Thursday, June 12, 2014

The hard part...

A post by the momma:

I debated on sharing this.  I wrote about it and deleted it so many times I lost count.  I had so many emotions and thoughts running through my head, I wasn’t sure which ones I should write about… or if I should write and share it at all.   So, I decided I would sit here and write, no deleting.  

Having this blog and having a Facebook for both myself and a page for Corbin, I share much of our lives with social media, people we know in everyday life and people we  may have never met in person, but find ourselves connected to in a way that makes telling the happy things fun and the sad things difficult.  This is a sad post and a difficult one.  Deciding to tell it leaves me vulnerable to a certain amount of scrutiny, but where would the balance be if I shared only the happy, easy times?  Here goes.

On Monday, June 9, 2014, I helped our beautiful Brienne to the rainbow bridge.

My heart is aching, my eyes still burning, my mind still racing. 

Brienne was adopted and unfortunately her adoption did not work out.  When she was returned, I was not in a position to bring her back into our home.  Between moving my mom and Corbin’s health concerns, it wasn’t possible for us.  Bree went to boarding, then to a foster home where things didn’t work out, then back to boarding, then to another foster home, then when things didn’t work out there she went to another home where she severely attacked their cat.  Bree went back to boarding.  I fought to keep her alive.  I thought all she needed was to come back to our home.  She wasn’t aggressive, she was my dear, sweet Brienne.  Just big and goofy.

Bree came back to our home on Saturday.  After a bit of a rocky intro between her and Corbin, things seemed fine.  I had all 3 dogs in the yard, they were sniffing and running and doing dog things.  Bree charged to Amelia from the other side of the yard and tackled her, growling and snarling.  Thankfully, I was already standing by Amelia and was there in a second to break it up.  I had never heard Brienne growl before. She remained very focused on Amelia and we were careful with their interactions. Saturday night we had a scuffle with all 3 dogs.  No one was hurt, just lots of noise, I was close by to intervene.  I kept telling myself that Bree had been in boarding, she’s just adjusting and has some pent up energy, and we’ll just continue to keep a close eye on the dogs.  Sunday she started getting aggressive with me, snarling, growling and barking and her occasional mouthing turned more frequent, hard and nippy, leaving marks.

Monday after work, all 3 dogs were let out of their crates and into the yard for some play time, then inside to cool down.  Bree and Corbin were following Adam around and both dogs were walking next to each other down the hallway… Bree attacked Corbin. I’m thankful Adam was right behind them and able to break them up leaving Corbin with some nasty scratches, few punctures and a very achy back. 

Brienne wasn’t the same dog we had when she first came into the rescue.  Something was very different about her and I so badly thought being with us would be the cure for her.  It wasn’t.  I wasn’t able to help her any more.  Perhaps the dogs shouldn’t have been that close in the hallway, unfortunately we don’t have a house where we can keep the dogs separated.  Perhaps we should have muscled through our schedules and taken Bree back from the start, avoiding her many moves.  Perhaps I didn’t give her enough time to settle back in.  I’m not sure where things went wrong for her, if it was the constant movement from home to boarding to home to boarding or if her abuse from the past contributed to her insecurity… professional help was previously sought out by a local trusted behaviorist.  Bringing her to my home was her last hope, and I couldn’t help her. 

I took Brienne to the vet.  I held her and kissed her and told her how sorry I was for having failed her and that I loved her.  I was with her through her final moments.  I adopted Brienne.  In some weird way I wanted her to know that she wasn’t just a number, that her name wouldn’t just be forgotten, she was our family and she was loved.  She will be cremated and will stay with me forever. 

Please know this decision was not made lightly.  I personally, and us as a rescue, do not have the means to rehab a dog with such aggressive behaviors and our behaviorist wouldn’t risk taking her in.  We did reach out to other rescues in our area for help with no success.  This wasn’t her first attack, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if her next attack was worse or fatal for an animal or she injured a person or child.  I’m not perfect, and I may have made many mistakes with the way I handled Bree’s situation… hindsight is always 20/20.  Many of our foster dogs have been dogs with behavioral and/or aggressive issues that we have been able to successfully work through, manage and adopt them out to understanding and prepared homes.  I’m not a dog behaviorist, I’m not a dog trainer… but I did do my best.

Run free, my sweet Brienne….


I understand that many people will have strong emotions and opinions about this, and I respect your views, but please know I would not have made that decision if I had another available, safe option.  We could not safely place Bree in a home.  This is, by far, the hardest part of rescue...

48 comments:

  1. You did EVERYTHING Possible for Bree. You did the RIGHT thing for HER and for everyone ELSE... Sometimes the MIND is not able to recover and to move toward the LIGHT and the LOVE. Bree must have been miserable. Wanting to do the right things and yet not being able to control her actions and reactions. She is at PEACE now. You are to be commended for doing all that you did for her.

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  2. We agree - it was the right thing to do. Sometimes love alone just isn't enough and the risk to your dogs and yourself was just to high.

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  3. I cannot imagine having to make such an impossible decision. You are very brave to take responsibility to make the difficult choices and to share with everyone. <3

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  4. crying. you did the right thing, you released her from her fear and now she's in a place of total light and love. thank you for loving her - we're all thinking of you (even us who don't know you personally!)

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  5. Mom Kim here-
    As I read your post, as hard as it was for you to write, it was also hard to read – but that is what we do here in Blogville; life is not always sunny and bright and good – there are bad things that happen to good people. Sometimes life sucks! It is easy for me to sit here and say, “Don’t blame yourself” – I have never been in your situation and pray I never am but no one ever knows. Maybe all the changes did bring on Bree’s aggressiveness but maybe too there was something else that triggered it – could have been a physical issue that no one could see without extensive testing. PLEASE believe me when I say we do the best we can with the hand we are dealt at the time. I would love to foster and maybe someday (I hate that word) I will. However, it is just me and the Beaglebratz here and right now I work full time and I know it would not be fair for that foster to stay crated all day. After that first adoption, who knows what happened that it didn’t work out – why was Bree returned – had she begun to show some of those aggressive tendencies then or was there something going on in that first adoptive home that had begun triggering that aggressive behavior? Yes, hindsight is 20/20 but in the meantime, life is not fair. You did the very best you could with what you had at that time. And you also had to think about your’s, Corbin’s and Amelia’s safety as well as the safety of any others Bree may have come in contact with. I know making that decision had to be the most difficult you will ever be faced with and no matter what I or anyone else says, it will likely stay with you for a long time – I think most of us, if not all, play the “what if” game - I know I support you with this - like I said, you did the best you could. No one will ever know for sure what set Bree off - it happened, sometimes the right decision is the most difficult and extremely hard to live with but Corbin and Amelia need you now. Bree will never be forgotten nor should she - you do have some great memories of her and that is what will make you smile when you think of her.
    RIP sweet Brienne - whatever troubles you had, are gone now -run and play at the Rainbow Bridge.
    and hugs to Corbin's mom

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    1. This is beautifully written and so so true.

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  6. I am so sorry for your loss. I can not imagine being placed in such a difficult situation. Run free Brienne. Big hugs to you Corbin's mom. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  7. I'm so sorry for the decision you had to make. My husband and I had two pitbull type strays show up at house a few years ago. I had a friend who was working with a rescue and agreed to let us park them at her kennel. To make a long story short, the female dog after a few days got aggressive and also went after a small dog. The rescue backed out of taking her. They said she was too "pitbull like", she was not spayed and heavy hw positive. They recommended having her euthanized, but wouldn't do it. We took her to our vet, and I cried my eyes out the entire way, in the vets office, signing the paperwork and cried for days afterwards. I felt we had failed her, but just didn't have the resources to bring her into our home. You did the right thing for Brienne, she's in a happy place now

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  8. Oh, I am so sorry things happened this way for Brienne. I agree with everyone else above that you did everything you could for her. You took a huge risk and leap of faith to try to rehabilitate her and it is no one's fault that it just wouldn't work for her. You certainly did more than most would have done. I applaud your efforts and I also think you made the best decision for everyone. She is at peace, your pack is safe, and you gave her a very loving and respectful transition to the rainbow bridge. I am sending you love and hugs from my whole pack to yours.
    Sarge's Mom

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  9. This was a very tough decision you had to make and it was not made lightly or on a whim. I know, as I'm sure other readers do, that you did everything under the sun to help Bree. I think you did what was best for her and stayed until the very end.

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  10. Hi Corbin, Amelia and Brienne's Mom
    You really are a SAINT in my eyes. The love and nurturing you bring to all of your rescues is beyond what anyone would ever expect. They all come to you broken and leave you knowing they are loved. Bree was no exception to this rule. In all likelihood, she could not help herself when the anger surfaced and the aggressiveness took over. You gave her love and in the end you gave her peace. There is nothing more can be asked of you.
    Love Noodles and her Moms

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  11. It's the hardest decision ever. There is never a, right time, but we believe you had to. You made the right decision.
    Lily & Edward

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  12. I'm so sorry, she was such a beauty! But you did all you could, I hope you don't hold yourself responsible!!!! It's such a hard world for dogs. As someone else here just said, you gave her peace. You stood by her, and loved her, so that her last experience in this world was gentleness and love.

    Something similar happened to us: I found a beautiful pitbull pup on the highway who was all cuddles with me. He was just a little bundle of love, but he was super aggressive with the great dane I had just adopted a few weeks earlier. He was ok with our other dane, but when he'd attack the other pup, general mayhem ensued. Everyone got bitten, including me. I tried to find his owner, I tried to find someone to take him, I tried to separate the dogs, but we live in a loft-style home, and no one would take him. Things got out of hand and despite desperate efforts to place him, I ended up having to give him to our local shelter, who have a horrendous kill rate. They would not let me be with him when they killed him. I felt awful, but I was also terrified that he'd find himself in a situation where he'd feel so afraid that he'd hurt someone. I can only hope that he found peace and that the person who was with him took the time to care.

    Lots of love, from Kira and Jasmine Danes, and mum

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  13. Oh, and I also wanted to say thank you for sharing this difficult post with us. It takes courage to write about the uglier side of life and harder times. These blogs are an inspiration, and despite not really knowing you personally, I always feel a sense of community and kindred spirits when reading your posts and the comments.

    Lots of love, from Kira and Jasmine Danes, and mum

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  14. I'm deeply sorry for the position you found yourself in, these decisions are so difficult but sometimes they are the only decision that makes sense. I know your heart is hurting I've been in your exact shoes. No judgement here only support for a wonderful person who does so much for dogs. RIP sweet Brienne.

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  15. 1. We love you. 2. This was her path. She was rescued, championed, shown love and she had someone by her side that loved her enough to make the difficult choices and see her journey though to the bridge. That is still rescue, it's not all happy endings and while I wish things were different, the reality is that she had the best people by her side at the end. You are rescue personified. This was her path. Thank you for showing her so much love.

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  16. I had the same experience with a dog, but he actually attacked me. I still feel guilty about it, thinking there was something else I could/should have done, but in the end, he couldn't get past his horrible beginning life...he did have a good life with me for the short time he was here. Please don't let the guilt get to you. You did everything you could and you gave (and continue to give) yourself to dog rescue. Focus on the success stories!

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  17. I have already judged you to be an incredible person, and this does nothing to change that (except possibly convince me more). Thank you for sharing this very human side of yourself, go easy on yourself and smile at the kisses Corbin and Amelia have for you.

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  18. Oh, Jenn, my heart is breaking for you guys. Thank you for loving her and advocating for her, and giving her the very best anyone could, all the way through the end. I know it matters. <3

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  19. I am so sorry to hear this. But knowing you (simply from the blog) and the amazing work and devotion you have to making sure every dog has the right house and right love, I know this was not easy. You did what you felt was the right thing, and for that it was the right thing. You would not have done this if there was any other option. And you were there to love her and respect her in her last moments. That is amazing. You have saved many, and this is another example of how you have saved a dog. She could have been in a much worse position, but you took her and tried again, and that much better than being passed around and ultimately in a dangerous position. Keep up the good work and know we are thinking of all of you.

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  20. I don't know you personally but I have read all your wonderful stories and have followed your Corbin blog for a while now. What everyone has said before me is all very true. You did what had to be done for the safety of everyone. I'm sure it was one of the most devastating decisions you ever had to make. I applaud you for having the courage and bravery to make that decision. Never never doubt yourself for what happened in the end. You, and your rescue, do wonderful things. My heart aches for you but know that you have many wonderful friends out there and lots of blogging support from all of us. RIP beautiful Brienne.

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  21. Momma Tea here rather than the pooches.
    This post was hard to read, I can feel your pain in every word you have written. You did everything you possibly could for Bree no one could have tried harder or done more for her than you did. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it was to make the decision you did and for what it is worth you have my admiration and respect for everything you did for her.
    In blogville we support each other through the bad times as well as laughing together through the good times, I have known such love and support from this wonderful family that is blogville and judging by the previous comments you will be feeling the love and support too.
    Do not doubt yourself Corbin Momma because I know that you did everything you humanly could for Bree and she crossed the bridge knowing she was loved by you. .

    Run Free Beautiful Bree <3

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  22. Casey's Momma here, and unfortunately I understand exactly where you're coming from. A few months ago I posted about going through the same thing with my former foster Pumba. I wanted so badly to be able to save him. But sometimes they're sick in a way we just can't figure out. We don't know why it happened, and we can't fix it. All we can do is be with them as we help them through the only option we have left. It doesn't matter if the sickness is in their mind or heart instead of something we understand like cancer. The result is the same. Please don't beat yourself up over it. Bree knew she was your dog in the end, and she'll be waiting for you someday at the Bridge.

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  23. I am so sorry for your loss. I also do rescue and realize that you did not take this decision lightly. It is the worst feeling to want to help but just find some can't be helped. You did the best thing for her and loved her to the end. RIP sweet girl.

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  24. I know how very hard this was for you to write and what a heartbreaking situation you were in. I am going thru a similar situation with our pup Sydney. For some reason unknown to us, Syd doesn't get along with the other dogs including and especially her litter mate Mac. We have tried so many things to reduce the stress and try to help Syd adjust, but none have worked very well. At one time we considered putting her down and that is still the final option open to us. For now just letting her run in the yard for eight hours a day seems to be helping enough to give us some hope, but my heart is heavy knowing it isn't really fixing the problem. Something inside Sydney is broken and I don't know how to fix it.

    I'm so sorry for what you've gone thru and my heart hurts for your pain. For the sake of your other animals, you've done the best thing available. Sometimes none of the options are good ones.

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  25. I know how very hard this must have been for you to write and I am so glad you did. It sounds like Bree was suffering terribly. Who can tell what life events made her such an angry dog, but it cannot have been easy for her. I truly believe that doggies can get mental health injuries that are as devastating as cancer or other diseases. Injuries of the mind and spirit that no amount of love can cure. Injuries that breaks the hearts of those around the dog and causes the dog's life to be filled with fear and anger. You did all you could for Bree, including your final loving act to set her free of her demons and let her join all her friends over the bridge.

    Mango Momma

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  26. You have to do what's right. You have good intentions but did not work out. Run Free Bree. Sending you Lots of Golden LOVE n Hugs.

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  27. We are so very sorry. Big hugs to you, Corbin's mama. You did what you thought was best for everyone involved. Godspeed, Brienne ♥

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

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  28. Thank you for doing everything you know how to do to find a different ending for Brienne and thank you for adopting her, no matter how symbolic it may have been, and thank you for being with her during those last moments. It seems like every rescue I follow has had at least one case like this, so you're not alone in not being able to fix every single dog you touch. But thank you for trying anyway.

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  29. I too am thankful you wrote this post. You did everything possible for dear Brienne and she knew she was loved and cherished by your family. Sometimes we just don't know why they act like they do. We can only love them and hope it's enough but sadly sometimes it is not. It is heartbreaking. This post brings back many memories for me personally. Run fast, run free Brienne.
    No worries, and love, Carol

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  30. I, too, am glad you shared your experience with us and for once I miss the $@#% Facebook "Like" button for all the other kind words of empathy that I share as well. We are going through an unexpected rough patch with our pack as well.

    I'd also like to add a compliment for how well you express your thoughts and feelings during a rough time. I hope our replies make you feel less alone in this as your words do for us and our past experiences.

    Hugs, Kerin

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  31. Sometimes you have to make the tough decisions out of love. We had to put one of our Great Danes to sleep when he suddenly went from a big loving fellow to aggressive and unpredictable. The vet did some tests afterwards and we found he had a brain tumor. He couldn't help it. It helped some to know, but still broke our heart.

    We are thinking of you though, and sending love and hugs.

    Monty and Harlow

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  32. Sometimes the only thing you can do is to just let them go.

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  33. Khyra's Mom Here -

    First off - thanks SO much for sharing this - I'm sure it was cathartic and therapeutic for you - and it will also help keep Angel Bree's spirit alive -

    Secret demons can exist in all species - for reasons all of us will never know -

    Sadly, not even all the love in the world can cure them - but we can help by doing what hurts 'us' the most -

    And admitting - as Patty Smythe sang so well - sometimes love just ain't enough -

    Angel Bree is free now -

    Khyra sends a hug and khyss to a very special human that does get it!

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  34. Thank you for being so brave, caring and compassionate. It took a huge heart to do what you did to set Bree free. IMO I think you did the right thing for Bree and kept her protected from herself and others. I'm so sorry you had to make the choice and we know you were with her until the end. That takes guts and lots and lots of love.

    24 Paws crossed for you. We are thinking about you and Corbin.

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  35. Our hearts are with you and Bree. Thank you for sharing the tough stuff. It's the bridge between that happy stuff. Live and learn, and do not play the "what if" game. I know it's hard not to, but once you stop you can begin to heal.

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  36. I read your blog all of the time, but rarely (if ever?) comment. I know I should more because I really enjoy reading your posts.

    What you did was brave - letting Bree go and posting about it. I'm so sorry you had to make that decision, but in my opinion it was the right one. (((hugs)))

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  37. Jenn, you are a wonderful person and a wonderful foster mom!! I don't believe there is anyone who knows you, and all the good you do, would ever criticize you for the decision you made. Bree was very lucky to have come into your life. If only for a while, she knew true love....thanks to you....you did the right thing, giving Bree true freedom and happiness!! My heart and loves goes out to you.... <3 Thank you for posting.

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  38. So sorry to read this, sounds like you did everything you could to help her, sorry to hear it had to come to this. But you did the right thing xx

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  39. I have, unfortunately, had to make that decision too many times. It comes with the territory when you do rescue. You did not fail her - you tried and there is no such thing as failure when one tries. There are too many dogs dying every day who have no issues. Some, unfortunately, are just not safe to live in our world. As my vet always says when I have had to make that decision, "They will come back as better dogs in their next life." Don't beat yourself up. You did the right thing for all concerned.

    Daniela

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  40. We kno yoo is da best pawson a doggie could kno my pal so we kno yoo dun da best yoo cud an no fur be able to say any diffrunt…is da ardest pawt…we send hugs for yoo and da doggies and I be dere at da Bridge to see Brienne …we will be runnin free wiv no trubbles or growlies my pal…I promise yoo dat

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  41. I cannot imagine how much you have struggled to make that decision and we truly believe that you've done all you could. I'm sorry for your loss as Bree you have cared for her. It may not have been fortunate that it had to reach this point. Sometimes, letting go is the right choice.

    Piappies Mom

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  42. It didn't work out for Bree with one adoption and 3 other foster homes, and even the behaviorist wouldn't take her on. You were definitely brave in stepping up to take her in again. Most rescues can't or won't take in a dog with a history of aggression. Sorry you were the one who had to make the tough decision.

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  43. Oh wow, so sorry you had to go through this. No judgment here. As a matter of fact - thank you for doing the hard thing. In this situation, it was the best decision and I know you wouldn't have done it if you didn't realize that. Thank you for doing your best in helping Bree in this situation. There's no telling what happened that brought out those behaviors. I know your heart hurts right now - but take comfort in knowing you were there for her at the end and you loved her enough to let her go. Hugs.

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  44. I missed this post, and I'm so sorry that I did. I know that you did everything in your power to make things work out, and I have faith in your decision. It was, obviously, one of the hardest decisions you'll ever have to make. I'm glad that Bree knew your love and that you'll always remember her. I send heart-felt sympathy to you.

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  45. Oh Jenn. What a sad, sad story; and what a brave woman you are. Sending hugs and rottie kisses.

    -Lisa

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