January 22, 2010

A Clear & Difficult Choice

Our poor Petey, so happy in this recent Christmas photo. Sadly,  he was quietly, painlessly put to sleep last week after a shocking and frightening event.

It is startling to process what happened.  Hard to understand that our funny pup, hyper as a hot wire, who, when he ran, looked like a deer on a trampoline, had a dangerous streak so hidden and unpredictable that he attacked a guest at my house.  Not nipped at a guest... attacked.

I had asked a new friend over for lunch, a  woman I'd been emailing over the past year, another Elizabeth from Connecticut, a friend of a friend.  Finally she crossed boarders and I invited her to lunch. Petey was scratching at the kitchen slider throughout our visit, tail wagging, wanting in.  But over the past few months, only since our move, we had noticed he barked increasingly and aggressively at passersby and visitors.  So, when he wasn't cuddling with us or playing with Larry, we relegated him to the back yard.

Petey was so eager to come in that day I thought I'd allow it. And as he wagged and panted at us, so happy to be in, and as Elizabeth reached down to pet him, he attacked her, faster as lightning, biting her arm and hand maybe three or four times, her clothing at least twice.  I couldn't pull him off her.  He was in another state.. Finally Elizabeth tossed a glass of water in his face, and I virtually kicked him out the door.

I looked down and noticed the drops of blood on the floor.  "Oh my God!" I said, horrified. "Let me see your arm!"  Elizabeth had been bitten to the veins. She was bruised and bleeding.  Talk about shock and horror.  So, off we hurried to the doctor to dress wounds, get boosters, bandages, antibiotics, and ointments.  It was horrible.  Thank God he didn't get her face, or go deeper into a vein.

This attack was vicious and unprovoked. It was terrifying.  And risking another, with children around, with all the left-open doors and gates and coming and going was simply not an optioin.  Neither was leashing this beautiful creature to a fence all day, especially since we ourselves were now afraid of him. And giving him to someone to use as a guard dog where he was likely be tied to a fence and abused was also not something we were willing to do.

For me, this is new territory.  I'm still processing the shock of having someone over for a meal and a mauling.  Not an event I can easily wrap my head around.  I guess I'm going to have to pass up that "Hostess of the Year" award.   Second, I've never had to put to sleep a young and healthy dog.  I've put dogs down before, but it's not quite the same as  your very old dog -- covered-in-warts-and-bumps kind of old,  barks-after-the-stranger-leaves old dog -- has a stroke and is spinning and vomiting  on your little sister's bedroom floor, unable to focus or function.  Okay. That's a euthanasia no-brainer.

It's different when it's a young and healthy, loving family pet in his prime, a nap-mate, a walking companion.  That's a different ball game.  (The professionals I spoke with said  there was no way to get that kind of aggression out of a dog's brain.)  And there was no way I could sentence Petey to a lesser life than the one he had with us, the life he had before he snapped and went bonkers.  

So as we come up on two years, we add one more loss to our list of losses.  A lovely but ailing hen, our funny, fat rooster, all those spiders, and now our goofy, nutty, un-fixable but beautiful dog.

Farewell Petey. We loved you.
Get well, Elizabeth, brave woman, trooper girl, kind lady.


Michael said...

Wow...so sorry...what a painful but obvious choice. Now I understand your Facebook post. Certainly a bad and terrifying experience for your new friend Elizabeth. Hopefully, she'll be able to work through this.

Zendoc said...

Very sorry for your loss. Dogs are family members and losing one, as we did a year ago, is very traumatic. You did, however, the right thing. Biters can't be tolerated.

Vicki said...

Elizabeth, I am enjoying your blog tremendously. We've just reurned to Panama after a three year stint in Patagonia Chile. This post hit home as the same situation happened to us with our sweet dog Max. As difficult and painful as it was, it was the only responsible thing to do. I still have a stab in my heart when I think of my sweet Max, though he became horribly aggressive and dangerous towards others. My heart goes out to you.

Wonderful blog!

Vicki - Bambito & Las Lajas

News About The Boys

Mrs. Bliss told us there is a caterpillar here that is pink and fuzzy, and, if you touch it, its fur will stick in your skin and sting you! This happened to her daughter, Aylana. It was very painful and they had to pull the fibers out using tape! There are also scorpions and snakes, but I think there are more poisonous snakes in Florida.

William is busy, busy. In the morning he does his home schooling (Dad is his teacher!). Then, around 9:00 he rushes happily off to the local, Catholic, Spanish-only school where he audits the 4th grade! He's been doing some skim boarding but we are seriously missing the skating. Surfing looms in the near future. For a change we finally have kids on our street to play with, (not to mention dogs and roosters, snakes, toads, etc.) and it is wonderful making new friends. Still, William really misses his friends and family back in Sarasota. It's wonderful to get messages from the folks back home.

We send a special "Hello How Are Ya?" back to Nolen, Max, Connor, Emily W. and Teah!

Larry is Mr. Handy! Between homeschooling and making repairs on the house, he is never without something to do. And we have gone from never seeing him, to having him around all the time. Hmmmmmm.....

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