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Posts: 3
Last Wednesday my husband and I made probably the most difficult decision we've ever had to make- to put down our beautiful sweet enormous slobbery Great Dane. I never imagined I would ever be responsible for euthanizing a physically healthy animal and, in fact, was highly judgmental of those I thought were lazy or selfish to make that choice.
 We adopted our sweet boy from a breed rescue only five months ago. His first three years were mostly unknown. We knew only he was neutered and had received yearly vaccinations. He was surrendered to a high-kill shelter because his owners "didn't have time to train him" and he "chased kids on bikes." The calluses on the back of his front legs were so bad our vet thought he'd probably spent most of his life laying on concrete
 His initial temperament evaluation indicated he was "confident" but no aggression was detected. We began obedience classes and he quickly became a beloved family member. Daily walks and trips to the dog park were fun- I probably enjoyed our outings as much as he did. 
Then the unthinkable and unexpected happened- one afternoon he lunged and bit a woman who had been petting him. He inflicted a single puncture wound to the outer arm and bruising. There was no growl or change in posture or warning noted by any of the dog savvy persons present. We took him immediately to the vet and over the next week we tested him for any possible physical cause. Nothing was detected. We continued with training and consulted a nationally recognized animal behaviorist.  We were informed by the behaviorist that aggression was noticed, that sometimes it takes a period of time in a new home situation before pre-existing behavior manifests and we could possibly contain and work with the behavior but there would never be a "cure." We made the decision to commit whatever resources were necessary and took steps to keep people safe (muzzle, privacy fence) and him away from unsafe scenarios.  We worked hard and so did he. 
During tis time, we were informed that the woman he bit was most likely going to sue because she was not healing well. 
Although upset by this we remained committed to standing by our boy. I've always believed that you take on a lifetime commitment when you bring an animal into your life.
There continued to be some aggressive moments but everyone remained safe and unharmed. Then last week, when my guard was down because he had never been aggressive towards someone he knew, he lunged suddenly towards the face of a person known to him. Luckily that person instinctively covered their face and was bitten on the hand. 
At that moment, I realized that we could never provide complete safety for those around him. His sheer size- greater than 150 pounds- and the unpredictability of his actions made this an impossible task. 
My sweet boy died with his head on my lap and I have been crying for days. What could we have done differently? What right did we have to make that decision? Why did this have to be???  
I know in my heart that there is no re-homing a giant dog with a bite history- I had investigated. But I am left with a huge empty sad hole in my home and my heart. 
Thank you for letting me share. Please give your pets an extra hug on behalf of my boy.  

Posts: 214
I am so sorry for you. You must be hurting in unimaginable ways... What a hard situation. You have come to the right place, to grieve, to talk, to cry. Everyone who loves an animal just like you loved your boy is right here, going through the same loss. The loss of our children, our friends, our family.

Now there is something you need to bear in mind, upon everything else: there was no other choice. It's terrible, but in your situation, that was the only thing you could have done. I've read about this. There are others that had to go through what you did. Maybe they're even here, on this board.

Don't feel guilt, don't have doubts. You loved your boy very much and he understands this. Believe me he does.

stay safe, take care, be kind to yourself.



Posts: 11,059
I am so sorry your precious dog has passed on.  It is always heartbreaking when a pet is too aggressive and you can no longer trust them.  I cried when I read that he died with his head on your lap.  Letting him go was not an easy decision for you to make, but he is at peace now.  He is a big, lovable boy at the bridge and is getting along with everyone.  My heart goes out to you as you mourn the loss of your dear pet.

precious Christoph ~ 2 years at the bridge ~


Posts: 3
Thank you for your kind words. I know he loved me as I did him. I just have this nagging feeling that I violated that trust he had in me to keep him safe always. 

In my grief I am also feeling so angry at those irresponsible and "backyard" breeders who simply put two dogs together without consideration or knowledge of genetic temperament history. I do not know positively that this was the case with my beloved boy but it is highly likely per the experts we consulted.  I also feel sad that his first three years of life were most likely not as filled with love and activity as the months I am grateful to have had with him.

In my mind I see him racing down the hills at the off leash park- "galloping like SeaBiscuit" as my husband noted- with tongue and ears flapping:)

I plan to scatter some of his ashes there.

Posts: 1,821


i am so very sorry. Sadly, this is not a new tale here ~ it is a sad choice so many have had to make. Sometimes we have no real choice, and mental illness is so hard because our babies look so normal and healthey most of the time. But as you said - how would you be able to live with something really bad happening in that small part of the time when Scrubber looses himself to the demons?  hope this helps  - 

The Gentle Ones


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 radiant 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 is with the other fur angels now - free of the demons he fought against so hard.


Posts: 17
To ScrubbersMom :

You did everything possible under the circumstances and should be commended for the love you shared.  Some things are just beyond our control.  This appears to be one.  Please take comfort in knowing that you gave your boy every opportunity to thrive.  His early years' experiences apparently just overrode all the love you gave.  I'm so sorry for your loss.

Posts: 28
Dear ScubbersMom

You could of been writing my story.  Yes it is hard and we must grieve. 
The angry part too is how people can mistreat a puppy who cannot defend themselves and not realizing how it will impact them as they get older.
A month ago my husband put our 15 month old siberian husky to sleep.  We got him at 6 months old however the damage had been done and we were unable to change him.  He was taken from his mother at 3 weeks old and then the landlady & her dog used to terrorize him.  We were in the midst of working with a Behaviour Therapist & Trainer as he had a people aggression too.
Then in 1 week he bit my husband (2nd bite) and lunged at a neighbour, I was out of town my husband called me to let me know it was time and he was putting him to sleep. 
 You are so right about the safety issue, we always had to be on guard and except for eating and night time he had a muzzle on now were we going to also have a pen inside the fence for him.
You gave him so much love in the short time he was with you and he will forever be in your heart.
Do not be too hard on yourself.  Perhaps if he had another owner they would of given up sooner.
My guilt is that I was not able to be with him when he went to Rainbow bridge.
In my mind he is now free of the muzzle and fear of people and can run free at Rainbow Bridge.  Yes there will be tears and in time I hope I can accept that he is better off.
Tikanni's mom

Posts: 29

Oh my goodness I read your headline and thought I could have written it.  I am so sorry for your loss.  I had to put my nearly 1-yr old down just yesterday.  Poor pup was found in the middle of the road at about 8 weeks, showed aggression almost from the start.  I know I did everything I could, training classes, special certified behaviorist, he was just wired wrong or something, his aggression was too severe for him to be so young.  Just breaks my heart that he couldn't have lived a long and happy and healthy life.  My sincerest condolences to you, and my heartfelt tears fall for your pup and mine.  ♥


Posts: 1,901

i am so sorry for all of you for having to go through this.    i can't even begin to imagine all the heartache, worry, concern and frustration that you all must have been in.   thank you for loving these babies and trying your best to help them.    in the end, you still helped them by releasing them back to God where they now can live a peaceful and happy existence.   


Posts: 596
I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Unfortunately, some dogs never can overcome an aggression problem, especially if they've been taken from the litter too early. And an aggressive dog is not a happy dog. You did what you thought you had to do, you did not fail him, you tried every way you could to help him.

I hope you and your family will find peace with this. God bless you all. 
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