One of the reasons I’ve been away from the blog for a while is that I’ve been trying to recover from the emotional trauma that has surrounded Greta.
We no longer have Greta. It’s been agony, but she couldn’t live here anymore. Walter would growl at her if she came near his food and she would go insane and attack him. It was going well for a few weeks and then all hell broke loose. She growled at Wendy, the gal who cleans here every week. Fighting with another dog is one thing, but if the aggression is directed toward a person, that’s something else. Around the same time, I was injured in one of the fights, but I still hoped things would settle out. Of course, they didn’t. The hostilities increased but the rescue didn’t have a place for Greta to be fostered so I felt like we had to give it every chance.
On Labor Day there was a fight to end all fights. Walter had a serious gash on his leg. Greta looked to be ok with no wounds on her face or legs. We rushed Walter to the emergency vet who is an hour away. There we sat waiting for him to get stitches. I felt horrible. I felt like I had failed them both. By trying to make things work, I had only made things worse.
When we got home, I found that Greta had been injured after all…behind her ear. She would need stitches, too. At that point, it would be quicker to wait for our vet to open, rather than head back to the emergency vet. I spent a horrible night knowing that something had to be done. The rescue HAD to take her back. She just couldn’t stay here anymore. Late that night, sent an email to the rescue and let them know the situation.
The next morning we made an appointment to have Greta stitched up. They couldn’t take her till 3PM and for the next few hours I made calls. I got in touch with the rescue and begged for them to take her back. When they realized the severity of the attacks they told me that if they took her back, they would put her down. I was crushed. I told them that I had an appointment that afternoon to treat her wounds and if she had to go, she was going while I held her. The reason for that appointment changed quickly. I felt so helpless. I had a contract with the rescue; if the dog was to leave my care, she HAD to go back to them…and they were going to kill her. I left a message asking them if I had my vet call them, would they consider letting me break my contract.
I called my regular vet and told her the situation, hoping that she would talk to the rescue and convince them that Greta could go to a single dog house and that she didn’t need to be put down. This vet, who I trust completely, told me that she would be leery of keeping Greta alive because she had shown some aggression toward a person, even though it was only a growl. She was very upset that she couldn’t be there for me while this was happening. She had only recently euthanized Levi, a Dane I thought the world of. I couldn’t believe we were facing another death so soon.
I talked to Wendy and told her about the situation and she was adamant that I take Greta to the Humane Society where her daughter worked. She said that Greta would have another chance and her daughter could work with her. But I couldn’t do that unless I was freed from my contract. I should have just conveniently “lost” Greta and let her go to the Humane Society surreptitiously, but if it was ever found out that I did, I’d be in big trouble.
At 3PM we went to the vet’s practice. Since my vet couldn’t be there, another one came in to do the deed. I was beyond distraught. As she was filling the syringe, she kept telling me that I wasn’t ready to do this. I KNEW I wasn’t ready; I would never be ready. This couldn’t be happening. Greta was only a year old. The staff at the practice came in one by one to say goodbye to Greta and to give me hugs. It was unbearable.
The vet again said that I wasn’t ready, and she was right, but I had no choice. There was no way Greta could come home to us and I wasn’t going to take her back to the rescue only to be euthanized by strangers. If it was going to be done, it was going to be done with her in my arms.
Then my phone rang.
It was the rescue! I told them I had a plan to get Greta some help where she could be ‘rehabilitated’ and be placed in an appropriate home. Of course, I wasn’t exactly sure what the Humane Society could do for Greta, but it was her only hope. They released me from the contract!!!
I called Wendy and told her that if Greta could be kept from other dogs and the public, AND get some training, she could go to the Humane society. We sent Greta off to be stitched up and within minutes, Wendy arrived in the vet’s parking lot and took Greta away. I was still a sobbing mess, but I knew it was the right thing to do.
Greta is now in her own kennel at the Humane Society. I get reports about her every few days and she is doing great. The staff there love her and she is in the care of a vet and two trainers who will help to prepare her for a home with no other animals, and no children. Wendy’s daughter is the director of the dog division there and made sure everything was done right. Under the circumstances, I couldn’t ask for a better solution. It still hurts and I’m crying as I’m typing this. At the time, I just retreated from everything as I tried to recover. I am still trying to get over the loss and the guilt. Things are a little better now. I’m making peace with the situation and Walter is getting used to being an “only dog.” I think we’ll keep it that way. I’m not sure I could bear another alpha dog showdown. I can’t deal with any more aggression, and I certainly can’t stomach any more injuries. It’s time to leave the blood, guilt, and tears behind and look toward a calmer life. I think Greta will have one, too.