempting to attack the trainer's dog. The dog we bought is sweet and loving but hyper like I have never seen a dog. He was neutered the day we picked him up and was still jumping over baby gates and humping anything that moved. She is doing better with her attitude after I threatened to take her phone away, drop her allowance to what is required only and make her ride the local bus back and forth to her college. Since I could not get through to her why disrespecting the mother of the house was such a bad idea, I decided to show her and she saw the light. She and this dog are already bonded. She is taking him for walks. He has his first lesson on Sunday. It is a year of training. She will come home every weekend from college after she emancipates out and we will continue to pay for the training. The service dog has to be a year old and have at least twelve weeks of training before being allowed to ride public transportation. The trainer requested a bigger dog and this little thing is an America Eskimo. We read up on them and they are supposed to be very trainable. The trainer says he can train any dog. Guess we will find out. I did not take her phone or follow up on the threats as I want her to be treated like an adult but I also expect her to act like one. Hopefully things will work out. To take the dog away would destroy her
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