Hard Choices

Dagwood, Blondie, & SantaYou might recall last December that my family added two new members when we adopted Dagwood and Blondie. Adorable and energetic, I expected them to fit in with the rest of my zoo with no problem. But I was wrong. Almost from the moment he set foot in the house, Dagwood hated Jack, my then seven year old pit mix. My son is pretty sure it’s an alpha dog thing and that Dagwood just hated having another male dog in the house. I’ve talked to others who believe the same thing.

So, for more than eleven months, we hoped that he would accept that fact that they were now ‘brothers,’ and that he would make his peace. But it wasn’t meant to be. No matter how hard we worked to keep the dogs apart, Dagwood would find a way – and would attack Jack at every opportunity.

On October 29th, I was working in my office and my son was on the computer in his room when Dagwood somehow managed to get out of the kennel he sleeps in – he worked a top corner loose and squeezed out of a space that should have been too small for him. Long story short, I wound up in the emergency room with C.J., who was bitten when he stuck his hand between the dogs to try and stop the fight. That resulted in a visit from animal control to investigate the bite.

For a minute, I was ready to throw in the towel, but I love Dagwood and decided one more chance. That chance came to an end on November 15th when he got loose again. My son, being my son, must have forgotten what happened a couple of weeks previously … and put his hand between them, though this time it wasn’t a puncture wound, more like teeth scraping across his hand.

What scared me the most was that my daughter let me bring six month old Aria home for four and a half days. The baby was in the house. And all I could think was what if the dogs had brought the fight to the office where I was holding her? What if she had gotten hurt.

So yesterday, we returned Dagwood to the shelter. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Especially this year after Jasper got out of the house and was hit by a car, then Sam dying from old age earlier this month. To give up a four-legged family member by choice… It’s not something I ever want to have to do again. It’s too hard.

I stressed to the shelter workers that he is a very sweet, loving dog around humans – and that he’s never hurt anyone on purpose. But he seems to hate other male dogs. They promised to try and re-home him, and I think the odds have to be good. While he was in the lobby, he didn’t bark once, just checked everything out, didn’t take notice of the cats in the glassed in room, and sat right down when a stranger reached out to pet him.

So I have to believe they’ll see why I kept giving him chance after chance. And that they’ll find a home where he will be the only pet. Because it was hard enough to give him up. I cried when I signed him over to them. I cried all the way home, then off and on all night. And I’m still fighting it more than twenty-four hours later.

I hate that he’s not here but I couldn’t keep letting him try to hurt Jack, and I couldn’t take the chance that my son would be hurt again trying to break them up. And I refuse to put an innocent little baby in danger – ever, not that I think he’d have hurt her on purpose, because I don’t believe he would have. If something happened, it would only be because she was in the path of wherever he was headed to get to Jack.

So goodbye, Dagwood. I love you, I’ll miss you forever, and I pray you’ll find a family who will love and spoil you – and where you’re the only dog in the house.


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8 Responses to Hard Choices

  1. Bianca says:

    Sorry it didn’t work out but the baby will be crawling pretty soon and could have gotten in between the dogs by accident and while your son got bitten in his hand baby would hace been her face. Though choice, good decision.

    • Kristy K. James says:

      She’s already doing the inchworm thing, Bianca – and she and my daughter will be here for a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving. I just couldn’t bear it if she’d gotten hurt during one of their fights. And then there’s my son, who couldn’t remember to keep his hands away from their faces…

  2. I hope he finds a good home. That was a tough decision to make. 🙁

    • Kristy K. James says:

      It sure was, Ruth. And I hope he does too. He deserves to be in a home where he can learn and thrive without the temptation of Jack to distract him from everything.

  3. Emma says:

    Sorry it didn’t work out with Dagwood but you couldn’t take a chance with him around other male dogs and and especially your family. Fingers crossed the shelter will find him a good home to settle down in.

    • Kristy K. James says:

      Thanks, Emma. I really hope they do. I’ve been too scared to check their website after the first day because they wouldn’t guarantee they would. But yes on the family. The baby is scooching around on the floor now, soon to be crawling – and then walking – and just the though of her being here and being hurt… Just couldn’t deal with that.

  4. I’m so sorry you were forced to make such a hard decision, Kristy. We’ve had to make a similar choice after we did everything within our power to make it work out, but people’s safety comes first. I hope Dagwood is placed with a family he’ll fit in with perfectly. You’ve had a rough year with your pets. 🙁

    • Kristy K. James says:

      Thank you, Lynn. I’ve never had to do anything like this before. And if he hadn’t gone after Jack while Aria was here, he’d still be here. If he’d jumped on her, or bitten her (and I know it wouldn’t have been on purpose) in his determination to get to Jack, I’d have never stopped feeling guilty. I just can’t risk having her hurt. It’s just really hard because they wouldn’t guarantee me 100% that they would be able to place him. But he’s so sweet, when he’s not around Jack anyway, that someone should fall in love with him.

      Oops. And this year has really sucked with the pets. From eight to five in four months. 🙁

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