Conflicted

[Note: This post is being written under the influence of a head cold, lack of sleep, Advil Cold and Sinus, and coffeh. Please excuse any incoherence resulting from this perfect storm of dizziness.]

I have made a very, very tough decision. Though it feels right logically, it feels wrong in my heart.

In February of 2008, Superbitch and I adopted a dog. The pet store we adopted her from claimed she was half poodle, half shepard. At two months old there was no way for us to dispute that. Seven years, later, however, I’m calling bullshit. I don’t think either of those breeds are within her blood.

Pepper-Ann was fun from the get-go. She loved to play. She was fairly easy to house-train. She behaved well for the most part. She didn’t tear things up and we could leave her out to roam the house while we were at work.

There was an incident, however, that changed her demeanor towards children.

One day that summer we had Pepper tied to a tree in the front yard. It was a nice day out and we were all outside. The twins and a friend of theirs decided they wanted to play wiffle ball in the front yard. They also decided the tree Pepper was tied to would be second base. During the game the twins’ friend was running for second and he and Pepper collided. Since then Pepper has been aggressive towards people she doesn’t know, men and children in particular.

Not even a month later the twins’ friend came inside to play Xbox with the them. Pepper came up behind him and bit him on the ass. From that moment on we kept her locked in her cage whenever he was over. There have been other instances throughout the years where she’s shown aggression. She once bit my next door neighbor. She once bit my aunt. Just a few months ago she bit the vet. Any time a man she didn’t know came into our house she growled at them. It was always a low, gurgling, and threatening growl, too.

Once, when Baby C was about a year old, she growled and snapped at him. C was just learning to walk and was pulling himself along the couch. Pepper happened to be leaning against the couch. C barely tugged on her ear, but that prompted her to turn around and snap. Superbitch and I were both there and walloped her out of reflex. I don’t stand up for much, but don’t fuck with my kids.

I thought that was the end of it, but I was wrong.

Two weeks ago, my mom told me that Pepper had snapped out my two-year old nephew while I was at work. I made a decision at that point to try to find her another home. I have a three-year-old, three nephews under five (with another on the way), and a two-year-old niece. There are always toddlers running around my house. I felt it best to find her another place to live since it wasn’t fair to Pepper to keep her locked up the majority of the time simply so she wouldn’t bite my niece or nephews.

But then last night happened.

Baby B, Baby C, and I were in the living room. We’ve had Jake and the Never Land pirates playing on repeat via Netflix because his Highness has demanded it. I was at the computer playing a game because I can take only so much of that show. While my back was turned, Pepper growled and snapped at C. Again.

I’m at the end of my rope now. I can’t even trust that dog around my own child, so I have decided to take her to the pound. I don’t feel right giving Pepper to another family knowing how aggressive she can be. She’s seven years old now and I don’t see her demeanor changing. In fact, it will probably just get worse as she gets older. And God help that dog if she hurts my child.

So I have made my decision, yet the very thought of dropping her off at the pound is breaking my heart. I know what the likely outcome is for a dog who is aggressive towards children, but I can’t have an aggressive dog in my house when I have toddlers perpetually parading through my house. My child, niece, and nephews (and their safety) are far more important to me than Pepper is. But I still love her.

I’m not really sure what I wanted to accomplish by writing this post. I just needed to talk this out with myself, I guess. I know what I have to do, but I really, really don’t want to do it. This fucking blows.

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About Twindaddy (336 Articles)
Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.

69 Comments on Conflicted

  1. This is a tough one my friend. We deal with this a lot in the UK too – the love a family feels for a beloved dog, at war with the safety aspect. You HAVE made the right decision. You cannot punish a dog for growling at your children, because the dog does not know it is wrong. It would be far too mean to keep punishing a dog for doing something that, in it’s mind, doesn’t think is wrong.
    It could be linked to the dogs place in the family unit, and where it sees itself. If it thinks it is above the children in the ‘pack’, it could react badly to a perceived encroachment on it’s territory. You cannot risk that. There are methods and ways of trying to address this issue, but at the end of the day, if you cannot turn your back in 100% faith that your children will remain unharmed and unintimidated – then the dog has to go. Heart breaking as it is, you have made the right call.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It does suck, but your kids and others’ kids come first. My parents had to do the same with Domino, a a doberman, who tried to end me. Hugs dear.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I read the first few words (“Though it feels right logically, it feels wrong in my heart.”) I thought about advice I heard on TV yesterday that indicated to go with your heart when your mind and heart are in conflict. I think that is exactly what you are doing. In fact, I think you are following your head and your heart. I know we get attached to our furry children but they are not children. They are not people. They are pets. If one doesn’t work out and there is nothing you can do about it, then, especially when there are children involved, it’s time for them to go and/or be replaced by another pet. That’s why God made so many of them – pets. We grow to love them like family members and sometimes think they can’t be replaced because we feel they are like people, but they aren’t. There are plenty of pets out there that are no threat whatsoever to children. I know you are grateful for the good times and memories you shared with this pet and your family.

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  4. I’m so sorry, I’m going through dog issues myself. It’s the right decision for your kids, though.

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  5. I’ll echo everyone and agree this sucks balls. I’ll also add that in my experience, breeding any kind of dog with a poodle results in a disaster.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m sorry you have to do this. Perhaps they’ll be able to find a home for Pepper though. When we went to adopt our dog, there were a few there that said not for homes with kids under 12 (I assumed it was because they were larger dogs, but it could have been that the dogs just didn’t care for kids).

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  7. That sucks so much :/ But I think you are right to chose for your children’s safety. After all you know that it might go wrong one day. It’s better to anticipate that for every one’s goodwill, also for Pepper herself. It’s a sad thing for sure…
    But what will the future bring if you take her to the pound? Is that like a shelter?

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  8. Maybe try to take the pup to PAWS or see if you can find an adult without children who the dog would be best with?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah no- I can only imagine what you are going through- my dogs are my furkids and I can’t imagine ever having to make that decision. I honestly hope that I will never have to make that decision when I have kids. Your children do come first and it is sad that you have to make this decision. Hugs

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  10. That sucks, but you’re doing the right thing. People love defending dogs and saying that “dogs are naturally kind creatures.” But like people, some dogs are just not friendly. If you can’t trust the dog around children, the dog’s gotta go.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have had to do this for similar reasons, and it does indeed suck. So do headcolds, which I am sharing your pain in as well. Feel better, and do what you think is best.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so sorry Scott – this is really difficult but if it helps, I can tell you, you are making the right decision. Way better to do this now than risk something even worse happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Shit that really blows! (hugs) you know the kids come first. (hugs) again.

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  14. You’re in a horrible position, Scott. You absolutely need to protect your kids (and other kids in your home), but you know what this probably means for Pepper. 😦
    Best case scenario would be to find an adult home to place her in, but I’m sure that would take more time than you’ve got. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been looking around the past two weeks. All of the no-kill shelters I’ve found online are at full capacity, and almost everyone I know has children…

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  15. I’m gonna go out on a limb and disagree with y’all here. The only solution for a dog that is aggressive to children, IMHO, is euthanasia. It sounds like Pepper’s aggression has gotten worse over time and may get even more severe in future.

    If I were in your position, I would not risk taking her to the pound where she might find a home with someone who has no children but might bite another child in a public or private situation and end up right back at the pound – even with full disclosure, NO ONE can guarantee that she will have a life totally away from small children or that it won’t happen again, perhaps with tragic consequences.

    Some people react to aggression in dogs by beating, starving or otherwise abusing the dog and I would not be able to let her go not knowing what her future might bring. Sure, it could be great and that’s what we all want to believe, but the reality is much more grim – just talk to any worker at any shelter in this “great” country of ours.

    As pet caretakers, we owe our furry friends a dignified end if it’s within our power, not abandonment or neglect.

    And, yes, I have had to make this same decision, but for different reasons. It sucks. It really, really sucks and I’m sorry you’re faced with it 😦

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  16. That sucks. But yeah – if she’s not safe for your family, she’s not safe for another 😦 What a pity.

    Protecting your children is the right thing to do, even though it sucks bigtime.

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  17. As a dog devotee, I understand this horrible decision. Dogs can’t bite people. Period. You have to do what you have to do, sad though it is. There are no-kill shelters, and perhaps you can find one of those.

    But explain it to your kids and let them say goodbye. When I was in 9th grade, my two dogs were taken to the pound while I was at school. It was the biggest trauma of my childhood. I never forgave my brother Bob who took them. I would lie and say he’s going to a home without kids, though, because otherwise, well, they’re kids.

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  18. As right as a decision this is, it is a very tough one! I would be making the same painful decision if it were me. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m so sorry, but you’re doing the right thing. You know you are. My cousin’s 140 pound dog just snapped the other day and attacked him. He’s normally very sweet, but it was bad. And being that big, it’s just not safe. They had to put him to sleep. We love our pets and they are part of our families. But if any member of our family hurt another, we would likely take steps to keep that from happening again. That is all you are doing. You are doing exactly what a good father should. Hang in there.

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  20. I’m sorry you had to make such a tough decision, but it is the right one. The safety of your children and others comes first.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. That’s heartbreaking. We had a similar situation with a dog years ago–when he growled and lunged at our son, we knew we couldn’t keep the dog. One last-ditch suggestion: if there’s a dog rescue organization in your area, they sometimes have fosters who’ll work with a dog who’s got behaviour problems. I hope you and your family find the best way for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I think this is the right decision, whether following the logic or the heart. Hopefully, someone is looking for a guard dog to snap at passing strangers somewhere – but I don’t think she really belongs with a family with children, whether yours or anyone else’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I’m so sorry Scott, it’s a heartbreaking decision but the children always come first. Is there anyone who could take the dog that doesn’t have children?

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  24. eeeek, I’m sorry, that’s so hard. If it’s your dog or your kids then you have no choice. That doesn’t make it any easier though. Sending hugs. Is there someone who can go with you to drop her off?

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  25. This kind of decision is never easy. I had to give up one of my cats after my daughter was born. He was so jealous of the baby, he kept trying to hurt her. It’s heartbreaking and scary, but in the end, the shelter I took him to found him a home with a nice lady who didn’t have children. I am sure they will work with Pepper to find the right kind of home for her temperament.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I am so sorry. I’m sorry I missed this last month. I’m sorry I don’t have words of wisdom to share to save you from the pain of this. I’m sorry you were forced into this situation at all.

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  27. Damn right it blows. And it also proves that actually, as much as you can train a dog, the dog’s natural temprament and personality have to be taken into account as well, just as with humans.

    (((hugs))))

    Liked by 1 person

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