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Honkytonk

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Posts: 5
 #1 
Hi everyone,

I am really struggling at the moment with emotions about my dog. I've had him since 8 weeks and he's now 4.5 years. I adore him, but can't manage his behaviour. He's extremely anxious and very aggressive to strangers. He has bitten on one occasion. As well as being very on edge and stressed a lot of the time, he also makes the lives of me and my boyfriend very stressful. My poor boyfriend can't even have his parents in our home as the dog won't let anyone he hasn't known well his whole life enter the house.

A lot of people suggest that if he is a danger to visitors, we can keep him in a separate room when they come round. But for a dog with separation anxiety, this just isn't really an option. He only becomes extremely stressed and barks loudly and constantly the entire time. It's even like this if he is crated in the same room. 

Basically everything has just become ridiculously stressful and it's become clear to me recently that it can't continue like this. It's majorly affecting my mental health and quality of life as well as his, and he's not safe around strangers. 

I won't give up on him without a fight, as I'd never forgive myself for that plus I owe it to him to try everything. So I plan to take him to a vet and a behaviourist for assessment and advice. However, I fear that the advice will be to put him to sleep. Even if his behaviour can be modified and improved with training and medication, his aggression is so serious I can't imagine him ever being totally safe. Me and my boyfriend also want to have children in the next 3-5 years.

The thought of having to put him to sleep crushes me. He is a young, physically fit and healthy dog. I have cried everyday for the past four or five days just at the thought. How will I ever find the strength to go through with this if it is the only option? Before a few days ago, I had never heard of a dog being put down for anything other than physical problems. It's now starting to dawn on me that having to do this might be a very real possibility. I feel like my heart is breaking :( 
twinkiesmom

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Posts: 796
 #2 
I have been in your situation and totally understand your feelings. I had a dog that had a wonderful disposition, well behaved and loved everyone. And then one day with no provocation she attacked a member of my family, causing serious injury. My daughter was young and my elderly grandmother lived with us. I could not take a chance on this happening again and my vet was in total agreement that Tessa be euthanized. Dogs can have mental ailments as well as physical ones, just as we humans can and sometimes there is no "fix" for them.q I know this is heartbreaking but I also know that whatever you do will be done out of love. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Marsha
Honkytonk

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Posts: 5
 #3 
Thank you so much twinkiesmom. It's so good to know I'm not the only person who has ever been in this position. That's what it has felt like to me and it's made me feel like such a horrible person.

How do you ever find the strength to go through with it if that is what needs to be done?

I'm starting to obsess over everything just now and make myself quite ill. :( 
Ashelby

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Posts: 134
 #4 
Honkytonk, I just lost my dog, Wentworth, to a similar thing.  90% of the time he was perfect, but he had a switch he just couldn't control. When it was happening to my baby I couldn't even eat, so I know what you mean about making yourself ill.

It's the worst thing I've ever been through and I'm so sorry you're going through it too.  What you said about feeling like a horrible person - I'm still fighting with that 8 weeks later and I miss him and still cry every day.

Best of luck with the behaviorist - you never know, maybe it will be good news with a simple fix.  My vet talked me out of doing any tests and I'll always, always regret that.

Trust your gut.
Honkytonk

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Posts: 5
 #5 
Ashelby,

I read your post about Wentworth. It totally resonated with me and I'm so sorry for what you went through and are going through still. Thanks so much for replying.

I emailed a behaviourist today and got this reply:

"thanks for your email.
Yes, that would certainly be something that we could try to work on. However, you should expect this to be a lengthy, and most likely life-long process, and it may only be possible to manage certain issues rather than "curing" them completely. Over time we would hopefully be able to reduce his anxiety levels and improve his confidence, but he may never be a dog of high self esteem and we just have to respect that this is his character and personality.
Without having properly met him yet in this context, just by the sounds of it I would probably suggest a combination of essentials oils, Bach Flower remedies and behaviour therapy for him.
Behaviour sessions (lasting about a couple of hours each) are charged at £42 each, plus a home visit fee (if you still live in Burra then it would be £24).
You should probably plan for about 2-3 sessions, and then it depends on if and how you are getting on by yourself from then on...more sessions may be required.
Please let me know how you feel about this, and if you would like to go ahead with an initial behaviour session what days/times are generally best for you?"

When I read this email all I felt was hopelessness. I don't have much money and I don't have much emotional strength. I think I'm going to need a lot of both to work on his behaviour.

Today I couldn't find the motivation to do anything. I just keep crying all the time for the past week. I'm completely exhausted. I can't think about anything else and am falling behind on coursework because every time I try to do anything my mind has wandered back to this before I know it. I think I'm getting quite depressed over this. I'm really worried about my own mental health but I can't give up on him just because I can't cope. I'd never forgive myself. 
Ashelby

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Posts: 134
 #6 
I know what you mean about feeling hopeless, that was me too.  Hopeless and helpless.

As for money, that was one of my biggest barriers looking for help too - I couldn't even afford a one time consult with a behaviorist (which was going to cost $400), let alone follow up appointments.

You sound a lot like me and it's obvious you love your dog as much as I do.  Please feel free to PM me any time if you feel like you need to talk.
Honkytonk

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Posts: 5
 #7 
It's horrible, Ashelby! Such a heartbreaking thought that I might not be able to help my pal simply because I don't have the money.

I've emailed the behaviourist back to organise an initial behaviour session so that she at least meet him and see what she thinks. Thank god it is not as expensive as yours was going to be.. that price is horrendous! If I didn't have a student loan at the moment there is absolutely no chance I'd be able to afford anything and even with it I am going to struggle so much. Going to have to make a lot of sacrifices i think! Emotional and financial... 

I really do love him and feel so terrible for even considering putting him to sleep. :( 

I probably will PM you at some point then. Thank you for the offer. :)

twinkiesmom

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Posts: 796
 #8 
You asked how I found the strength to get through my situation. Penny stayed in our backyard that night, it was nice weather and the backyard was fenced so she was happy out there. The next morning I took her to the vet and though it broke my heart she was put to sleep with me petting her and telling her I loved her and would see her later. I could not have handled waiting a few days, I knew it had to be done before I could change my mind. My daughter, grandmother and I cried our hearts out. We got her when she was eight weeks old and instantly her little paws wrapped themselves around our hearts. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I know you will do what is right for your dog and your family. He is loved, that is a blessing many dogs never experience. You are not a horrible person, you are hurting and you're experiencing the mind games others do at times like these. The what ifs, could I have done anything to prevent this, all the niggling little questions that make you feel worse than you already do. My heart hurts for you, it truly does. You are among friends. We are here whenever you need us.

Marsha
Honkytonk

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Posts: 5
 #9 
Marsha,

Thank you so much for your reply. I'm so sorry you had to go through that but Penny was really lucky to have a family who loved her and still do. And I'm so glad you got to hold her while she went to sleep so that she knew this. 

I have arranged for the behaviourist to visit our house this Sunday. Still terrified but I have been able to shake it off a little so that I can at least find the strength to try something. 

Take care x
Ashelby

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Posts: 134
 #10 
Please let us know how it goes.

Good luck.
NEVAEHSMAMAFOREVER

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Posts: 6
 #11 
Im going through the same thing sweetie. Currently Nevaeh is in quarentine for biting me. she has bit me numerous times and my boyfriend and other people. I was assaulted very badly after she bit a little girl. I love her. I adore her. She is my best friend. I was going to have her put to sleep but the police officer who handled my case told me that I can get her if i want to. I would take 1000 bites though if she would leave my old dog Gemini alone. Gemini has lost teeth defending herself. Her legs are swollen and she has scars all over her body from Nevaehs attacks. I finally was fed up. I never thought I would have the balls to take her in and get her put to sleep. As I was driving away from the police station I could see her in the kennel and I had to look away and was bawling. She thought she would just be in trouble a little while and I would get over it. If i got her out of quarentine in ten days she would act good for a week or so but she would attack again. She is my best friend. We do everything together and she loves squeaky and i always take her to the park and the lake and the woods and for car rides. She sleeps at my head and holds my hand with her paw. She didnt mean to hurt me. BUT she meant to hurt the little girl and she meant to hurt my ten year old dog. My husband tried to break her up in august and she bit him so bad it was a tear and he lost feeling in part of his thumb and cant move it right as a tendon was hanging out. I dont know what to do. Do I pick her up and pray this will stop or continue to put up with this. Including continue for my old dog to live in fear. Or do I finally let go. I dont know. But this hurts as bad as when my son was adopted by my uncle 30 years ago. I have only hurt this bad from loss twice in my life. Not even a divorce can compare to the pain of loss. 
dchavez1128

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Posts: 2
 #12 
My boy friend and I put our three year old precious pit bull (Bernie) to sleep on Wednesday and it was heart breaking :'''(. He was so sweet and loyal to us but was extremely over protective towards strangers and other dogs. We adopted him from the Humane Society on April 2016  and he had been through 4 foster homes. My boyfriend fell in love with him as he was the only dog in the shelter who was quiet and friendly. A little over a month later he bit a neighbor who came into a shared patio. In the past he's bitten while living in the other foster homes. The insurance my boy friend got no longer covered him so he would be responsible if Bernie were to bite again. Bernie gradually became worse and started lunging at everyone even children! We put a muzzle on him however it wouldn't be enough. Shyam tried training with a recommended trainer however that didn't seem to work. We were looking at apts to move into however landlords were hesitant to take us. We also tried to give him away to someone with a big back yard in the suburbs however no one was willing to take him given his history. I looked into pit rescues and only received one response telling me they didn't have space. Basically we did everything possible to keep him alive and couldn't figure anything out besides putting him peacefully to sleep. We didn't want to return him to the shelter and retraumatize him, I'm sure they would've also put him down given his history. Watching him take his last breaths was extremely heart breaking but I know he was at peace knowing we there to hold him and make him feel comfortable. I can't help but feel guilty since he was so healthy and young. We only had him for about 9 months but it was great time with many wonderful memories of Bernie. I just hope he is able to run around free in doggie heaven and has all the bones, sticks and balls to play with. He will always be in out hearts :(.
blairc2007

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Posts: 2
 #13 
I know exactly how you feel. I too can not let my wife's family stay here due to his aggression toward strangers.  What make it worse is I am expecting my first son in August. I have reached out to a behaviorist and Trainer. Both of them said I can not take the risk and I should put him down.  It is eating me alive.  I hope you can find peace in your decision. I know for a fact this will haunt me for the rest of my life.
AJD7

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Posts: 9
 #14 
I am dealing with this same thing right now.  My dog Marco, is such an amazing dog most of the time.  He is only 4 and physically he is extremely healthy.  I have been working with a dog behaviorist for the last year and it has helped so much with his obedience but we still continue to have incidences at home where he attacks my family.  This past Sunday he attacked my mom and she had to go to the ER for punctures on her arm.  Marco is now quarantined to my house for 10 days.  I am faced with the decision to euthanize him.  I love him more than I could possibly explain but the truth is my family and I are afraid of him.  I don't feel like the question is "IF" he with attack again but "WHEN".  I can't have visitors over without extreme management of Marco (leash, muzzle, by my side constantly).  The management of an aggressive dog is absolutely exhausting.  I can relate to you because I also feel like my quality of life has gone with my management of him.  I can't imagine losing him though.  Most of the time he is the most fun-loving dog around.  I spend so much time in the yard with him playing frisbee and fetch.  I feel like I won't forgive myself if I make the decision to let him go.
Prisa911

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Posts: 11
 #15 
AJD7 i am crying reading your post because I just had to surrender my 4 year old pit. He always had some aggression and I would have to crate him whenever my 8 year olds friends came by. Just this Friday my son was eating a pizza and my pit jumped up to grab it and bit my son. He ended up with a torn lip, stitches and have a few cuts on his face. At this point, I had no choice but to surrender him. He has nipped at kids before and have nipped at us randomly but I never anticipated this. The thought that was son couldve had his whole face ripped off was nerve wrecking but knowing that I dismissed all the little signs of aggression makes me feel so guilty. Whats worse is that I am really grieving my dog. I miss him terribly and feel so sad and heartbroken. I cant risk my sons life. I get it. But I feel like something was ripped from me and I cant get over the sadness. I think of him, the house feels empty and I will always love him. Animal control said he was not adoptable as he became extremely aggressive towards the staff so we all know where this story ends. Noone understands how I am feeling. Some think im a bad mom for mourning my dog when I should be grateful that my son is okay. I am very grateful but I also love my dog. Just so heartbroken.
AJD7

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #16 
Prisa911, first off I am so sorry for your loss but I'm glad nobody got hurt badly. I know what you did was right. I know you couldn't risk your family's safety. I also know that your decision in no way means you didn't love your dog. You loved him and he was lucky to have you. I don't really think anybody that hasn't faced this decision can judge you. I have never felt such a gut-wrenching pain in my life. I get where you're coming from. In my head, I know what the logical decision is. Marco is dangerous and can't be rehomed so the best option for my family and I's saftey and well-being is to euthanize him. But in my heart, I look at him and I see how wonderful he is and how much he trusts me. I see all the joy he has brought to my life and how empty I will feel without him. My evenings and weekends are spent entirely with him. I don't know what I will do without him. I don't know if I'll ever stop questioning if there is another way to save him. This is the most heart-breaking and soul-scorching decision of my life.
Prisa911

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Posts: 11
 #17 
Ajd7 I am also so sorry you are going through this and are heartbroken having to debate whether to go for the logical or the emotional part. It really is a tough decision and I dont judge you either way. We all have to process things in our own way and do only what we can. I have to admit....if it wasnt for my husband, I may have taken him back. I think what if I keep him away from my son, what if I can monitor him better, everything is filled with what ifs and I hate it. But my husband and I ended up arguing, him telling me "i told you he was going to hurt my son" etc. Everyones emotions are running high and the blame game and the guilt. There is so much at risk here. I hope that things get better for you and that you continue to get the support you need on here. I get how you feel. I cant even walk in my backyard without crying and missing my baby Chance. He was loved. He will always be loved. Not sure I will ever get over the feeling of betraying him for taking him in but also the guilt of not protecting my son when there were little signs along the way. Hope we get through this.
twinkiesmom

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Posts: 796
 #18 
Prisa911, in no way did you betray Chance. You did everything you could do but most importantly you loved him. He knew that, you showed him everyday and I know he loved you back. I wonder sometimes if a dog somehow regrets his actions. I know emotionally ill people do many times. Guilt is something most of us experience. It is one of the stages of grieving. If only I had taken him to the vet, if only I knew he was sick, you know what I mean. As if we don't hurt enough already. Cry as much as you need as well as how long you need to. Do whatever helps you get through each day. You are among friends here who welcome you with comfort and support. God bless you.

Marsha
Prisa911

Registered:
Posts: 11
 #19 
Thank you Marsha for your kind words and reminder that I didnt betray him. Hopefully someday I will accept this and stop feeling so guilty. I miss my buddy so much.
Nicolecocoa

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Posts: 94
 #20 
If you can't take him to get reformed then give him to someone who will- no need to put him down.
Prisa911

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Posts: 11
 #21 
Nicolecocoa, like who? Noone in my family can take him. Shelters are giving me a 10day window but cant guarantee he will get adopted. I cant bring him back home around my son. Any suggestions? Tomorrow will be the 6th day.
Prisa911

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Posts: 11
 #22 
By the way, ive invested alot of time in training. I have tried.
Mspears

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Posts: 14
 #23 
Prisa911, I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I, too, am getting ready to put down my pit mix this coming week. It is the hardest thing I have ever been through.

Rehoming is really not an option, and don't let people make you feel badly. Shelters generally do not take aggressive dogs; it makes sense, how would they be able to adopt him out? They want to put their money and resources into dogs that are not aggressive and looking for homes. And ethically and morally, you really cannot rehome him yourself. Even if you are honest about the aggression, did you know that there is the potential that you are still legally liable if another attack were to happen? Plus, the guilt you would probably have. I know how much we all wish there were that farm out there that could take in all these dogs. Believe me, I researched and made inquiries for months. But most of the time, there are no other options. 

I am feeling like a murderer right now. The guilt is killing me. All I keep picturing is the moment he gets put down and how I am betraying him. I know I am placing human emotion on a dog, and that isn't practical. But it is the most devastating thing I've ever been through. I send you so much love. It will take strength to get through this.
Prisa911

Registered:
Posts: 11
 #24 
Mspears, you described exactly how I am feeling. I got very angry when someone suggested rehoming him or finding another place. Its not that simple..If there was a way, I wouldve found it. The guilt and feeling like I betrayed and gave up on my best friend is painful BUT I gave him so many chances. I have to remind myself of the damage he caused my 8 year old even if it wasnt his intent. Many times it wasnt his intent and we kept pretending it was nothing. This time around it was worse and we couldnt continue having him around our child.
As for your situation, I pray that you get the strength to get through this as well. It is a very tough decision but like you said we have to be practical and accept that we are making the right decision. Thank you for your post. You really helped me. I am here whenever you want to vent or share how you are feeling. Sending you a big hug ♡♡♡♡
Mspears

Registered:
Posts: 14
 #25 
Thank you, Prisa911. This forum has been one of the only things that has helped me. We have also given our dog many chances. We have to wait a couple of days to put him down, which is making me even more of a mess. Thank you for your support and kind words, I'm sure I will be reaching out. 

xx
Myami

Registered:
Posts: 5
 #26 
I know this post is quite old maybe some of you will check back in this is the thing I am currently going through with my pity her aggressive tendencies having managed for the past 8 years but now she has turned her biting to my daughter who is 4 and this last bite puncture her skin she needed stitches I feel so guilty and full of betrayal for taking her to put her to sleep if any of you check in could you let me know how your feelings are now that it's been over a year does it get better why do you always feel like you murdered your best friend because you failed them
NEVAEHSMAMAFOREVER

Registered:
Posts: 6
 #27 
Hi sweetie. At the very end I decided to give her meds the dr gave me for anxiety. she is better but she still attacks I noticed when someone knocks on the door. My other dog is at my sisters who she was attacking the most. But shes not lunging at ppl on the streets. I fought hard to keep her and the circumstances havent been good. Currently we are in a motel and about to buy a mobile home. I think you did what you had to in order to protect the others you love. You would feel more guilt if she mauled your daughter that you didnt protect her. Your doggie is in heaven. I believe in the Lord Jesus and he loves all creatures great and small. Knowing him he will take you in his arms when your ready to move to the next world and you will see your baby again and spend eternity with Jesus and your dog and live eternally in peace and forever love. Please take comfort in the fact you did all you could do. There are plenty of other good dogs and will love your daughter and be her best friend. Hugs to you. Be blessed and have hope peace. Saving a dogs life in a shelter who's been abused and or neglected can fill your heart and may be something you need. Hugs.
mumsy

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Posts: 3
 #28 
Thank you so much for all of your posts. I am sitting here searching as my heart breaks. We decided to put our sweet dog down today, after she attacked my daughter. This, too was on a background of prior bites where there was always a "reason" or an excuse we could find for her behaviour. She was always edgy and anxious, but I thought that with love and patience our best friend would grow and flourish. She was such a silly joy, a dear companion, and gave such relief to my anxious daughter. However, after attacking my daughter, the excuses had to stop. We tried medication, but this actually seemed to increase her anxiety and remove inhibition as we she bit me one night fairly badly while sitting beside her on the sofa, trying to soothe her. She has been aggressive toward other animals in the house and we were at a loss. We thought we would go forward with therapy, and a large cage/kennel, to protect the kids when we were not present. In the end, we decided that this measure may make her quality of life worse, and decided to put her down. The guilt I am feeling over betraying my best friend today is overwhelming, as is my guilt over exposing my daughter to this danger that could have changed her life forever if we had not acted quickly at the time of the attack. I know that as a parent, I had to make a decision to protect the safety and well being of my kids. However, my heart will always ache for the loss of my best friend. 
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