Friday, August 18, 2006

Goodbye, Buddy

It is very hard for me to write this post. Today I had to put my boy Hooch down. Not because he was sick or old but because he had become dangerous to live with. We adopted Hooch through a Dalmatian rescue about three and a half years ago. Initially, I saw a few signs of aggression but nothing that I thought we couldn't overcome together with the proper training and making him feel secure in a forever home. Unfortunately, Hooch never felt at ease, and never stopped trying to dominate us and protect himself from what he perceived as dangerous. I can off hand count about seven attacks on both myself and my husband, two of which sent us to the emergency room. His most recent event was this past Monday, after I had taken him for a walk. He was laying in the kitchen and when I walked in, he lifted his head to growl at me as he has done many times before. I shushed him a couple of times and when I turned to walk away from him he latched on to my leg and shook his head violently. Hooch was big for a Dal, 92 pounds. He left me with two deep puncture wounds, eventually my entire leg bruised. Another such attack last year left my husband with 21 stitches in his face. He was also aggressive with our other Dal, Chief, and has left him with a few battle scars. We gave Hooch what we thought that he needed to become part of our family. I brought trainers to the house, read counteless books and articles and even faithfully watched "The Dog Whisperer. Nothing seemed to make any real changes in his behavior.
I often wonder what Hooch's life was like before he came in to rescue. All we really know is that his "family" moved away and left him in the backyard without any food, water or shelter during the middle of winter. I can probably rightfully assume that he was abused, possibly sustaining some kind of brain injury.
The heartbreaking part of our life with Hooch is that he was at times capable of such sweetness and sillyness. In many ways he was like a big clumsy puppy. I hope that he is at peace now that he has crossed the rainbow bridge and is nipping at the angels wings as they throw the ball for him across the clouds.

23 comments:

Michelle said...

Wow, how sad. I just know he's much happier where he is now.

Dana said...

Oh Marj-that's so sad! I can't even imagine how hard that must have been for you. My heart goes out to you and know that Hooch is truly at peace.

Red Dog Knits - Kristi and Otis said...

I am so sorry about your loss and how difficult the decision must have been regardless of knowing it was the best and right decision. Take care of yourself.

Amby said...

Oh Marj, I am in tears from reading your post. You and your husband are angels for rescuing a dog in need, and it is truly heartbreaking that even all the love, support, and training you gave him couldn't undo the damage someone else inflicted. But there's a heaven for pups and I know he's in it!!!!!!

Many many hugs to you and your husband.

Amy said...

Marj, that's so hard. What a decision to have to make. It's sad, but sometimes it's what has to be done.

AR said...

Oh, Marj. I'm so sorry for your loss. You had to do what was best even if it was very hard. He's way better off now. Poor boy. Hugs to you and all who love Hooch. I had a dalmatian while I grew up. They are special dogs. Shame on the people who hurt Hooch, and bless you for doing your best.

Cathy said...

I truly and honestly feel your pain Marj and my heart goes out to you and your husband. We had the same problem with our yellow lab except he attacked my son and his friends not my husband and I, and though the first trainer told me to put her down I went through two more along with three years of worrying what she would do. Maybe Hooch and Katie will make friends over the Rainbow Bridge,have their demons silenced and have eternal peace.

kristinknits said...

I am so sorry to read about that. It sounds like you made the right, although difficult, decision.

Kristyn said...

Oh sweetie I am so sorry. You are truly an angel. Even the right decision can be difficult to make. Hugs to all of you!

alliesw said...

I'm so sorry--at least he had a good home with you guys. You'll be in my thoughts!

2paw said...

Dear Marj, what a difficult decision, but the right one I think. Buddy couldn't have been happy inside, but I bet he was glad to have had kindness and love from you.... and that he could return it most of the time too...He'll be in Dog Heaven now. Funnily enough I rarely think there's a people heaven , but there just IS a Dog Heaven.

Katherine said...

Marj, a big (((HUG))) to you. Tough decision but one I think was a good one. He was a cutie and worthy of your love and care. I'm glad he was able to be so cared for after the horrible beginning to his life.

Larjmarj said...

Thank you, all of you, for leaving such heartfelt comments during what is a very hard time for me and my family. It means a lot. Marj

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schrodinger said...

Marj, I just saw your post and my heart goes out to you and your husband. While you know the tough decision you made was only one you could make, it was one of the hardest to make. I'm thinking about you.

Sharon said...

Dear Marj, what a terribly hard decision to have to make but definately the right one. Hooch is now at peace xx

Amy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Keep in mind the happiness he had while in your care

amanda j said...

My thoughts are with you Marj, and I hope you can find some comfort in knowing he must have been so confused and scared!

Momo said...

Oh my, I am so sorry. I know that losing my baby was one of the saddest events of my recent life. (((hugs)))

rachel said...

Oh my gosh he was such a beautiful dog :( Again, I'm so sorry for what you went through. Putting in as much effort as you did for such a long time is so admirable.

Knittinreed said...

Oh Marj - I am so sorry. How sad to lose a difficult yet beloved member of your family. Even though it sounds like you made the best decision, it doesn't make your loss less.
Hugs to you and yours.

BLACK DOG KNITS said...

Your post made me cry. Poor puppy. You made the right decision under the circumstances. xx

Kel said...

I'm uber late in reading this post but wanted to send you my hugs anyway... :( I know it was a tough decision to make, but I hope you can take comfort in the fact that you took a chance with Hootch that many people (including his first family) didn't take, and that's an admirable thing.

Big hugs to you!