It saddens my heart deeply to be writing this post.
I knew there would always be a chance that we would have to entertain the idea of finding our beautiful beast a new home when human children came into the picture. My husband and I rescued our dog, Blue about three years ago. My husband had a Great Dane who passed away suddenly, before we started dating. I grew up with dogs all my life and knew that in the future I would want one. When we moved in together we knew we wanted children and we knew we wanted them to grow up with a dog. Soon after that conversation a friend of my husband’s rang him up to ask if he was interested in adopting a Black Lab/Great Dane mix.
We went to see him, and we took him home.
He is a decently energetic, big hearted dog. He is very much like Dumbo The Elephant in my eyes. He is big and awkward and all he wants to do is sit as close as he can to feel the warmth of your body against his.
When I became pregnant with Kanga, he knew immediately. He would jump to give us hugs when we came home until he began smelling the raging hormones of pregnancy. He immediately became more protective of us. If there was a noise or any reason to be concerned he would walk laps growling and come sit right in front of me, on my feet, whenever possible. When our little girl was born, he was so confused. He didn’t know what was crying or what the changes were about, but he knew he had another human to protect and love.
It has been a year and as much as he loves our daughter, he steers clear of her as much as possible unless she has food. Their relationship has grown so much in the past few months as she has become incredibly mobile and vocal. She wants to pet him and love him as much as possible. We make sure to sit with Kanga on our lap and pet Blue together so he becomes more and more comfortable. We have watched them stare into each others eyes face to face as Kanga laughs.
In the past couple of weeks he would sit next to her waiting for food. She happily shares after she feeds herself a bite. One for her, one for Blue. It goes this way every meal, throughout the whole meal. We thought it was the beginning of a beautiful bond between the two of them so they could grow up together. We all picture what our homes will look like in the future. We dream of traveling without children and coming home to our neat quiet homes, a cozy apartment with your partner and one beautiful child, whatever it is we imagine our lives filled with something. For us, it is a household full of children and a lazy dog. It still is yet here we are contemplating letting our boy go.
As much as my daughter and our dog have become great friends, my human daughter and my animal dog are both unpredictable. My daughter is learning and exploring through every touch. She has no boundaries other than the ones we create for her. We have facilitated the relationship between a very small human and a very large animal. This is where the fault lies. In size and unpredictability.
Yesterday, I went to grab veggies out of the fridge and left our daughter where she was in the kitchen/play area. Blue, was in his favorite space in front of our deck door soaking up the last bit of sun from the day. Kanga, in just those seconds crawled over to Blue and did something to upset him. She did something to trigger a response in which there was no return. He barked at Kanga, the only bark I’ve heard of his when he was getting attacked at a dog park. He barked and moved in a way that cut our daughters ear just a little bit, but enough to draw blood. My heart sank and my stomach dropped out of my body, for more than one reason. Blue has never bit anyone. No matter how defensive he has gotten with strangers or other dogs, he has never attacked or done harm to another. I know he didn’t mean to do harm. He knew he messed up immediately after as he laid in his corner with sad eyes and flopped ears.
My greatest anger and sadness is that for whatever reason, whatever was triggered by our daughter’s action, has left us looking for a more suitable home for our boy. As much as he loves our daughter, as much as we love him, and as much as she loves him and laughs out of excitement when he comes to greet us at the door, his size and the fact that he is an animal trumps everything. With one mis-step he could do serious harm to Kanga, not with intention but because he is clumsy, and huge, and not very graceful. A part of me thinks he’ll be fine and that we can keep him as long as I never leave him alone with baby girl. But that’s not realistic. We are going to have more children, as we give our attention to them, they will give their attention to him—or so we thought.
We imagined our life with a chaotic household full of children, family, and our beast of a boy Blue. That picture is shattered and I don’t know what to do. There is no room for error. I would forever regret if anything happened. I know that in my head, but in my heart I want to fix the problem and show him more love, and keep him close, move into a home with a yard where he can have his own space, child free. But that won’t happen in the near future, and that’s not fair to him.
I know in my head what is right but that doesn’t change that my heart is shattered and that picture is torn up into a million pieces.
I never thought I would be so effected by it. I used to joke and dream that when he drove me crazy I just wanted to open the door and let him go. Here I am crying and cursing at the situation , cursing at myself for thinking that because the absolute last thing I want to do is let him go.