Today my wife and I put our 7 year old, 48lb pitty-mix, Ollie to sleep.
I am almost beside myself typing these words with so much pain and guilt and disbelief that his dreaded day has finally come and now there is no escaping the heartache.
I LOVED Ollie. He was something really special. Healthy, athletic, so full of life, BUT he was dangerous. He wouldnt hurt my wife or I and our other 13 year old collie mix was his best (and only dog friend).
Even though we are quite active people, Ollie usually only sat in the car or stayed home with our other dog, Kaiya, when we went skiing, biking or hiking. However, there were exceptions.
Every once in a while Ollie would accompany us (usually muzzled) on a long, remote hike in the mountains. When he was very young I even took him mountain biking a few times before his first incident.
It was long, though, before Ollie attacked another dog in the apartment complex we were living. Then another. We had only had him for a few weeks and didnt see any signs of aggression. He was scared when we adopted him though. He wouldnt come anywhere near another human, but we broke the ice with him at the shelter and took him hme anyway. That first night he fell asleep on my chest and that was it. We were bound by love.
Weeks later Ollie seriously injured one small dog and also attacked another, causing us to get kicked out of the apartment complex.
We paid for Ollie to live in the shelter for a month until we found new housing. I felt so connected to him, I could not leave him. We moved into another, pretty ragged rental that would allow Ollie and Kaiya. We had a couple more incidents with friends and neighbors, mostly minor, but scary for everyone. He broke skin when he bit, human or dog, and he was very strong.
We moved a couple more times over the years before making a big cross country move to the east coast about 18 months ago.
Our business continued to thrive and we bought a house. It did not take long to realize Ollie would not permit anyone near us. He would lunge at moving cars, people, cyclists, and especially other dogs. He would go to another place in his eyes. Some who saw him barking and lunging at the window said he looked right through them. He was claerly and unequivocally a dangerous dog. He had the type of senseless aggression that could kill.
We tried many trainers over the years, but it wasnt until about 9 months ago that I decided to pull out all the stops and seek the best trainer I could find. I was even open to a board and train situation which would have cost lots of money. Still, if I thought today that training would allow him to live with us I would pay almost any figure in a heartbeat.
With our first baby on the way in May, time was running short. There was n way we could trust him with the baby and we were realistic that there would be no way to guarantee that Ollie would NEVER be able to access the baby. Things happen, mistakes are made.
I lined up the best trainers I could find but they all came to the same conclusions-- rehoming (not likely due to his history), medication and training (medication killed his appetite and rehab seemed unlikely) or euthanasia.
I knew today would come since he first joined our pack and I dreaded it. I knew Ollie had 'a screw loose,' but I also loved hime for that and all of his imperfection.
We decided a couple weeks ago that euthanasia would be the most humane.
We couldnt stand the thought of him bouncing from shelter to shelter or living his life in a shelter, wondering where we were, cold, hungry, lonely. Or if he was adaopted to someone who might neglect or abuse or him, or worst of all--someone else euthanizing him, some stranger.
I dragged myself to the vet today with my mother and wife there for support. I did my best to keep a happy tone in my voice wanting t keep him calm and sedate.
The vet gave him a sedative and within a few minutes he went from a smiley goofball to having his head slung low, breathing quickly, panting, eyes glazed.
We rubbed his body as he lay in the back of our car in the vets parking lot (we opted to do it in the car because he liked car rides and the vets office seemed to make him scared). The two vet techs he liked (or were willing to work with him) ushered him into the car after the first sedative injection.
I cried uncontrollably as I watched my baby drift away, head swaying, eyes glazed.
We covered him with a soft blanket and nestled him in his bed in the hatchback of the car as the vet gave the final injection. He took one last gasp and was gone.
I covered his eyes, hoping not to see him staring lifelessly back at me, and carefully pulled the blanket over his head and stepped away.
This is just a forum post from a stranger on the internet. I post with some hesitation of being judged. I guess all I can ask is that anyone reading this understand that we loved Ollie deeply, beyond words. We made many sacrifices for him, to keep him with us. I loved Ollie and I miss him dearly. He was a good boy, for us. He was sweet, for us. But he was dangerous.
I miss you so much Oliver. You were like a therapy dog to me, taking away all the troubles of the day with one look, one lick.
You were a funny, messed up little mutt and you were just perfect. My little baby, Oliver. I will miss you forever.