Last weekend, things reached a crisis point with my dog Chico. He not only can jump the outer four-foot fence in our yard, but he learned on Saturday how to get over the six-foot fence (the one the fence guy said no dog could escape). The minute I let him out, he was over the fence and gone. Often I could see him roaming just beyond the fences, but he wouldn’t come and he wouldn’t stay. Meanwhile, I was getting reports of Chico terrorizing my neighbors’ pets. Some of them have guns and are not afraid to use them. Of course, anyone could sue me or get me in other big trouble if this giant black lab/pit bull mix went after them, their children or their pets.
I hobbled him with a harness while I went to church Saturday evening. Two hours later, nothing was left but the metal rings. Chico and his sister Annie ate the harness. They’re equally good at destroying any kind of collar.
People have suggested new fencing, keeping him on a chain, or putting a weight on his collar. I can’t afford a whole new fence, and I can’t abuse him just to keep him here.
Crying hard, I took him to a kennel to stay for a while until I can find him a new home. I still have Annie, who is smaller and has not learned to jump the fences. Yet. I will selfishly hang on to her as long as I can. I raised both dogs from eight weeks to 21 months. I took them to school, walked them, kept their shots up to date and made sure they stayed warm and safe. I love them both. But with my husband gone to the nursing home, I’m on my own, and I can’t handle both big dogs. These are the first pets for which I actually called myself their mom. I talked about them all the time, loved to show them off, sent their pictures all over the Internet. But they are dogs, not children, and reality must prevail.
I put an ad in the paper today to find a new home for Chico. It was hard not to cry. I raised him to almost two years old. Except for his need to run and terrorize other dogs, he’s the sweetest pup. He’ll be a great companion for someone. In dog years, he’s a young adult. Time to send him on to his next adventure.
This would be a good time to have human adult children and grandchildren to help me, keep me company and put things in perspective, but I don’t have them. Now that my husband isn’t here, my stepchildren have chosen not to contact me. So it’s just me and Annie now. She’s the cute puppy in my photo, except she’s all grown up.
Is there a conclusion to this story? I suppose the moral is that no matter how much we love them and treat them as our children, they are still dogs, and sometimes we have to let them go.
2 thoughts on “Minus one baby dog”
Sue, Hi. I just read your post about Chico and I have a suggestion that I HOPE will help you. You may want to consider hiring someone to help you install an invisible fence. Before you start calling the “animal cruelty hotline” on me, please read on! Seriously, it just might be the answer to your problem and then you can keep your beloved dog and keep your neighbors happy too. Even though you have a REAL fence, it might be worth adding this to it, especially since it's obvious that you really love him and want to protect him from your gun-loving neighbors! (I live in a rural area so I can relate). I swear to you that I am NOT into animal torture. In fact, let me tell you … I used to be SO against this idea! Being childless myself, my animals ARE my kids! There was NO WAY I was ever going to do something like that to ANY animal I loved. The problem was, I didn’t really understand how they worked.
Everything in my life changed when Gus came along. Gus is my 77 lb. hound/lab mix. He is a very smart, very playful and VERY headstrong young man, especially when he has his heart set on rushing over to play with one of our gun-loving neighbor’s pets (a cat on one side and a Pomeranian on the other)! Problem was … the neighbors' pets were more than just a little intimidated by him. We probably could have solved that issue over time, but the thing that made me desperate was that he started chasing trucks (the bigger the better). He's incredibly fast and he would keep up with the passing vehicles well enough to try to bite their tires while they were still moving at 30 or 40 mph! I can't tell you how many close calls we had. My heart would practically stop every time.
Gus spends a lot of time inside but he loves being able to run free outside too. We tried building a huge, fenced dog run, but no matter what we did to try to make it secure, he would get out (sound familiar)? No “real” fence was good enough to hold him, but the invisible fence works great.
Basically, it took me 2 weeks to train him, and I worked with him for about an hour everyday so that he would know exactly were he could go without having to worry about getting “correction” from the collar. With the fence I use (see http://www.petsafe.com), your pet hears a warning beep long before any “correction” actually happens. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is that even when Gus is running at top speed, chasing turkeys or squirrels, he literally screeches to a halt when he gets anywhere near one of his boundaries. This is the only fence we have, so Lord only knows where he’d end up!
I know I probably sound like a commercial for this product, but I promise I am a real person, Gus is a real dog and this is a true story. The thing is, I know without question that it saves his life multiple times on a daily basis and I am grateful that I found a way to keep my dog alive so whenever I hear about someone with a similar situation with their dog, I have to rave about this! Even during power outages when the fence isn't even working, he still will NOT go near that line. He just knows where it is now. I don't know how big your yard is, but you can fence several acres if desired and it costs less than $200 to do it (we have 6 acres and we put the fence around 2 acres so he still has plenty of room to run). Anyway, I just wanted to tell you about it because it definitely helped us, and we got to keep our one-of-a-kind puppy so it's a very happy ending here. He's truly an amazing dog and I love him more than I can say!
I know you said that having 2 big dogs is still a lot for you to handle with your circumstances and believe me, I completely understand, but maybe this will solve your problem, too. Either way, please know that you and Chico are in my prayers and I do hope that this works out for the best for all of you. Take care, and here's wishing a very Merry Christmas to you, Annie and Chico!
Thank you so much. Two dogs may still be too much for me at this point, but I will definitely think about the invisible fence for Mr. Chico. This week he's safe at a good kennel, but it will soon be time to say goodbye or find a new way to make things work. Meanwhile, Annie seems to enjoy being an only dog most of the time.
I'm so glad you found a good solution for your dog-baby.