Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Billy Dilemma

Several weeks ago I introduced you to our new dog, Billy. Billy is a wonderful dog, playful, loving and smart. There is just one little problem... he has unresolved anger issues. Translation: He nips at the kids. The first time it happened was when Billy was wearing the Elizabethan collar following his neutering surgery. On went the collar.. and as any pet owner who has ever had to subject their pet to this device would know- it makes for one unhappy camper! So our son put his face just a little too close for Billy's comfort, and Nip. Strike one. We cut Billy some slack under the circumstances and decided to integrate the kids and the dog a little more cautiously. So everything seemed to go swimmingly for the next few weeks until one day the kids were sitting on the floor and Jenniffer happened to do something that Billy didn't like, and Nip! Strike 2. The third event took place the following day when Billy growled at Jenniffer again. Strike 3.

I called an animal behaviorist, called my friends at PAWS, called my bff, my Mom, my Dad, my sister and the bro. There were two prevailing schools of thought: 1. Work with the dog and try to modify the behaviour and 2. Get rid of the dog ASAP before we have to stitch a face back together. It was a brutal predicament, but we felt option 2 was the most responsible choice. I called the Peke Rescue and they said they would re-home in to a home with no kids. So here we go again, my heart is broken once more. A sad day for the Vespa family, and a sad day for the pup. Live and learn.


W-L-W said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of your dog.

Some hints to prevent this if/when you get your next dog.

When you or your spouse get home, greet all humans in the house before you greet the dog. This includes the baby/house sitter and sleeping kids.

Feed the dog last, after everyone else has eaten.

Correct anything the dog does wrong at once, even if you feel they have an excuse for the behavior.

These things may seem cruel, but dogs need order and to know what order they are in under the family order.

If they feel that they are above the kids, babysitter, friends, guests, etc., they will nip and try to bully those they feel they are above.

ilstateredbird said...

I to am soory to hear of your problem with Billy.

I am sure your family will overcome the broken heart. Rescue animals can have problems as you found out. Little Billy may have been mistreated by the prior owners. You do not know the baggage. Our Oldest rescue was mistreated by children and he will attack when a small child approaches.

Two years ago he attacked the Santa at the Pet Photo shoot. He thought the beard was a toy.

You shoud not look at this as your families fault. As you look at the pet websites you see that many caution of interaction with small children.

There is still a chance of finding the RIGHT rescue animal. Billy will find a home in the rescue network.

This probably has thrown quite the grey cloud over the Holidays. But when it's right a FurBaby will be back in the picture.

Diane Vespa said...

Thank you for your kind words, WLW and Redbird. I am bawling as I am reading this post. I have been overcome with regret and remorse thinking perhaps I should have given the animal behaviorist a try.
It's just that if he permanently damaged one of the kids I could never forgive myself. The kids, too, are having a hard time without Billy. He really is a great dog... just don't know that we could have worked through the issues and the risk was too great. I hope I made the right decision...

MsGem said...

You did the right thing for both you & Billy, kids must come first and their safety, take comfort that Billy will be placed in a home that is more suitable for his personality. I know there is a dog out there just waiting to embrace your family, remember, if at first you don't sucessed, try, try, again !

Diane Vespa said...

Thank you Msgem. That was exactly what I needed to hear. Someone, please, just smack me!

Ramble On said...

I read you comment on my blog and can only say "Think kitty". In fact, two of them. There is nothing like watching cats play or the warmth of a cat curled up in your lap. Nothing against dogs, just something about the independence of a cat.

Diane Vespa said...

It's funny you should mention that.. because I have felt that a cat would be much more compatible with out busy lifestyle. But 2 things... I HATE a litter box, and nothing against cats.. I just happen to be a dog person. I still want to hold out for a Peke.... but I really want it to be a rescue or pound animal so I may be waiting awhile!