husky_papa

Yesterday, I wrote a message on this forum about the loss of my female husky Fanta. Grief and sadness have accompanied me for more than 3 years now. These feelings have not been present continuously, but I have often felt them... But writing to you made me feel good and Jim Miller (BorderCollieLover)’s response was very soothing.


But since Fanta died, I’ve also been angry. And I am still angry - at my aunt’s reaction since Fanta died. Not only did she not call or write to my wife and I when it happened, but since then, she’s continuously said falsehoods about my dogs (Tyrion, the male husky I already had before Fanta died and Leia, the female husky we adopted after), such as: “huskies are dangerous for children, could you keep your dogs away from my grandchildren?” or “dogs can’t feel love. They’re only nice to you because they depend on you”. She’s constantly complaining that the dogs are on her way or that she would like them away from her. And when I confronted her about that 2 years ago, she barely said she was sorry and even after I told her I considered my dogs as members of my family, she said she didn’t like them. All of that seems so mean and inconsiderate, especially since she knows how affected we are by Fanta's death and how sensitive we are when someone criticizes our dogs.


For the past 2 years, I’ve avoided her and only saw her once, for Christmas. Another get-together is organized this Christmas: lunch at a restaurant with her, my cousins, nieces and nephews and my family. I’m still very angry at her and would gladly avoid her. But at the same time, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to spend time with the rest of my family - I rarely see 2 of my cousins and their families since they live abroad. 


I feel very conflicted... Any advice?

 
Luc
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pannklaus
There always seem to be some family members who minimize loss, even among those who do have pets.   I am very sorry for the difficulties you are having with your Aunt and her continuing behavior even after you told her how you feel.  She isn't going to change.  The issue is whether you can accept her the way she is--just as we may put up with a drunk uncle  at Thanksgiving (as long as his behavior isn't disruptive) or other difficult family situations.  It comes down to either accepting the person as they are to maintain other relationships or not being present when that person is  there and missing out on connections with other  people.  It is a very difficult situation but I don't know any way to make a person change strongly held beliefs, even though they are very hurtful to you.
Patsy
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Jan_H
I think you should go and enjoy being with your other family members. As Patsy wisely said, you are not going to change your aunt. But I don't think you should let her stop you from enjoying other members of your family. Since it is a lunch at a restaurant, I'm assuming your dogs will not be present and she should have no reason to complain about them. Doesn't mean she won't find a reason but you can just say "sorry you feel that way" and then strike up a conversation with somebody else. I know it is not easy to be around family that anger you and criticize you. But clearly she has never experienced the unconditional love of an animal. So maybe you could pity her instead of being angry. I think you should go, be civil, ignore her and enjoy yourselves.

Jan
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BorderCollieLover
husky_papa:

  First of all I think you're doing a great job of keeping it together for the sake of your family. I'm certainly no expert but it might be a good idea to attend the Christmas luncheon since you and your wife sem to be on good terms with other family members. I know exactly what you mean . There always seems to be one person (your Aunt) who doesn't comprehend the tight emotional bond that we form with our beloved pets (Fanta). They view pets as inferior and not worthy of our respect and love. They are merely possessions. Nothing more. That's very sad. I am experiencing kind of the same thing right now. When my beloved dog passed several weeks ago, I immediately sent a notice to my former next door neighbors (they loved my dog) and posted it right on the main feed of their FaceBook page. It was there for the whole world ro see. There is absolutely no way that they could not have seen it. To date, they have not responded. No phone calls. No e-mails. No letters or notes. Nothing. I was really angry with them for not even extending me the courtesy of acknowledging the passing of my dog. Shelby (my dog) used to hang out with their dogs for many years. When one of their dogs passed (Billie - Female Golden Retriever) I was right there to help the father wrap her in a blanket and take her to the Vet's office pending burial. I was right there for them - now many years later they have not been there for me. I considered them to be really good friends - not just neighbors. I have decided after a lot of thought that I will forgive them. It doesn't do any good to hold long-standing grudges. I have enough to deal with right now and don't need the added burden of hate. It's not emotionally healthy. So in the grand scheme of things I hope that you can, somehow, some way, learn to forgive your Aunt. Maybe you're not ready to do that yet. I completely understand. That's fine. it's just something to consider for your own good emotional health. 
Just the very idea that you loved Fanta so much to share this with us is incredible. You sound like a very intelliigent, caring, nurturing person. Fanta was very fortunate to have had you as her owner.  Please let us know (when you are ready) what you have decided. 
Take care and stay strong.

Jim






 

Jim Miller
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husky_papa
THANK YOU SO MUCH for your kind and wise responses. I think you guys convinced me to go to that restaurant so that I can be with my extended family. I'll probably as far away from my aunt as possible and limit our exchanges to a minimum, but I don't want her to make me miss the opportunity to see my cousins, their spouses and their children. Thank you!
Luc
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Mistysmama
Dear husky_papa
Just because we happen by chance to be related to someone by blood line does NOT mean we would choose them as friends, or that they are in any way like us, or feel like we do, or think like we do.
Sometimes I wonder why family members end up being dumped in the same cart together! It can be quite ridiculous.
Just because they are related to us doesn't mean they are our best friends and understand.

I am so sorry about your dear girl. Bless her Soul.

And then there is the thing that....some people just don't like dogs. They will never be dog people and don 't understand them. They may never have experienced that special bond between a dog and a human. People like that can't help it. Maybe...(?) they might think differently one day.

My Auntie is a sweetie, but she is really really unlike me. I care about her but we are very different. She likes animals though and is kind to them. But she is a "cat person" and isn't at ease with dogs, and never was. I don't see her very often as we live 250 miles from each other, but I phone her.

Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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pannklaus
I am glad that you have decided to go so that  you can continue to see the family members who you want to see.  I hope you will be able to stay away from your Aunt. But if she comes around to you, try to just be polite.  If she says anything about dogs, you can just say "I am sorry that you feel that way"  and then walk away.  It would be incredibly insensitive of her if she brought the subject up, but she doesn't sound like she respects others feelings.  Or depending on the context of what she says if it is something about your reaction, you can just vaguely say "Oh I am doing better" or "I am not thinking about that".  The main thing is that you give up any  expectation that she will understand or show any caring.  I know that hurts a lot, but most people here have someone in the family or close to them, who doesn't place the same value on our beloved pets as we do.  But we always have this group where people do understand.
Patsy
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Shark88
Your aunt doesn't have the heart that you have towards others, including animals.  Either way, you must forgive her and carry on with the task of spoiling your family members.  Hold your head up and do not allow your aunt to control your attitude.
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