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Posts: 4
11 days ago we decided to put Zeus to sleep. After battling for 3.5 years, 4 bites that sent people to the doctor, countless red zone aggression episodes, and 10 less serious bits, Zeus growled 2 times aggressively at our 18 month old son and my wife and I felt that we could no longer trust he wouldn't hurt our family. We went to 5 dog trainers, 1 dog psychic, and a dog behaviorist. We medicated him and trained him in a training clinic once a week for 2 years. We love our Zeus Goose. We did everything we could think of and more. I wish our love was enough to fix him.

I feel like I failed him. I feel like I should have done more. maybe if we separated our son more he'd still be with us. I find myself wondering why. Why did we pick Zeus out of all the puppies at the shelter. Why did he become aggressive at 6 months. Why us.

Its been a rough time. I miss him so much. He brought so much joy to our lives. I miss his cuddles and love. He was always there for us, smiling and wanting to play. We learned to live around his idiosyncrasies. I feel like I failed him and I wish I could have done more. I love him so much and its been hard to function since hes been gone.

Zeus' Dad

Posts: 34
Zeus' Dad I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Zeus .  I don't think you failed him at all.  It sounds like you did everything you could to help him get over his aggression.  I'm sure Zeus knew how much you loved him, but you had to consider the safety of your son.  An 18 month old baby is defenseless and could accidentally have set him off.  

Posts: 730
I am so very sorry for your loss.  Zeus sounds like a wonderful boy with a very difficult illness that became increasingly bad for your family as well as him.

It's important to know, in my opinion, that Zeus did not want to be a 'bad dog'.  He had an illness, a disease that affected him as surely as the cancer that stole my little dog Fiona from me.  The brain is an organ, like any other organ in the body, and it sometimes malfunctions or doesn't work properly.  No dog sets out to decide aggression is the right behavior.  Just like no dog sets out to decide that diabetes or heart disease is the right path to follow.

All that was in store for Zeus, and for you family, was increasingly restricted lives that saw Zeus separated or confined, muzzled, prevented from being in the company of people or other dogs, not free to BE a dog, and your own continued fear of what might happen to your son, yourselves, or a stranger who crossed your path. This was not an option that would have been fair - to any of you - and you tried literally everything to see if you could help Zeus - only to find, as I did, there were no options other than the one you chose.  

Zeus spent his life in the company of people who cared about him, loved him, and who would have moved heaven and earth to help him.  The fact that he could not be helped is not your failure - it's simply the sad outcome of a disease that could not be cured or managed or prevented - just like my own situation. There is no difference.  While the making of such a decision is gut wrenching, the rational truth is that it was an act of courage AND love for a wonderful dog who was suffering.  For Zeus knew he was restricted, and that he would never share in a 'normal' life with a family who adored him.      

Zeus does not share the memories you have of making the decision, taking him to the vet, seeing what you saw.  All he knows is that he spent his life with people who loved him, and it's these memories he takes with him.  

You did the right thing, the only thing, that made sense, freeing Zeus from a life that was not any kind of life for a dog to live, and making sure he felt and experienced the love he deserved.  It's you who is left to second guess yourself, feel the unwarranted guilt, and try to come to terms with a decision that many of us make when it comes to helping those who cannot help themselves.  

You loved him.  He mattered.  And he deserves every tear you shed.  But the guilt does not deserve a place alongside his memory because it tells you lies and somehow makes you responsible for something over which you and Zeus had no control.  As you said, if love could have fixed him, he'd still be here - same for my little dog if love could have cured cancer.  But sometimes, the greatest gift we can give our beautiful companions is an ending with a dignity their illness would never have allowed them to have.  And that is something worth remembering.

My heart breaks for you, I know how truly hard this is.   

Posts: 1,821

Sadly there are times we simply cannot help our precious furbabies defeat the demons, all we can do is set them free so they can find peace (the demons cannot enter paradise) - just as there are times no matter how hard we try we cannot cure physical illness - we have seen your story before. Know you have done all that could be done and more than many would have. She has been given a precious gift - freedom from the demons that tortured him.

 The truth is Zeus was sick - no, not a physical ailment that could be seen this time - but still sick. And as with some physical ailments, some mental ailments cannot be successfully treated. You set him free. Even when we free our beloved companions from catastrophic physical ailments like end stage cancer we often go through feeling that same way, it is normal. Guilt is very often the 1st steps on grief’s path, the what ifs and if onlys are simply our grief tormenting us. When we loose these precious souls why really doesn't matter - love is a shared bond and when that bond seems severed it hurts. But your baby will be with you always - free of the aggression she could not control - simply in a form you cannot see.

You gave him a safe place and you love him - and it sounds like you have really really tried. Many would have given up on him after 1 incident, you and your family gave him a lifetime of love and care in his time with you then allowed a dignified good-bye allowing him to leave with dignity surrounded by love.. Please know you did try and in the end had no real choice - what were him options? Life in a cage? Intervention 'on the spot' by the authorities when things got too out of control? Someone scarred and his death happening at the hands of someone trying to stop him? An end that likely would not have been with ones who love him or care if he is frightened? You gave him a wonderful life where elsewhere he may have only known abuse, and gave him every chance you could and you tried to give him a home where he would be safe. When he passed to the hands of the angels it was be from love to love, they carried him to a place where he is free of the demons that made him aggressive and at that instant he understood that you acted out of love and compassion. He is free and happy. Please know all you are feeling right now is normal and no matter what the circumstances is what we have all felt. i am so very sorry for your loss.
Know we are here for you and your family. Sadly, we have seen this tale before and we do understand and we know sometimes there is no choice.

When you can please share a photo. I feel certain there are so many wonderful memories with him, and sharing those sometimes helps. And if you just need someone to sit by your side - well you now belong to a family that circles the globe.





It seemed the day was even grayer than even the greyest of days. The pup found she was suddenly at the edge of the most beautiful place she had ever seen. She could still feel Mom and Dad's tears, hear their sobs. "I'm so sorry Mom and Dad, I really did try but the demons are too strong and sometimes they pushed through." She lowered her head and began to walk away, to be sure she did not deserve to be someplace so lovely.

A radiant being in white suddenly stood in her path, surrounded by many other pups of all sizes and breeds. "Please," she implored, "I don't want to, but if you stay near me sooner or later the demons will win and I may hurt one of you. I don't want to hurt anyone, its best if I just go."

The radiant being just smiled at her - a soft compassionate smile, at that moment they reminded her of her Mom and Dad. "I let them down so many times, I didn't want the demons to win but sometimes they do. And I left them no choice, I let them down and hurt them yet again."

Hero, Seabreeze, Heather, Charlie, Molly, John, Stashie, Hershey, Samson, Morgan, Niko, Jordan, Timber, Dixie, Buddy, Tina, Snickers, Dizzy, Harley, Jack, Kimmi, Sammy, Fender, Tosca, Bruno, tried to gather around the newcommer but she backed away. Seabreeze stepped forward, "We won't hurt you little one." She looked to the radiant being and whimpered, "Please make them leave. I don't want to hurt anyone else."

Now the radiant being smiled and actually seemed amused. "Little One, reach within. Can you feel that? Can you feel the demons are gone?" The little one got quiet and after a moment looked up in amazement, "They ARE gone!!" Then she looked at the others around her, "But I've done so many bad things, I don't deserve nice friends. I don't deserve to be in such a wonderful place." Now the others all looked amused. Dizzy spoke up first, "We all felt that way at first." Slowly Dizzy's words filtered in. "You mean . . . ., I am not the only one?" she asked quietly.

Tina pushed to the front, "Of course not, all our humans had to make that same choice as yours. But now you're free - the demons are gone." The Little one thought on Tina's words. "What about Mom and Dad? Can I let them know I am free, that I'm sorry?"

At that moment all the others grew quiet, the Little One looked to the radient being and realized they were gone. She looked to the rest afraid their silence meant no. Just then a large silver wolf walked up to her, she knew she should fear a wolf, yet, somehow knew she could trust The Silver One. "Have you all finished monopolizing her time yet? If you are done she still needs to be shown the reflection pond, to be shown . . "

Just then the Little One heard a familiar sound, her Mom and Dad. "They are here?" she asked, and she followed the sound. She found herself by the clearest crystal pond, and when she looked into the pond she saw her Mom and Dad." Concentrate on them, Little One. Send your love and thanks to them - from your heart to theirs - and they will feel your love." the Silver One said gently. As she watched her Mom and Dad seemed to calm even thought they were still crying, and her Mom looked up at her Dad, "She is at peace now wrapped in our love."

The Little One looked at the Silver One and the others, "Thank You." The Silver One looked at the others and back at her, "You can see them anytime you wish from here. The others will show you how to send them your love, Little One."

(c) Candace 11/13/09

All too often people do not want to discuss this type loss, so those who experience making the decision due to aggression issues feel they are alone.

All the names of the other ones are real – Fur angels we have seen at PetLoss because their parents had to make that sad decision due to aggression issues. i am sure there are other names also - newer names and names I have accidentally left out.

We understand - know that you had no choice and we understand that you are in pain. But your fur child will be with the other fur angels - free of the demons he fought against so hard.




Posts: 4
Thank you everyone for your responses. It means a lot that this group is here and so supportive. When we are able to think logically my wife and I know we did the right thing. Its the emotional side that gets us. We were both raised with dogs but Zeus was our first dog that was totally ours. We loved him so much and remember so much of the good time that we forget how sick he was. This whole experience has torn us up inside. We cry every night and go on our standard Zeus walk together every day. I don't know what else to say other than I miss him all the time and my heart is deeply broken. I know that healing is a process I just wish it would move faster or easier.


Posts: 12
Hi Zeus-goose,

I'm sorry that you had to come to this difficult decision. I too had to come to it a couple weeks ago, with my dog Pheona. I wanted to say that I truely understand when you say you just could no longer trust him. You really did go above and beyond for this dog and I hope you find healing in your decision to let him go. I feel I went above and beyond with my pup and am also feeling a guilt you describe. While I know it was the right choice in my situation, I still have this constant pain in wanting to see her even just one more time. I want you to know that you have made the responsible choice and you have many by your side in this petloss family. You will never be alone in this.

Thanks for posting.

Posts: 92
Such wise and caring words people on this site have. What a blessing and I'm glad I found this site too!! I am so sorry for the loss of your lovely Zeus. xoxo

Posts: 92
Such wise and caring words people on this site have. What a blessing and I'm glad I found this site too!! I am so sorry for the loss of your lovely Zeus. xoxo
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