The saddest decision

Discussion in 'Rainbow Bridge - Dog Memorials' started by metaldog99, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. metaldog99

    metaldog99 New Member

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    I thought this might be an appropriate place to tell my story, and perhaps get some understanding from othere here. I apologize for its length, but I'm still very emotional about all that has happened.

    I am grieving terribly over what has happened over the last week, events which ultimately led to my 6-yr old hound mix Travis being taken to animal control and put down.

    Travis was an adopted dog who exhibited aggressive behavior towards other dogs at about 10-months. We worked with him with obedience instructors and behavior experts, and at one point had him on Prozac to try and soothe his anxiety. Throughout his life he attacked two dogs (not seriously - no treatment involved). We worked very hard on controlling his aggressive behavior. We added a female black lab puppy about 2 years ago, and they got along well - they played together, and understood each others pack position.

    About 2 years ago, he showed teeth to my 2-yr old neice who approached him while he was eating. We understood then that there was a risk with small children, and so made sure that he was crated whenever children were around. Our children are grown up and out of the house now.

    Last week, my stepson and his wife visited with his 15-month old boy. We went to great pains to make sure they understood about Travis, and that we had to make sure he was crated when the baby was up and about. All was going well until Friday, when they forgot to crate him. My stepson was eating a snack with his son on the couch with both dogs nearby. Travis growled at the baby, or perhaps the other dog - we are not sure. My stepson got angry at Travis and kicked him. Travis reacted by biting the baby on the face, breaking skin and bruising him. Everyone reacted in horror - the baby was taken to emergency room, treated and released. My wife, who was home at the time, called me at work to tell me what had happened. She said she always said that if he ever bit anyone, that was it for Travis. She said she could not live with him anymore. A police report had to be filed due to it being a reported dog bite, and my wife took him to animal control. As I was at work, we spoke on the phone as she was doing all of this, and on her way to animal control. I tried to pursuade her to stop, to give him another chance, that this was provoked and wouldn't have happended if Travis hadn't been kicked. But ultimately she said she cannot live with him anymore, she can't trust him, that once he has bitten, he will bite again, and that she cannot relax with him around anymore. As of now, he is probably still in quarantine, and will be put down within days.

    Both my wife and I feel terrible about what has happened - that our son reacted the way he did by kicking the dog as opposed to removing the baby from the threat of aggression; that our grandson got injured the way he did; and that ultimately we have to lose our dear companion, as difficult a dog as he was. We feel his loss even more than our dear departed first dog, a Black Lab who succumbed to cancer over 2 years ago. Travis was such a presence in our home, especially since we had to accommodate his personality and work every day at it. Travis was also most attached to my wife, who ultimately made the difficult decision.

    I hope anyone else who has been through difficult circumstances like these can add words of understanding. I find the only way to get through the grief is to share the emotions and feelings with others who know what it is like to bond so greatly with their dogs, even when they have as many issues and behave as they do.

    Thanks to all for being here.

    Phil
     
  2. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    I'm so sorry for you all. I really can understand the Dad's knee-jerk reaction....sometimes things happen so quickly it's hard not to react. I know it's a great loss to you. You did what you could for him. You could not keep living with a ticking bomb not knowing what might set him off. I hope you find a new friend soon.
     
  3. metaldog99

    metaldog99 New Member

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    Thank you.

    Knowing that we did the right thing doesn't help much with the sense of loss. I'm hoping that time and more supporting words from others will help.
     
  4. poeluvr

    poeluvr New Member

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    i am so sorry for travis. i hope this put down process is done fast so you dont have to keep worrying about him there. I dont know what it is like to have an aggressive dog but i doknow what it is like to lloose one. I feel for you. If it was me i would be angry and sad. Although that is your grand-son and sons son, i dont even know what i would say after all this. Maybe he will be at peace..at last
     
  5. Irish

    Irish New Member

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    I am so sorry. All of us here love our dogs dearly and we grieve horribly when we lose them, no matter what the circumstance. It sounds like the situation was beyond your control. Let yourself grieve, but do not blame yourself. I hope that one day, when the time is right, you find a happy go lucky dog that loves everyone to brighten your home.
     
  6. poodlesmom

    poodlesmom New Member

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    I am so sorry for what everyone in your family is going through. You and your wife have given Travis much love & happiness since you adopted him and have done everything within your power to help him and insure safety for all. Travis knows you & your wife knew the true Travis who was hidden within that he wasn't able to share with all others & he loved you for it. At the Rainbow Bridge he will truly be happy, at ease and able to play with all those who went before him and be a carefree furpal with no worries or anxieties and he will patiently wait for the day when all of you are reunited.
     
  7. DKim81

    DKim81 New Member

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    I'm very sorry for your loss of Travis. I'm sure you did all you could and worked hard at his aggression... the point is that you never gave up. A lot of owners would give their dog up simply for that reason but because you loved him, you accepted him despite his flaws. When it boils down to that, just realize there was nothing you could have done differently. We all love our pets but letting go is a part of having pets that we must accept, as hard as it may be. I hope you're doing well and we're all hear to listen and give support. Glad to have you here.

    Please keep us updated.

    Daniel
     
  8. Barb04

    Barb04 Love my pets Staff Member

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    Phil, my heart goes out to you and your wife on the loss of Travis. As much as we love our pets, we do have to be careful when they are around children to make sure everyone stays safe. Know that Travis is in doggie heaven with all of our pets.

    I also want to say that I hope your grandson is okay. I'm sorry to hear what happened to him.
     
  9. metaldog99

    metaldog99 New Member

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    Thank you all. Every day gets a little better, I guess.

    When we had to let our 8 1/2-yr old black lab go over two years ago, it was somewhat easier to deal with, as he was in so much pain from cancer that he stopped eating and wouldn't walk anymore. It was clearly the right thing to do for him, and though sad from his loss, we know how much better he would be now that he was at the bridge and now pain-free. If I look at Travis as having had a "disease" that he finally succumbed to, even under the circumstances that caused it, maybe it's a little easier. My wife is struggling and still can't talk about it - Travis was her "shadow"; he always followed her around, had to be near her, and was protective of her. She very much feels his loss.

    We have a 2+ yr old female black lab (Bella) who is also adjusting to not having the dominant brother around. I don't know if she is quieter or moping - we might just be noticing how quiet it is now without Travis, as he would bark at anything he saw outside, especially when someone came to the door. We are giving Bella lots of loving and attention now, and are able to do it in a more relaxed environment. She would always have to back off when Travis was around. Having her both helps and hurts - since it's all still so fresh, I'm hoping that time indeed heals.

    I hope to someday remember all the good we did for Travis, and the good times he gave us, and not just this horrible event. I really appreciate this forum for being here to share, as it really helps alot.

    Thanks again to all.

    Phil
     
  10. EliNHunter

    EliNHunter New Member

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    God bless you for enduring this heart wrenching decision. Although provoked (by the kicking) it was brought on by "something". Travis is in a good place. I just hope this doesn't deter you getting another baby some day. Sounds like you're a good Dad...
     
  11. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    I'm glad you've got Bella. And thank the good Lord your g-baby wasn't disfigured ! We're here for you all!
     
  12. metaldog99

    metaldog99 New Member

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    Yes, I have to take some solace in knowing that Travis is in a better place, free of the anxiety and fear that seemed to effect him.

    Bella just wants to play and play, and to be around us constantly. That helps alot. She must miss her playmate, as he was always the one in charge. Sometime soon hopefully we can get her a buddy.

    Again, I appreciate all the kind words. I can't believe how much it helps cope with this loss.
     
  13. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    i adopted a 10 day old puppy from the shelter and bottle fed him. He grew up with a similar nature and met a similar end. We were very fortunate we were not sued. I am so sorry for incident...and for your loss. I know exactly how careful you were being for i went thru this myself. Time will ease but not erase the pain..the good memories will be the most lasting...i send you my love.
     
  14. metaldog99

    metaldog99 New Member

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    We had dinner last night with our other son (his twin brother), who shares very much the same emotions as we about Travis and the whole incident. It was very healing to share everything with family. We truly gave Travis over 6 truly loving and wonderful years, years I don't believe anyone else would have given him.

    When my heart dog, Harley passed over 2 years ago, I found that time did indeed ease the pain. I cried every day for what seemed like weeks as I missed him at my feet and I would notice the empty space on the chair where he rested. In time, we memorialized him with scrapbook and tribute writings. With Travis, we will do the same - we talked about it last night. It may just take more time because of the circumstances. But it is important to remember the good that he brought us and the love we gave him.

    So far, I am happy to see that Bella seems pretty unaffected by everything, and is content and happy to play and hang around us. In fact, she seems more playful than ever, which is a pleasant distraction in our home.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2005
  15. Sheba

    Sheba I W A L R

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    You are not alone. We had to put a dog down, too.I made my name in honor of Sheba.I miss her so much, but I was not there, and here is what my dad told me:

    Kim is my dad's girlfriend.She was doing something and Sheba cornered her and growled and snapped at her.My dad took Sheba to the ASPCA and he told them the story.They did tests on Sheba and she could not pass them, so she had to be put down.Now, when I have the time, I sit down next to Wendy, watch TV with her, and play ball with her.When we had Wendy and Sheba, Sheba never wanted to play, but Wendy did.Sheba constantly growled, even when I tried to spend some time with her.The only one she knew very well was my dad, who grew up with her.Whenever I go to my dad's house, now, I remember Sheba, and the short time we had together.
     
  16. metaldog99

    metaldog99 New Member

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    Sheba - thank you for sharing. Travis looked very much like the picture of Wendy in your sig. He was very handsome.

    Today I cry for our dear Travis - although I am relieved that any ordeal he had for the last 10 days is over (10 days was the quarantine time). I feel so bad that he had to go through that. That he was ripped so suddenly from our home, with no time to say goodbye. Perhaps it's better that way, but my heart goes with him.

    I miss his presence, but will remember the good times we spent with him, the bonding we had with him, and his voice - well, some of the time with his voice! He was the noisiest of dogs for his 6 years, and our home is now almost unsettlingly quiet now.

    Having been without him for over a week now, we are coping most by being able to spend quality time with our Bella (2+-yr old female Black Lab), and by enjoying not having to do the crate shuffle so much, or from having to be fearful of people coming to the door. And we can now approach other people walking there dogs while we are on walks with Bella.

    However, it is those peaceful moments Travis would have at night, as we sat and watched television - the times when Travis seemed at peace, and would lie next to us.

    It is still such a mix of emotions. Because of how dominant Travis' personality was, it is so hard to get used to him being gone, despite the more relaxed atmosphere at home. He was indeed our "problem child" - but our dear child, none-the-less, and so attached to us.

    Travis, I hope you will wait for us with your brother Harley, to sing and play with us all again. We will always remember you, and always love you. See you again on the Bridge.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2005
  17. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. No matter what kind of logic there is to be found or what the circumstances, it really doesn't help your saddness and your missing Travis, I know. But, if you or your wife have any doubts, all I can say is that I couldn't keep a dog who bit someone like that. It is a ticking time bomb and as hard as it is to make a decision like that, I think it has to be done. What strength you both have. Travis is fine where he is and he was very lucky to have you and your family for all this time giving him the best that anyone could. I wish you peace and a softening of your grief in time.

    (((hugs)))
     
  18. Pugsly

    Pugsly New Member

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    You are a good Dad....a tough situation for anyone but know you did the right thing...
     
  19. metaldog99

    metaldog99 New Member

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    Tonight I remember the six great years we gave Travis, and lit a candle in his memory. As it I watch the candle, I remember the love he gave us back, and what it took to get that special love from him. I would gladly do it all and more again.

    Tonight he joins his brother Harley and is finally free, to play and be the dog he couldn't be here. Together they wait for us.

    Godspeed, Travis and Harley.
     
  20. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    I am sad for you, BUT SO MAD :mad: we lost another dogthat nit because of triggered behaviour :(
     

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