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Posts: 15
I'm completely torn up.  I had a six year old English Bulldog named Percy who was put down yesterday.

I have had Percy since he was 10 weeks old.  When we got him my sons were 1 and 5 years of age.  I live in a development with lots of children and Percy was socialized early and often around children.  He just loved them.  He loved everybody.  He was calm, loved being pet and never NOT EVEN ONCE nipped or mouthed my children or my husband and I, even during play.  He was just as docile and gentle as a kitten.  His household behavior was excellent as well.  He never made mischief and had great manners.  I thought I had hit the dog lottery, he was so awesome.

Then, around 2 years of age, things began to change.  We used to take him with us everywhere we went and one day we were over my in-laws house.  My brother-in-law came in the house, sat down at the table, had been sitting there for five or so minutes,  and all of a sudden Percy lunged at him, snarling and growling.  My husband grabbed him and Percy stopped but had to be removed my brother-in-law's presence or else he would continue to lunge/growl/snarl/bark.  We took him home completely shocked by this behavior.  

He continued to be a great dog but during the next year he had more incidents.  One day my son, who was three at the time and in the living room, screamed "Percy bit me!!"  I was upstairs in the laundry room and came flying down.  Percy was just sitting there looking so incredibly sad and guilty.  Jack had three scratches on his cheek.  I was so shocked, although I guess I shouldn't have been given the incident with my brother-in-law.  My husband and I thought it must have been some kind of accident and that Percy really didn't mean it.  

Fast forward about six months.  We were going away on vacation and one of my husband's friends wanted to watch Percy.  I had grave misgivings but my husband somehow still trusted Percy since he was 99.9% of the time awesomely agreeable and sweet.  Well, although Percy was great with my husband's friend, wife and children, when the friend's mother visited them, Percy bit her!  My husband's friend said Percy was very sweet and good after the bite when he took him over to the vet to stay for boarding.  We discussed it with the vet who said the bite was brought on by the stress of the separation/boarding.

From then on we implemented a lot of management strategies.  Confining the dog to my bedroom when unknown visitors were expected, etc.  Then Percy started with resource guarding issues.  He would rush my older son, warning barks, growling, when my son was getting up from the dinner table after eating.  Sometimes he would nip his pants or air nip.  It was like he was trying to intimidate my son.  This only happened at dinnertime when we were at the dinner table as a family.  Percy didn't always do it but the occasions were often enough.

Then Percy bit my youngest again, this time scratching his shoulder, because my youngest was playing with his Lionel trains on the living room floor.  Percy had been in the kitchen with me.  I knew he was spooked by the trains but figured he was fine as long as he was away from the living room.  For whatever reason, Percy decided he wanted to go into the living room and, when he walked past Jack, gave him a "correction" bite on his shoulder.  No puncture/blood or bruising but it was scratched/abraded.

The final bite was when my son walked in between Percy and his bone.  My son wasn't even close to the bone (it was about 8 feet away), but Percy was on the far side of the room, the bone was on the other, and Jack ran into the kitchen to tell me something.   In a flash, Percy barked, lunged and bit.  That was a  grade 2/3 bite (one very shallow puncture with a slight blood streak, one puncture that didn't break the skin, and then significant bruising.

We consulted a behaviorist to work with Percy but, since Percy's incidents are sporadic, it was more difficult to desensitize.  I went again to the vet, this time to discuss putting Percy on Prozac since he seemed to be a dog who was anxious, nervous, and neurotic.  Of course, he was typical bulldog in that he was lazy and slept/layed about all the time, but he did have that anxious side to him when awake.  The vet did not think Prozac was a good idea and felt that Percy was too unpredictable, an unpredictability that Prozac couldn't fix.

Because of the issues my children have had with him, they didn't feel particularly bonded with him nor did Percy appear particularly bonded with them.  Of course they loved him because he was the family dog and they cared about him but they also feared him.  

Percy would at times growl or look menacingly at me or give me warning barks if I had to get him to do something he didn't want to do, such as get off the couch.  It wasn't always and most times he would be compliant, but if he was in a mood, I'd say "Percy down" and he'd let me know he didn't like it.  He complied but he let me know.  

Once I caught him peeing on the rug and I said, "Percy, outside, pee pee outside!" and he sharply barked (warning bark) at me and gave me a dirty look.

At the last visit the vet said that given his bite history he is not a candidate for rehoming, that there is significant threat that he will bite again, that the bite could be very bad and that we should strongly consider euthanasia.  I was frankly shocked!  I didn't think a vet would recommend that.  He said he sees this frequently, that it's a sign of mental illness in an animal and the most humane thing to do was euthanasia as Percy.  Our vet is a bulldog specialist who has known Percy all his life.  I trust him.

Yesterday, my husband and I put Percy to sleep.  I am beyond devastated and guilty.  I feel that I failed the dog.  I feel like if I had only been a more dominant dog owner maybe Percy wouldn't have developed these issues.  I was always very loving and lavishing affection on my pets and I feel guilty like somehow my love ruined the dog.   I just don't know.  He was so great until he was 2 years old.  I don't understand what happened.

I'm just wrecked.  :(


Posts: 82
God Bless you and yours over the loss of Percy. As your vet said, there was no more humane thing you could've done, and did it within your control. Don't think of the negatives. Think about all of the positives Percy's life were to you and your family. Then, when it is RIGHT for you and them, RESCUE another Engie IF that's the breed you have your heart set on, but do know that "purebreds" are inbred so much to keep the "traits of the breed" that they are very prone to illnesses, both mental and physical. I can vouch that a mixed breed often is a much healthier choice, and they make just as good, if not better, pets.

But now is not the time for that. You need to grieve. Do NOT let yourself feel guilty. You lost a family member. There are those on here that have a lot of experience with having to deal with aggressive dogs/pets as you have, so they can probably offer more than can I. But keep the communication open! This is a GREAT site, with lots of fantastic people. We all help each other with the losses of our children.

Posts: 561
I am coming up on the 1 year anniversary of putting my darling Archie to sleep because of Canine Rage Syndrome.  He was 1 1/2 years old.  I feel your pain - it is a terrible decision to have to make, and yet I never doubted that it was the right thing for us and for Archie.  If you go back and read my posts, I received such amazing help and advice from people here.  Maybe something there will help you.  I started on this site before I put Archie to sleep - this place was a Godsend.

I will keep you in my prayers, 

Donna - Ben, Oscar, Archie and Basil's momma

Posts: 2,835
You and your family are in my prayers - what an agonizing decision you had to make to free Percy's spirit - I am so very sorry.  I don't have personal experience, but I do believe aggression is just as much in illness as any other - and sometimes there is just no cure in this life.  But your sweet Percy is OK now - TRULY at peace.  
Thinking of you...sending support and hugs...

Lee Lee's Mama,
~my heart


Posts: 5
We just put our aggressive dog to sleep yesterday as well, also with mental health issues as the cause of the aggression. He was 4. I know the feeling of failure. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's justyou can logically know that something is the right thing to do and still not really believe it.

Posts: 599
I'm so very sorry you had to lose your Percy.  It must have been very difficult for you and your family.  It was probably very confusing to Percy to have this conflicting state of mind, as the the vet mentioned mental illness.  He is at peace now without his demons.   
You did everything you could for him and in no way failed him.  Sending you wishes for comfort and peace.

Posts: 15
Thank you all so much.  I have been so conflicted about it.

I believe in my heart that euthanasia was more human than rehoming, even if I was able to get someone to take him with his bite history and aggressive tendencies.  Percy has only known one home and moving to another unknown one would have stressed him so much.  Since he's a dog with a known bite history when stressed, chances are high he would have had an incident that would have resulted in euthanasia anyway.  At least he didn't have to go through the grief and anxiety of rehoming before the inevitable. 

My vet strongly leaned toward euthanasia and it was very surprising to me.  I thought only vicious dogs were put down.  I cannot describe Percy as vicious as he was mostly docile.  But he did have sporadic displays of almost all the types of aggression.  There was social dominance aggression (like when I told him "No couch" or "time to go outside"), there was reactive/fear aggression (the pet sitter bite, the strange men issue), there was possessive aggression (the resource guarding), there was some dog aggression incidents at the dog park so we really had to curtail it, and there was some chasing/growling/barking of our two family cats (who predated Percy).  The cat issue also started after Percy turned two.  Before that, he was a dream.  Aggression toward children was a very real concern as, while once he was fine with my son's friends being over, the last time he exhibited herding behavior and it scared me half to death.  He issued a warning bark, rushed and butted the child on the leg with his forehead.  

95% of the time Percy was great.  But I couldn't make him safe to be around others, especially children, and it's no way to live -- for myself, my family or Percy himself -- to be constantly on edge and in fear of a bite.  Percy didn't like being locked in my bedroom for hours or the whole day if I had workmen at the house, or on the rare occasions I allowed one of my children's friends to come over, or a houseful of guests for the holidays.  

I'm simply amazed.  Percy WAS socialized to children throughout the first two years of his life.  He was never teased or otherwise mistreated.   He used to love everybody and, up to the end, was still incredibly loving, but only on his terms and with people he deem likeable.  If you didn't make the "I like you" list the consequences could be very dire.  

Still, I loved him so much and every night got down on the floor with him and just cuddled.  I am so upset that this is how it ends.

If it was only resource guarding I could have managed that.  If it was only strange men, I could have managed that.  But, all his issues combined, it was more than I could realistically handle given I have a family with two young children.  I thought medicine could make this work but the vet said it wouldn't.  

I wasn't even expecting the vet's advice or to do it when I did, but the vet counselled me strongly that Percy posed a very real threat to humans.  I thought about it and realized either I did then, or I waited until the next incident  and what then?  Someone hurt?  More pain?  

Thank you so much for all your support.  I can't tell you how much it means to me.  

Here is Percy:

Here he was as a baby:


Posts: 4
I know how you feel. I just had to put my dog soldier down for the same reason. read a good soldier. it's been two weeks. I spent 22 days in the hospital and I think the strain was too much for him. he bit two people in one month and I had to consider his previous scary aggression issues. I know you feel guilty and sad. try not too. it's too early for acceptance. you perhaps feel like you betrayed your dog. from his history you did not. you really tried work arounds. my dog was a pitbull and I couldn't wait for him to bite anyone else. we were lucky that they were minor bites. I just became fearful that something was going to go horribly wrong. I couldn't chance it. I have a strong belief in god. I believe that god governs all things. there is a season for all things.
just remember the love you shared. remember the good times. mental illness? not hard to imagine. I have PTSD and felt that the dog might have learned depression from me. but guilt and speculation don't help. the story is written. after soldier was gone I realized how stressed I had been. worried about him running off while we were out walking. just worried about everything. it was no kind of life for either of us. I think my dog runs free in doggy heaven now. we are both ok. so say a little prayer for your friend. you can make a monument for him. I saved soldiers collar and I'm going to get a large picture of him. I will love him always and when I feel sad I say a prayer of kind and loving words to him. you really did the best you could. sometimes things happen for reasons we don't understand. just take it day by day.

Posts: 2,835
AdeleM - Thank you for posting Percy's photos. He is certainly a handsome guy.  The puppy pics are just precious.  I know he is terribly missed.  Sending (((HUGS))) and thoughts of peace to you...

Lee Lee's Mama, Melanie


Posts: 15

I am so sorry to everyone who has had losses.  It's incredibly difficult, I know.  

I still blame myself for Percy's issues, thinking I had done something wrong.  Percy lived in a VERY loving home but perhaps I wasn't enough of a "Boss" for him.  He was so good, SO GOOD, up until he was two that I never felt I had to be, I guess.  On the very rare occasions I caught him doing something he shouldn't have (like chewing on furniture or something) one sharp "Percy, NO" and he immediately ceased the behavior and NEVER DID IT AGAIN.  There was never any typical doggie behavior he needed to be trained out of as a puppy/youngster, like pulling on the leash, or jumping on people, or nipping at play.  He had good manners.  So, I basically let him be who he was.  Beyond "sit" I didn't train any obedience cues because he didn't seem to require them.  He did what I told him to do.  He was a good dog.  I was an inexperienced dog owner. 

I researched the breed extensively before getting Percy and everything I read talked about how wonderful, docile, even-tempered, gentle, and kind the English Bulldog was.  It said over and over how they were the BEST dog for children.  That's why we got one.    Up until he was two years of age he was all of those things.  

When the issues started after age two, because he was so good prior, I thought they were somehow "mistakes."  I made excuses for the behavior.  The instances of aggression were rare enough that it was easy to delude myself into thinking "Oh, he didn't mean it, something about the other person must've set him off."  Looking back I see that it was a big mistake to think that way.  That was my inexperience.  When the issues continued, I started to research and then implemented strategies to help.  We did NILIF training, and while Percy complied with it to some extent, it did NOTHING to address the issues.

I am consumed with guilt thinking if only I had done something like institute clicker training when he was a pup he would have never developed these issues.  Perhaps if I had brought him to a high quality obedience school as a pup and implemented all that  Applied Animal Behavior Therapy training I've since read about he would have been a dream dog instead of one that had to be put down.  He deserved a better owner, one who would have done these things.  He was very loved here, and treated like a treasure, but it took too long for me to even recognize that he had a problem. I remember first reading about aggressive dogs and I actually thought, "But Percy's not aggressive, he's the sweetest thing.  He just doesn't like strange men.  Or he gets spooked easily.  Or he's just having a bad day."  I'm an idiot!!   So, by the time I called in the behaviorist, it was very late in the game.

Soldier Mommy, I do understand what you mean about now realizing how stressed you really were.  I do feel that.  I was on edge all the time, so worried. Now, I'm not worried.  Just really really sad.

Blessings and comfort to all. 


Posts: 4
My heart breaks for you and the decision you had to make.  I put my aggressive dog to sleep about 4 weeks ago. She had very similar aggression issues as your Percy.  Lunging, guarding, biting, unpredictable, snarling, etc.  They sometimes just have demons that we cannot fix. It was NOTHING that you did.  I've gone over every moment of her life to see what i did wrong and I really have found nothing that would cause such rage.  I read somewhere on this forum that it is so much better for you to choose to lay him to rest peacefully with family surrounding him then have the authorities or someone else make that decision for you, if for some reason he bit or seriously injured a stranger.  You absolutely did the right thing no matter how hard it was.  Percy had years of love and he went to sleep knowing he was loved!

Posts: 45
I am so very sorry for your loss of Percy. I know exactly what you are going through. Our dog Remi was absolutely perfect for her first year. She was purebred yellow lab that we got as a 7 1/2 wk old puppy. All she knew was love. She started to become fearful around a year, fearful of many things. She had an encounter with a dog as a young puppy so always unsure of other dogs. She was raised with my 3 kids and my daycare kids and was awesome. At  1 1/2, she, out of the blue, bit a friends little girl while we were camping. She needed three stitches in her lip, and i honestly thought we were going to have to put her down. Our friends, and everyone in the campsite, wouldnt let us. The  doc who stitched her felt it wasnt a true bite as only one tooth punctured, leading us to believe it may been an air snap that went wrong as she jumping up and down around Remi.

After that, i was nervous and Remi changed. She started to fear everyone and everything, except our family. If we dropped a knife in the kitchen, she ran to her crate. The doorbell rang, she ran to her crate. For 9 months we lived liked this and i saw some odd behaviour. She would be perfect, and then would see he airsnap if someone(outside the family) came to close. I no longer trusted her and she couldnt have been happy. We went to disneyland and while away, she attacked my parent small, old, almost blind dog(this is the one dog she actually liked). My parents believe she was trying to kill him and had they not intervened, she would have

When we got back, i knew in my heart what we had to do. It was a decision that sucked on every level. I was taking my beautiful, healthy, young ( 2 1/2) year old dog to be put to sleep. I knew also we couldnt rehome her, first, she hated everyone she didnt know, and second, she was untrustworthy. The guilt we felt was incredible.

I want you to know that one day your heart will agree with what your head already knows, you did the best thing for your family and for Percy. Had he bit the wrong person, he would have been taken from you, thrown into a unknown cell, while they decided his fate. You did the kindest, most loving thing. The pain and hurt it has caused only show how much you loved him, because the pain it is bringing you is awful.

One day your heart will be ready to love another dog. We have 2 almost 3 year old dogs now that have filled the spot in my heart Remi left. There are so many dogs that need homes, when you feel ready, know that Percy will be looking down on you smiling. You loved your boy enough to make the hardest decision in the world.

Posts: 12
Adele, I completely understand where you are coming from, the feeling of being wrecked. The doubts, regrets, what-ifs, blame, etc. I've been going through this the past couple days myself (see my post). I had to put down my dog as well, and while it is hard, I know it was the right thing. When things change in a dog, they become a risk. Something changed in my Ramsey and he almost killed my other dog Thor. Since Percy was attacking people, to me that is a bigger risk. I think the thoughts of: What if we would have socialized him more, and What if he had been crated. Well, he had gotten a lot better since we got him, and crating may have just delayed the inevitable. Ramsey had gone after Thor multiple times right in front of us. We cannot be there 100% of the time, even if it happened while we were home. Same for you, you cannot risk these things once a pattern starts forming. So you think things are good, and something snaps, your child get a life altering injury, and you'd never forgive yourself. Putting a dog down that is not old or sick is a horrible feeling. I think about the life we took, but I have to remember about the life we might have saved. When I look at Thor's injuries, I know we did the hard, responsible thing. Letting something like that go is the easy way and irresponsible way out. You did the right thing. Remember the good memories. I plan on planting flowers around Ramsey's grave and putting a tombstone up, so when I visit it I think of all the good times. You are not alone. I'll pray for you. Take care and good luck.

Posts: 15
Trinelle, I am so sorry you had to go through the same thing.  Intellectually, I know it wasn't my fault.  But still I wonder if the outcome could have been different had I done different thi

Jakoky, I am so sorry for the loss of Remi.  I understand exactly how you feel seeing a formally wonderful dog go after someone.  It's terrifying.  You just can't believe it. 

Percy also developed fears/anxieties.  It was intermittent, but you could see it in his face.  Sometimes, he would behave oddly.  For example, when he was hungry and it was time to eat, he'd look expectantly at me while I was in the kitchen.  I'd say "Percy eat?" and walk over to get his bowl and food.  He'd look at me for a second, then once I was pouring the food, he'd turn and scamper out of the kitchen.  Why?  It made no sense.  I knew he was hungry.  I'd call to him, putting the food down by his water bowl, saying "Percy, eat!" in my usual friendly voice.  Sometimes he'd come in and eat, but almost always with a furtive hesitation,  and other times not.  Sometimes he wouldn't come in to eat until one of my children walked into the kitchen.  Then he'd go over to the bowl and start eating.  My children walking into the kitchen always made him go to his bowl in a nervous/guarding manner.    I SWEAR to you nothing ever happened to Percy during mealtimes to warrant this behavior.  This also started after age 2.

Additionally, he at times appeared confused.  At night, sometimes it took both my husband and I to get him to go outside to eliminate before bed.  If I called to him, "Percy, come, pee pee outside" and opened the back door he'd at times scamper away even though I knew he should have to pee.  It's like he needed an entourage to get him to go outside.   It was so odd.  What dog doesn't want to go outside?  Again, nothing ever happened to him outside to warrant this behavior.  This behavior started gradually after about age three and got increasingly worse over time.  The past year he had started peeing in the house with more frequency.  Not daily but it occurred often enough.

There were a few other odd behaviors besides the aggression that Percy displayed.  Nothing psycho crazy but definitely behavior you would think "Wow, that's odd for a dog" or behavior that indicated anxiety when the situation didn't call for that response. 

I really should stop the constant questioning as I will never know the answers for sure.  I just hope that I did the right thing and that I didn't put a dog to sleep who didn't deserve that fate.  I trust my vet, though.  He's in his 70s, a bulldog specialist, and I'm sure he's seen a lot of these kinds of cases.  After it was done, he hugged me and said "You did the right thing."

JLK, I am praying for you, too.  I know how much you are suffering.

Posts: 2,465
Percy is a handsome boy.  I am so sorry for what needed to be done.  I am sure you feel so awful, but rest assured, Percy knew how much he was loved and I am a believer that one day you will be reunited with a healthy and happy Percy.

Posts: 730
Oh my goodness I am so very sorry for your loss of Percy. His pictures are amazing - a classic bulldog with the wonderful face and tons of character. I cannot imagine what it was like trying to anticipate or prevent the rage that grew in Percy. I can only believe that he was as terrified and confused as you and your family must have been as you tried to make sense of what was happening. He WANTED to be a good dog, he would not have wanted to feel out of control or to hurt anyone. He tried his best, and so did you.

I truly believe that dogs, like people, can suffer from devastating mental illness that is no less debilitating than kidney or liver or other diseases. The brain is an organ, like any other, but instead of a tumour or a cyst or some other symptom the disease will manifest itself as a personality change. The fact that this 'grew' in Percy is almost a sure sign that he did suffer from an organic or genetic issue in his brain, because many illnesses do not take hold until certain stages in life. Only young adults develop MS, for example, and no one under the age of 20 has ever been diagnosed with prostate cancer because it's associated with age. Even schizophrenia isn't diagnosed until after adolescence.

Percy suffered no less with his illness than my little dog Fiona did with cancer. You gave him the dignity and peace of a pain free end, much more than his illness would have given him if it had been allowed to continue. If this isn't evidence of how much you loved him then I don't know what is. You protected him as much as you worked to protect your other family members. And now, he is free from whatever demons haunted him, and you are free to reclaim and restore the wonderful memories of Percy where he was happy, loved, and safe in your heart. I know how much you grieve for him, but never doubt that you gave Percy the best life he could have had. He is allowed, again, to be the best dog he can be, and you will keep the love you shared forever although you couldn't keep him. I am thinking of you and I am so sorry you've lost him.

Posts: 14
I am so sorry for your loss. I put my precious Bubba down last Saturday. He was 4!
I had him since he was 4 weeks old. I feel your pain. I too have been completely conflicted.
Rehoming was not an option for you as it was not for me either. Please don't say you failed, you did the best you could. For whatever Percy's issues were you did the best you could and your children's safety needed to come first. I too made Bubba's world very small and isolated because of his issues. I know for me, moving forward is what I need to do. This forum has helped me so much and so far, today is the first day I haven't cried..... It will get better with time. As I tell my own kids you need to find something from this experience to take with you, nothing is ever a loss if you find something to take with you. My guess is that Percy will continue to teach you things far after being gone. I know Bubba continues too. 
May you find peace and comfort in your memories!

Posts: 4
Hi all,

I just wanted to share my story with you as it sounds so similar to Percys. My pup was pretty much the same, a great puppy we took him everywhere, he was always independent. Didn't like to be cuddled too much, always liked his own space. Then I'm his adolescent years I think about one and a half he snapped at my sister, who besides my bf and I would have been his closest companion, we thought out of nowhere. We made excuses as he thought he was possessive because she approached him while he was sitting on the sofa. The years went on and we had more incidents each time over something new food, toys, me, startling him when he slept, touching him in the dark, rubbing his belly. We got to know his warnings pretty well and things seemed to get better for a while between each incident, but then the next time it would be so much worse!

All these things we made excuses for and we thought we were handling the situation at each turn, we modified our lives and tried to take all these triggers away because he obviously became so stressed. But recently it was amping up. He was 5 years old, just a baby really but everything in the world seemed to scare him or something. He was always on edge, barking at passers by heckles raised, then he bit my bf he didn't give away warnings at all this time, bf was petting him and before we knew it his fingers were in his mouth. He bit through the nail and there was a lot of blood. It was just us in the house and it couldn't have been more calm. It stopped just as soon as it started, almost as if he just realised what was happening.

I didn't recognise the dog that he was when he was aggressive like that. We felt we were at breaking point here and started to discuss options with the vet, after advice from vet and 3 behaviouralists, there was a feeling that it might be genetic or inherited,almost as if he didn't know what was making him aggressive he just had to be. It was so unpredictable they concluded it was so unlikely we could ever trust him or correct this.

He was a lab and Akita mix and the most beautiful dog in the world, by he was big. Honestly he was every kind of dog in one, but we loved him. We couldn't bring ourselves to put him to sleep, we blamed ourselves and decided that we would watch him more thinking we missed the warning. Then only a week later we were all at home again and I was stroking his paw with my foot, something I'd done a million times and went for my leg. Again, it was like he just saw red. We had another incident after that and we decided with the vet that it was time to put him to sleep.

I just hope I made the right decision! It's torturing me, can't help but feel like we are to blame. But I do know one thing for sure, the incidents were becoming more frequent and they were getting worse. I just can't bear to think that he was so alone in the world he didn't even trust us. We put him to sleep three days ago and my heart is broken. Everything in my house seems wrong, he was always at my feel. I don't know how we will cope without him.

It's just so difficult because he wasn't like this all the time, I just wish I knew why he was like this.

Posts: 2
So sorry for everyone going through this. I too am experiencing the absolutely heartbreaking decision to put our sometimes aggressive dog to sleep. We rescued him 8 months ago from Egypt. He is a 4 yr old Golden Retriever. We knew he had some good aggression but he now also has a pretty decent bite history. He appears friendly and adorable and your typical goofy golden 95% of the time but he has trust issues and likely a sad sad history of trauma. We thought we knew his triggers well and chalked most of it up to fear aggression (cleaning his ears, approaching when he had food, any sort of vet handling etc) but he has bit twice now with no clear warning. 2 of his bite incidents have required hospital visits, stitches and lots of healing. (Me and my dad these times) The other bites have drawn blood and been punctures but no stitches needed. It is devastating because it’s like he doesn’t even realize the harm he has caused and then goes back to being his loving self. We are now living with my parents who are scared of him and on edge. As sweet as he is he is totally unpredictable and when he attacks it causes significant harm. We can never relax when other ppl are over and we are young and want to eventually bring kids into the picture. The rescue, behaviourist and vet have all recommended to put him down. We have looked for other options but it is clear that there really are no options when there’s is a dog with this type of bite history and this level of unpredictability. Even if there were it seems inhumane to break his heart again as he is so attached to us and inevitably cause a vicious cycle of fear and aggression all over again. Because our vet can not do anything for 10 days after the last bite I have had a constant pit in my stomach thinking about all of this and waiting for the appointment. I know we’ve done all we can for him but it doesn’t make it any easier. We feel like we’ve failed him and I hate that someone else likely made him this way when he did not deserve it at all.

How did others cope with this decision when 9 times out of 10 you had a sweet normal pup who has no intention of the hurt and harm. My heart is breaking!!!

Posts: 3
Aseeker, I just read your post as well and your story sounds exactly like mine. It became so easy to forget those lapses where she became very aggressive and we always thought we missed signs - but then it started to be like we couldnt even touch her without being nervous. And as you said, each time the aggression was a bit worse and she was causing real injury. This has been the most heartwrenching experience I have endured, and each time I have to remind myself that instead of grieving for my sweet dog, I could be grieving for one of my children after an encounter with her aggression. What has bothered me the most in this, was how she was put down. She was so terrified to be at the vet, and so we arranged for our vet to come to our home. Now, she hates strangers in the house almost as much so this was no easy feat. Our vet prescribed some pre-sedation to be given orally so that she would relax, and it simply didn't do anything. I moved our appointment back a couple of hours with some additional medication they gave me, and it also did nothing. In the end, they needed to come in and forcibly restrain her to give her some injected sedation and my heart is literally broken over this.

I had asked them to wait and to come back after further sedation (oral) - but they said it may not be possible to give her an adequate dose by mouth. In the end, I will find peace with my decision, I am sure, but I will never forgive myself for not protecting her from her greatest fears at the end of her fearful and anxious life. For those of you in the future who are taking this route, please discuss with your vet the strategy for sedation, and consider a plan "b" for additional sedation if things dont go as planned. I never thought it could happen this way, and I dont know that I will ever recover from this emotionally. 
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