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...