Being an adult means that some days you have to make hard decisions that don't feel good.
My husband and I have been struggling with a hard decision. What to do about our first dog, Amelia? We rescued Amelia 5 months after we bought our first house. She had been picked up by a rescue group out of a junk yard. She was about 10 months old and deaf. We loved having her and she loved having us! It was a match made in heaven. But sometimes when we took her walking she would lurch at other dogs or if she thought another dog was coming near her food then she went into fight mode. This was disturbing, but we solved the problems by having her on a short leash as we walked and not feeding her around other dogs. Pretty simple fixes. Fast forward a year or so and we rescued another dog. She was about the same age as our first dog, but smaller and more timid. The moment we brought our second dog home there was tension, but we chalked it up to them establishing the pecking order. It seemed to get better and we would have days, yes, even weeks, with no incidents, but then, for no apparent reason Amelia would attack our second dog, Cecilia. We made adjustments and managed the situation. When we found out we were pregnant we talked about how to deal with the dogs. Amelia has never been aggressive towards people, but we didn't want to run the risk with little ones around. When Little Britches came home both dogs adjusted just fine. Our house was large and our back yard was large. They spent a lot of time behind a baby gate or in the back yard. Amelia was still being aggressive towards Cecilia at times. One time while Little Britches was napping Amelia attacked Cecilia and would not stop. I could not stop her. We knew that day we had to make a decision for the safety of our family. We pursued many options: giving her back to the rescue group, training her at home, where the problem happens, using a muzzle for part of the day, finding a family for her that had no other dogs, children, or neighbors with dogs, prayer, hope, and denial. But yesterday reality hit us. She had to be put to sleep. The rescue group would not take her back due to her aggressiveness; we could not in good conscience give her to another family and something happen. We would feel so responsible. Two different trainers worked with us to understand she could not be "cured", but could possibly be better managed. Yesterday a dog that was unleashed stormed towards us out of his driveway and began to bark and try to bite Cecilia who got out of her collar and cowered, but Amelia, feeling threatened grabbed the dog by its neck. She was defending herself. BUT she WOULD NOT let go. My very athletic husband could not in any way get her to release the other dog who was now injured. We could not regain control of this scary situation for many minutes, which felt like an eternity. Once the dogs were apart, the owners of the other dogs ran into their house with their dog visible and understandably upset. My husband was upset and full of adrenalin so Cecilia and I went on a walk. While we were gone my husband had a chance to talk to the injured dog's owner and let them know that our dog's behavior was upsetting to us and we had made the decision to put our dog down, but that their dogs are required to be fenced or leashed and they were not, which created a dangerous situation. They agreed and took their dog to the closest vet. The dog had some minor injuries but is going to be just fine.
Last night we cried. This morning we cried. This morning Amelia got to stay on the chair she is not supposed to sit, eat a sausage kolache, and go to the lake for a swim. Then my very brave husband took her to the closest vet, who happened to be the same vet the injured dog had seen the night before. The vet confirmed that we were making the right decision. He was very supportive and understanding. My brave husband stayed with our Amelia until the end. My heart hurts. She wasn't sick, but she we couldn't trust her to not harm other animals and perhaps any one who happened to get in the mix. And what if that was our child one day? or someone else’s, if we gave her away? We just couldn't take the chance.
Our home feels a little less full today. We will always treasure the Amelia we knew 95% of the time- sweet, happy, energetic, intelligent (she did many tricks she learned by sign), and fun. She was our first pet. She will always have a special place in our hearts.
Amelia when she was a puppy
Amelia sleeping on her favorit ball. Every other toy she had she tore the stuffing out of, but not this ball. I have no idea why
Our first dog- we loved you well, even when it was hard.