I recently took my ten-year-old Poodle to my parents’ house for Christmas. Thanks to old age, he has liver problems, stinky breath, and dermatitis. As you can imagine, Gerard smells. Horrifically.
No matter how much I bathe him before we visit–or try odor-reducing remedies–my mother continuously complains about the stink. She actually went so far as to wash his bedding and demand I give him a bath last time I was there.
So as not to offend her, I fear I’m going to have to board the dog for future visits, which is annoying as it is expensive. With his failing liver and old age, I suspect he hasn’t got a lot of time left. I really don’t want to leave him with a boarder. What should I do?
Poodle Unfairly Targeted, Relative Insensitive to Dilemma
Aunt Labby’s response:
I don’t blame you, P.U.T.R.I.D., for wanting to take advantage of every moment you have with Gerard. His breath sucks the color from your cheeks and his farts are killing houseplants, but hey–your mom lived with your little brother all those years, right?
So tell her what you told me: Gerard is a member of your family. Now that he’s in failing health, you want to make the most of the time you have together. Then suggest a compromise. You’ll do everything you can to reduce the odor: get him professionally groomed, stock up on doggy breath mints, look into vanilla-scented snuggies, etc., prior to his visit. As for her part, let her know it would mean a great deal to you if she could tolerate a little Poodle pong for a day or two.
If your mother balks, mention she hasn’t been smelling so hot herself lately. And what’s that number for Shady Pines Home for the Elderly?
I’m joking, of course. But it might not be a bad idea to remind her that we care for family, even when they get old and smelly, and your dog is a part of your family. Your mother is lucky to have a person like you who will take care of that family.
You and your pup are a package deal, and if she truly can’t reach a compromise, maybe it’s time to find alternate holiday plans for the last few years you have left with your pup until he crosses the rainbow bridge. But hopefully your mother will understand as long as you’re clear about how much Gerard means to you, and you can have your whole family, furry members included, together for the holidays.
If you have a question for Aunt Labby, tell us in the comments below! Aunt Labby might answer your question next!