Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not a decision to be taken lightly!

There is a dark side to rescue, a side that NO rescue person ever wants to have to go, a side that we try our best to avoid at all costs but sometimes the costs are way way too much and we have no choice.

When I take a dog from the shelter I hug him, give them a treat and tell them they are safe. I also tell them they will hate me for the next few days because they get a bath, shots, worming medicine, frontline, taken to the vet and get snipped :-) LOL! But once that is all done they will love me for it...

It is a good feeling to get notes from people who have adopted bragging about how awesome their dog is or how much they love their dog. It is even funny when (and yes it happens) the one dog that drove you crazy (for whatever reason) their family emails you and tells you how what drove you crazy makes them love him even more... LOL I just sit back and laugh, silly dog.

Then there is the dark side.... when the dog isn't able to go to a home, when dog is so mentally gone that there is nothing absolutely nothing you can do and placing the dog in a home is NOT in the best interest of ANYONE'S safety.

It is the HARDEST decision in the world to make and as my one friend says to me ALL the time "You can't keep them all and you can't go live with them."

Some people believe there is a home for every dog if you just look long and hard enough. And honestly I 100% agree with that BUT does that home want another dog? And how long will it take for a dog to find that ONE perfect home that can handle him? How many dogs will die in the shelter while this one that is basically not adoptable sits in rescue and takes up a spot? How many people or dogs or things get hurt / destroyed in the mean time?

Making the decision that a dog is NOT adoptable is NOT easy or taken lightly AT ALL by anyone and especially me. However, I can not and WILL NOT tolerate a dog that is going to attack, kill, injure another dog or bite or injure a person.

There has been more then one dog that is TOTALLY fine at my house with me but as soon as he is re homed the behavior changes and the dog becomes unstable OR the dog has issues when I have people over and well that is pretty much EVERY day. You should have seen my house last night it was like Grand Central Station with people coming and going from 5:30 until 9:15. UGH! All I wanted to do was eat dinner... lol

I have a friend that said about one un adoptable dog "Just keep him!" And I wish I could but with the number of people I have coming and going, the horses, the cats, the chickens I have others' safety I need to keep in mind and I am sorry but I am not risking the life or a cat, chicken or someone riding their horse to get hurt or a person that comes over to get bit. I am not going to do.

I have one dog that I kept that I knew if in the wrong hands could be a total jerk and not a nice dog. He backs down to NO ONE, except my husband and I. He is my life, my baby and my world but he is my dog and his "aggression" issues I can handle and to me aren't that bad but someone who doesn't know how to handle a dog like that someone could and would get hurt.

I feel I have a right as a dog rescue volunteer to: #1. Save those who need saved from a kill shelter or really bad situation, not just the ones that are "highly adoptable" #2. Spay and Neuter every dog that is in my care, assist others in fixing their pets if they can't afford it and educating people on why it is important to fix your pet. #3. Make sure the community is safe and the dog is safe from harm.

I also have a duty to every dog that I bring out of the shelter to make sure the dog is healthy and happy for the rest of his life. If the dog is in physical or mental pain and I can't "fix" him or stop him from hurting then it is my duty to end his pain in the most HUMANELY manner.

The hard part is determining the dog is "mentally" in pain. You have to remember dogs can and do suffer from all the same mental issues humans have.... depression, OCD, schizophrenia, etc. The difference between a human and a dog, WE CAN TALK ABOUT OUR ISSUES and there are people to help us resolve them and medication for them. Dogs well they can't talk and unfortunately their lack of ability to communicate with us sometimes turns out to be aggressive actions that cause harm to others.

Even if I am able to work through a dogs mental issues which a lot of times I can, when he goes to a new home he is going to start all over again with new people and 99% of the time the new people aren't going to want to deal with the issues and the dog will end up returned or abused or both and then he is worse off then when I started with him.

Every time a dog is re homed they loose a little bit of themselves and "issues" can become greater and harder to over come.

The idea of a dog living his life in a mental pain and the possibility of him being abused is just not fair to the dog. I made a promise to him when I took him from the shelter that he would forever be safe and I will keep that promise.

Do I cry? Yes, not in public but I cry.. LOL Do I think about the dog everyday? Yes, I think about all my dogs everyday. However, I rest easy knowing that I will once again see them, hug them, play fetch with them and neither of us will ever feel pain again when that time comes.


Bobbie @ Silverwalk said...

OMG. You are SO right. Sometimes the good of the pack outweighs the good for the one, especially if that one could be a danger to anyone who adopted him. I have had two dogs in my pack who were truly aggressive. One was a female Pyr/St. Bernard cross who stood along my side between me and the road as two men walked by within 2 hours of being at Silverwalk. Her protective instinct went too far when she, I think, thought a Beagle was going for me. She took him down and shook him by the throat; the only thing that saved him were his two collars. I immediately took her to the vet to board while I worked with a Pyr group for either a new home or heaven. God took her - she bloated at the vet's. The second was an English Coonhound male who had "needed only one alpha roll" at his former foster's in Chicago. He came here in a trade (the dogs I sent have found homes). Initially, he seemed fine. Then, severe human bonding to the point of turning around to bare his teeth at me when I went to move him. The second time he did this was going to be his last. I didn't get him to heaven fast enough - he incited another dog and the two of them killed a hound mix who had been my dog for 7 years :(. That day, I lost two personal dogs and this aggressor. I also learned to screen and say "no," again - those already in my care are as deserving of a good, stable pack environment and home as well as those wanting to come. Like you, I have no lack of dogs needing sanctuary but will they fit the pack? It breaks my heart not to be able to save more.....but like the starfish story, with each one saved and re-homed, a difference was made for that dog. Thank you for this very honest and frank post.

LilliGirl said...

Bobbie said it very well. I've been fortunate enough to only have one come through here like that. Fortunately I saw it even though I couldn't put my finger on it and said he could not stay. When they moved him for testing in another location he attacked another dog and tore a baby doll to shreds. Then turned on the person testing him. It was sad and he had a rough life that messed him up no doubt but I could not help him.