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Old 07-13-2005, 01:58 PM
metaldog99 metaldog99 is offline
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Default The saddest decision

I thought this might be an appropriate place to tell my story, and perhaps get some understanding from othere here. I apologize for its length, but I'm still very emotional about all that has happened.

I am grieving terribly over what has happened over the last week, events which ultimately led to my 6-yr old hound mix Travis being taken to animal control and put down.

Travis was an adopted dog who exhibited aggressive behavior towards other dogs at about 10-months. We worked with him with obedience instructors and behavior experts, and at one point had him on Prozac to try and soothe his anxiety. Throughout his life he attacked two dogs (not seriously - no treatment involved). We worked very hard on controlling his aggressive behavior. We added a female black lab puppy about 2 years ago, and they got along well - they played together, and understood each others pack position.

About 2 years ago, he showed teeth to my 2-yr old neice who approached him while he was eating. We understood then that there was a risk with small children, and so made sure that he was crated whenever children were around. Our children are grown up and out of the house now.

Last week, my stepson and his wife visited with his 15-month old boy. We went to great pains to make sure they understood about Travis, and that we had to make sure he was crated when the baby was up and about. All was going well until Friday, when they forgot to crate him. My stepson was eating a snack with his son on the couch with both dogs nearby. Travis growled at the baby, or perhaps the other dog - we are not sure. My stepson got angry at Travis and kicked him. Travis reacted by biting the baby on the face, breaking skin and bruising him. Everyone reacted in horror - the baby was taken to emergency room, treated and released. My wife, who was home at the time, called me at work to tell me what had happened. She said she always said that if he ever bit anyone, that was it for Travis. She said she could not live with him anymore. A police report had to be filed due to it being a reported dog bite, and my wife took him to animal control. As I was at work, we spoke on the phone as she was doing all of this, and on her way to animal control. I tried to pursuade her to stop, to give him another chance, that this was provoked and wouldn't have happended if Travis hadn't been kicked. But ultimately she said she cannot live with him anymore, she can't trust him, that once he has bitten, he will bite again, and that she cannot relax with him around anymore. As of now, he is probably still in quarantine, and will be put down within days.

Both my wife and I feel terrible about what has happened - that our son reacted the way he did by kicking the dog as opposed to removing the baby from the threat of aggression; that our grandson got injured the way he did; and that ultimately we have to lose our dear companion, as difficult a dog as he was. We feel his loss even more than our dear departed first dog, a Black Lab who succumbed to cancer over 2 years ago. Travis was such a presence in our home, especially since we had to accommodate his personality and work every day at it. Travis was also most attached to my wife, who ultimately made the difficult decision.

I hope anyone else who has been through difficult circumstances like these can add words of understanding. I find the only way to get through the grief is to share the emotions and feelings with others who know what it is like to bond so greatly with their dogs, even when they have as many issues and behave as they do.

Thanks to all for being here.

Phil
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Old 07-13-2005, 02:34 PM
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bubbatd bubbatd is offline
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I'm so sorry for you all. I really can understand the Dad's knee-jerk reaction....sometimes things happen so quickly it's hard not to react. I know it's a great loss to you. You did what you could for him. You could not keep living with a ticking bomb not knowing what might set him off. I hope you find a new friend soon.
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Old 07-13-2005, 05:28 PM
metaldog99 metaldog99 is offline
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Thank you.

Knowing that we did the right thing doesn't help much with the sense of loss. I'm hoping that time and more supporting words from others will help.
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Old 07-13-2005, 06:38 PM
poeluvr poeluvr is offline
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i am so sorry for travis. i hope this put down process is done fast so you dont have to keep worrying about him there. I dont know what it is like to have an aggressive dog but i doknow what it is like to lloose one. I feel for you. If it was me i would be angry and sad. Although that is your grand-son and sons son, i dont even know what i would say after all this. Maybe he will be at peace..at last
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Old 07-13-2005, 06:39 PM
Irish Irish is offline
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I am so sorry. All of us here love our dogs dearly and we grieve horribly when we lose them, no matter what the circumstance. It sounds like the situation was beyond your control. Let yourself grieve, but do not blame yourself. I hope that one day, when the time is right, you find a happy go lucky dog that loves everyone to brighten your home.
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Old 07-13-2005, 09:19 PM
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poodlesmom poodlesmom is offline
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I am so sorry for what everyone in your family is going through. You and your wife have given Travis much love & happiness since you adopted him and have done everything within your power to help him and insure safety for all. Travis knows you & your wife knew the true Travis who was hidden within that he wasn't able to share with all others & he loved you for it. At the Rainbow Bridge he will truly be happy, at ease and able to play with all those who went before him and be a carefree furpal with no worries or anxieties and he will patiently wait for the day when all of you are reunited.
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Old 07-14-2005, 02:16 AM
DKim81 DKim81 is offline
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I'm very sorry for your loss of Travis. I'm sure you did all you could and worked hard at his aggression... the point is that you never gave up. A lot of owners would give their dog up simply for that reason but because you loved him, you accepted him despite his flaws. When it boils down to that, just realize there was nothing you could have done differently. We all love our pets but letting go is a part of having pets that we must accept, as hard as it may be. I hope you're doing well and we're all hear to listen and give support. Glad to have you here.

Please keep us updated.

Daniel
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Old 07-14-2005, 08:15 AM
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Barb04 Barb04 is offline
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Phil, my heart goes out to you and your wife on the loss of Travis. As much as we love our pets, we do have to be careful when they are around children to make sure everyone stays safe. Know that Travis is in doggie heaven with all of our pets.

I also want to say that I hope your grandson is okay. I'm sorry to hear what happened to him.
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Old 07-14-2005, 01:11 PM
metaldog99 metaldog99 is offline
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Thank you all. Every day gets a little better, I guess.

When we had to let our 8 1/2-yr old black lab go over two years ago, it was somewhat easier to deal with, as he was in so much pain from cancer that he stopped eating and wouldn't walk anymore. It was clearly the right thing to do for him, and though sad from his loss, we know how much better he would be now that he was at the bridge and now pain-free. If I look at Travis as having had a "disease" that he finally succumbed to, even under the circumstances that caused it, maybe it's a little easier. My wife is struggling and still can't talk about it - Travis was her "shadow"; he always followed her around, had to be near her, and was protective of her. She very much feels his loss.

We have a 2+ yr old female black lab (Bella) who is also adjusting to not having the dominant brother around. I don't know if she is quieter or moping - we might just be noticing how quiet it is now without Travis, as he would bark at anything he saw outside, especially when someone came to the door. We are giving Bella lots of loving and attention now, and are able to do it in a more relaxed environment. She would always have to back off when Travis was around. Having her both helps and hurts - since it's all still so fresh, I'm hoping that time indeed heals.

I hope to someday remember all the good we did for Travis, and the good times he gave us, and not just this horrible event. I really appreciate this forum for being here to share, as it really helps alot.

Thanks again to all.

Phil
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Old 07-14-2005, 06:55 PM
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EliNHunter EliNHunter is offline
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God bless you for enduring this heart wrenching decision. Although provoked (by the kicking) it was brought on by "something". Travis is in a good place. I just hope this doesn't deter you getting another baby some day. Sounds like you're a good Dad...
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