When I started this blog, I promised myself I would always be as transparent about my lows as I was about my highs. On the internet, it’s so easy to get the sanitized version of everyone’s lives and think everyone else is doing everything right while you’re the only one bumbling along. I wanted anyone else beating themselves up for not being perfect to know that they weren’t alone with their bloopers and mistakes.
In that vein, I am very sad to tell you that soon I will be driving Toast back to his breeder. My head knows this is necessary, the best thing for all of us. But my heart isn’t quite convinced, and it’s breaking over and over.
It’s not because I don’t like him, or love him, or he’s not good at the things I want him to be good at. He’s a fantastic dog, an amazing athlete, an incredible mushinois and discinois. He grew into a bit more dog than anticipated, but that’s not really it either (although I’ve felt some low level guilt for some time that he might be happier in an IPO home). I don’t have the energy or the desire to explain the situation in minute detail, but briefly: Toast and Squash aren’t safe together right now. They had one major fight earlier this year but were completely fine with one another the next day. They had another major fight last week and this time, they cannot even see each other without wanting to fight. I don’t have either the physical space or mental fortitude to manage them via crate/rotate and don’t have the training chops to safely and effectively help them fix their relationship.
I find that I simultaneously want to rip off the bandaid and leave yesterday, but also wish the day we leave would never actually come. Squash is staying elsewhere for now. I miss him, but both my and Toast’s stress have decreased significantly which has allowed us to spend as much of the time we have left as we can just having fun… mostly playing a lot of disc, a little mushing, lots of hiking and swimming, some flirt pole, and plenty of snuggles.
To my friends, family, and coworkers who have been supportive and kind about this decision, thank you so much. It helps, probably more than you realize. I don’t know how people make hard decisions or live with those hard decisions without people like you.
To people who think I’m making a crappy decision, I haven’t tried hard enough, or some other variation thereof, I’d like to gently remind you that I haven’t shared everything I’ve tried. And I’d like to invite you to try to separate these two very large, very strong dogs (who, by the way, do not diffuse if physically separated during a fight but continue to try to reach each other [or redirect] until they are completely separated from one another’s presence out of one another’s sight) during a fight. Or worry every single day that your management will break down and you’re going to go through it all again and wonder if next time it will be even worse.
For those of you experiencing some schadenfreude right now, I hope it’s delicious. I get it, I don’t wear a halo myself, and I probably deserve it.
And for anyone who wants to tear me a new one, go nuts I guess…. I’m pretty sure you can’t think anything about or say anything to me that I haven’t already thought about or said to myself, though. I don’t, however, want to see anything negative about his breeders. They were completely transparent about his breed, his parents, and his litter from the beginning, have been nothing but supportive of and kind to me throughout his time with me, and are providing him a fantastic place to land in preparation for the next chapter in his life.
So we’ll have one last road trip together before we have to say goodbye, my sweet, best boy. I’m so, so glad you were my Toasties, even if it was just for a little while. I love you so much and I always will no matter where you are. I’m so sorry I couldn’t give you what you needed to stay here with me, but I’ll always be grateful and happy for the time we spent together. We had such a good time, just such really good time, and you taught me so much about so many things and forced me out of my comfort zone many times in the best possible way. I know you’re going to go on to do amazing things in all your adventures to come, but I will miss you, best brown dog. Very best brown dog.
Huge hugs to you. I can only try to imagine how difficult this must be.
So sorry to hear that you are faced with this. It is so obvious in all of your posts how much you love and cherish each of your dogs. My heart breaks for you, Toast, and Squashies!
Bless you and your incredible strength. You are
A champion and it would be a lie to say anything else. I am sending only good thoughts and best wishes for you. Thank you for sharing
Thank you for seeing the big picture and understanding what needs to be done for the dogs you love so much.
It’s never easy letting go of a loved companion no matter what the reason. You have clearly put a lot of thought into this decision. I hope you will take comfort knowing that you have decided to do what is best for the dogs in your life.
I know you do not know me, but you have my admiration and 200% support in this decision.
I have seen first hand the terrible things that can happen with dog to dog aggression within a household.
2nd hardest (or tied for 1st) dog decision of all time… Though I am a total stranger, I wish this was not so painful. No judgement, just support & gentle, quiet praise for doing right by the dog… to you & Toast’s breeder.
I’d like to sincerely thank you all for your kind words. It does help me try to find some peace with this decision.
Stop beating yourself up! You are making a very hard decision. A decision that people may criticize but until they have walked in your shoes they just cannot even begin to understand. More people need to wake up and realize their limitations. I applaud you for doing what is right for you and both of your dogs by taking him back to his breeder. Please be at peace knowing he will be in good hands, but you already know that. You simply cannot live like that and it wouldn’t be fair to either Toast or Squash. Being in constant fear of the next battle or accidentally leaving a crate unlatched, etc, etc,. It is a daunting way to live, trying to avoid a horrific outcome. My heart goes out to you!
😦 I’m so sad to hear this, but it comes from the most empathetic place. My Malinois is dog aggressive and reactive, primarily to men. He is, thankfully, my other dog’s best friend, and I absolutely do not blame you for not wanting to worry about crate/rotate or being stressed by just being at home. There were many (MANY) times that I considered both euthanizing Riko or sending him back to his breeder. It’s only through constant, consistent management that I have really learned to accept him as he is and frame my entire lifestyle around him. I understand that that is not a feat to take lightly or to even suggest would be the right thing for everyone.
I’m glad that you’re doing the right thing for you and, hopefully too, for Toast.
I’m so sorry you had to go through this heartbreak. I cannot imagine how difficult the decision must have been, but I know you made the best one for everyone involved.