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Monday, 18 April 2011

A Wet Monday

By Lois Cochran (Guitar Grandma) of Where's the Rain

It’s raining again – and the raindrops obscure my tear-stained face. Annie, the sweet little dog in this photo, has begun to show signs that she is, indeed, Pit Bull, a reality I have tried to deny from the time she began to grow into her undeniable “bully” body.

When I adopted her from a local rescue group, I was told she was a Boston Terrier mix and at eight weeks old, she certainly could have been. The color and markings were not unlike that breed and she was very sweet.

She is still very sweet, well-trained, and mostly obedient. When she refuses to be obedient is when she is chasing other animals in the back yard.

Some time ago, she caught and severely injured a possum who did manage to get away in spite of her injuries. Of late, Annie has managed to catch and kill four squirrels.

Yesterday was the worst. I heard the squirrel squealing and I ran out with the broom and tried to make Annie drop the squirrel from her mouth. She steadfastly held on until the squirrel stopped squealing and breathed it’s final breath.

When she finally dropped it, I was in tears and sick at heart. I was faced with the realty that when she has ”prey” in her mouth, there is no stopping her.

I took care of the dead squirrel and, through my tears and utter disgust, washed the blood from Annie’s face and pondered how I could possibly live with a dog who takes such pleasure in the “kill.” Because - if she can do that with squirrels, could she one day do it with a child? Or even an adult?

She has shown signs of being more territorial with my 16-year-old dog lately, growling and even attacking her if she tries to go under the bed to sleep. Annie considers “under the bed” to be her “den” and when she’s under there, no one else may enter.

To be completely honest, I hesitate to stick my hand under there when she’s there, although she has never shown any signs of aggression toward me. But I recognize that I should not even have a second thought about that and since I do, something is not right.

When I first brought Annie home, she came down with kennel cough and I nursed that little puppy through her illness like you would nurse a little baby. And she was my little baby; she loved to cuddle and I loved to tuck her in close to me in the early morning just before we got up.

She grew quickly and clearly was not Boston Terrier. She is high-strung, and a little timid with strangers, particularly men, but I never thought of that as a problem – until now.

So what to do? I talked with my veterinarian yesterday and he suggested a pit bull rescue group. This makes my heart ache — how do you just give away your child? And how would Annie cope with that when she considers me her Mommy.

Okay, some would say I am crazy; this is a dog, for heaven’s sake. Or even, she’s killing squirrels, for heaven’s sake. Good riddance; too many squirrels anyway. Etc. I hear those arguments and understand the logic.

This isn’t about logic.

The vet gave me some anti-anxiety medication for Annie (maybe I need some too). We’re going to see if the meds will calm her enough that she won’t be so prone to chase and kill any wildlife in my back yard. She needs to be able to be out in the yard because she has so much energy and would be miserable if she couldn’t get the exercise she needs.

We’ll give it a try before we decide to make any decisions.

I’m not sure I could just abandon her to a rescue group. It seems to me it would be less painful for Annie (if not for me) to have her euthanized. She would never have to understand that her Mommy had given up on her and she’s very smart; she would know. So it’s raining today and I’m still crying.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


And I'm crying too. Ohhh, my heart breaks for you and for Annie too. What an awful situation. There is no easy or right answer. My heart goes out to you.

So sad! Have you tried finding a personal trainer for Annie? Or enrolling her in training classes. I often watch "It's Me or the Dog" on Animal Planet station, and Victoria (the trainer) recently worked with a bully breed.

Please don't have her euthanized; it's quite possible if you give her to a rescue group, they can find another home for her.

So sorry for you, but your gut feelings are real..it won't get easier to make the decision..I hear only good things about rescue groups, esp for pit bulls..Many moons ago, maybe 35, I had to have a family dog, Sam, who we had rescued from ASPCA in Brooklyn
taken away..he was a constant "runaway" and somehow we always found him..but as he aged he also got to biting people, usually children..on his last daring "escape" he bit my neighbor's young child, who knew him for years..I captured him, brought him home, called the ASPCA, they came quickly..Sam walked out with the officer and never looked back..I can hardly think of that scene to this day without tearing up..he was a great pooch..I do feel for you and your older dog too..

It is terribly painful to give up your furry child. I know. I had a Bichon Frise and he had been my baby since he was 3 months old. When he was 11 yars old I was forced to find another home for him and I cried bitter tears for weeks, even though I had found a loving couple who adored him. He adapted better than I did. I can still see his droopy demeanor when they took him away, but he fit into their family immediately. I did not do so well. I still miss him even though he is now in doggy heaven.

Thank you . . . since writing this, Annie seems to be doing well on the anti-anxiety meds and I am looking into the training possibilities. She has had obedience training, but not specific for this problem - not sure there is a specific training method for this. Anyway, thanks for your understanding and suggestions.

All the best for you and Annie, Lois. Thank you for sharing your story and in reading the comments I see that this is not an uncommon sorrow for pet owners. I had no idea.

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