I had to put our dog, Buddy, to sleep this week. It's been one very hard week. Buddy was good with us, but had fear/aggression towards strangers. While we worked with him on obedience - sit, down, stay and come and we were making some strides, it was his fear towards strangers that gave us a big problem.
Buddy nipped my mother-in-law on Christmas Day and then within an hour he had his head on her lap sleeping. They came in the door and he got scared. Then when we would walk him he got very nervous when he saw other people. Again, we would put him in a sit and try to get him through it. We knew it would take work.
Then on Wednesday 4 women were walking across the street from our house. I was in the backyard and they were just walking and not talking very loud. Buddy barked and then he jumped the fence and ran up to them, barking and nipping. He nipped one of them - no bite mark, no breaking of the skin. Then he took off. I talked with the women, apologizing and making sure they were okay. Then I got in my car and I took off after him. It took about 15 minutes to catch him.
When I got him home and put him back in our yard, he was running around trying to jump out again so we put him on his leash. I walked in the house and told my husband that enough was enough and that we couldn't have a dog with this kind of behavior.
Buddy had been dumped at our house and I believe he had been a "country" dog allowed to run and perhaps his previous owners didn't care that he didn't like strangers, but I did. So I walked back outside and put Buddy on his leash and took him to the vet to be put down.
I didn't take him to a shelter as I didn't want to pass his problem behavior onto another family. What if I did and they beat him? It just wasn't fair to him or any future owner. I did in my heart what I knew was right, but that didn't mean that my husband and son agreed with me.
My husband took that dog with him running and my son, well, he just loves dogs. However, I was the one home with the dog all day and I couldn't constantly be worrying about what he may or may not do. Sometimes it is hard being an adult and making such decisions, but for our sake and Buddy's sake it was the right one.
It has been a few days and we have moved on and are getting used to not having Buddy around.
Here are the lessons that I learned from this experience: 1. I will only adopt a puppy from now on and we will probably stick with the labrador retriever or golden retriever breed. I do better with those breeds. 2. It was a financial lesson. Putting him down cost $130 and from the day we got him and he had his shots, checkup and was microchipped, I bet we spent at least $400, not including food and treats. That is a lot of money to spend when you only have a dog for 4 months, but I am at least learning from my mistake.
The one thing I have focused on is that Buddy had a good time at our house for 4 months. He was regularly fed, walked, played with and loved. On his last day he got to run around the neighborhood, go for a car ride and go to the Vet (which he loved). While at the Vet our son walked him and talked with him so that he was not alone.
I am not against rescuing an animal. For us it didn't work out this time. It may for another family.
Now, that the grieving process is over and I am moving on, I can concentrate on my home and family. Life is Good.