Our dog is being tortured by my dad. He has been yelling at her, hitting her, and threatening to kill her. What’s worse is that I am the only person in my house who thinks this is a bad thing. Please give me help immediately. Anonymous, aged 13.
THINGS TO DO FIRST:
- Thank you so much for reaching out to Teen Central. This is a really sad and difficult situation, and you obviously care a lot about your dog. We appreciate you sharing your story with us.
- Anytime someone shares a problem the first thing we offer is to protect everyone’s safety – especially yours. This right to safety extends to our animal friends as well. If you are worried that your dad may physically harm or try to kill your dog, try to get yourself and your dog to a room with a door that you can close or lock and call for help. This may be a very tough decision, but you have the right to call 911 and have the police come to your home and make sure everyone is safe. We worry that your dad’s anger could turn on you, especially if you’re protecting your dog, so please take steps to make sure you and your dog are safe.
- Many places have animal abuse hotlines similar to ones for people – ones run by humane societies or local shelters. You can call one of these agencies for help as well. You can find them by googling “animal abuse help near me.”
- Is there anyone else in your life that could help you talk with your dad about how scared you are, and how upsetting his anger toward your dog is to you? This could be another family member, a family friend, a neighbor, a community or spiritual leader. Ask someone to help you talk with your dad during a time that is calm. Try developing a plan for where the dog can go when your father is angry with it. That may include taking it to someone else’s house for a time.
WHEN YOU’RE READY:
- You and your family have some options for making a choice that is in your family and your dog’s best interest. Some people really like the idea of having a pet, but the responsibility can be overwhelming, and managing an animal’s behavior in a home isn’t always something that people want to do. If your family has learned that having a dog isn’t working out, there are local shelters that you can take your dog to in order for the dog to find a different home that may be more able to care for him. That’s tough to hear, we know, but having your dog live somewhere else is better than having it be scared or hurt. You can find your local shelter by googling “find an animal shelter near me”.
- We mentioned above about making a plan for the dog to stay safe. Consider writing down your feelings and thoughts about what’s been happening at home, and how it’s affecting you. You can use your writing to help you express yourself to your dad and your family. It’s possible that they are taking out anger about something else on your dog without realizing how scary the situation is to you. Talking is hard to do, but worth it when you get out the tough stuff. Change can happen.
- If you’re family is open to it, and wants to consider keeping the dog, maybe some obedience training would help. There are classes that you and your family could look for in your area (try googling – “find dog obedience classes near me”). If the cost is too much, there are lots of videos online that go over basic training for dogs that you could work on with your pet. Your family may be more happy with your dog if it learns some basic obedience and follows the rules of the house.