Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I feel like throwing up right now...

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All of the times I’ve imagined getting rid of the dog, it never went like this.

He’s been irritable and growly lately, his behavior moody and unpredictable, trying to run away each and every time we let him go out to pee. He's been snapping at the children, nipping them and growling. A visit to the vet revealed nothing, his vaccinations are up to date, and I’ve been at a loss as to what to do with him.

Suddenly this morning, he bit Abby, hard, unprovoked. It wasn’t a gentle warning nip. It was a hard, deep bite, leaving deep bleeding puncture wounds and a bloody scrape on her forearm where he swiped her with his paw after he bit her.

I agonized for a while, then called Animal Control. I didn’t do it lightly. I hate the dog, but my children LOVE him. But biting and hurting my kids? That’s where the line is.

They told me they would quarantine him for ten days, then give him to the county shelter, where he would undergo temperament testing (whatever that is). If they determined that he wasn't a danger, they would adopt him out to a child-free home.

I talked to the kids about it, but they’ve heard me threaten the dog so frequently that they didn’t really take me seriously. When the animal control officer showed up at the door, they all started to cry.

They were totally devastated.

I tried to explain it to them, how we couldn’t risk having a dog who bites, how I could never forgive myself if I kept a biting dog and something more serious happened, how my friend’s son was unexpectedly mauled by the long-time family dog and permanently disfigured.

They didn’t understand. All they understood was that the dog they loved so much was leaving, being taken away in the back of an animal control truck.

Abby tore away from me. She ran down the block after the truck, screaming for him to come back, please come back. It was awful - one of the most heart wrenching things I’ve ever seen or heard in my life. I carried her back into the house, inconsolable.

She loves that dog so much. She hugs him and loves him and carries him around and pets him and talks to him. She draws pictures of him and tells him stories and sneaks him treats and sings to him.

She was (and is) beyond heartbroken. She sobbed, “Mommy, please don’t let them take Wicket, please, please, it doesn’t even hurt at all anymore, he’ll be so good, I promise.”

They choked out questions in between sobs. “Is he coming back?” “Is he gone forever?” “Mommy, I love him, I love him, I love him.” “Please let him come back, Mom.” “Is he gonna be happy?” “Will they take care of him?” “Can he come back if he’s good?”

All I could do was hold them and stroke their hair and cry with them and tell them how very, very, very sorry I was. And I am. I’m so sorry. I'm devastated for my children, and especially for my Abby, who I found sitting by his crate tonight, weeping.

When she said her prayers before she went to sleep, she said, "And please bless Wicket to be happy and good and..." and then she started to cry again, and I had to lie down next to her and hold her until she fell asleep.

The horrible thing is that I don't know if I did the right thing or not. I tried to err on the side of caution, on the side of protecting my kids from harm. But I don't know if it was wrong or right. I just don't know, and I can't stop crying about it, knowing how much they are hurting, how deep of a gash I've inflicted on their tender little hearts.



104 comments:

  1. You are NOT a bad mother. *hugs* I can only imagine if we had to do something like this with our doggie. But the kids have to come before the dog, and if the dog loses it, well, I think you did the right thing.
    Good job mama, even though it was hard.

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  2. That is such a hard decision, but I agree with brightonwoman... the safety of your kids is the most important thing. Good luck talking with your kids about it... I hope that they don't have any permanent scarring! :)

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  3. Absolutely the right thing to do. I think sometimes we get so caught up in pets being part of the family and forget they are animals.

    When the signs are there that they are no longer safe to have (which they are here) it would be irresponsible as a parent to keep the animal hoping things will get better.

    I went through a similar situation with a cat - its hard and you'll miss the pet but keeping them isn't worth sacrificing your sanity and safety.

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  4. You are not a bad mother. You have to protect your kids. It hurts to see them cry, but you would feel even worse if something horrible happened.
    I love my dog, I have had him longer than my son or my husband. But if he ever bit my son, it would be bye bye. You did the right thing.

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  5. I'm gonna five it to you like it is. You're not a bad mother, Wicket is a bad dog. You totally did the right thing. If he's been getting worse, he'll continue to get worse.

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  6. That was "give" it to you. That was a very confusing typo, but cut me a break....it's 4:30 in the morning.

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  7. I think you ABSOLUTELY did the right thing. Your kids come first, and the dog second. If he bit her unprovoked that isn't something you should have to deal with. You are a good mommy to think of your children first. It will get better, and when your kids are older they will understand you did it because you were protecting them.

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  8. Embejo3:13 AM

    Oh, you poor poor mummy. That is one tough decision and one tough day. Of course your made the right decision. There wasn't really another one to make...it would feel a whole lot worse to a) keep the dog and worry, or b)keep the dog and regret it because something terrible happened.

    Awww...they will cry poor things, but they will be ok. Maybe you could have a special event to 'solidify' all their special memories....like a memorial service. It might help them through the understandable grief.

    PS I haven't commented before but have been reading lately...can't remember how I came by your blog. Can I stay?

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  9. Oh bless your heart. :(

    I agree with the others. You did the right thing.

    It SUCKS that you had to do it, but it was the right thing.

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  10. You did the right thing, even though it's hard for your kids. Their safety has to come first. *hugs*

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  11. You did the right thing, so stop feeling guilty about it. Yes, the kids loved the dog, but could you have lived with yourself if the dog had harmed them in such a way that they couldn't heal?

    To help you feel better about yourself: we shipped our dog off the day the twins came home from the hospital, over 10 years ago. The three screaming kids keep begging for a dog, to which I say, "We had a dog. It hated Primo. Because of Primo, we no longer have a dog."

    Imagine, if you will, the therapy that kid SURELY will need due to my half-assed parenting.

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  12. You had a very tough decision to make and I think you made the right one.

    Your daughter may not understand it until she has kids of her own but you did the right thing.

    It sounds like Wicket has some serious issues that are only going to get worse. Protecting your children is your number one priority.

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  13. We have three cats...since before our son was born, we completely agreed that - as much as we love our cats - if one of them ever attacked our child(ren) without being provoked, she would be gone. No question. People are always more important than animals.

    It's hard that it makes your kids sad...but I really think you did the right thing.

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  14. As tough as it is, I too think you did the right thing.

    Maybe you could get another (more docile) pet to replace Wicket?

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  15. I think you did the right thing, too. Some dogs do get mean as they get older, and they get put down as a result. Your way at least gave the dog a second chance. That was a merciful thing to do.

    For what it's worth, some of our friends lost their homeowner's insurance because their dog bit someone and they refused to get rid of it. So there is a financial side to consider too.

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  16. You did the right thing. You can't have an animal that is dangerous not just for your kids but for the kids in the neighborhood. What if he did get away from you and hurt someone else's kids?

    Sometimes, as parents, we have to do the hard thing even though it makes our kids sad. But we are the parents and we have to do what is best, and someday they will understand....

    Good Luck to you and your sweet kids.

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  17. Oh Sue! What a hard thing to do. But I would have done exactly the same thing. Actually, I probably would have abused that dog first, so you're a better person than I. Just remind your kids that there are always good-byes, and their time with the dog was special, and they can remember it forever.

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  18. You did exactly the right thing. So sad. I can't even imagine how hard that was. But when the dog is grumpy like that you have no idea what they are capable of...

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  19. You did the right thing. THere is no doubt in my mind. And you were kinder than I would have been to the dog, too. One of our cats scratched our child deliberately and we had the cat put down that day.

    And this is a horrible story, but I think it will help you know that you did the right thing: acquaintances of my parents had a dog that bit occasionally and was bad tempered and they made a lot of excuses for it and then one day it killed their toddler.

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  20. Anonymous7:04 AM

    i only read a few of the comments (i love love love your blog, by the way)... i am compelled to (finally) comment, because i LOVE my dog. and, although i get (completely) not wanting an animal in your house that would hurt your kids, you have to realize what wicket's been through-- TWO MAJOR LIFE CHANGES IN A MATTER OF MINUTES. he's probably losing his mind. animals really struggle with upheaval, just like people. he's probably just so completely out of sorts. i doubt he meant to hurt anyone (doesn't excuse it, i know).
    anyway...

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  21. A second opinion from another vet would be helpful - there must be some explanation for his behavior, even if the behavior itself is not fixable. An explanation would make you feel better.

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  22. We have a dog that our kids adore, but if she EVER bit one of our kids unprovoked, I would get rid of her in a heartbeat even though it would cause much weeping an gnashing of teeth from our kids.

    You absolutely did the right thing.

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  23. Sometimes dogs just lose it. You did the right thing. And you know, growing up a farm girl, I saw so many animals come and go. I think it's good for kids to learn about loss. I know that doesn;t make it easy to watch- I was so very sad when my daughter's hamster she had saved for and loved died after only 2 weeks- but it does give them perspective. I've been wanting a good excuse to get rid of my dog, but I really don't want it to be this! Good luck.

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  24. I add my ditto to {almost} everyone's comments. I too feel like you did the right thing. I probably would have done something way more inhumane to the dog, then regretted it. So you did the right thing. You thought about it and you took the proper steps to have the dog removed from your home.

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  25. I don't care WHAT the dog's been through. He bites, he's gone. Period. Totally unacceptable. You would be in serious denial if you wrote it off as "he didn't mean it." They ALWAYS mean it, and without serious behavior modification, he would have done it again.

    (Insert the fact that I am in favor of behavior modification, and I hope he does get that home without kids.)

    I recommend reading Cesar's Way and watching the DVD's of his show (The Dog Whisperer) before getting another dog, if you decide to go the pet route again. It will help TONS, and also help your kids understand that dogs are NOT PEOPLE, they DON'T think like people, no matter how much we want them to.

    I love my dog dearly, but if she ever bites, see ya.

    Still, though, I can see how this is really hard and I feel your nausea with you.

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  26. I agree with everyone else. You completely did the right thing. If anything else ever happened you never would have forgiven yourself.

    I'm sure the kids are upset but with time they'll get over it...just try to make sure they understand that you did it for them and their safety!

    Maybe you could get a picture of Wicket in a frame and give it to each of the kids so they can always remember him.

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  27. You did the right thing. Really.
    And Sue, whatever you do, do NOT go get another pet out of guilt.

    People should not be allowed to buy pets while under the influence. You know what I mean!!

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  28. Oh my. I would also say you did the right thing. You needed to make a call for your family, and as much as pets feel like family, they are still animals.

    Now the thing is just keep talking with your children as they let you. And they will. Because they know that you love them.

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  29. You didn't "inflict a gash on their hearts." But life sure did.
    I think this is what my friends mean when they keep telling me that parenting just keeps getting harder as your kids grow (greeeaat)

    But it does because their hearts and lives grow, leaving much more room for the pains of life to get in.

    Oh, the mom guilt. I'm sorry.

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  30. ugh, oh that is just awful. I'm so sorry. you of course did the right thing, this is just one of those moments where being a parent stinks more than you can know it's going to when we signed on...

    *prayers*

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  31. Right thing, no question.

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  32. If you would have had to put him down due to illness or age they would have responded the same way. A loss is a loss.
    You did the right thing, Sue. So sorry it ended like this. *HUGS*

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  33. I wouldn't wish that decision on anyone. You are a caring and wonderul mother who wants nothing but a safe and warm environment for your children. The dog was not coping well with the family anymore and it was time for a new family. I'm sorry for your children, but there are plenty of other puppies out there!

    Be strong!

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  34. You did a great job. Tough as this is for them, they will get better, especially as they get older and realize the actual problem. My friend's sweet family dog just up and attacked her mom one day, ripping her ear off her head. The dog was put down, and while she was terribly sad, she never questioned the reasoning behind it. Wisdom comes with age.

    My brother's cat turned aggressive, culminating in his attacking my two-year-old daughter, biting her in the head down to the skull. They got rid of the cat. The kids cried. Two years later, they barely remember him. They learned that everyone, animals included, make decisions and every decision comes with a consequence. The cat's decision to bite their small cousin resulted in the consequence of his butt being shipped off to another family (with no kids). Oh well.

    Your kids will heal, one day at a time.

    You did good.

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  35. I also stumbled upon your blog and have yet to comment but this made me jump out of lurkdom. You totally did the right thing. We have 2 dogs that we love--even though they get on my nerves sometimes--but if either of them ever bit anyone to the point that you are describing they would be long gone.

    Also, did you get medical attention for your daughter? The reason I ask is that my husband was bitten by a dog a few years ago with a deep puncture wound and it had to be treated with antibiotics--IV antibiotics when the oral ones weren't working. According to his doctor he could have lost his arm. I don't mean to alarm you but it's a pretty serious thing when a dog punctures deeply.

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  36. I know that their physical hurt and risk of seems like something altogether after witnessing their hurting hearts but I've no doubt you did the right thing. The thing every loving mother would have done; kept her kids safe.

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  37. As much as it hurts and breaks hearts... you absolutely did the right thing. I'm sure you have thought out every single scenario, but I want to also remind you that you are also protecting your children's playmates. If the dog will bite a family member, he will certainly not hesitate to rip the face off of some random friend who pushes their button... whatever it was that caused him to lash out in the first place.

    Sadly, when you have young children and their friends about, you must have a dog that will not bite even WHEN provoked.

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  38. I would err on the side of caution...I have a really good friends whose daughter had her left cheek practically bitten off...the family said it had never happened before...that the dog was relatively gentle in nature. One never knows!

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  39. Such a tough decision to make, but it sounds like the right one, especially since he bit Abby. Is she okay?

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  40. oh sue, IM CRYING!!!! what a hard thing. but i can tell you our shitzu turned the same way- just MEAN in the later years- he's actually legendary to my highschool friends who refer to him as "that mean little shit". i know you're all hurting in such another real way now. I am sorry. just keep being the wonderful loving mom you are and the hurt will heal.

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  41. In my area, if a dog bites twice, then it is considered a vicious dog and needs to be put down. So. I think you did the right thing. As painful as it is for the kids, you do have to protect them... and their little friends (and the mailman, too). Besides, would you really want a criminal record all for the sake of your dog? (It could happen!)

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  42. When dogs start biting children is exactly when you draw the line. So even though you feel bad, and I would too, you did the right thing. Because like someone else said, how are you to know he wouldn't bite a neighborhood kid next and then that's a whole other cup of noodles...

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  43. Our dog bit a neighbor kid once--hard. But, the child had been chasing him and grabbed him from behind. We did the quarantine thing and he has been fine for the last 9 years.

    If he had bitten a child again, even provoked, we knew we would have had to do what you did.

    Maybe you can ease their pain a little by following up on where he ends up--letting them know that he is in a place that is more suited to him and therefore happier.

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  44. I am so sorry that this happened. I am sure you know you did the right thing, but what could be harder than watching your kids in pain and knowing that you caused it? Not a lot. I hope that Wicket finds a new home, that maybe in quarantine he'll be able to relax and re-gain his nice dog-ness. The right thing's not always easy, but at least your kids have a really wonderful mama to help them through it.

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  45. Having a dog bite your kid is the worst. feeling. ever. Been there. It sucks. I'm so sorry.

    That said, let me echo everybody else. You did the right thing. I'm sure there are ways to 'fix' your dog, but the bottom line is that you are probably not in a position to do it. We had a trainer look at our dog, who listed all the things we would have to do to keep him safe, and even then, there would be no guarantees. I looked at her and said, 'Are you KIDDING me? I can't do all of that--I have a 2 year old!"

    That particular dog is with Jesus now, by the way.

    If you need more reasons to feel like you did the right thing, imagine THIS scenario: your dog bites another kid, this time on the face, this time so badly that the child needs reconstructive plastic surgery, and not only do you have to pay for the medical bills, the family then SUES you for additional damages. Guess what? You're screwed, because the dog has a history of biting. You don't have a legal leg to stand on, PLUS there is a great chance you would lose your homeowner's insurance. Yeah, dog bites are bad news.

    I second the Wiz, by the way. If you are going to get another dog, read Cesar's Way first. Will change how you look at dogs. After 2 dogs who bit, we now have a dog who hasn't touched our kids--2 years and counting.

    Good luck.

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  46. I'm so so sorry. It was your only option, really. Sometimes being a mom is a dirty job, but the good moms aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and protect their kids.

    You are a good mom.

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  47. Oh, one more thing. My mom says that if you want a dog, pray about it. The right dog will present itself to you. Its how we got our wonderful Sampson, completely unexpected and one of the biggest blessings ever.

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  48. You did the right thing. They'll hurt now, but you're protecting them, you know they'll be safe. Maybe at a later point you can get them a new dog that won't bite them. I'm sorry you had to make such a tough decision though.

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  49. i agree with the other people -- you did the right thing. it might take them a while to understand, but eventually they will. you have to protect your children, even if you're protecting them from a danger they don't see.

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  50. Anonymous11:15 AM

    I dont think you did the right thing.

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  51. Oh, mama, you did the EXACT right thing, and I think your comments overwhelmingly attest to that fact. Your children's safety comes first.

    I'm sure it was an extremely difficult decision to make, especially with the kiddo's immediate reactions, but they will bounce back and will come to understand that it was for their ultimate good and protection.

    When dogs draw blood, they get a "taste" for it. It kind of 'empowers' them to continue on being aggressive. This is definitely not a desirable characteristic in a family pet, and getting that dog out of your home now (befor it becomes a liability) was a wise move.

    **Hugs**

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  52. I'm so sorry you guys are going through this. What a painful, but right, decision.

    When your kids get a little older it might be wise to talk to them about what happened and why you did it. With some space, they will understand it much better.

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  53. You made me cry...

    I'm so sorry for your family....

    You did the right thing...

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  54. Oh wow...
    As someone who was attacked by my cousins' "beloved family dog" and still carries the scars...you did the right thing.

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  55. Aw, that is such a sad situation. Poor doggy was probably just stressed by all the moving around, but what can you do? You can't have him putting your kids at risk.

    I had to do basically the same thing with our dog Theo. He had grabbed Blake by the leg and was dragging him around the yard. I was in the shower, so I didn't even hear him screaming for help. And Blake was a 9 year old and this was a 9 month old pup, so you can see how strong he was. I knew we had a problem with the dog, but that scared me and sealed his fate. Within 24 hours, he was out the door! We sold him to a breeder.

    Oddly enough getting rid of Theo wasn't even stressful at all. Even though we totally love animals, we were all SO sick of that darn dog, even the kids weren't sorry to see him go and we've never missed him a minute since then.

    Because your kids are so stressed out, I would definitely look into getting them another pet to focus their attention on. Maybe a kitten or a hamster or a very gentle older dog.

    Losing our St. Bernard was a huge trauma for Blake. She died very suddenly and painfully and we adored her. Even 3 years later, Blake will burst into tears when he sees a movie with a dog the dies. Keep in mind, this kid is ten now, so you'd think he'd be over it, but this can be a huge trauma for a sensitive kid.

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  56. You totally did the right thing. And when your kids are older, they will understand--my son did once he hit an age where he could connect the dots; he was upset when he was 7 and we had to give the dog up, but by the time he was 15 or 16 he fully understood that the next step in that dog's devolution was to not just bite someone, but possibly kill them.

    When it comes to keeping a dog over a kid's safety--even just potential safety--the kid always comes first. No second guessing. You did the right thing.

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  57. Oh man, it is so hard to see your kids so sad, but you are such a good mom and did the right thing. Like you said in your post, you wouldn't want something more serious to happen.
    Hugs to everyone!

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  58. You did the right thing. Don't question yourself...As a mother your kids have to come first, and this just proves that they do. Tough decision, but you made the right one.

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  59. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Don't let two anonymous comments keep you from believing that your human children's lives are much more important than a dog. Our family adores our wonderful dog, but there is no question which one would be surrendered if she hurt one of our kids.
    You did the right thing. Time will heal, and losing people/pets we love is part of the human experience. You were protecting your babies. Enough said

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  60. I'm commenting again (sorry!) to echo all those who talked about liability issues. I hadn't even thought of that until I read the other comments, and seriously, if that dog bit again, and it was a different kid, you would have been SCREWED.

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  61. While I agree that a dog biting a child is NEVER acceptable, I feel a bit sad for Wicket that you didn't work with him to fix the issue first.

    Dogs, like people, have a hard time with change. He's probably reacting to that. Dogs don't bite without reason. Now the poor guy is being thrown into another new situation, with a possible other new situation (if he gets adopted) as well. He's basically doomed to fail.

    As a person who grew up with dogs my entire life and I KNOW I'm a more kind, loving, compassionate person because of it, I feel for your kids.

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  62. i feel really bad for your family having to go through the dog trauma. i don't like dogs and from that point of view i would say that you did the right thing. but i don't know. you probably will never know if it was the right thing to do or not but that's ok! be there for your kids and when they are old enough, i hope that they will understand.

    as for twilight...i had no idea that this book causes you so many troubles (or evil comments). let them be, i don't know the book and after your synopsis i don't think i'll pick it up. sounded pretty dumb to me ;-)

    cheers,
    franzi

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  63. Anonymous3:15 PM

    You surely did the right thing, as hard as it was for you. A dog who will bite like that is not to be trusted. If you didn't do it and one of your children were damaged for life by a dog bite, THAT would be an on-going lifetime pain.

    Perhaps you could get your children interested in a new dog that isn't temperamental?

    Kudos to you--your children will understand when they get older.

    Gloria

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  64. Anonymous4:48 PM

    Totally agree with the first two anonymous commenters. Animals are just as feeling and sensitive as humans, we are after all 'just animals' too. Like anon # 1 said, you have gone though major life changes in the last while and of course your dog is going to have his own response to that. I am NOT saying that I think it was OK for him to bite your daughter, not at all. But, I do think the dog deserved more of a chance than to be simply immediately put out to pasture. I know that most shelters simply don't have the resources to house all the many, many abandoned animals they receive, so if indeed he's deemed 'unadoptable' after these tests, he will be euthanized. Surely this 'snap' of his wasn't the other shoe dropping, it was a final reason to get rid of him; like anon # 1 said, it is a strong possibility that he would've never intentionally hurt any of your children, he's just been under stress too. Animals can't yell like we humans so their expression of frustration, etc., is unfortunately through biting and barking. The kind of dog you had isn't known to be violent, by the way.

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  65. Debbie5:52 PM

    I find it kind of strange that almost all of the people who disagree with your actions are too cowardly to use their names. Much easier to be judgmental and disapproving when they're anonymous, I guess. Talk about cheap shots.

    I'm not sure what they want you to do - use your daughter as a test case for doggie rehabilitation, I guess. I swear, people are absolute idiots about animals.

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  66. Debbie5:55 PM

    Maybe you should publish the IP addresses of the anonymous commenters, see if they will stand behind their cheap shots once everyone knows who they are.

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  67. How sad. That is such a hard decision to make... HUGS! I hope the kids get over it quick...

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  68. Here is the essence of good parenting: Doing the right thing for your kids even when it's really, really difficult. I'm so sorry your daughter was bitten and that your kids are sad. Hope it gets easier.

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  69. We did that to a pair of dogs we had who bit the neighbor and killed a duck. I'd do it again. Don't sweat it.

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  70. Oh, what a hard situation to be in! I don't envy you, but you of course have to protect your kids.

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  71. and u made me cry too! what a horrible thing to deal with, sorry! get her a fish...

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  72. you poor thing. how horrible. our beagle bit my son the other day because he stepped on his paw and really hurt the dog. jimmy had some bruising, but he didn't care, he loves that dog so much. usually the beagle is a big baby push-over so i'm not worried about it -- i can't imagine taking max away from the kids.


    i'm sure you did the right thing - you have to follow your gut on these things.

    some days are just hell.

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  73. Amen Debbie! Cowardly Anonymous'!

    As a mom, you ALWAYS need to follow your gut instinct when it comes to your kids. It's a God-given gift and shouldn't be ignored. You absolutely did the right thing and even though it's a sad day, it will get better.

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  74. We had lots of animals (usually dogs) growing up. Some were awesome, some were not, some turned mean. We got rid of the mean ones.

    We also had an old rooster for awhile. I was young and the thing had it out for me. Anytime I was near, It would chase me and knock me down and peck repeatedly at me. (Only me!) My dad shot it. No questions asked.

    I think you did the right thing. I'm sorry it's hard right now though.

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  75. Oh Sue.
    Sometimes parenting is just plain hard.By protecting them (like any good mama) they still get hurt. That sucks.
    Hang in there!

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  76. I'm sorry the children are so upset, but you need to remember that YOU are not the one who did something wrong...Wicket did. He always seemed very excitable to me, and sometimes nipped at people without connecting (me included). This is a step for your children in learning that life includes loss and sad times that aren't fixable but have to be endured.

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  77. I'm about as big a sucker for animals as you will ever find, but even I know that it only takes a single bite to kill or scar a child. Well done for making an incredibly difficult adult decision and doing what absolutely had to be done. Ignore those who would have you compromise your children's safety.

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  78. Sad situation all around. It's so hard to see your children in pain. I hope they bounce back soon. I agree with the majority here...I definitely think the dog needed to go.

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  79. You did the right thing. There is a difference between a nip and a bite. A biting dog bites again. You were right to not allow it to happen again. I am just so sorry that your children can't understand it. Hugs.

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  80. I think you did the right thing, but I'm sorry! We babysat my sister's dog last summer and my children got this docile animal to bite 3 times, and one time required stitches, so we had to find him a new sitter. It was very sad, they all cried. I can just imagine if it had been their own dog for a long time. Oh, except I can, because if I reach farther into history I can remember when my husband gave the dog away without telling us. No goodbyes! I can't believe I'm still married to the guy.

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  81. Wow, um, some people really need to check their priorities, wouldn't you say? You didn't take Wicket outside and shoot him (and I know a few people who would've gone that route), you called Animal Control. BECAUSE HE'S AN ANIMAL WHO NEEDED CONTROLLING. You did the right thing by your kids, the neighbor kids, your own sanity AND the dog. And anyone who says otherwise... well, I hope they don't have kids.

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  82. You did the right thing. Very mercifully too. I am so sorry for your kids' pain. And yours. You'll all be in my prayers.

    I've loved many, many dogs. If any of them bit a child, I'd have had them put down. Period. And I LOVE dogs.

    In the dog world (pack mentality and all that), the alpha dog would have taken him out. You are alpha. All people are alpha. Biting alpha means you leave the pack. Them's the rules.

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  83. Anonymous1:39 AM

    Debbie said...

    Maybe you should publish the IP addresses of the anonymous commenters, see if they will stand behind their cheap shots once everyone knows who they are.


    I posted anonymously bc I didnt want to get hate mail just bc I said I didnt agree w/ her decision. I didnt call her a bad mother. I didnt pull any CHEAP SHOTS!
    I had my dog taken as a child and I didnt get over it. I still think about Faith all the time.
    People need to realize if you take a pet into your home you are responsible for their care forever. If a child had a behavior problem, ie hit other kids, would you send him off?
    And it seems this dogs home life was stressful bc of some recent moves?
    If you know anything about behavior problems in animals they stem from stress, commonly related to moves, etc.

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  84. Oh and I had Bambi torn from my loving arms when I was six. I sobbed and sobbed as she was stolen from me. I know how traumatic it is to lose a dog you love. I still remember it; I still feel that pain.

    But if a dog bites a person, that is that. They go. They are animals that have the capacity to take human life. Have a little sense, Anonymi.

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  85. You are a good mother. You did the right thing. Unfortunately the right decision is often the difficult one and the hardest to explain to children.

    We recently had to get rid of a dog. She had gotten into the duck pen and killed everything in it. She was very proud of herself for this, poor thing. The children were really attached to both dog and ducks, so the trauma was several-fold for them. While I was knee-deep in dealing with this, my husband calmly made a phone call and got the dog adopted out to a non-duck, non-small-child household.

    Our dog wasn't a bad dog but she hadn't been a good fit for the family in a long time. It might have been possible, at ruinous cost, to have dog-proofed the duck pens. On the other hand, the dog had been looking at my youngest child the same way she'd been looking at those ducks. The only way of protecting everybody would have meant totally isolating the dog. Now she's in a home where she's given all of the attention she deserves with none of the temptations she had to endure here. We were lucky and she was lucky, because the other choice was putting her down and I would not have hesitated. I would have felt guilty, I would have felt awful, and I still would have done it because it would have been the safest action to take.

    You did everything you could do. Anything else would have been taking unreasonable chances. ((((hugs)))) from the Southern Cali High Desert Rat.

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  86. Sue - Hope you read this!! My husband is a dog trainer. I don't know if you can even get your dog back at this point, but he would be totally willing to help Wicket. He would come to your home, and he's pretty good at what he does. (I realize I'm biased, but he really is pretty good.) Even if you decide you want another dog, he helps people pick out dogs and aids in the transition bringing them home. (I told him I didn't think you really liked dogs and didn't know if you'd be getting another. Especially after this.)

    His site is http://www.k9housecall.com

    We have dogs, and I don't like having dogs. They're pretty good, and they stay outside all day. But if one of them bit.....I would want to get rid of them, too. Obviously I'd have DH really work with them before making a permanent decision, but I'd be afraid for my kids.

    Tough situation for you. Hope everything works out.

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  87. Anonymous10:21 AM

    Here's an anonymous comment for the other anonymous commenters.

    A "strong possibility that the dog won't bite again" is not 100%. Even a small possibility is too great of a risk, and as others have pointed out, this is also a liability issue. The dog is now a known biter. This was an unprovoked attack. It could very well happen again.
    I was bitten by a German Shepherd when I was five. It was also an "unprovoked attack" If my dad hadn't been right there to scare the dog away, there's no telling what might have happened. The police were called, but nothing happened because the owners swore up and down that he was a kind and gentle dog, and wouldn't hurt anyone. I had bite marks in my hip to prove otherwise.
    Also this was said.......
    "If a child had a behavior problem, ie hit other kids, would you send him off? "
    No, however, there is a difference between a child and a dog. I get so tired of people acting like a dog is equal to a human child.
    However, if someone in society does hurt someone else, deliberately and unprovoked, chances are that they will be "sent off" The jails and prisons are full of these people.
    Sue, I know this was a hard decision for you to make. You need to take care of your kids first. There will always be times when we need to make decisions for our children that we know are the best for them, and even though they don't understand now, eventually they will.
    I know your kids loved this dog, and will miss him, but as it was pointed out earlier, HE was the one that did something wrong.
    Your kids and their safety come first.

    You did the right thing.
    You are a good mom!

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  88. After the 88th comment saying you made a good choice, does it get old?

    But you did make a good choice. And your children will get over it and life will be good again. Soon.

    I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

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  89. Anonymous2:24 PM

    my mom had to do this when i was a kid. i eventually got over it, but be prepared to get little guilt trips thrown at you when they want something else. it worked for years afterwards. years.

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  90. I would have done the same thing. Sometimes the right decision isn't the popular decision. HUGS to you and your children. I know that wasn't easy, but our job as mothers is to do what we think is best for our children.

    *ps that post should have come with a "grab a tissue" warning!*

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  91. Oh man, buddy. I'm sorry you have to watch your kiddos go through this.

    I was a dog groomer while I was in college and I've seen some nasty bites (and been bitten a LOT). In my experience the dogs that bite once normally bite every time they're under pressure. I once saw a lady get bit that needed almost 50 stitches in her face. It's just not something you mess around with, especially with little ones around.

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  92. I think you did the right thing... if the dog is getting old this can be a common thing (not that that would change the decision, nor should it) he won't "out grow" probably only get worse.

    I am sure it broke your heart...hugs, I hope that each day gets easier on the kids!

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  93. My aunt and uncle had a Great Dane once. He bit my sister twice, and they would not get rid of him, then he bit my uncle on the hand down to the bone, and they would not get rid of him. Then he bit my 87 year old grandfather on the head and they would not get rid of him. Then he took down a cyclist and the state got rid of him. This was by far the most humane, this way he has a chance at another life with a family that he won't endanger. A lot of times when a pet is acting like that, like a cat that my husband got rid of when I was pregnant with our son who was peeing and pooping all over the house, this cat went to a new family who has never had any problems with him and loves him dearly. Sometimes it's just best to let go.

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  94. So sad. That picture broke my heart.

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  95. Late to the game here, but no. You did the right thing. I don't think I would have been able to control myself enough to call animal control. We have a gun in the house and I've never used it, but I think I would have been able to...

    You definitely did the right thing.

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  96. It may or may not have been better to send the kids off to the movie while the dog was taken away. I'll note if I had a weapon on hand I would have shot the dog. (Ok, maybe I wouldn't be able to do it, but I'd come close. I'd also have few qualms in putting the dog down.) As I am not their parent I do trust that you made the best decision in the removal methodology that you could.

    As for the decision to send the dog away, you did exactly the right thing. The dog harmed a person - a child, at that. And the dog is not worth the worry, time, or financial investment to attempt to ensure that it wouldn't happen again let alone the legal and financial consequences if it - or worse - were to happen again. You made the best decision to ensure your children's safety.

    You made the right decisions.

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  97. Anonymous9:33 PM

    I feel sorry for the dog.

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  98. is there "Anonymous Controll" I could call for ya?? talk about things that need to be taken away!

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  99. You made the right decision! Any child is more important than a dog. Period. But sometimes the right decision just sucks.

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  100. Anonymous10:31 PM

    K...hopefully I don't sound like a huge brat here....I have no idea your past in training your dog. But being married to a sucessful dog trainer, who has been training dogs for 14 years, it is EXTREMLY uncommon to find a dog that cannot be trained to act well around children, be obedient, and to fix the agression problems. Personally I think it is completely unfair to the dogs that get sent away because the family will not take the time/spend the money to give the dog a fair chance. Over half of dogs sent to pounds get put down. I have a 2 yr old and 8 month old around 2 wonderful dogs. Yes the saftey of your children should come first, but to be honest you should have done so much more before sending the dog to the pound!! And again I don't know your past with the dog, maybe you did try everything you could, paid for training, put time into the dog etc. Hopefully he finds a good home and does not get put down :(

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  101. If you are interested in getting your dog back, keeping it away from your children until you can get him fixed.

    My husband lives in Utah. Don't know where you live

    www.communicanine.net

    I'm not just saying this because he is my husband, but he works wonders, he does a great job.

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  102. Anonymous10:38 PM

    Wow and I am so suprised by what some of these comments are saying!! It really worries me how easy it is for people to justify discarding a pet! As the OWNER you need to take the responsibilty to train and take good care of your animals. What kind of lesson do you think (not from the orginal post but from some of the comments I am reading) it is teaching your kids that oh it was peeing and pooping in the house so I gave up and got rid of it?? Give me a break! Some of your shipped your dogs off just because you were brining home kids? Wow.

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  103. Wow. I'm kind of shocked this post got so many comments. I'm closing comments now because I don't want any fighting to break out. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and support, it helped a lot.

    I did have Abby's hand looked at and she is fine. There is one puncture that is slightly infected but it should be ok in a day or two if we keep the medication on it.

    I did plan to have the kids away when they came to get the dog, but they came home early and the animal control officer came too late.

    The kids are actually doing fine today. They've been in good moods and haven't mentioned him at all. I'm sure we'll have good days and bad, but for now, they are doing fine. I've been surprised by it - I thought they would be more upset, but they're kids and they're pretty resilient.

    If we ever do get a pet again, it will be when the kids are much older and when we've trained OURSELVES to handle a dog better than we handled Wicket. Honestly though, I doubt we'll ever have a dog again - so the dog lovers out there can breathe easy.

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