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.