Thursday, August 21, 2008

Living with One Dog

My headache is probably dehydration from last night’s sobbing and from today’s semi-suppressed crying. I’m too wiped out to explain more of the trainer’s verdict and recommendations and of my thoughts about all of that.

So I’m probably going to blog this one piece at a time.

My immediate decision is basically this:

Do I:

(1) Keep both dogs, knowing that the experts say I’m looking at keeping them separated forever, living in a house divided by babygates, with one dog always in another room or in a crate.

(2) Find another home for B-dog.

But the decision tree for (2) is really:

(1) Find another home for B-dog.
(2) Kill B-dog. (I first typed “euthanize” then “put to sleep” but who are we kidding?)

Why is (2) even on the table? Because B-dog is a Big Black Dog that has bitten at least one person and now has a history of aggression with his house-dog. He is not the sort of dog one easily places in a stable, loving, FOREVER home. I’ve read the foster-dog placement literature; I’ve interviewed people for pet-adoption; I’ve interviewed myself as a candidate for pet-adoption. On paper, I was the best pet-adoption candidate in the world. And yet here we are.

Of course I’m not going to end B-dog’s life. But when I make that commitment it doesn’t just mean taking him to the vet. It also must mean refusing to ever place him in any home that isn’t a better environment (canine-fit-wise and otherwise) than my home. And how many homes like that are there?

Even last night’s trainers, in full knowledge of how un-ideal I’ve been as a dog-leader, said I’m probably the best chance B-dog has.

So here we are.

And YES I am going to keep the alternative-home option in mind. But for now, what I owe B-dog is, at minimum, training to help him become less aggressive with people and dogs. Part of me knows this is a stalling tactic. But part of me knows that I need some of this also: I need more work on becoming stronger—for both dogs as well as for myself. So I’ll continue this work and see where we all are at the end of the year.

I’m enrolling B-dog and me in a Canine Good Citizen course that begins in October.

And I’ll keep up with my 30DR.

And I’ll pray a lot.

And here’s another thing: If either dog were to go to another home, I would be living with one dog. So I need to spend some time experiencing each dog more fully instead of just focusing on the logistics of keeping them apart. If at the end of this I end up with just one dog it’ll be like this: me and the one dog. So I need to stop mourning the idea of living with two dogs but spending time with them separately. As things stand, that’s what I’m going to get either way.

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