I went into this adoption thing with rose colored glasses, or blinders, or perhaps just completely blind. I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into, adopting a rescue dog with no known history. I really thought that Charlie would be our dog, forever. I really thought that this would be his home.
Charlie has come a long, long way, in the past seven weeks. I’ll bet in the next 3 or 4 months, we would see more change in him, too. But Charlie doesn’t understand his place in this family. Charlie thinks he ranks higher than the children, and nothing could be further from the truth.
Charlie bit William in the face about four weeks ago. Two weeks later, he snapped at Henry. In that same day, he snapped at Kate. In neither of these instances was he provoked. I got in touch with the organization from which we adopted Charlie. They recommended I return him to them, stating that it is too big a risk to take, and that though we could get training and greatly reduce the risk of a reoccurence, we could not eliminate it. Hoping to hear something more encouraging, I called a trainer, who was to come out to the house to assess him. I talked to her about the situation, and she told me that she wouldn’t keep a dog that had aggressive tendencies towards people, and especially not children. But she said that it was possible that we could “fix” him, so I scheduled an appointment with her to begin his training.
But yesterday, he snapped at William, again without provocation. I crated him until I was able to put him on his lead and watch him every single second. When that time came, I put his lead on and we sat, I in the chair, and he on the floor. Kate did nothing more than walk by when he snarled at her. And the gray area of what to do about Charlie sort of disappeared.
I am completely heartbroken. When I think of our morning walks and how happy he looks, or when I think of him wagging his tail in the morning, snuggling into me, or when I think of his wonderful (though seldom heard) baying, I just burst into tears. When I think about him waiting, again, for his new home, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to give him back. I want him to be ours.
And I feel like a fool that thought she could make a difference in the world, one little dog at a time. Instead, I am an idiot, just like every other idiot that gives up a dog for whatever reason. Did I try hard enough? I don’t know. I made a promise to take care of him for the rest of his life. Is it okay to break that promise because he is aggressive towards my kids? I don’t know…I promised. I just know that I wish I had never done this in the first place. I have caused everyone here sadness, especially the kids. And I have failed. I failed the kids, I failed Charlie, I just plain failed.
I’m sitting here, watching him sleep. I think how preciously cute he is, with his white socks and his spotted belly and his big floppy ears. I watch him stretch and I smile at the way his little toes flare out at the end of his outstretched legs. And then I remember that in a few days, he will not be here anymore. Upstairs I hear the kids. They are playing with their stuffed dogs. I think how they should be down here, playing with their real dog. They wanted so badly to have a dog to play with, but Charlie wants no part of their playing.
Charlie will go back to the rescue group, and they will find him a home where he really belongs. Where there are no children. Where there are adults that understand what he needs. Where he will be loved and taken care of, and can learn to be a real dog again.
I have agonized over this decision, so please do not leave negative comments. I have been told by more than one dog expert to return the dog to be re-homed. I believe in my heart this is the right thing to do, for both Charlie and for my children, but it is an awfully painful thing to do.