I just got back from the SPCA, where I had to return Daisy. I didn’t do it lightly or on an impulse, and I sobbed as I told the officer why I had to bring her back. We had loved her, put some weight on her, got rid of her tapeworms and hookworms, and hair had almost completely filled in her bald spots.
But this morning she attacked my puppy, Dani, and that is something I can’t live with.
I had heard that she might be dog aggressive, but we didn’t see any signs of it at her introduction to Dani, nor did anyone see any signs of it while she was at the shelter. After we brought her home, we didn’t really see any signs, either. She loved us, and she loved our little toddling granddaughter. She loved all the ladies at my book club, and loved nothing better than “leaning” on people while they petted her. She thirsted for attention and affection, and gave it as eagerly as she wanted it.
She fit right in to our household–oh, she was a little standoffish from Dani at first, but one afternoon only a few days after she arrived, she and Dani began to wrestle, and after that they pretty much wrestled all day. She was even patient with Dani, enduring far more than I would have if I were an older girl.
She was great on a leash and so gentle that I allowed the boys across the street to take her for walks in the afternoon. They loved her and she them, and she looked forward to them coming home from school to take her for a walk. She met many of the other neighborhood dogs on their walks and seemed fine with them.
In the house, Daisy played beautifully with Dani, both of them playing tug of war with toys and bones. They were quite a funny pair, and frankly, we enjoyed not being the target for Dani’s teething. She spent all her energy on Daisy, and Daisy wasn’t shy about letting Dani know when she’d nibbled too hard.
After about a week, however, one of the boys came and told me that Daisy had picked up another neighborhood dog and shook it. Oh, my. I hurried to my neighbor’s house and apologized as best I could–I know I would have been terrified had it been my dog who was shaken. She assured me that she understood, but I knew I couldn’t let the boys walk Daisy any more. I’d have to do it.
So the next day I took Daisy out for a walk. We were at the park, she was on a leash and in a Martingale collar, but when another jogger and her dog went by on the street, Daisy turned and slipped out of her collar, then took off after the woman’s dog. I yelled for the woman to pick up her dog, which she did, which kept Daisy from getting it, but it wasn’t easy to get Daisy back under control. She dragged me all the way back home, a situation made all the more difficult because I had my little granddaughter with me.
So I made another resolution. No more walks for Daisy. But in the coming days she was so obviously wanting to take her walk–dancing by the front door at the time of day when I usually took her–that I relented with a caveat–okay, she could walk, but not unless she wore a muzzle. So she wore a muzzle–not happily, but at least she got to go outside.
This morning I came in from shopping and tossed two new toys on the floor. Dani, of course, was interested in the toy Daisy had, and she approached. The next moment, I felt like I was in the center
of a dog fighting ring. Daisy went after Dani, and this time there was no play involved. She didn’t relent, either, and I knew I had to pull them apart before someone was seriously injured.
So I finally managed to grip Daisy’s collar and pull her off Dani, who ran into my bedroom. I glimpsed blood on Daisy’s mouth and my heart pounded as I closed the door to examine Dani–no obvious injuries, just a frightened four month old puppy. I soothed her, rubbed her down, and put her in her crate.
Then I went out to examine Daisy. She looked at me with the same loving eyes, and all I could do was cry as I asked her, “Why did you do that?”
Because I knew what I had to do next. I can’t live with knowing that one dog might seriously hurt the other , so I put Daisy in the car and took her back to the SPCA. As a volunteer at the shelter, I know how we hate to see animals come back–often we tend to fault the adopters for not being patient enough, not getting the right help, and not giving the dog an adequate chance. But frankly, there’s nothing anyone can say to me that I haven’t already said to myself. I hated taking her back, I kept telling the officer that she was a great and loving dog, but she needs to be the only dog in a home. She deserves that.
The worst part? Hearing her cry for me after I closed the door to walk away.
I’ve lost dogs through illness, and I can tell you one thing–this is much, much harder.