Registered: 1560542770 Posts: 3
Hello. I am so overwhelmed with grief, sorry, regret, shame. I adopted a German Shepard mix two months ago to be a companion for my Great Pyrenees puppy. I am a singe woman living on 21 acres with a lot of woods, so I wanted security for myself and my small livestock. I also have a minpin-chi and two cats, plus chickens and turkeys. I don't raise any of them for meat -- just FYI. I noticed aggression from the new dog about a month in. I hadn't let him intermingle with the poultry at all. He would chase them around from the other side of a screen and lunge at them. So I knew better than to let them out. But this meant keeping my chickens cooped up more than they should be. One day a chicken didn't make it back in the coop and this dog was out and he immediately saw her and chased her and grabbed her and shook her. She miraculously got away and my parents and I restrained the dog. I was dismayed because I didn't want to have to live this way. Then ... he went after my cats on two occasions. BRUTALLY. He tried his best to kill them. Thankfully they are fast and can hide. I started to keep him locked in a kennel at all times. He never showed aggression towards people or dogs. I notified the rescue where I got him that unfortunately I would not be able to keep him. I worked with a trainer and he said the only way to keep him was to eliminate ALL access to the triggers for his prey aggression -- ALL of my other animals, except for my other big dog. And I was not to allow any other animals on the premises. One of the reasons I chose this lifestyle was to have a lot of animals to live in harmony with each other.
The rescue has a policy where they will accept back an animal and rehome it. I did tell them of his aggression. They said I had to wait a mandatory two weeks and had to keep him during that time. During this waiting period, my favorite chicken became eggbound -- an egg got stuck inside and it's very life threatening. I took her to a vet. While there, a girl came in -- sobbing and begging the people at the clinic to take her dog. An adorable little Yorkie. They said no and she offered the dog to anyone in the office and said she was going to leave him outside a shelter. I couldn't walk away from this situation and I said I would take the dog. I took the girl's info and said I'd let you know how he was doing. The little dog was such a doll. He was SO sweet and happy and trusting. The only problem is that he to be EVERYWHERE I was. If he wasn't, he would bark and bark and bark and do ANYTHING to escape where I put him. Even though the aggressive dog was fine with my minpin, I made sure to keep the new dog away from him. But he saw him through the porch door and went INSANE. The little dog had no fear and kept finding a way through the locked door into the porch. The other dog was always kenneled. On Wednesday, I had the aggressive outside to go potty. I put the new little dog inside his CRATE, locked it, shut the door -- except the door knob doesn't latch. It closes but doesn't lock. But it was closed. The porch door was closed. Before I knew it, the little dog was OUTSIDE and right there. My Great Pyrenees dog was outside too and really loved this new little dog. They began playing. I was worried but had the aggressive dog on a leash and he seemed not to react at all. I went to direct him back into the house and in an instant, he was out of his collar and on that little dog. Grabbed him in his mouth and shook him. I was able to get him loose and the little dog was bleeding and fading fast. I left immediately and rushed to the vet but it was too late. He died. I just could not and cannot believe it. It was so horrific. I feel so responsible for this and know this is all my fault. I just don't know how to process the hate I have for myself and the overwhelming sadness I feel for that little dog. I told the girl who gave me the dog the news and she told me I'm a terrible person and wants to sue me. Obviously this girl gave up her dog. But it just makes everything so much worse. I had the dog for a few days but I loved him. I also have to deal with the other dog. It's not his fault but he is a killer. The rescue is taking him back but they still won't come and get him now. It's just my worst nightmare and I really don't know how to move on from this. How can I be happy again? I keep seeing the event in my mind over and over again and wishing I had locked the dog in the bathroom or chained his crate closed or not taken him at all. I wanted to help and all I did was harm :(
Registered: 1560118667 Posts: 28
What you went through is just terrible and I can not say anything but that you will have learned from this in a way that will prevent such a thing from ever happening again. Instincts in animals is something we will never be able to control. To me it reads that you wanted to give all the animals the best possible chance, so there is nothing to blame yourself for. You took steps to be as cautious as you could, but sometimes it is just not enough. You will be happy again, because somewhere in the future you will have a situation where your experience of this day will help you in making a bad situation into a good one. The cycle of life can be cruel. I honestly can say I would trust you with my animals, you did what you could and what happened is an unfortunate series of events, however terrible it is. Don't beat yourself down, accept what happened and learn from it. Use that experience for a good purpose and know that life is hard, we learn and move on to the next stage in our life.
Registered: 1498611382 Posts: 580
I totally agree with Eriksfurrbabies. You tried your best and sometimes there are things that happens in life that we can't control. Your heart is in the right place and you can't read the minds of your pets. No one knew. Be gentle with yourself and please forgive yourself. Your rescue has problems and demons in his head, it's not his fault or yours. Blame the people who abandoned him before you got him. He must have experienced a troubled life. I hope things work out for you and you can find some peace.
Love and doggie hugs Termy's mom
Registered: 1560542770 Posts: 3
Thank you so much for your kindness. I really needed to hear that I am trustworthy with animals. This is my worst nightmare. I go out of my way for my animals -- for any animal -- and to cause one's death is almost too much to handle. I am still so beside myself. I have been questioning whether or not I could even be a good parent to a baby.
Registered: 1560118667 Posts: 28
Don't blame yourself too hard, I know it is something we humans do nevertheless but things happen outside our power to control.
You say you doubt if you would be a good parent? Let me tell you a story about my own mother: I had an older sister that I never got to know, she died before I was born to leukaemia. Back then cancer treatments weren't as advanced as they are now and my sister died as a child of 4 years young. My mother went through every possible way you can blame yourself, even to the point she blamed herself for cooking with vegetables that were frozen before. She raised 4 other children after that, it wasn't easy but she did a damn good job. She forgave herself because she accepted that it was not her fault. The key is always to accept what happened, learn from it and forgive yourself. I know as humans we tend to hold on to the pain in a way to not forget what happened. In doing so we only make it harder for ourselves. You will never forget this, but you have to look at it as a lesson in life, not as a punishment. My mother has always been the person to me that doesn't let her head hang down but accept what is and move on. Please, don't be too hard on yourself for reasons that you could not have changed.
Registered: 1557511919 Posts: 171
Dear lilredwriter, I'm so sorry. What a tragedy. I understand your grief and horror over this. It's been over a month for me but my dog killed my kitten right in front of me. It was fast, violent and traumatic. I, like you, love animals and have spent my entire life as a pet owner. My dog is a rescue. He showed aggression a couple of times towards another dog I had up until about a year ago (he was 16, became ill and had to be euthanized). It was over food or over toys. I never left them alone, and I fed them separately and got rid of any toys and things worked. I thought I could make a kitten work if I never left them alone nor fed them together. I took so many precautions. He showed no aggression towards her and they were able to be in the same room with constant supervision. I don't know what I was thinking when I brought out a new toy I had gotten for my kitten. I was sitting on the couch, the kitten had gone under the couch and my dog was over by his kennel, I set her toy on the floor - a plastic tower that had balls in it that the kitten batted. The dog came around and I pushed him away, the kitten ran out and he snapped and grabbed her and I screamed and I picked her up off the floor and kept screaming and she died in my arms. I was a mess, I couldn't stop crying, couldn't sleep, couldn't eat. I kept wishing I had never brought her home, that I never bought the toy (I had just gotten it that day), had closed the dog up in his kennel. I could barely get through my day for several weeks. I wasn't mean to my dog, after all he was just being an animal and I felt that I had set them both up for failure by bringing a toy into the same room but it was very difficult for me to look at my dog for awhile. I was so sickened that this beautiful little creature trusted me and I let her down. I have been seeing a counselor and things are getting better. I'm no longer angry at my dog, I'm angry at what he did. I know that I can't ever bring another animal into the house because I can't guarantee that there could be a slip up where his instinct kicks in over an object. My dog has never showed aggression towards any person in my home. I've had him out during parties and people comment on how well behaved he is. I am still working on forgiving myself but the truth is: mistakes happen, we are not infallible, we do the best that we can. The truth is that you did not mean for this to happen, your heart was in the right place trying to give both dogs a good home, it was a terrible, tragic accident and I am so sorry you had to go through it.
Registered: 1560542770 Posts: 3
Thank you to everyone who has replied to me. This is very helpful. I am really struggling. I am so sorry you've had to go through this as well -- especially with a pet you'd just rescued. It's such a heavy feeling. I know it was an accident but I can't stop replaying it and beating myself up. How could I not have considered bringing a new dog into my home with a dog that was known to be aggressive? That because the previous close calls didn't result in a tragedy, that I had the power to prevent this dog from snapping. How could I have been so stupid? What's worse is the girl whose dog I took in hates me and I know that I've impacted her life in a negative way too. She did surrender her dog and was going to dump him at a shelter but I still feel sick about this. I keep seeing his sweet, happy little face running into the clinic where this whole thing started. He was healthy and full of life, full of trust. I will most likely need therapy over this -- I just can't seem to snap out of this depression :(
Registered: 1557511919 Posts: 171
Hi, everything you are feeling is understandable. My experience has been the same with the feelings of guilt, "knowing better", seeing my beautiful kitten's face, remembering how she loved to run and play on my stairs, having her cuddle against my back while I worked on my computer. Remembering her sweet little mews and how she loved to chase my feet. No matter what everyone says, it will be difficult not to beat yourself up because you loved the little dog, you love animals period and just want to take care of all of them. You did not mean for this to happen, you did not mean to bring grief the prior owner. It was a tragic accident. Yes, there are often things we could have done differently or better, etc but you did not do anything with malice in your heart. I think you should seek out a grief counselor. You need to talk about this and find a way to process it so that you can move through the grieving process. My counselor referred me to an EMDR practitioner, it's a type of therapy that helps you process things differently. It has been successful with soldiers and others who suffer from PTSD. You might want to read about it. This is all so new, it will take time. I'm so sorry, I do understand your pain and regrets. My thoughts are with you.
Registered: 1557592877 Posts: 138
Everyone had said it..and I agree..it was a tragic accident. We all make them.. sometimes without consequence, other times we learn a harsh lesson. This was not your fault, you did the best you could and that's what matters. We are all trying our best..what more can you ask? Be easy on the other dog too...i wish you both the best and thank you for coming here and sharing. -Katsu's dad