Thursday, February 3, 2011

If you can't do something smart, do something right.

I jumped the gun with last night's post. Apparently there was something I could do with Louie - I could keep him. I thought my husband would say no, but in the end it was actually his decision that we'd be his forever home.

We saved Louie. He was a mere 15 minutes away from death, but we saved him in the nick of time.

Louie is not a bad dog, he's just the victim of circumstances beyond his control. You see, Louie has a bite history. He bit a chiropractic vet while she was bent over him to adjust a sore leg. It was a reactionary bite - he bit out of fear and pain, and he had not been restrained or muzzled at the time. But a bite is a bite, no matter what the motivation, so he was returned to his breeder.

A good breeder is up front and honest about a dog's history. Louie's breeder quickly realized that there was no way she could, in good conscience, rehome this dog to just anyone. She knew he was a good dog and would be okay in the right home, but finding that right home would be next to impossible, especially with the liability of him being a "biter."

He spent some time at the breeder's house, but he wasn't going to improve there. The breeder made the difficult decision to euthanize him. She called and told me what was going to happen, as a courtesy since she knew we liked the dog. I probably shouldn't have told my husband about it, but he had really fallen for Louie and I didn't want to keep the secret of his death from him. My husband was understandably upset, and we began to think about how we could help him. Every idea we came up with just didn't hold water - it was a lose-lose situation for everyone involved, but most of all for poor Louie.

Today my husband called me at work, and asked me if we'd decided what to do about "The Louie Situation." I said that I'd assumed that there was nothing we could do, but he said we needed to talk about it some more. I called the breeder to make sure she hadn't put him to sleep yet, and to give us until the next morning to decide whether or not we could keep him.

When the breeder answered the phone, she told me she was just walking out the door with Louie... to take him on his final journey. I knew we had to make a decision fast. I called my husband back and told him we needed to made a decision immediately, because Louie's time was up. Without hesitation, he said, "well, then we'll take him."

I hurriedly called the breeder back to tell her to turn the van around and cancel the vet appointment. Louie wasn't going to die today. At this point the breeder broke down in tears, exclaiming how relieved she was that she wouldn't have to put him to sleep.

We pick him up on Sunday.

Was this a smart decision? In some aspects, probably not. This poor dog will live his entire life with the black cloud of a "bite history" hovering over him. My husband and I must take full responsibility for him, and must accept the risk of owning a 90lb guardian breed that has bitten a human being. We have another mouth to feed, and it's a big mouth. We have another dog to vaccinate and to give heartworm preventative. We have one more dog to juggle when we want to travel.

But was this the right decision? I've been turning it over and over and over in my mind, and I always reach the same conclusion - YES, it was the right thing to do. He deserves a chance to grow into the dog we know he can be. And if he does end up needing to be euthanized for aggression at some point down the line, it will be after all options have been exhausted, and he'll have the comfort of knowing that at least for his last chapter of life, he was loved.

Jayne Cobb once said, "If you can't do something smart, do something right." To honor those poignant words, we've decided to rename our new red boy "Jayne."

The universe has a way of evening the score, and I'd like to thank the people that are proving that. Thank you Big Dogs Porch for paying for Jayne's neuter, thank you Lori for giving us a large crate for him, and thank you Michelle for buying him his very own Paco Collar. Your generosity and kindness will not be forgotten... Steve and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


  1. If there was a like button I'd hit it!! Yay :)

  2. Good luck! I'm kind of relieved, actually.

  3. Just grinning through the tears here. That's all. Grinning.

  4. oh man, I'm gonna cry. What a great outcome for this guy, and I know you guys will do all you can to keep him safe.

  5. I'm with Jennifer. If there was a like button, I'd push it.

  6. Just love him and take good care of him... and post a ton of pictures, that's all we ask in return ;)

  7. Thank you so much for saving him. We actually were thinking to take him (and we new his history), but having two litter mates probably would not do any good to ether dog.So we decide that we could not.
    This is such a sad situation.Why people do not take precautions so those "must defend himself" situations would not happen?

  8. OMG!!! Leah I'm so happy you saved him. I was the one that suggested the call be made to you before he was euthanized and I'm glad I did. I too felt so sorry for the boy. If you need anything including dog food I'll be happy to buy some for you (or whatever it is).

  9. It seems a tremendous shame to me that a bite at the vet's office would potentially cost him his life. I truly hope there is more to the story than that.

    He's a gorgeous dog. Good luck with him!

  10. Katie - not really. :( The bite didn't sentence him to death, but the liability of safely rehoming the dog to a "run of the mill pet home" did. Same reason why rescue organizations usually cannot take dogs with known bite histories.

  11. Hi there!
    We are happy that you saved Louie!
    He is sooo Beautiful!
    Hope he gave you lot's of good moments!


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