one of the most challenging decisions a pet dog owner could face is whether or not to euthanize an aggressive dog.
I’m talking about killing a pet dog in buy to stop harm to others – pets, children, elderly parents, a spouse, neighbors, strangers.
I have long believed no pet dog of mine will ever come before the safety of any person, but of course unless I’m faced with such a decision I can’t be sure what I would do.
And that’s the thing.
How can I possibly judge someone else for making a decision I know so little about?
I re-shared an old post of mine recently where I’d written about language and how we must be careful with phrases such as:
“Blame the one on the other end of the leash.”
Or, “There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.”
Sometimes these statements may be true. a lot more often, they’re not. You can read the full post here.
My foster dog, Barkley
I fostered a small pet dog with severe aggression issues awhile back.
He was turned into the rescue because his owner could not manage Barkley’s outbursts. He had been going after another family member. read about Barkley here.
In my house, this 15-pound pet dog would get upset and lunge for my throat. He would launch himself towards my face.
After these “episodes” he would pant and tremble, often urinate, seemingly terrified and confused about what had happened.
He was a nice, little pet dog 99 percent of the time, but the other 1 percent was something damaged and frightening, even in a small package.
I often regret my decision of not encouraging euthanasia for that dog. had he been larger, there would’ve been no question, but I think the rescue and I did make a mistake.
Of course, these situations are judgement calls and we can only do the best we can.
Rescue groups and foster homes are not always right. Neither are pet dog owners, trainers or vets. See the essay, “The wrong Dog.”
Is it wrong to kill a pet dog humans have ‘failed’ on?
On Facebook, someone left multiple comments on my post. She said it’s wrong to kill a pet dog for aggression because humans have “failed” that dog.
This is her belief; ce n’est pas le mien.
Yes, people do “fail” on dogs all the time.
Usually this does not result in aggression. often it does.
For me, once a pet dog seriously injures someone, the question is no longer just about what is causing the aggression.
The questions become:
Can my dog live safely in society?
Who can safely care for my dog if I have to travel?
Will my dog harm another person?
Is there hope for improvement?
How is this affecting my dog’s quality of life?
How is this affecting MY quality of life?
Is my pet dog getting worse?
Yes, people make mistakes. We fail to recognize the early alerting signs. Often, we’re simply in denial about the animals we love so much.
It’s never simple.
Sometimes the aggression is caused by a physical issue, a mental illness, pain, confusion, trauma as a puppy, an unexplainable instinct.
It’s true, there are no “bad” dogs but dogs are capable of exceptionally damaging behavior.
Dogs can do bad things.
When we neglect that, we do a disservice to all dogs and the people who love them.
I want to share this quote from an anonymous commenter on my blog post who goes by the name “A.”
“I made a decision it was time … for her to have a peaceful, dignified passing and for us to no longer live in concern of her. Je l AIME …”
All I wish for people and dogs is peace.
Have any of you ever found yourself judging another pet dog owner’s decision about an aggressive dog?
Lire plus approfondie:
When to euthanize an aggressive pet dog – ThatMutt.com
New York Times essay “The wrong Dog” – summary on ThatMutt.com
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