Saturday, January 8, 2011
The dog in this photo is "Lucky". We got him from a shelter, about three years ago, and we were not the best dog owners when it came to him. We didn't train him. We had no patience for him. We didn't take him to the vet on a regular basis. We didn't give him heartworm prevention.
He had serious emotional issues, because his previous owner was a crazy person who ended up committing suicide. Many of that owner's dogs were rescued, and Lucky went to the shelter. He tended to be extremely nervous, and had no qualms about snapping and biting if he felt upset. Yesterday was the last straw for him. He violently attacked my son's hands, leaving punctures and torn skin. He did it for no obvious reason. It was my son's twelfth birthday. Happy Birthday, son! You got bit, and your dog has to go!
I put an ad on Craigslist, and it was an angry ad. "Take this dog, now! He bites, he screams when he's being groomed, he is hateful." A woman who does rescues and who had actually rescued five of his mates from the previous owner got in touch with me. She didn't scold or patronize me for not having the dog up to date on shots. She just took him home with her.
So, we come to the conversation that Ryan and I had after the woman left. We know that we are not the best pet owners. Much of it is a result of the way we were raised. Dogs and people are not equal! It is not okay to spend more on a dog than you would on your child. In fact, living in America, we would be perfectly happy with no dogs. BUT, and this is huge - our son adores them. He plays with them every day. He feeds them. He cleans up their poop. He walks them. He brings them in at night when it's cold. He was devastated that his dog had to go because of biting him. He tried to excuse the dog, saying, "It's not his fault! He's just dumb! He didn't know any better!" He lost his dog on his birthday. Even though Ryan and I couldn't care less about seeing the dog go, we felt our son's pain keenly. We told him that maybe we could find another dog for him. His face lit up. "Really?! Can we start looking now? It's my birthday!" I agreed, of course.
We talked about how if we do get another dog, we have to promise ourselves to take him to the vet regularly, keep him up to date on his shots, all the things that are included in being a "good pet owner". We felt really bad about not keeping up with Lucky and what he needed.
I got back on Craigslist, and started looking around. I found an Australian Shepherd, who is about six months old. The same age as our other dog, Lucy. I contacted the owner, and found out that the dog is neutered, up to date on everything, housebroken, good with dogs and children. And, he is free. Free?
This morning, my son and I are going to drive across town to meet this dog. If we like him, we will bring him home.
I know that people will judge us for this. I do know. But let me say right now, I don't care. I am doing it for my son. I have learned a lesson after Lucky, and have made an agreement with myself and my husband that we will do the right thing by our pets from now on.
Today is my son's birthday party. I hope, I HOPE that for his party he will have a new dog to love. And I hope that I can properly handle the negative comments that are sure to come along with our decision.