Updated: Feb 11, 2019
On November 19th, 2018, I took my four and a half year old German Shepherd to be "put down." It was the most short sighted thing I've done in a long time. I miss him every day. And I talk to him about once an hour.
I want to share this with you not because of the drama or the pain that I went through in coming to this decision, but the after effects it's had on my life since.
My dog had bitten three people, maybe four, since he was two. He put my stepdaughter in the hospital two years ago after biting her on the wrist. He cost us almost two thousand dollars in Vet bills for a dog he attacked, twice. He even took a little "love nip" at my grandson. I call it a "love nip" because he mouths people as a source of affection and a small show of dominance.
He had mostly been trained out of it. But over the weeks before Thanksgiving I saw him begin to revert to the old mood, the nipping, mouthing and little too much aggression. I saw him go back to the place he'd been.
Something that day told me that it was going to get worse. We were one bite away from a lawsuit. I just felt it coming. And I felt a switch flip inside of me. I told my wife, "I'm going to put him down." She said something in response, and I said, "No, I'm going to take him." She said she didn't hear that last part.
I took him to the shelter, and they took him away.
I cried harder when I got back to the car than I can remember crying at any time in the last thirty years. My hands slipped off the steering wheel. I had to wipe me tears off the console before I drove away.
It was a stupid, senseless thing to do. My hindsight is without self forgiveness. I will miss him forever.
My wife has is upset. I've hurt her terribly. I need to make significant amends. In the meantime, I've signed up to volunteer at the shelter that killed him. I will help those dogs that need comforting.
If I ever get her to agree, someday I will walk into that shelter and ask for the dog that is the most afraid and the most unloved. I will take the dog home with me that day.
And I will hold that dog every day, for the rest of its life.
My big guy will appreciate it. And he'll know I'm doing it for him.