I sense a problem arising in our household. I’ve known it was going to be a problem for years, but my husband is now realizing just how much of a problem it actually is.
Seven years ago we adopted a dog from the shelter. We named him Royal and quickly realized that he was gong to be a fixer upper. He was underweight, had mange, had kennel cough, and was the most filthy thing I’ve ever seen. We got him fixed up, cleaned, and finally had a healthy 15 lb mutt dog to share. What we didn’t realize was that we had adopted a dog with a serious aggression problem. His aggression was against any other dog, people who came into his space, and children. Yes, children.
We spent time trying to get him used to being around children when we were in Charlotte with my family, but with no luck. We ended up having to put him in his kennel in the kitchen while my niece and nephew were over. Then eventually his anxiety got to be even worse and kennels were not an option. We could no longer bring him with us when we traveled to see my family. We gave up. Nothing worked. He even snapped at a kid in our apartment complex and, luckily, only got his shirt sleeve. I made sure to never let him get near any child again.
When we found out I was expecting I got worried. I knew that there was probably going to come a time when i’d have to bring up the subject of what to do with Royal. I love him, but I knew that the love for my child would strongly outweigh my love for him. I’m pretty sure that’s normal, but it sounds terrible to say that I can suddenly be okay with rehoming our dog that we’ve had for seven years.
I brought up the subject to my husband a couple weeks ago. I told him that I would never be able to trust Royal around Emmy. He is too unstable. He never listens when you tell him something, and he never learns. We’ve been trying to teach him to not jump on us for two years, and so far he STILL jumps on us. My husband likes to point out that he will not jump on us if we hold a spray bottle in our hands (he hates getting sprayed with water), but I pointed out that I can’t run around the house with a spray bottle 24/7. My husband just gives me sad eyes when I bring this up. He says we shouldn’t think about having to give him up until we are sure he isn’t going to behave. I KNOW that he isn’t going to behave. I know that once she starts moving around it is going to freak him out and he WILL go for her. I have no doubt in my mind. A mothers instincts should be considered above all else, if you ask me, but I know my husband hurts to think about it.
Yesterday seemed to bring the biggest change in his thoughts. We have a little dog named Juno who is a 5lb Morkie. Royal tried to kill her three times within the first few months we had her. He eventually got to a point where he ignored her, and then to a point where he tolerated her. She likes to jump on his face and lick it clean. I guess it’s her mothering instinct? It’s cute to see and Royal has never had a problem with it, although he does give us a look that says “aw, come on guys! This is SO embarrassing!” So yesterday Emmy and I were playing in her playroom (the dining room, gated off so Royal cannot get in because he also has a peeing on everything problem) and Royal and Juno were laying outside the gate, watching us. Juno got up to clean his face, and Royal attacked her. He chased her, growled at her, and bit her.
This is this first time he’s done this in four years. He attacked her for doing something that she does EVERY day! This really hit my husband hard. He finally realized that Royal cannot be trusted. If he attacks Juno for doing something she does every day, how could we ever trust him to be okay with Emmy running around, trying to pet him, throwing balls…. all things that he is unfamiliar with. Simple answer, we can’t. Something has to be done.
My husband looked so sad when he began to really realize this last night. I feel bad that I don’t feel bad. I am the mother and I will protect my baby. The biggest problem is that we have no idea who would want to take a dog with behavioral issues towards children. Maybe an older couple without grandchildren? A young couple without children anywhere in the future? *sigh*
I’m hoping this doesn’t become a huge problem in our household. My husband still wants to wait until we absolutely HAVE to find a solution to our problem. I want to start now, to make the transition easier and give us more time. I don’t want Emmy to have to grow up playing behind a gate her entire life. That isn’t fair to her.
Has anyone else had to rehome their dogs once their babies came along? Any tips?