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sea4th

Does he live or does he die

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Dilemma here. One of my rescues is in a foster home. Sam is possibly PB BC, but there is just as much of a chance that he may be a mix. Certain behaviors---just don't click.

 

Sam is a lot of dog, but very affectionate with his foster mom, very bonded to her, but Sam's got "issues", such as resource guarding, an aversion to being handled to have his nails clipped, getting shots at the vet.

 

I might have a prospective home for Sam---BUT---and this is a BIG BUT---today, I went over after work to wash out one of his ears since there's a little gunk in it.

 

The SOB laid my hand open. He nailed me once on the finger and drew blood. I wrapped the lead around his muzzle and tried to apply the liquid to his ear and this time he laid my hand wide open.

 

The bite was intentional and not a reaction of pain because his ear doesn't hurt. He just did not want his ears (this time) touched. He's the same about his nails being trimmed and he had to be muzzled at the vet's when he got his shots a couple of months ago. He knew damn well what he was doing when he bit me.

 

The foster just plain does not have the mentality to work with a dog like his, although he adores her, but will growl when he doesn't want to relinquish something. He did nip his foster mom one time when she tried to put a Halti on him.

 

So now Sam has a bite--me--under his belt.

 

So what do we do with him now. I'll probably bring him to my house---and it's gonna be a culture shock for him--my own dogs who don't take any guff from anyone and me---and I don't tolerate biting.

 

Now, I wonder if Sam is pretty much unadoptable. I can see where he'd be OK with a knowledgable dog person, but knowledgable dog people are few and far between.

 

So my question is-----is it curtains for Sam?

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I'd be very careful about placing him. He could be a huge liability to you, especially if you place him and he bites someone. Sounds like he nailed you pretty good, and intentionally, over a minor thing. Could he be salvaged, possibly, but is it worth the risk to you and/or someone else? probably not. If he bites someone else you could lose everything. Putting down a dog is never an easy decision, but a dog like Sam might well be better off being put down. I wouldn't want the responsibility of him biting someone, which means he would have to stay with me or be put down. Whatever you decide to do with him. Good luck

 

WWBC

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Hi,

 

I'm sorry that you have to deal with making a decision like this. I would not think Sam a good candidate for placement. As you said, there are people out there who are capable of handling a "Sam", but how long must you wait before one of them decides they'd like to take on a project dog? You could keep him indefinitely and try to re-hab him, but that might end up being a real drain on precious resources. And it would be a shame for one dog to jeopardize your whole program.

 

Follow your gut on this one.

 

Best of luck. Michele

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Vicki,

 

Over the years I have euthanized five dogs for issues that made them unadoptable. Four of them were people biters. One was my own foster dog and I adored her, but when she went for my partner and tore him open, and he was afraid, I knew I had only one option. I euthanized her the next day and it was one of the hardest things I had to do.

 

It would be nice to be able to rehab them all, but one bad rescue can shut the whole operation down and frankly, I can't risk that.

 

There may be somewhere out there that can manage Sam. But then they might have a friend over who is not so lucky. When we have dogs that bite because they CAN, they are dogs we cannot adopt out. I hate it every time, but it has to be done.

 

RDM

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Your decision about the dog is a tough one.

 

But you'd better get to a doctor ASAP.

 

My husband got his thumb hit by my brother's dog's tooth (long and involved story - definitely not an intentional bite). Little wound, good meds, no real problem. But a month later, while we were flying home from a short trip, his thumb started to ache and swell. Next morning it was about the size of a lime.

 

Doctor visit, surgeon meeting, pre-op. And surgery the following day. We have the x-rays: when they cleaned out the infection, the scalpel was almost all the way through the bone. A day or two longer, and Chuck would have had to hope a splint would get the bone to reconnect.

 

Evidently, it a dog's tooth touches your bone, there is a significant risk of bone infection. The rest of you will heal quite well. But the bone inside will fester terribly.

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Vicki,

 

That is a liability for you! And your other dogs & rescues need you. I wouldn't chance it and think that the most humane thing you could do (for him and others)would be to let him go. Way to many really NICE dogs need homes Hugs to you, I know it's a hard thing to do (or even consider doing).

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This may sound like a dumb alternative, but instead of putting a dog like this to sleep, couldn't you just have it's teeth pulled so that it can't bite?

 

I thought of this because when I was really little, my grandparents had this nasty little chihauhau that hated kids and would snap at us all the time. It was an older dog, and finally lost all of its teeth. It would still snap at us, but we would laugh at it and say, "What are you going to do, gum us to death?"

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I think that pulling every healthy tooth out of a young dog's mouth would be so painful as to be considered inhumane. It's not like an older dog with such severe gum disease that the jaw bone erodes and lets loose the teeth. If it were a highly recommended thing Suze, people would do it I think... :rolleyes:

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Vicki - I had to make that kind of hard decision a number of times doing Golden Retriever Rescue over the years (yes, there are plenty of biting Goldens out there - mostly fear biters!). I always took them to the vet's personally, and held them while they were given that injection, apologizing for what the world had done to them. I agree with most of the posts above, it it such a liability to place a dog like that that it would be prudent to go ahead and let Sam go, rather than risk a lawsuit, or worse. Sam was given his chance, but there are lots of other worthy dogs waiting to get a chance, so don't let Sam keep them from getting theirs.

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Originally posted by Annette Carter & the Borderbratz:

I think that pulling every healthy tooth out of a young dog's mouth would be so painful as to be considered inhumane. It's not like an older dog with such severe gum disease that the jaw bone erodes and lets loose the teeth. If it were a highly recommended thing Suze, people would do it I think... :rolleyes:

Thank you, Annette. I know that people get their teeth pulled for dentures and even for orthodontic work, and I would prefer getting all of my teeth pulled to having my life ended, but then, I am not a dog, and you can't explain pain like that to a dog (or cat or any pet). And I can now see that putting them through pain like that could cause even more problems that that poor doggie already has.

 

What a sad situation. :D

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Thanks guys. I'm thinking along the lines of most of your responses as well. I know that even though if I rehabbed him, Sam still has a bite and a nasty one at that, on his record, and that's a fact that cannot be hidden.

 

RDM, your words "the hardest thing you had to do", but you did it anyway. They keep going through my mind. I absolutely agree with all of you --- in theory ---- that this dog should be euthanized. I really do, but do I have the guts to do it? That's the question. The fact that Sam hasn't lived with me and therefore I haven't bonded with him--or he with me -- makes it a tad easier--for me. Taking the life of an otherwise healthy animal, makes it a little more unpleasant.

 

As I write this, Chase, a rescue boy--and I must admit, one of my favorites, is at my feet, chin resting on my lap, happy that I'm up, for whatever reason. For a dog who was afraid people, for some reason immediately clicked with me, and now loves meeting humans at the dog park. Behind me on the chair is Oreo, a homely mix, her tail wagging furiously that I'm up. Oreo, also a rescue, and who I think is the perfect dog for the average person, but no one looks at her, because she's homely. I wish someone could get past her looks and look into her eyes, her soul. What a great dog. 'Reo has had plenty of opportunity to bite me--she doesn't like her nails cut---but never has.

 

Always a few feet away from me, within eyesight, is Tess, the girl that came from a puppy mill. The dog who tried to escape in blind terror when she first came to me, has become a happy, tail wagging dog --- she still has a ways to go. In her life as a puppy mill dog, I don't know what she had to go through, but never once did she try to bite anyone over anything.

 

I look at these dogs, and my heart breaks for Sam. What did he go through to make him the way he is? And I also remember my daughter, when she was 5 years old, so badly bitten by the family dog (NOT a BC), that her scream is embedded in my memory years later. I wouldn't take the chance of putting anyone through what she went through, what the family went through.

 

Nancy, I haven't gone to the hospital. I've doctored the hand myself, but I never thought of bone involvement. Thanks for the heads up.

 

Thank you everyone for your feedback. It might be easier when the time comes, to think of all of your words.

 

I'll keep you posted.

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This might sound dumb, but are you sure it wasn't a bite of fear? I've had a couple of animals, both domestic and wildlife rehab, that have bit out of what they thought was self preservation. This one cat I have screams, bites, and scratches any time you get close to her paws b/c some kids continuously yanked on them when she was little (everything just shy of breaking the bone).

 

Point being, I know some animals bit out of the memory of pain, and its really not intentional at all. Especially if its a sensitive area.

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I had one rescue here, very briefly, I might add. That was suppose to be kid safe, etc. He was really unpredictable. The first couple of days he was fine, no problems, one day as I went to crate him, he wheeled around and attached himself to my arm with his teeth. Having dealt with rehabbing raptors, I was very still, remained calm, and as soon as he released my now punctured arm, I stuffed him in a crate, and made a trip straight to the vet. I warned the vet what had happened and held the dog as he was put down. Easy no, but what if he had bitten someone else who had pulled away and sustained major damage, perhaps even triggering a rage? We can't fix them all. Please don't risk getting injured again by Sam. Release him to be peaceful and healed.

Good luck

WWBC

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I put down four dogs. One was for the worst cast of fear biting I've ever seen. We maybe could have rehabbed him over a year or so (we tried for about two months, including using various pharceuticals with the kind help of a behaviorist in the NY area), but at the time I was basically the programs' only foster home, the dog had already sent a kid and a grownup to the hospital, and I had a growing family to consider as well as the fact that I couldn't ahve any more fosters while he took up space.

 

It was hard in a way but in a way it was not. With any dog used to biting people, I remind myself that the dog lives in just a low quality of life as a dog with an incurable disease that causes untreatable pain. With this difference, the dog with a simple physical disease gets a lot of love and attention that is appropriate to a normal dog/human relationship, while there is always this impregnable wall of fear between a biter and his human companion.

 

The dog is scared to death, regardless of why he bites, because he is not a part of the pack and he knows it. A pariah is vulnerable. The pack is unstable, moreover. In the case of the dominant aggressor, he "won" but he isn't sure where that got him, because there's no place for a dog to be alpha in a human world. The other "pack members" aren't making appropriate appeasing gestures to him and he's terrified because he either needs to fight again or leave (but how? he's contantly restrained from leaving, too?).

 

So in the case of the really terrified dog that maybe had a chance, I thought of all the dogs I was potentially saving (I got in five wonderful fosters in his place, by the way). I held him while the vet did it. I'm glad I did because for about two seconds he looked at me while the sedative worked and his fear went away for the first time in his life. His eyes turned from glassy with fear to soft and relaxed, taking pleasure in human contact for the first time while I stroked him all over.

 

I do hold all the dogs I have put down. It reminds me that I've taken responsibility for this and it makes me very reluctant to go that step for any reason. I believe in a God who weeps over the wrongness in the world, and he's right there for the dog (not a sparrow falls, you know?) when there's no other choice for us. Doesn't make it any less screwy, but it's something to focus on for the dog's sake.

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hi:

I think you need to go with your gut here. Don't try and analyze why he bit, but rather, analyze your ability to rehab him and prevent him from ever biting again. I have to tell you that I believe he should be euthanized, for everyone's safety. I usually am not so forthright with that sort of suggestion, but this was one serious bite. Go get it looked at. We are here for you if you need to talk.

Julie

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Originally posted by sea4th:

I look at these dogs, and my heart breaks for Sam. What did he go through to make him the way he is? .. I wouldn't take the chance of putting anyone through what she went through, what the family went through.

Like you mentioned, there are plenty of terrified, abused and neglected dogs that never offer to lay a tooth on their human caregiver, no matter how horrible their life has been or how scared they are. You'll never know what caused Sam to react this way, but an adult dog without bite inhibition is a walking time bomb. Just know that we're behind you - whatever tough decision you need to make.

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Was I sure that the bite was not out of fear? Taking into consideration the entire picture--his behavior and body language through out the time we've had him, the fact that at one point after he bit me, we went up the leash after me, I would say, no, it wasn't out of pain, and certainly not your typical fear biter behavior.

 

I did want to add that after I was bitten, with blood -- mine - flying all over the place, I did manage to loop a leash over his head. -- All of this took place on the front porch of the house. I told my friend to get inside and I'll handle it. I was determined not to leave allowing him to think that he got the upper hand. So we spent about 20 minutes, just me and Sam, together on the porch--him trying to get inside to foster mom (who is a good person and babies everything-two and four legged). I finally got him to stop struggling and did some "sit" exercises with him. I let him go back inside when *I* was ready and when I did, Sam ran to my friend for comfort and protection---from the evil person who dared to touch his ears. I told her not to pet him, nothing. Ignore him. By the time it was all done, Sam and I were both out of breath, but I left him with the impression that I'm not going to back down from him. (What a spectacle for the neighbors!)

 

Biting---out of fear, pain or otherwise---I've had plenty of dogs, my mt. dogs included, who although in pain, would allow me to touch them. A few have put their teeth on my hand, but it was more of an attempt to stop my hand by holding it.

 

BAck in the '80's, when I was looking for a sound GSD, I talked to an old guy, German, who bred GSD's. He felt that "good" nerves were essential for a sound dog. He made no excuses for fear biting or unreasonable aggression. Mental stability was as important to him as sound structure. He felt that a dog who doesn't have "good" nerves, was actually suffering. I never forgot this. I thought of his words, his philosphy in hindsight, about the dog that bit my daughter, and any dog that I came across since.

 

There has to be an element of "pain", if you will, if a dog feels it has to deal with the world with it's teeth.

 

I'm heartbroken. Sam is a young and physically healthy dog. What could have brought him to this point, I don't know. I DO know that I cannot pass this problem/liability to another person.

 

The thought of euthanizing him is gut wrenching.

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You know, ironically, if someone else had written this, I'd be right there with the advice to euthanize the dog---right along with everyone else.

 

I hate playing God.

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Originally posted by sea4th:

You know, ironically, if someone else had written this, I'd be right there with the advice to euthanize the dog---right along with everyone else.

 

I hate playing God.

I know exactly what you mean - I try to look at it as "responsible stewardship" for what has been entrusted to us, rather than "playing God".

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I agree with kelpiegirl, go with your gut. If you think you can rehab Sam, do so, or euthanize if you think its best.

 

Its hard for me to offer advice on this one, Vicki. I wasn't there, I didn't see Sam's total reaction. Sorry, but all I can say is go with what you think is best.

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Vicki,

 

I'm looking through this thread and I don't see where you have actually had a dog euthanized before, for any reason. It is a terribly weighty decision. But could your aversion to making this decision be fear of the unknown? I too, recently had an animal euthanized.

 

I was sick for months with the burden of the decision, laying awake half the night, crying, fretting, wondering if there was just some way I hadn't thought of to avoid it, to buy more time, it was horrible. But once I set the act in motion, it all unfolded in a very organic way. It really was the best choice, the most loving choice, and it was done by a wonderful gentle mobile vet in my home under peaceful, normal comfortable conditions. It really opened my eyes to how much I'd been trying to avoid this ultimate responsibility. Once it was done, I felt I'd crossed a threshhold too, of sorts. I still cry when I think of it, but I know it was the very best death for a creature that could not live in this world.

 

It seems clear what must happen. The next time he bites, and there will be a next time, you may not be in the position to ease him out of the world. He may be seized and euthanized at a shelter after quarantine or some such horror. So, if you decide to euthanize Sam, consider that it might make you feel better, and be less of a scene, given his behavior at the vet, to have it done at home. I wish you peace of mind.

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I'm looking through this thread and I don't see where you have actually had a dog euthanized before, for any reason.
I never had a dog euthanized - except for the one that bit my daughter - for behavioral issues. That being said, within the last year, I lost 4 of my beloved old timers, 2 of whom I held as they were euthanized. One of them was my Pete dog, my heart dog. (the year anniversary of his death is coming up in a few weeks). The other was Tattie. Dolly and Lena made the decision for me. My last GSD, Major, I had to make the decision to euthanize him and I lay on the floor next to him, holding him as he died, trying hard not to cry, because even through his distress, my own distress upset him.

 

There have been a few others and these were decisions made when life no longer had dignity for these dogs that I loved.

 

I don't love Sam. I don't have a bond with him, which is why I needed objective points of view--IOW, am I missing something here? I do owe him *something*, whether it is a quality life or a dignified death.

 

I wish you peace of mind.
Thank you.

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Originally posted by sea4th:

I really do, but do I have the guts to do it? That's the question. The fact that Sam hasn't lived with me and therefore I haven't bonded with him--or he with me -- makes it a tad easier--for me.

You know what? Whenever I have had to do it, it has made it easier - theoretically - for me also, because except for once it was not my own foster. Nevertheless, I take the dog in to be euthanized and believe me, I cry every time. It is always hard because I hate doing it.

 

My vets always grill me before we do it, as they will not put a healthy animal to sleep. But they always also praise me afterward and tell me they wish more rescue groups they work with would be so *responsible*. I never feel responsible at the time, I feel like a big asshole and a monster. But the reason I do it IS because I am being responsible. I remember that later on.

 

Having said all that, here is how I generally make the decision - if I even suspect it needs to be done, it probably does. Otherwise, I wouldn't think about doing it at all.

 

I wish there were savvy home clamouring to take on these dogs. No such luck. When I do get a home like that, I want to clone them 500 times for future use.

 

RDM

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Made the appointment. Next Wednesday at 10:00.

 

His foster mom is one of my coworkers and we work next to each other. Doesn't help that she's been crying all morning.

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