Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Decision Made

Hey, guys!

Thank you all for your comments, Facebook messages, insights and opinions on yesterday's post. Most of you truly helped put things into perspective for me, and helped me break it down into manageable parts to decide on. I've come to a decision about Roxie, after weighing all possible options, and considering both short and long term effects for everyone involved.

Before I get to that though, I want to clear up some apparent confusion on yesterday's post. It seems that some people though Roxie's pit bull heritage was what I was "blaming" her behavior on, and basing my decision on.
That is not what I meant.
I know that prey drive is not an exclusive pit bull trait, of course. Any dog can have it, though there are obviously breeds more prone to it. However, dog aggression is one of the defining traits of pit bulls. Any educated, responsible bull breed owner or fancier will tell you that. And having that predisposition in addition to her already high prey drive is why I am factoring her breed into my decision. She is only 9-10 months old, and more often than not, pits and other bull breeds grow less and less dog tolerant with age. Since Roxie is so young and already showing both the off the charts prey drive and what I'm suspecting are the first signs of dog aggression, this is why her breed/mix is such a big factor. Had I known that was part of her mix, I would have never intended to keep her.

It's not her size that worries me, either. I'm not one of those small dog owners that are terrified to let my dogs play with larger ones. I'm careful, of course, but I don't put them in bubbles. They've played with everything from pugs to Mastiffs. So, it's not the size of the dog but the intent of the dog.

I have a multi dog household. I'm willing to put up with a lot of things from my dogs (*cough* Pike, I'm looking at you, you dick *cough*), but dog selectiveness or dog aggression is not one of them. The only disservice in this situation would be to my own dogs if I blatantly wrote off my concerns.

It'd be a bit like expecting my dachshunds not to dig, or to ignore the chickens if they were to leave their coop. Sure, you may get the odd dog that's fine with the hens or isn't a huge digger (like Nola), but the odds aren't in your favor if those things are deal breakers to you.

Now that that's cleared up, on to the decision.

Roxie will be rehomed. After thinking about it, speaking with several people who've dealt with similar situations (thank you, So Fly!), realistically deciding what I'm able to do and what I'm willing to do, as well as having a few of you state it so clearly it cut through all my confusion, it's the best decision for everyone involved.
Taryn from A Tail of Two Cardis said it best for me, pointing out that Roxie is fine with Nola...until she's not, and reminding me that I absolutely cannot handle having my heart dog in that situation. That's really everything I could possibly say about the situation.

Even with extensive training, I can't eliminate her nature. I will never trust her around my dogs now, even if training could reduce or eliminate her reactions. I think of myself as a fairly competent trainer, but I don't trust myself to handle something of this magnitude. The behavior could quickly become fatal, and I don't want my inexperienced handling of the matter to be the thread holding that back.

Even with strict management and crating and rotating, I'm human. It would only take one time for a lapse in judgement to have devastating consequences.
Even if there was never a single slip, I don't think that a life filled with the fear and stress of management is fair to my dogs, Roxie, or me. My dogs are all young. Nola just turned 5, Pike is nearly 2 (when did that happen?!), and Olivia is almost 18 months. Roxie is around 10 months. That's a good 10-15 years of that life. I don't want that for any of us.

I'm in over my head with this situation, and I need to bow out. I have to keep my dogs safe. They are my priority above all else, and their best interest trumps my own wants. I have to listen to my gut with this one, since I know the situation best. Thank you for all your help. Truly, you all can't image how much your words, thoughts and suggestions have helped me.

I've inquired to a bull breed savvy family friend about adopting Roxie, and if that doesn't pan out, I'll be leaning towards a bull breed specific rescue, or a private rehome on my own. I'm not sure yet which - need to research more. Until I find the perfect solution, we're doing strict separation between the dogs. Roxie is continuing to learn skills she needs for a house, and I'll continue to care for her until she finds her forever home.

Please be kind in the comments. It may not be what you would have done, or what you think I should do. However, it's the best solution for my own dogs, and that's what matters.

- Dachshund Mommy


  1. Given the circumstances I would be making the same decision on rehoming her. You took her in and got her back on her feet and now its time for her to find her forever home and really thrive. Living a life on crate rotation as you would have to do is never fair for any party involved. I know people that do this and do it well, but like you said it just takes one time. And your dogs aren't worth that risk. I know several bully people up in my neck of the woods that specialize in re-homing and rescue so I can reach out to them if a rescue option is needed. They do transports all over. I have truly enjoyed watching Roxie transform and thrive under your care and you've done a fabulous job and something a lot of people wouldn't have done.

  2. Frankly, I think the best option is a home where she is wanted and the owner isn't tolerating her, but welcoming her. You are making an effort to train her to prepare her to make that connection in a new home and you saved her life to begin with after she was dumped. I don't think you need to be bashed. You should treat this as a foster situation. You made her whole and she is far more ready for that new home now than when she came to you needing extensive medical care.

    I have always credited Bailey's original owners with knowing they made a mistake early on and turning him into a reputable rescue right away. He had little time to attach and he was able to be rehomed with few restrictions. Katy's situation lingered for 3 years knowing she wasn't wanted. She was never abused, but she knew she wasn't wanted and my one criticism of her original owners is that they waited as long as they did to find her a new home. She would have been much happier in a place that WANTED her, not tolerated and kept her because they felt she was a responsibility they had acquired.

    While I haven't posted often I have followed your journey and respected the care you've given this dog. You've been an amazing foster Mom. Now it is time to help her find her forever home that will be the perfect match for her. She is in a much better state to find that home and have a new owner see her potential than she was when you took her in, that was perhaps your role in her life.

  3. We went through a similar situation with our old dog Cooper who had a touch of Sharpeii/Pit in him but he was mostly Lab. He is why Ginger has one less eye. Even after that incident happened I still tried to keep him but keep them separated. That was until he actually went after her during a quick potty break and picked her up at the top of her back and started shaking her trying to basically kill her and I had to separate them. Needless to say I had a ton of scratches and was totally freaked out cause my 4 year old was right behind me as the whole thing happened. It was awful and I cried for what seemed like forever cause Cooper was my little cuddle bug but I could no longer trust him around Ginger or around my son. He never showed aggression toward anyone but Ginger. The vet said he wanted to be the dominant dog and Ginger being a terrier was not having that. Cooper went to a local shelter and from what I was told was adopted out to home where he would be the only dog. I still miss him but it was what was best for everyone.

  4. Sweetie here,
    Some of you know that I'm Nola's grandma. We were taking a drive when we found Roxie and it was my crying over her that led us to bringing her into our lives.
    DM has spent countless hours on Roxie's care and rehab. She's spent a small fortune on her health care and special needs.
    I've been so touched by the blog worlds kindness and support, from the positive thoughts to the gifts for Roxie, it's really restored my faith in humanity to see so many pull for one poor puppy.
    The decision on Roxie's future has just broken DM's heart. The tears, the heartache, the gut wrenching options, the tears, (and did I mention the tears?) have not been easy to watch. This decision was neither hasty nor easy.
    Your continued love and support during this tough time is greatly appreciated.

    1. We just love you Sweetie! We will ALWAYS stand behind DM in any decision she makes.

      Lily Belle & Muffin

    2. That's why you're so awesome, Lily Belle, Muffin and K! :)

  5. The thought of rehoming is a heartbreaker for anyone. But I would do the same. Keeping Roxie may change all your pups behavior. We know you will find the best home for her. You saved her life
    Lily & Edward

  6. Oh Miss.DM, you did - are are continuing to do!- your very best for Roxie. It is sad that sometimes the best thing isn't always the easiest. You saved that little girl form the side of the road and what would have certainly been death, and that is an AMAZING thing. It's sad that she has shown this trait that could potentially cause harm, and even managed could still cause problems in your home due to stress from worry and just the management of it. She sounds like a wonderful dog...just not the dog for your household. HOWEVER I am sure there is another family out there where she would be the missing piece to their family. As a previous poster, Bailey, already mentioned you have been an AMAZING OUT OF THIS WORLD foster mom for Roxie as she got back on her feet. I know this isn't much help but, there is no reason to feel bad about this decision. You are ensuring a happy life for yourself, your dogs AND Roxie by having made it.

  7. I'm so sorry you are going through - I really admire you for all of the thought and consideration you have put into this difficult decision. I have friends who went through a similar experience and had to re-home a dog as well. They even went to a behaviorist who basically told them what you have already concluded in your post above. Although it was very, very, very hard for them to make the decision and re-home the dog there was a huge relief from everyone (dogs included) once the decision was made and the dog made it to its new home.

  8. It's sad to me that when a rehome situation is the best option, there's such a stigma attached to it that you worry about negative comments. There's rehoming and then there's dumping. What you are doing is completely responsible and loving - and you have my full support. I liked Taryn's comment as well and I am glad that her insight helped make things clearer for you. I know it isn't easy, you've put so much into Roxie - and you are putting even more into her by finding her the best home possible where she can further thrive. Thank you for loving Roxie and your own dogs enough to make this very tough decision. Hugs from me, licks from Blueberry.

  9. I've always been a huge supporter of fostering dogs before placing them in new homes. Not all shelters and rescues can do it, but for those who can the information they learn about the dogs plays a VITAL role in making the placement work.

    That is what you really need to focus on when you think about this experience. A dog with the physical issues Roxy had when you picked her up had little chance of placement until she could be cleaned up. You took that on and you've also worked on basic skills with her.

    You also can provide very valuable information to whom ever is working with you to rehome her. You know what restrictions that new home will need.

    We are currently on a list for our third dog with a rescue that fosters and it is such an important process. There are dogs listed that they haven't called us about because those dogs while heart breakingly adorable and tempting are not suited to our profile. They wouldn't be happy here and we'd not be happy with them. However, without fostering, that info is often not available to those making the placements and the potential adopters.

    You have done a great service to Roxy by helping provide that information. Those rescues you are talking to may ultimately find a great match of someone who has a love for this type of dog and the right environment where she can thrive.

  10. I think that is a good decision and only you know what is best for you. You gave Roxie her life back and that is an awesome gift and now you are finding her a home where she will flourish. You are a wonderful puppy Mommy and it will all be good for you and all the pups.

  11. You have put so much thought into this decision, when many would have a knee-jerk reaction. You saved Roxie's life. You're a hero! And when Roxie is with a family who loves her and treasures her, I hope you will feel fantastic about this journey you took to save Roxie.

  12. That would be my decision too. I know you will do everything you can to ensure Roxie goes to the best home possible. I agree with what you said, to live with the constant expectation of something happening would be quite stressful.
    Yesterday when I said one of my dogs had been attacked by a greyhound years ago doesn't stop me from letting the ones I have now interact with big dogs. Elliot's best friend is the sheepdog next door and he has a friend who is a giant Lurcher (greyhound/deerhoud cross). Buy you can just tell which ones have the high prey drive - strainng at the lead with a crazed look in their eye - and I do pick them up in that situation because I have seen first hand the devestating results it can lead to.
    Lynne x

  13. I think that you've made the right decision. It was wonderful that you saved her life. Now you're unselfishly giving her a life where she can be an only dog and everyone is going to be safer and happier. Don't beat yourself up.

  14. You saved Roxie's life. I don't think we can ask for much more. I know that you will keep her and take amazing care until you find the perfect forever home or a perfect foster situation.

  15. I will have to agree with Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady....you have saved her life and will continue to do what is best for her, you and the other fur children in your care!!!!


  16. You are doing the right thing, not abandoning her in any way, but ensuring she has the right home for her traits, one of safety for everyone where she will be loved. You saved her life and that's something you should be really proud of.

  17. I'm so glad you came to a decision that will work out best for all of you. It will be yet another gift to Roxie to move to a family where she truly fits. You have not failed (not that there was any question about that, except perhaps it flashed through your mind) - you have succeeded beyond all expectations and you'll launch Roxie into her next stage in life. Keep us posted as that comes to pass.

  18. When we first talked about getting a dog the Mr.'s main criteria was that "it can't eat the cats since they were here first." :) Same goes for any new animal, they have to get along with 6 who are here now.
    You did the hard part taking care of Roxie's health issues, now she's ready to find her forever home thanks to you and Sweetie. Love you guys! <3

  19. You are doing what's right for you and that's what matters! Tough choice. One of my dogs is very prey driven, but not with dogs. I know you will find her the right forever home.

  20. Sometimes things just don't work out. At least you stopped and she didn't die alone on the road. I hope she finds a good home!

  21. As an owner of small dogs and a former foster mom, I totally understand and support your decision. You have saved the life of this wonderful young pup and prepared her (and still are) for placement in a loving home where she can continue to blossom. I stand by my original opinion that you are a hero!

  22. I can tell how hard you thought about this and carefully considered every side. I can also tell that you will watch out to make sure that Roxie ends up in a good place. Making this decision must have been really difficult. I'm glad you made it so responsibly and thoughtfully.

  23. Oh sweetie, I am truly sorry for the decision you have had to make. I know it was not an easy one for you. You need to look out for the best interest for everyone and every pet in your life, and you have done a FANTASTIC job with Roxie, so always remember that. Much love to you in your hard times. ((hugs))
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  24. Wow, what a lot for you to deal with.

    I'm so thankful for the seriousness you brought to your decision and your courage for sharing it here. Your process may help someone else also facing a tough choice.

    Roxie is very lucky to have met you. And Nola has probably also been a great help in socializing her as well. I know you'll find the right home where she can be happy and safe. And she'll go forward to have a wonderful life.

    My first two dogs fought terribly. I didn't know any better except to tell myself that I had to offer a forever home. Now that I know more, I wish I had rehomed Christie so they both could have had a better life.

    You've really drawn us into Roxie's story. I hope you'll follow up and let us know how things are going and where she ends up finding a home.

  25. A very difficult thing you are going through. I am not against rehoming a pooch if it is in the best interest of all. My daughter has a 8 month old boxer that is acting the same way.

  26. All I can say here, having read up on the situation, is that you're doing the right thing. There is no point in living your life in fear of something terrible happening. It would be so stressful on both you and your dogs.

    In your position I would make the same choice.


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