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Posts: 2
I have a 4 year old Lhasa Apso called Millie, she is usually a very loving and affectionate dog however she is just impossible to walk she tries to attack every man or animal we pass. Bit of background when I was walking her when she was 9 months I was attacked by a man, quite bad broken foot; ribs and black eye and bust lip etc and then a year after that she was bitten by a staffs. Queue the aggression starting! Not just on walks though around food, toys, treats etc. She has bitten me twice I still have the scars, she has bitten my partner, my mum and my stepdad. I can't cope anymore as I am planning on having a baby soon and could not trust her around children, I have paid for training, behaviourist, muzzles, Haltis etc and nothing has worked. I couldn't rehome her due to the risk to other people, should I put her down? I feel guilty for even thinking about it but I can't see another option I have to think about everyone else's safety

Posts: 730
What a terrible, awful decision to make, my heart goes out to you. Now, exchange the word 'aggression' for the word cancer. For make no mistake, I believe that dogs can suffer mental illnesses every bit as overwhelming and unbeatable as the cancer that stole my little dog from me.

You're faced with an unbearable choice. Allow this little dog to live in an increasingly restrictive and small world, muzzled, caged, alone and prevented from living a life all dogs deserve. Or, help release her from the pain and fear she must feel as she tries to manage behaviour she cannot understand or control. The first option is no option at all. That does not describe the life you'd offer your worst enemy, much less your beloved little pet. Yet it's what you'll have to consider if you are to achieve the security and peace you need in the lives of you, your family and your little dog. Millie does not want to be a 'bad dog', yet she is helpless to control whatever illness or imbalance that drives her aggression. She is not capable of helping herself, instead, she relies on the people she trusts to help her. For her to continue in this family, it means you both must live in a prison of fear and restriction, never able to relax or trust or feel anything but the awful stress of what might happen. Millie would be unable to comprehend why or how, and her life would lack any quality or authenticity.

But, oh, the other option is almost impossible to contemplate. You cannot see a tumour, watch as she struggles to eat or sleep, hear her cry in pain, or see her wind down in old age, increasingly unable to have any quality of life. Millie looks 'normal' but the evidence of her illness is as clear as the scars on your hands and the anxiety you feel every time you take her out or try to interact with her. If she was in obvious pain, or unable to eat or drink, the decision would still be difficult but somehow easier to make sense of.

So, here you are, faced with a life and death decision for a little soul who did not ask for this situation but who needs someone to help her.

I'll assume you've sought rescues who sometimes take on the most aggressive of dogs, hoping to find some way of helping them. These resources are few, and not available to everyone. I'm also sure you've consulted your vet, and you've definitely sought the help of trainers and behavioural specialists who've been unable to help Millie. And you still find yourself right back where you started, with a beautiful little dog who suffers from an illness that will ultimately steal her life one way or the other - for the prison I described earlier is like a living death for Millie. Re-homing her is not an option, either, as you're simply transferring the responsibility to someone else, all but ensuring Millie's continued suffering and decreased quality of life.

Only you can determine what is best for Millie. No one else in this world cares about her as much as you do. No one else I this world loves her as you love her. She belongs in your heart, and it is this heart that must try, somehow, to find the truth for Millie's future. Millie trusts you, and you will not let her down, no matter what you decide. In her time with your family, you've moved heaven and earth to accommodate her, to meet her needs, and to offer her the quality of life she deserves. This has not changed since the moment you first got her, and the love you feel will guide your decision. What is Millie telling you? Is she playful, is she free to be with people who love her? Is she relaxed, eager to go out, happy to be in the company of people who care for her? Only you can read her answers, and what she's telling you might help guide your choice.

Untreatable cancer, accidents, old age, any number of diseases are where most of us find ourselves at some point in our relationships with our beloved pets. Aggression is not some special place, or some different challenge. It can be every bit as painful and cause just as much suffering as any other disease, and I truly believe it must be responded to with all the compassion and courage we are responsible for when we assume the care of helpless creatures who need us to be there for them.

I do not envy your choice. For me, it was clear what must be done as I watched my little dog struggle to breath when her cancer choked the life from her lungs. The evidence in front of my eyes was overwhelming. For you, it's hidden inside Millie yet the symptoms are just as clear in her behaviour as my little dog's symptoms were when she tried to draw breath. Millie's sickness IS evident, but somehow the guilt you're already feeling is made worse because she's got different symptoms of illness than what you would see in a conventional sense.

That you love this little dog is clear in every word you wrote and in every action you've taken to try and help her. That you'll make the right decision for Millie is also clear, because you know in your head what you cannot yet accept in your heart. Millie needs you more than ever, and you'll find a way to help her, from the heart that loves her most. You've never let her down before, and you won't now. My own heart breaks for you, truly, as there have been so many people on this board who've faced what you're facing now. And it is every bit as difficult for you as it is for those of us who have pets with any terminal,or untreatable, illness. I am so very sorry you're in this awful place, and I wish with all my heart I had the answer. Trust yourself. And try to find peace in your decision. No matter what, it will come from the love you feel.


Posts: 6
I totally understand how you feel. I am in basically the same situation with my 6 year old Australian Cattle Dog. She is severely aggressive to all people and animals. Weve even had to temporarily move our other dog to my moms house because she attacks her so frequently and severely. I've been considering euthanasia for 5 months. It's so hard. I have been turned down by 3 rescue groups. One that is the largest Australian cattle dog rescue and two that claim to specialize in aggressive dogs. I have been told to see a behavioral therapist but I am 26, self employed and crippled by student loan debt. My boyfriend is also self employed. We make enough to survive and care for our dogs but we cannot afford a specialist and regular trainer. My dog too is confined in her crate, muzzled, harnessed. I cannot say if it's the right decision as I know I'm struggling to make the choice but I can say do what is best for you. My vet told us if we had kids he no doubt would 100% recommend euthanasia. I'm hear to listen/talk if you need.

Posts: 2
Thankyou both for your wonderful replies. I am really struggling with the choice my fiancé is aware of the problem but brushes it off like it's not an issue however we regularly have our niece and nephews, 2 of them are special needs and I cannot relax having children around her, we are planning on having children of our own soon so I think I know what I need to do and make the sensible decision however it doesn't make it any easier

Posts: 1,821
I have posted this before, but hope it will offer you some small measure of comfort - whatever you decide must come from your heart as your heart is the one that must cope with the decision. We will support that decision no matter which way you decide. This was written to one of many who made the decision to let their baby go, but the thoughts still apply here.

Making the decision is always heart breaking - and seems so much worse and even unfair when they are young and/or physically healthy. it is never easy - and i can only imagine how hard it has to be when they seem so healthy physically. But the sad truth is they are not healthy - mental illness is still illness.


The truth is your baby is 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 your baby 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 they could not control - simply in a form you cannot see.

You gave your baby a safe place and you loved them - and you gave them a lifetime of love and care in their time with you then allowed a dignified good-bye allowing them to leave with dignity surrounded by love. You gave them chances where many would not. Please know you did try and in the end had no real choice - what were your baby's options? Life in a cage? Intervention 'on the spot' by the authorities when things got too out of control? Someone scarred and their death happening at the hands of someone trying to stop them? An end that likely would not have been with ones who love your baby or care if they is frightened? You gave your baby a wonderful life where elsewhere they may have known abuse, and gave them every chance you could and you tried to give them a home where they would be safe. When your baby passed to the hands of the angels it was be from love to love, they carried your baby to a place where they is free of the demons that made them aggressive and at that instant your baby understood that you acted out of love and compassion. Your baby 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
your baby, 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 is with the other fur angels - free of the demons she fought against so hard.




Posts: 2
I made the awful decision to euthenize my beautiful dog, Stormy a few years ago due to aggression. She would attack other dogs to the point it was becoming dangerous. We rescued her from the pound. She was good with people though. And at first we were taking her to a dog park with no issues. A year later she changed and we no longer took her to the dog park. However, she started attacking our miniature American Eskimo, Yukon. She was only around 2 years old and I hated having her put down. If rehomed that family would still have same issue plus she was so attached to us. I still miss her and of course feel guilty. It's a no win situation.
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