Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I Feel Like Dirt

The picture above is my 9 yr old daughter with her dog "Hershey". Hershey is an active Miniature Pinscher who will be 2 in October. We bought Hershey from a local breeder. When we went to get the dog we were very specific in asking the breeder if the dog was a good breed to have with children in the household (we had the baby with us). Maybe I should have asked someone who wasn't about to take $450.00 of our hard earned money. This particular breed is not good with small children and she has progressively gotten worse.

She has bit and snapped at both the older children at one point or another. The two yr old I can understand because she probably did something like hug her too tight or pull at a leg. My nine yr old is another story. She has done nothing but love and take care of this dog. I'm very proud of her responsibility level. The day that Monica came running up the stairs crying that Hershey had bit her, I knew we had to find a new home for the dog. My daughter's feelings were so hurt that the dog would bite her. I was angry that the dog would bite the hand that feeds her and someone so gentle as Monica.

Today I called the local dog shelter to get information. They assured me that they could find a good home for the dog and encouraged me to bring her down (because I had not made up my mind yet). I thought I might put an ad in the paper but how was I to know who would be a good person to give the dog too. These people screen prospective dog owners everyday.

I gave the dog a bath. Alexandra, my two year old, helped me. We were having such a good time that I almost changed my mind. As I was driving down the street the dog was looking out the window and having a great time. When we reached the shelter I wanted to turn back around because the thought she could be a good dog if she got enough attention. Then I realized that I just don't have the time to make that commitment. Hershey is a dog that needs to be treated like a child. She is a companion dog. She is a dog that needs to be with someone 24 hrs a day (I picture an older person without children that takes the dog everywhere they go). I cannot give her that attention so we continued on into the shelter.

The people there were extremely nice and understanding. I was not just someone dropping off an unwanted, uncared for animal. They could have made me feel horrible. They did not. We got Hershey all set and said our goodbyes. Tears did flow a little but I just kept it in my mind that it is much better for the dog. Anyway, I could not forgive myself if the dog ever seriously hurt one of my children.

I made sure that they will not let this dog go to a family with children (we can give that home to the dog). This dog needs to be the child. I also asked that they contact me when they find a home for the dog just so I know and I can reassure my oldest that the dog is happy.

I'm very sad today and I feel like dirt. I feel like I've failed at something very important.


Southern Girl said...

Rather you've failed, I think you've succeeded -- in protecting your children and doing what's best for Hershey.

I'm sorry y'all are hurting over it though.

Bethany said...

I think you did the right thing as well. I worry about families who "love" thier pets so much they keep animals around that shouldn't be around kids.

I actually prayed that my pregnant friends cat would die before the baby was born. Her cat would scratch and bite (and often draw blood) her elderly grandmother or any guests in the house.

My friend's cat did die before she had her daughter.

I'm sorry you guys are going through a tough time as well. It's hard for kids to give up their daughter lost her kitten for thirty minutes the other night and I thought the world had ended. She was so upset.

I'll remember you guys in my prayers....cause I know it's NOT trivial!

Chris said...

Hi, KD--Reluctant Lactivist here. We had to give up a dog, too. She was a lab/mastiff mix and was sweet as could be, but she started developing bad habits after our daughter was born and clearly needed more attention than we could give her. We found a friend of a friend, a single guy who'd just bought his first house and wanted a dog to go with it. He takes Roxy with him everywhere...she's even gone rafting. She's lost weight and looks healthier than ever. I know she's happier with him and I'll bet Hershey will be too when the right person finds her. Take care.