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Posts: 3
I am crying as I am writing this but so glad i found this forum. On Friday we put our 2 year old German Shepherd to sleep. He had attacked my sons hands just for my son petting his head. There was a treat on the floor but my son didn’t know this. He is a 3 year old boy. He broke skin and bruised both hands pretty bad. He had swelling And bleeding. The dog gave no warning. I saw the attack and the sounds my dog made were horrible and my son screaming was worse. I feel like I have ptsd from seeing that incident. Then about 2 weeks later he started growling and snarling at my son just for being near him. My son dropped his iPad and reached down to pick it up and my dog was laying on the floor about a foot away. I saw my dog give a nasty snarl and I had so much adrenaline thinking my son was about to be bitten again. They grew up together and this behavior is so sudden and unexpected. After the first bite, I watched them like a hawk and it was so stressful and I worried constantly. I never felt like my son was safe. Even though he wasn’t afraid of him. I was constantly worried and afraid he would bite again. His body language started to change around my son too. He also started becoming aggressive towards strangers and at the vet. He has to be medicated. I couldn’t even talk to the vet unless I leave the room because he would constantly bark aggressively. They can’t handle him without medication or sedation. I love my dog so very much and he was part of our family. He never showed this behavior to me or my husband. It’s been so hard and I feel like I’m a bad person. I don’t know what to do. I had long talks with the vet, vet techs and behaviorist. He would be very hard to rehome because of his aggressiveness. They said I can’t keep the dog around my son because there was a huge risk that he’d bite again and it could be worse. If I wasn’t there when my son picked up his ipad, I don’t know what would have happened. I would feel worse if he bit my son again and possibly deformed him, lost an eye etc. I can’t ignore the signs. I can’t be a negligent parent.
I had put our last dog down over 2 years ago due to cancer. The feeling of that loss compared to this one are so different. I feel like no matter what I wanted or did, I’d still have to lose my dog to protect my son. I’m grieving so badly right now. I have terrible bouts of anxiety and sobbing at times. I feel like my heart is fighting with my brain. I’m at a loss of how to get through this. Hoping someone sees this and can help in any way.

Posts: 639
No two people are the same, and how we handle things varies. Really in the one can decide who is right and who is wrong in matters like this. Because there is no right or wrong.

I can tell you that since we are all different, I would not put an aggressive dog down. If need be, they would live out their life alone in a room in the house or apt. and only see me or whoever else was able to pass through the room. And see whoever else was able to take them out on walks and play with them alone. My personality is that way. It doesn't make me right but it doesn't make me wrong.

I once took in a stray cat. My 2 cat girls were beating up the stray. I made a "studio apartment" out of my bathroom and put the stray in there. 
There was a screen door I put up on the bathroom door so the cat could look out. I had soft lights in the bathroom that I put in, very soft and calm music playing lightly and soft things to lay on. Toys and catnip as well. I eventually found a home for the cat. I understand you believe you would not be able to find a home for your dog. I do think that's where you and I might be different. But again, in cases like this no one is better, worse, right or wrong.

Do not misinterpret this to mean that you should be like me. I was not in your shoes.

Your heart "is" fighting with your brain. In time, you will reconcile what you decided to do. The suffering in the meantime is the hard part. Do you best not to think of the past right now or worry about the future. I know it's almost an impossible request, but it will help you get through each day.

Don't forgt there are free pet loss hotlines as well.

Take care,


Posts: 394
Dear Jen,
Your post broke my heart. I cannot begin to tell you how dreadfully sorry I am about the horrible position you were put it. Please accept my deepest sympathy and condolences.
You did the right thing and I do not say that lightly because I love dogs with all my heart--IF I know that I can trust them.
When I was a child I was viciously attacked and bitten by a pack of loose dogs. If my father and his friend had not gotten to us in time my poor sister and I would have been ripped to pieces and killed. I have carried the physical and emotional scars of that horrendously terrifying attack to this day and my entire life since then has been seriously impacted even though it happened over 50 years ago.
To make matters even worse was the fact that we learned that my sister and I weren't their first victims--the dogs had attacked before and had killed two people in another state. The owner knew that they were dangerous and he should have put them down but he didn't. Instead he fled the state with them and moved out here to hide. He thought that he could keep the dogs safely contained but they got loose--accidents happen!--and my sister and I paid the price. The dogs did too--my father went back and shot all of the dogs.
It sounds like your dogs behavior was escalating dangerously. If he was that aggressive towards people at two how do you think he would be in another year? Not only would he have been very difficult--if not impossible-- to rehome but knowing how dangerous he was becoming would you be able to sleep at night if he was rehomed knowing that a "ticking time bomb" was out there and that if he attacked someone in the future that it would be YOUR fault for not doing what you knew had to be done? Also what type of person would knowingly adopt a dangerous big German Shepherd that could not be trusted? Maybe you would be lucky enough to find that one in a million who was a decent  person who would take him (but what if he attacked the new owner or one of their family members or got loose and attacked someone?) but chances are he would have wound up in the hands of a real creep and you should shudder to even think about what kind of a life he would have had.
And because of your son keeping him was NOT an option. What do you think you could do? Keep him locked up in a room (he was a big German Shepherd not a tiny Chihuahua) 24 hours a day and only take him out for a walk? If he was that aggressive at the vets do you honestly think that it wasn't just a matter of time until walking him put others in danger? Or how about making him live locked up all alone in a pen in the yard 24 hours a day if you have a yard? Do you think that would be a nice thing to do to him? He would be miserable and you would be his jailer.  And if you think that somehow you could always keep him safely contained outside or locked up in a room 24 hours a day 365 days a year for the next 12 to 15 years don't fool yourself--ACCIDENTS HAPPEN!
You made the only responsible decision that you could have made under the circumstances. But because you loved so much him it hurts you horribly and I am so terribly sorry for the awful position that you were put in and the horrendous pain and grief it caused you.
Please try to take some comfort in the fact that your beloved dog is now in Heaven. I'm a Born Again Christian and the Bible teaches that ALL animals--unlike all people--go there. Your dog is running free and playing and leaping for joy in the gorgeous green fields of Heaven. If you are not sure if the Bible is true or not here is an excellent link that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is and offers two ways to read the free book
“The Messiah in both Testaments” - An excellent study of the prophecies of Jesus and their fulfillment. MS Word DOC 400 KB  Adobe PDF 400 KB
Also here is a link to a previous post I wrote that has links to articles about what the Bible teaches about pets in Heaven and it also has some links for comfort. If the link does not take you to my opening post just scroll up to the top of the page GOD CARES DEEPLY ABOUT THE LOSS OF YOUR PET - Pet Loss Grief Support Message Board
Once again I am so terribly, terribly sorry.

Posts: 3
Thank you for responding. It’s been very very hard for me. His aggression came on so sudden. It’s like a switch went off. I’m having a hard time coming to terms with what he did to my son and how he suddenly saw him as a threat. The bites were not warning bites and it was an attack. He bit multiple times and made awful sounds while biting. He would have continued to bite if i wasn’t there. The vet said that it was something organic in his brain and it’s who he was going to be. I miss him terribly and I’m still having panic/anxiety attacks. The attack was so traumatic to me, my son and my husband. The grief is so deep right now. I love him so very much and I miss him everyday. I just couldn’t risk him biting my son again. His aggression was increasing towards my son after the bite. They used to be best friends. My son never mistreated him nor did my husband or I. It’s a terrible position to be in and i don’t wish to be judged. Anyone who has had to do this understands the pain. I loved that dog more than most will understand. But I had to protect my son. I couldn’t wait around for a bite to his face or him be possibly mauled. I’m hoping this pain lessens. I’m seeing a psychologist to help me through this very traumatic time. I feel as though I’m stuck and I can’t get out of the grief. I don’t know what to do to help with this pain. It’s unbearable at times.

Posts: 1
Dear Jen, yesterday I made the heart wrenching decision to have my gorgeous jack spaniel put to sleep. She was a rescue dog and I had her 4 years. Her issue was with aggression towards other dogs. She was sweet and loving 99% of the time and I lived alone with her. I loved her so much and we went walking and running together, we even climbed hills and swam in lakes. But occasionally something triggered in her and she would bark or react to other dogs. I took advice, visited trainers and she would be fine and well behaved. But over the last year she attached 2 dogs, unprovoked and without warning. By now I was keeping her on a lead. But outside my home she attacked a neighbours dog and badly tore the skin on the dogs leg. I felt sick. Overnight I knew what I had to do and I have cried so much. I took her to the vet who supported my decision and I held her while she slipped peacefully away.
My vet explained that there could be many reasons for her aggression which we contained for so long. But she was getting worse and more unpredictable.
And now I feel lost and guilty and so upset. I’ve lost my best friend and companion but deep down I know I have done the right thing.
I understand your emotions and you were brave taking this decision but like you I couldn’t have forgiven myself if the next attack was a fatal one.
So I am trying to remember my Holly dog and smile because of all the good times and there were more of those. It’s raw for me and I’m still very emotional but I’m going to get a memorial to remember her by.
My vet told me that I would feel guilty and she said I mustn’t. She told me I had given her love and the best life and that I couldn’t have done any more.
Remember your dog with love and fondness Jen and know that you did the right thing for your dog and family. With love xx
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