So this evening my cousin calls me. Here is an open letter to my Dad in response to that call.
(Backstory: my Dad called me on my 40th birthday to tell me he was moving.)
Okay, fine, you're moving across country again (which you said you'd NEVER do). Fine, I can accept that. You got rid of your whole household of stuff by offering it to other people before mentioning it to your kids. Fine, fine. Now, evidently (since I'm hearing this second hand, I can only guess), you feel that your dog is reacting badly to all the disruption and you're worried that he won't do well on the cross-country drive, so rather than act like any normal person and maybe, oh, I don't know, talk to a veterinarian? Get some medication to calm the dog? -- you've decided that you might just have to dump the stupid dog off on Grandma. Not that she's offered to take him. Or anything like that.
Dad, she's 81 years old. She lives in a small trailer and travels a lot in a small motor home, she doesn't have a lot of room. She has a limited income. Are you going to pay for the dog's food and vet bills? I sincerely doubt you've even considered any of that. She already has a well-behaved dog that comes when it's called and doesn't pee on the rug every ten minutes. YOUR dog is obnoxious, poorly-behaved, runs away if it gets off leash, and has peed on my rug every single time it enters my home. It has bitten more than once and barks at everything that moves.
If you need to find it a home, maybe you grow a pair, get off your ass, and find a rescue operation or no-kill shelter that could find it a home? It might involve writing a check, but at least you wouldn't be sticking an old lady with the world's most irritating dog.
If you won't consider that, maybe you should think about how you treated Grandma's old dog. You were watching her while Grandma was gone someplace, and the dog (with its history of terrible abuse) freaked out, so rather than, oh, I don't know? Calling Grandma? Consulting a vet? -- you took the dog out on a walk that only you returned from. The kind that involves a gun and a shovel. I'm pretty sure that around here it's against the law to kill an animal without cause, but perhaps the laws there are different. If it had been my dog, you'd have faced charges. An animal that is suffering deserves a quiet, dignified death, not to be taken on a walk and shot by some asshole with a pistol in his pocket. The only consolation is that hopefully the dog never knew what hit her and was killed instantly, without pain.
And not even your super-annoying dog deserves that kind of fate. He's only being himself, as you raised him to be.
I used to only think of you as a thoughtless, self-centered jerk who usually kind of meant well. Now I'm not so sure.
So yeah, you might hear my name mentioned as one of the many family members who opposes this great idea you've had about abdicating responsibility for your dog, who by the way worships the ground you walk on. Probably you'll get all offended and use this as an excuse to avoid me. (Like you did when I was forced to ask you to stay somewhere else the night we brought the baby home from the hospital, because I knew that it would never occur to you that we might want some privacy that night.) At one point I might have declined to get involved because I didn't want to offend you, but, like my cousin, in fact like all my cousins, I'm just tired of how everything is about you.
I'm actually pretty glad you're moving back to Maryland. At least I won't have to feel obligated to drive up to see you, or put you up as you pass through town (usually on little or no notice), or grit my teeth and say it's okay when you miss another one of my daughter's birthdays. Like you missed all of them so far. (Three for three so far, Dad! Woo!)