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Please no negative comments regarding this post. Advice is very welcomed, though.. in any form.

I understand that many people will have differing view points on what I am doing, saying, thinking, dealing with, but please, no judgement. I am trying to do what is best for everyone and everything.. and unfortunately I do not have an infinite supply of money or resources. I love my dog, and I hate to see her, or anyone else suffer.

I will also note that if I thought she, in any way, displayed ANY signs of aggression towards humans, this would be a different story.. just makes it even harder.

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Rein is 5 years old. When we adopted her at the age of 3, her little butt wiggled as she wagged her tail as hard as she could.. I swore that if she ever hit it against something, it would break right open. She was the most powerful thing that I had ever loved. She was my responsibility and I was ready.

Rein is my first dog. I have a special bond with her that I cannot begin to explain. She’s been with me through tough times, sad times, silly times, and a few of the happiest times of my life.

She is so well behaved. She will fetch, return, sit, lay down, shake, high-10, roll over, crawl, and give lots of kisses. She has never chewed a thing, or peed in the house. She doesn’t bark, and she is so gentle with everyone from elderly to babies.  She loves puppies. And I love her.

Rein is aggressive towards other dogs. As my first dog, I learned this the hard way. I was ignorant, and I had no idea what I was doing. Why not take her to the dog park? Her paperwork upon adoption (from a legitimate rescue organization) said she is “great with other dogs and frequents the dog park”. I still don’t know whether they were lieing to me, to themselves, or something changed in her during that four months she was behind bars, waiting for someone, for us….to rescue her. She bit a dog that day, but she did not draw blood. She was so, so sorry. She rolled onto her back and looked at me with her big brown eyes..she didn’t mean to. The other dog was fine, but looking back I wonder if it would have been if we weren’t right next to her when it occurred.

Since then, Rein has gotten worse. At first, there were select, large, male dogs that she could be friends with and play, although dominantly. Now, she is okay with Ben (our other dog, who was adopted as a puppy), and she is okay with puppies. She is not okay with other dogs: male, female, small, large.

We put her through $400 group training, it did nothing. We hired a private trainer. He told me I was being crazy, it was “all in my head’, she was “so well behaved,” and I needed to “learn to trust [my] dog”. She fools everyone. She is such a beautiful soul. On our last session, he felt she was ‘ready’. I knew she wasn’t. He brought his dog, and forced me to introduce her to him. “Trust her, you’re being silly,” he kept saying. I know she can feed off my energy, so I did everything I could and I calmed myself. I trust you, Rein..you are ready for this. She wasn’t ready. This time she drew blood. He said it was his fault, and he was sorry. It wasn’t his fault, it was my fault.

After pulling her off this dog with tears in my eyes, something clicked inside of me. I don’t trust her, and I don’t know if I ever will.

Once, when Ben was just a puppy, house training, and needed to be rushed outside. I had left the door open a crack. I made a mistake and I saw it happen as I looked over my shoulder and up the front steps. It is a feeling I can never explain in words. She ran at a small dog.. It was too much for me to handle. I cried and cried, and J held me and told me it would be okay. Neither of us knew how to handle this. She laid on her bed all night, she wouldn’t even look at us. She knew it was wrong. The dog was fine, but the next day we were given a paper to go to court. We lost, of course, and had to pay the $500 fine. I would pay all the money in the world to have Rein be okay..

It is exhausting. We cannot leave the door open for even one second,  cant unload groceries the way you usually would,  can’t open the doors when it gets hot out–I don’t even trust the screen to keep her in..it’s too risky. We have to cross the road when we see another dog, and I have to be aware when turning corners..always. No one else can walk her– I don’t even trust J. I am so afraid of what will happen.. We can’t take her on walks in busy places, and have to avoid popular hiking trails because we might pass by another dog — it is that bad. I have to walk Ben separately, so he continues to interact properly. I keep telling myself she is worth it..but I just wish she could be normal.

“It’s all about the owner,”  or

“Don’t blame the dog, blame the owner.”

Do you know how many times I’ve heard that? I believe it, too, and I hate myself for it.. Perhaps in this case, it’s all about the owner she had before us..for the first three years of her beautiful little life. Or maybe I just don’t know how to help her.

Last night, our neighbour saw me walking her and told me to give her to him. We know him quite well, and have spent many nights eating many dinners in their home. I told him no, she was fine, and we were headed home. He insisted, telling me she would “never get better if I didn’t train her properly.” He did a few things, made a few Caesar Milan sounds, and next thing you knew, Rein was laying calmly at his feet, succuming to him. He was the boss. Again, if you met Rein in the absense of other dogs, you would think she was one of the most well behaved dogs ever– this fools people. Next thing you knew, he was going to introduce her to his dog. I objected, again, but he insisted it was fine — it was his dog, and he knew how to handle things. I just wanted to believe him. I wanted everything to be fine. Things weren’t fine. Neighbour apologized and went home. He said it was his fault. It wasn’t. It was mine.

I called J at work, crying my eyes out, telling him we had to figure something out. Rightfully, he was frustrated and overwhelmed..who wants to deal with that call at work? I am desperate.

I don’t know what to do. I feel like it is unfair for her to be in these situations. I don’t want to hurt her anymore. I don’t want her to hurt anything else, ever again. Logically, is it reasonable for me to assume I will never let anything like this happen again? For the next 9+ years of her life? She’s always on high-alert, her ears back, sniffing around for other dogs, and when she see’s one, there’s no reasoning with her. She cannot be calmed. She leaves her sweet, calm self, and she transforms into something I never want to see again. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens.. It’s horrible to say, but I just don’t know. Are we going to wait until we have a $10, 000 fine (that’s actually the amount for the next offence), court appearances, and someone’s best friend is dead? It’s harsh, but it is a possibility. And what if a kid gets in the middle of it?

We aren’t allowed to rehome her, as the Humane Society had us sign a form saying if we ever got rid of her we would bring her back there… I just can’t do that. Why pawn the problem off on someone else? If there was a way to deal with it.. I would be. I know they will just put her down, after a few (at best) months of trying to rehome her themselves. What is our other option? Do we put her down ourselves? I can’t bear the thought. I just can’t even think of it.

I wish we could move away, somewhere far away and live on a farm with a million acres and nothing nearby. I wish we could save you, Rein. I wish you were old, and could just pass away peacefully in your dreams. I wish that was a reality..but it’s not.

I love you so much, but I have no idea what we are going to do.

 

 

Throwback Thursday, and the evolution of the crazy dog lady.

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Throwback Thursday to my two favorite boys ❤

I never had dogs growing up. I had a cat: Tang. I remember one day in Grade 10 my friend’s cat had babies and I brought one home once they were ready. My Mom was..not impressed, but she let me keep him. He was a sickly little dude, and we spent a lot of money getting him all spruced up, but he’s now the best cat ever. I still love to snuggle him everytime we visit home.

When we moved to Alberta we rented the cutest little basement suite. We had our own little yard and patio, and it had the most wonderful pond. I was in heaven. Our landlord (the sweetest elderly gentleman who had just lost his wife) explained to us that there were no pets allowed in the suite as he was afraid of dogs, and cats were ‘dirty’. As time went by, we became pretty close with Roger. He would give us birthday gifts, christmas gifts, and I would bake him cookies. 🙂 He was great.

Once we started looking at buying our own place, we simultaneously started going to the animal shelter to “look” at dogs. Yeah, right. When we met Rein, she was a big giant pit bull, and, having little experience with dogs, I was a bit nervous. I remember asking Jamie “how do you know if a dog is going to bite your face off?”. He laughed at me. He had been around dogs his entire life–Rein was amazing, and he knew it. We met her, cuddled her, and I got a bit more comfortable, but I still had the notion in the back of my mind that if I made any sudden movements, she was going to rip me apart…Looking back, we probably shouldn’t have been visiting the shelter when we couldn’t even have an animal–it was emotional every time we left. We went home, and for the next few weeks I researched dogs and pit bulls, and rescues, and behaviour. I looked into dog classes, and dog psychology, and I read Cesear Milan books..I wanted a dog.

Two weeks later, we went back to the shelter, and there she was. Still in the same kennel, Rein sat further back from the glass viewing window then before, and she barely looked up at us. She looked defeated. My poor girl… we asked to visit with her again and the staff showed us her tricks. She could sit, stay, roll over, shake a paw, and she LOVED fetch. The way she interacted with the lady was amazing–that was her person. Everyone at the shelter loved her. I cried the entire way home that we couldn’t get her. Jamie said it was for the best though, she was ‘way too big…and scary looking’, and told me we weren’t going to go anymore until we had our own place.

That night I went to Roger’s front door, knocked, and watched him walk slowly down the stairs through the tiny front window. My heart was beating fast. I told him that I knew we weren’t allowed dogs, but I found one that was very special. And we could do a larger damage deposit, and it wouldn’t be long (he knew we were looking for a house to buy). There I was, standing on the front porch of a man who was terrified of dogs, asking him if I could bring a 75 pound rescue pit bull into his safe, beautiful little home.

“Oh, Ashley. Of course you can have a dog.”

I felt so guilty. I knew he wouldn’t say no…but I also knew I wouldn’t screw this up.

“What kind of dog is it, anyways?”

My heart sank. Oh no..here we go. I told him it was a pit bull…and guess what he said?

“Oh, I don’t know that kind.”

We went to the shelter the next day and adopted her. It ended up costing us $575 dollars as she needed a special class as an adoption condition (she was a pit bull, afterall). I didn’t care. We paid the money and were told we could pick her up in two days, as she needed to be spayed.

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Sleepy girl on her way home–see her bandaid?

When we went to pick her up, she had just finished surgery and she was so sleepy. I sat in the back seat with her and I was so happy. She made herself right at home, walked over to her bed we had for her, and layed right down. I spent the entire first night laying on her bed with her, rubbing her head softly (I still had no idea about dogs).

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Carpet is so much better than concrete, Mom!

The first few days of leaving her at home I was pretty sure we’d come home to a ripped apart front door, or a chewed up couch, but we never did. She has still never chewed a thing. She’s had a few accidents inside, but man does she feel bad (you can tell by the look in her eyes..and she cowers when you see it). She’s so well behaved, and so smart (we taught her to crawl, and high-10). I’m so glad Roger made an exception for us.

Fast forward to 6 months into home ownership…guess who came home with puppy #2? This girl!! Benjamin Button (Ben, for when we are in public) was just a tiny, tiny little baby (see first picture). Our family is complete, for now, until we are ready for babies (or another puppy..).