Hardest thing I've done (1 Viewer)

little_joe

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This past Saturday, I had to put down a physically healthy, awesome little dog - our Rudy.

Rudy was found running down a country road 7 years ago this month. He was likely a year old at the time, so mostly full grown - yet he weighed only 18 lbs. He also had scars and health issues; health issues likely due to neglect/malnourishment.
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The fellow who found him happened to be a breeder (of another breed), and he got him checked out, updated on everything, and on a good diet. Rudy then went to a foster home.

When I met him June 2009, Rudy was up to 33 lbs, full of life and incredibly energetic and active - just an awesome little dude. We introduced him to our other rescue at a neutral site, things went well, so we adopted him.

The past 6 years 8 months, we loved this little lunkhead every day. He got plenty of attention, slept on our bed with us, was in excellent health and ultimately filled out to 44 lbs, he was just an awesome little companion. He was my shadow: when I was home, he was always at my side.

However, it appears that first year of life wired him differently. He was on guard 24x7 (literally), had terrible dog aggression, went nuts at motorcycles and bicyclists, severe separation anxiety, terrified of loud sounds (thunder and fireworks). Taking him anywhere was unbelievably difficult.

Over the years, we tried training, in home and at neutral sites - we were asked to leave one class, and the in-home trainer gave up. We took him to a behaviorist at the NC State Vet School, and her conclusion was tolerate it or put him down. Medication didn't help: in fact, one vivid memory I have is giving him a triple dose of a sedative prior to a road trip, and having gotten turned around due to terrible storms, I stopped at a buddy's house and Rudy tried to kill all 3 of my friend's pits (55, 65, and 80 lb dogs).

He attacked our other dog, Jacob, a few times over the years - seemingly at random. In addition, if we ever met an unleashed dog while out for a walk, invariably that dog would approach and Rudy would tear into him.

Things got to the point we really couldn't take him hardly anywhere. His domain was limited to our home and fenced yard. Thankfully he was awesome with people, never an issue.

Regardless, we kept trying with him: continued with training and practicing at home; being extraordinarily careful when taking him out usually to locations where we'd likely not run into people or dogs; whatever we could do to accomodate him. We also sought out refuges and reputable rescues/programs, but every place turned us down.

I suffered physical injuries due to his behavior and strength just trying to walk him. And I'm not really little.

Last Friday, both of our dogs got out of the yard. 5 children were nearby playing with their young dog, and Rudy made a bee-line toward them and attacked their dog. Obviously this induced hysteria among the children, and it took some effort to separate the dogs. Rudy had a few cuts, but the other dog was worse off: aside from superficial wounds, one of her front legs was torn up pretty good. Again, though, he did not touch a human/child. (Our other dog, Jacob, followed him and was licking the kids.)

It was at that point I made the decision to put him down. This was the hardest thing I've had to do with a dog: he was healthy, loving, playful, but not right. For many, this is probably passe or overly dramatic, but we are truly "dog people" and think of them as our children (since we never had kids) so doing this was absolutely awful.

If you read this far, I apologize for the length of this.

Rudy, we love you, we miss you, we tried. I truly am sorry we did not succeed. In these years, we sought help, tried everything we could and what was recommended to us; we took care of you every single day, we never went to sleep angry at you but rather called for you to come to bed with us, and spoiled you. You were loved, you are missed.

Rest easy, please, little buddy. We'll be together again.
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rrv333

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Some dogs cannot get past the tragedies they suffer at the hands of neglectful owners. Kudos to you for giving Rudy the best years of his life.
 
Joined
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What a sad story. Back in 2001, we lost our little shop dog to a 10 month old Pit Bull running loose around the neighborhood. The Pit Bull was very friendly to humans but relentless with our little Aussie mix. Thor, was a super mellow dog and only heard him bark at coyotes and never left the property. I have never trusted another pit since.

You gave it all you could and for that Rudy was a lucky dog. Sorry for your hurt (been there plenty) but unpredictable attacks have no place among neighborhoods.
RIP Rudy.
 
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You did the right thing twice. Please don't let the experience deter you from adopting again. You obviously provide a good, loving home. There are less of them than good pets.
 

splitshot

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I agree with Rob. Unfortunately, so many go through life without ever experiencing a loving family environment. Hats off to you for giving him that gift.
 
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Very sorry to hear, but you made the right choice. While not aggressive to people it would be horrible if an accident were to happen, for example when those kids tried to intervene with their dog. Our yellow lab was attacked by an older dog when she was a puppy and has since had dominance issues with other dogs. She fortunately isn't violent about it, but quickly has to show dominance to new dogs she meets.
 
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After rescuing a Beagle that was the complete opposite of your dog, I have come to the conclusion that people are bastards. She was malnourished and afraid of EVERYTHING. It took a year and a half for the tail to come out from between her legs.

You did the right thing. You saved him and gave him a great life.
 

little_joe

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Very sorry to hear, but you made the right choice. While not aggressive to people it would be horrible if an accident were to happen, for example when those kids tried to intervene with their dog.

This is exactly why we did it. For almost 7 years, we did everything possible to contain his dog aggression (and were mostly successful). But you're exactly right - had a child tried to intervene this time or the next and something happened, I'd never forgive myself.

People really suck - I don't understand how or why they screw up these little creatures. Also, irresponsible pet owners who allow their "perfectly behaved" dog that "never leaves the yard" run around the neighborhood - I lost count of how many times these dogs ran at Rudy (while he was onleash) and paid for it, thankfully never mortally.

Thank goodness for health insurance: in one such case, I suffered injuries - broken wrist, scraped a good chunk of the right side of may face off, various other deep abrasions on arms and legs, and a severe concussion requiring 2 CAT scans b/c some idiot left their perfectly behaved yard-bound 90 lb aggressive dog run free, right at us. W/o health insurance, that would have been a $14,000 incident, not counting having a tooth of Rudy's pulled.
 

kcustom73

Stretched it...
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I feel your pain. Hopefully this does not turn you away from helping other rescues in the future. Loosing a fury friend, no matter how much grief they give you is always hard.

Our current dog Shadow, who is also a rescue, shows a lot of the same traits as yours. Lucky for us is dog aggression isn't towards all dogs but just some (big fluffy dogs are the worse). So we try our best to keep him in check but like you avoid situation and places that might make react. Limits the activities we can do with him :(
 

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