Monday, July 20, 2009

Man's best friend?

Boston Terriers are supposed to be great with kids. We've had our Quincy for 8 years (her birthday is on Thursday) and every time we are out with her, someone stops us and says "OH! We had one of those when we were kids! They're such great family dogs. Love kids!" or some variety of that. So we were so excited that if ever we had kids, Quincy would be the perfect dog.

While I was pregnant, Quincy suddenly didn't want much to do with me anymore. Where she usually cuddled with me on the couch, she'd now go to Steve and stay away from me.

And when Ruby was born, Quincy wanted NOTHING to do with her. Making a wide birth around anyone who was holding her.

I figured it would change. I thought her nose was just out of joint and she'd get used to Ruby and they'd become buddies. Ruby is absolutely in LOVE with Quincy. She thinks Quincy is hilarious and laughs every time Quincy walks by. Quincy can barely stand to be in the same room as the baby.

And then yesterday we were all at my parents house for my brother's birthday dinner. He had his 2 step-kids there. We were finished dinner and his little girl Cadence (who is 3) was outside playing, when we suddenly heard the most vicious snarl/snap and then high pitched screaming.

Quincy had bit Cadence. In the face. Cadence's face was bleeding. Quincy left teeth marks and a nasty bruise and swelling. Right beside her mouth. Poor little Cadence. I felt sooo bad about it. It made me sick. Literally sick to my stomach.

I am in love with my pooch but I cannot have a dog who cannot be trusted around kids. Kids are going to be running and playing and petting the dog and she cannot be biting them in the face - or anywhere else for that matter.

This is the second time Quincy has bitten a child. A few years ago at a BBQ, a little girl was mauling Quincy and she bit her in the arm. Left a mark. I felt sorry for Quincy at the time because she didn't want to be carried around like a dolly. But this time was worse, more vicious and in the face. And regardless of the situation - the fact of the matter is that this was the SECOND time my dog has bit a kid.

What happens when Ruby starts crawling and she perhaps grabs Quincy's ear? She thinks Quincy is pretty cool and wants to touch her any chance she gets. What happens if Quincy doesn't like that and bites my baby in the face? Or what if she does it to a stranger's child? Or another friend's child? It could be very bad.

I cannot take that chance.

I am broken hearted but I have to find a new home for my fur baby. I've had Quincy for 8 years and I love her so much. This is very, very difficult for me. I know I will be looked down upon by certain people who who have pets. I had a friend tell me once, "I can't stand people who have pets and then when a baby comes along they get rid of their pet.". I guess that's me, but I don't feel like I have a choice.

I have sent out a few emails to close friends who are dog lovers and who might know of a good home for Quincy. I am also going to contact the Boston Terrier Club of Canada as they have a Boston Rescue organization and perhaps someone there will take her.

I am so sad about all of this. My heart is truly broken that I have to make such a decision. This is not how I wanted it to be. I wanted Ruby and Quincy to be together as buddies. I really thought it could happen! (Steve didn't. He's always been wary of Quincy around Ruby because of Quincy's strong alpha personality). I grew up around animals. Dogs and everything else (pigs, bunnies, sheep, horses, cows, etc.) and I think it made me a better person. I want that for Ruby, and while I know we live in the city (I grew up in the country) and can't have all kinds of animals, I do want her to grow up with a dog at least. I think it is good for kids. It is something that is important to me. So it tears my heart out that I have to find a new home for the dog that I already have and have loved for the past 8 years.

I have so many emotions right now. I'm fairly sure this post didn't come out as I had hoped it would. I truly hate this situation. I had a super bad anxiety attack last night and can feel it creeping in on me again this morning. I've been crying off and on for 14 hours now. I feel like a complete jerk too. I feel bad that my dog bit a 3 year old girl in the face, hard enough so that it bled, swelled and bruised instantaneiously. I feel bad that I couldn't have trained Quincy to be better around children.

I feel bad that I have to get rid of the dog who snuggled and loved me when my heart hurt so badly after my failed IVF and when I thought I couldn't have children.

Now I have a child and the dog has to leave.

Somehow this my fault. I have somehow gone about things the wrong way.


Just Jen said...

Awww... Tara.

It truly saddens me. I know how much Quincy means to you (and Steve), and can't even imagine the tough situation you are dealing with right now.

My heart goes out to you.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

Oh Tara, this brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry you have to make this decision. If someone judges you for choosing your child's safety well, screw them. I love my dogs-they were my first babies, but if they were unsafe around my son I would make the same choice. I know it is hard, sweetie and I'll be thinking of you!

Jen said...

Aw, that really sucks. I am so sorry.

Have you thought about sending her away for super-training first? There are a couple of dog trainers that will take your dog and get them trained really, really well. They do things like police dogs and drug searching dogs, so they really know what they are doing.

But yes, I'd do the same thing in your situation.

Emily said...

Tara, you're doing the right thing. Although just because you are doing the right thing, doesn't change how hard this is on you, how much you love Quincy, how much you feel hurt that you have to give her up, and how this whole situation is not fair for anyone. It's not fair for you & Steve, Ruby, the girl Quincy bit, or Quincy.

I know that you will have to grieve this. I'm so sorry you are in this position. Just know that no one is judging you, and anyone I know would do the same thing in your situation, and would feel the EXACT same way. Even if it's one of the most painful things you've ever done.

It will always hurt, but deep in your heart you will know you did the right thing.

Femme au Foyer said...

This is sooo not your fault. You cannot fully control a dog, no matter what your best intentions are. As for your friend who cannot stand people who get rid of their pets when they have a child, I think it's far worse to be a person who is in denial about how dangerous their dog is. A few days ago my tiny little realtor walked into a clients house and his three dogs attacked her. He didn't see the attack and didn't believe her even though she was bleeding down her arm (I saw the wounds and they were nasty). His response was, "My dogs would never attack someone." At least you have your eyes wide open and see the situation for what it is.

BTW - I fear that I may have a similar problem. Bunny, my Peke-Pom snapped at my 3-yr-old cousin (in the face) because she was playing too rough with Bunny. I've never seen that behavior out of Bunny since but because I know she has the potential to snap at or possibly bite a child, I am on my guard. Like you, I do not believe in giving up animals, however, like you, I believe in protecting my child. One of those beliefs is going to trump the other if the two come to a head and I can tell you right now that it will be my child who wins.

Emily said...

Oh Tara I'm so so sorry you have to go through this - my heart breaks for you.

My sister had to do the same thing after her dog snapped at my nephew and they consulted a trainer and dog behaviourist and even he said that the chances of rehabilitation and retraining in an older dog are so difficult its not a risk worth taking with kids around.

Its not your fault and you truly are doing the best thing for your family's safety. And as someone said - its so much better to do it now rather than wait for something horrible to happen to Ruby.

Huge hugs - I can only imagine how much your heart is breaking. xoxo

noswimmers said...

OMG sweetie, I am so SO sorry. I am sitting here bawling my eyes out. I know how much Quincy means to you.

I haven't read through all of the comments, but have you talked to a trainer? I have no idea what it would involve/cost to re-train Quincy (or if its possible), but it might be worth a couple of calls.

Oh is so hard. They are our babies before we have human babies.

Sending you love & strength in whatever you have to do. xoxo

annacyclopedia said...

My heart just hurts for you, Tara. Like everyone else here has said, you're doing the right thing, but that doesn't mean it doesn't just completely suck. I'm just sending you hugs and all my wishes for an easy way through this, no matter what ends up happening.

Aurelia said...

My husband refused to get rid of his stupid vicious cats for years even though they regularly bit and hit and harmed our kids. They were declawed and I kept them far away and occasionally locked up, so the kids could be safe, but oh god, never doubt you are doing the right thing.

Those cats loved my husband and would pretend to be so kind when he was watching, but as soon as his back was turned, they went in for the kill.

My kids--now hate cats and assume that all cats are mean. I've tried to convince them that there are nice cats who purr and cuddle, but they completely refuse to believe me.

Get rid of Quincy, and someday when the kid and kids-who-might-someday-be, are a bit older, get another dog, one who can be trained to like kids.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry this is happening. But it isn't your fault. You aren't "getting rid of a dog because you had a baby". People who do that are the ones who see the dog as a child until they have real children and then don't have a use for the substitute anymore. You are not doing this, you're not "getting rid of Quincy". You are choosing to rehome a dog that can no longer live in your household.

Although there are places that you can send your dog away to for training I would be wary of them, not because they're bad, but because they don't tend to be useful for changing behaviour. They're better at training a dog for a specific job.

It is going to be hard, but it will be possible to ensure that Quincy goes to a good home, and you seem to be contacting the right resources.

areyoukiddingme said...

I'm so sorry you have to give up your Quincy. I don't know if she could be "rehabilitated" a la the Dog Whisperer, but better to be safe than sorry. Rescues will be able to find an appropriate home for her. They will also listen to you when you tell them about your lovely dog's personality. Good luck.

Lucy said...

I just got a Boston Terrier puppy--yes because of IF. I can't imagine being in your situation. It's definitely not your fault. Even when I feel so hopeless of getting a BFP, I also worry at the same time, that this might happen to me. It's out of your control though, unfortunately. I hope you're able to find a good home for Quincy.


Jendeis said...

I am so, so sorry that you are having to go through this. The only thing that I can think of would be to somehow call up a pet store or doggie daycare with an obedience trainer and ask for their advice. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

You will almost certainly not be able to re-home your dog through a rescue organization; no reputable rescue or shelter will be willing to do that for an aggressive dog.

Your dog is dangerous whether she is in a home with children or not. Sadly, she needs to be put down.

Tara said...

Why are comments like the above always left from someone who is "anonymous"???

Alicia said...

Tara, I'm so, so sorry. Like everyone else said, you aren't to blame. You're really not. Dogs are domesticated, sure, but their instinct is to "protect" themselves if they find something not to their liking; I don't think any amount of training or re-training can fix that if the dog has already exhibited agrresive behavior. You are absolutely making the right decision. Don't ever question that. That being said, you have every right to be upset. You're losing a best friend. I don't know if this is coming out right, but I hope it all works out. I hope you find her a new and happy home. And regardless of what anonymous said, if someone is willing to give her a home, I see absolutely no harm in doing so. As long as they know Quincy's history, it's all good.

Good luck, Hon.

Alexicographer said...

I came over from LFCA. I'm so sorry that your niece got bitten and sorry that as a result you need to look for a home for your dog -- but I agree that you are doing the right thing. This isn't "getting rid of your pet because you had a baby," this is, "finding a suitable home for a beloved pet you can no longer keep because your circumstances have changed." There's a huge difference ... one is your convenience (though honestly, now that I've mothered an infant/toddler, I've developed a new respect for just how hard that is and how much "slack" we might need to cut ourselves), but the other is for the well-being of everyone in your household, including the pet you are placing.

Some dogs don't cope well with children. I was lucky that mine have (with zero prep; I take no credit), but I also quickly realized how phenomenally important it is after watching my toddler ... toddle, and trip (high-speed, big crash), onto one of my dogs (who was quite blase about it ... but honestly I don't think you can generally train for that. It's there, or it's not.).

It sounds like you're following logical steps to find a suitable home for your dog, and I hope and trust that in the future you'll find a dog to welcome into your family again as that's clearly important to you. I am terribly sorry that you're losing a loved one (albeit to another good home once you find one), but you're doing the right thing (for everyone).

Anonymous said...

I agree with Alexicographer. You're doing what's best for your family and for Quincy.

Wish you all the best.

Tobacco Brunette said...

Oh honey...I'm just hearing about this and I'm so sorry. It sucks to lose a pet that you love so much and one that got you through some very tough times.

That said, you just can't risk it and as painful as it will be to part with her, you're doing what's best for your loved ones.

Let me know if you have trouble finding a place for Quincy. I have friends who don't want kids and don't have kids around much who do love dogs, but don't have one of their own. I could run the situation by them.


Suzy said...

Definitely you did the right thing placing her in another home. I have done exactly the same thing. MOST dogs do NOT outgrown that sort of behavior. And it could quite possibly be a lawsuit waiting to happen. Insurance companies now ask that exact question when you get homeowners insurance. Quite sad, but children come first.

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