We got an enormous black lab, Artemus, when I was just a babe and it must have made quite an impression because even though he died when I was only three, I retained a significant amount of my memories where that dog was concerned.
|Shamus May 2014|
Whenever you rescue a pet, you never know the complete extent of their history. That's the risk you take. Sometimes that risk pays off.
The first night at home we got some pretty strong indicators that Shamus had some psychological scars. He growled threateningly, raised his hackles and took a protective stance over me when my husband came back into the room after a few minutes away. This would repeat in the middle of the night if Shamus forgot that Cap was supposed to be there. After a week, this stopped. But he was always fearfully suspicious of strange men. Never women.
|Charlie and Shamus|
This is the part where I get on my soapbox and rail against individuals who treat pets with cruelty. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! I mean, for real? How big of a badass does it make you feel to have a perfectly wonderful dog be jumpy and jittery around people? I swear, if I could get my hands on the guy who owned Shamus before he went to the rescue shelter I would give him a good throttling. Because he didn't just hurt our dog, he hurt our family.
|After a long day|
Then there was an incident. It was an accident. It wasn't his family that did it, but nevertheless, Shamus felt betrayed and responded accordingly. It came too soon into his new life with us and I couldn't stop it. I noticed the change in him and it concerned me but I hoped it would pass and we could go on with our lives. Then yesterday he bit my boy. On the head. It was the first time something like that happened but I knew... I knew he had to go back.
|Shamus checking the yard for squirrels|
But the risk of it being worse next time is too much. If I was a single gal, living alone, I'd pour myself into trying to rehabilitate this dog. Because he's sooo worth it. He is such a good dog. I love him deeply. But I have a child. And he's my priority.
So I made the decision that I knew I had to make though it was the hardest to carry out. I took him back to the farm today. I cried the whole way there. I cried even harder on the way back. Ugly crying, shouting, snot flying, voice breaking.
It's amazing the size of the hole that a dog can leave in your life. How empty and quiet my house is now. How even though we only had him for five weeks, he was one of my closest and dearest friends. How he pushed me to try and be a better human being than I was the day before. He was, without a doubt, MY dog. Mine. And I was his person. We were besties.
|Best dog ever|
I hope he gets placed in another home soon. One that will love him like he deserves and can help heal that wound that he never asked for nor deserved. He was just the best dog ever and I'm going to miss him so much. I have to have hope that he's going to end up in a better home. I have to. Because without that hope, I would truly fall apart.
Questions you might have after all of this:
Yes, my boy is fine. Didn't break the skin but left a large bruise.
My child is not mean to animals. He doesn't pull ears or tails and he's actually very gentle with pets. He woke up Shamus and Shamus decided to instill a pecking order. An inch to the left and it would have been his eye.
Up until aforementioned trigger incident, they got along fine and were actually buddies.