We had/have two dogs- one of which thinks she's a little princess but doesn't have a mean or aggressive bone in her body. L can walk up to her while she is eating (although we don't allow this he has managed to do all this before we pulled him away) and take her food, smack her head, and even pull her ears- she just whimpers a little and looks to us to save her. Our other dog also tolerated L pretty well- but he had some anxiety- I really believe he has a mental illness, but you know as a dog. He has always been a nervous and fearful dog- things make him jump and startle very easily. And on the rare but traumatic occasion has attacked our other dog. These attacks had been frightening, but due to our ability to stop them quickly and how rare they were- we tolerated them. But since L has become more mobile we have noticed an increase in this pups anxiety and the attacks to our other dog can no longer be tolerated. They have been getting progressively worse and occurring during more types of situations. Most recently I was wiping this pups feet after he went outside and it had been raining- he was pretty muddy. Well that made him very nervous and then our other dog walked by- and it was on- full on aggression attack.
We decided it's no longer possible for me to safely handle this rambunctious toddler and these fighting dogs. There are not a lot of options for a situation like this: training (which we would do in a heart beat if we did't have L- but we felt we needed something more immediate and guaranteed), shelter, euthanasia, rehoming. D and I cried many tears over these options- to sentence a dog to death because he was no longer in an appropriate home and was 95% of the time an amazing dog who had never bit or hurt a person just seemed wrong. I spent countless hours posting ads on craigslist, rescueme.org, asking friends and family, calling no-kill shelters and rescue groups. Most of the time I got no response at all, or even was told by all shelters/rescue groups "not taking any dogs right now", and then being referred to the local animal control who either deems the dog adoptable or puts them to sleep.
But finally ONE rescue group (who doesn't even focus on dogs- they do cats mostly) called me back. And this lady was a life saver. She told me about a bunch of other rescues, told me about rescueme.org, and utilized her network to spread the word. And then another lady offered to help. Although she wont be our pups permanent home- she will train him and continue to search for a permanent home. She is a pet setter who is heavily involved in the adoption community and has trainer friends. She also lives out in the county with a lot of land and has dealt with nervous dogs before. She seems PERFECT. One snag was she couldn't take him till the end of the week, but amazingly D's brother offered to watch him till them. We had hoped to keep him with family...but we are so fortunate to have found this woman- many other dog owners looking to re-home aren't as lucky.
I have to say I felt very alone in this process- if it weren't for this one rescue and these two amazing women- I would have had no knowledgeable support. I was surprised that in all the people D, I, and our family's knew (some of which work in the animal care field) were unable to offer advice, guidance, or even a possible home option. I got a lot of- "don't put him in a shelter, don't euthanize him, re-home him" advice, but when asked for guidance in the best way to reach potential homes/owners all I heard was silence. So in case anyone reading this is trying to rehome a special animal- utilize rescueme.org (seriously a great site), craigslist (but be weary of who you meet through there), and call rescues like a mad man!
We dropped him off last night and our little guy was nervous in his new surroundings- but he was already warming up before we left. L loves this dog and I wonder when or if it will hit him that he is gone. Also our other dog seems to not know what to do with herself, and D and I are more then a little sad. It's one of those decisions that you never want to make but know it's the best for everyone. This pup has been part of our family for 3 1/2 years- it feels a lot more empty at home. We are grieving here. Hopefully time will heal this and our pup will get to live somewhere where he is less nervous (no little kids, lots of land to run around, and owners that can provide the appropriate training). Here's our little "princess" missing her buddy...