It’s a dog’s life…

Today is a somber day.

After much debating, we have come to the conclusion that we have to get rid of our dog.

We love our dog. He is beautiful, smart, eager to learn, always happy to see us, always ready for a walk or a fetch session… He is full of energy but happy to sit around at home. He will roll over so that the neighbor’s kids can rub his tummy. He knows a bunch of tricks and he is so cute that everyone stops us on the street to talk to him, ask us what breed he is, etc.

But this morning, he snapped at our baby.

There are lots of sacrifices you have to make when you have a child. We didn’t think this would be one of them. We knew it could happen, of course, and there is obviously no doubt in our minds that the safety of our child has to come first. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

Our dog, Sherpa, is 3 1/2 years old. Despite all of his good traits, described above, he is also the least affectionate dog I have ever met. Except for the rare belly rub, he doesn’t like being petted. If we are sitting on the couch, he would rather be lying on the ground than on the couch with us. He would never ever come to us and put his head on our lap. He likes being around us, but not touching us. It’s not for lack of trying, and it’s not a characteristic of the breed. It’s just his temperament. We would have liked a more cuddly animal, but we accepted his quirks and lived with them.

When our baby was born, Sherpa was mostly indifferent to the situation. He adjusted easily to the reduction in his exercise time and we didn’t give more thought to the matter. Then our boy started crawling. Sherpa was stressed out for a while and would growl if the baby came too close to him, but it was easy to manage as the baby was slow, and the dog seemed to get better after a while. However, now that our son is walking, he’s much faster. The growling has become regular. And this morning, while our dog was cleaning up under the baby’s high chair, the said baby went to him and touched him. We had turned our attention the other way for just a minute, but it was enough time for the growl to turn into a bark and a snap. It scared the baby to tears. It could have been much, much worse.

We just can’t take any chances. Zak’s family will be happy to take care of Sherpa, at least for a bit if not permanently. Everyone will breath easier, including Sherpa who is quite stressed out around the baby. But it leaves us with a lot of bitterness. There are so many people out there who don’t put half as much effort as we have made in choosing and training this dog, and yet they end up with perfect family dogs. It’s just bad luck that we ended up with a dog with this temperament, but it’s hard to accept, especially since he’s so gentle with everyone that it will be hard to make people believe what happened. And when we got a dog, it was because we wanted a dog! Now we will have to wait until our child(ren) are old enough to deal with a dog and start over again with the training, etc.

I know. The dog could have died of a disease or been hit by a car and we would have been just as dog-less but without the happy ending for Sherpa, who will be spending time on the beach fetching balls. And Elliot could have been mauled, which would make us feel much, much worse. But there are days when life sucks, and this is one of them. Now we just have to hope that our cat settles down…

One Response to “It’s a dog’s life…”

  1. Anne Says:

    We had a dog for a little than 2 years, a few years ago. He never snapped ours kids, but he did a few times at friends. There was always a good reason, though, like de first time the kid had been throwing rocks at him, so after talking to the vet, we decided to keep him. But the incidents kept happening, until one day he snapped at a child’s face and sent him to the hospital. The doctor said the dog had snapped, not bitten, and there wouldn’t be any marks left, but still, the next day I had him killed. We cried a lot, but I leard that you can’t keep a dog who snaps at children, no matter why. We were lucky enough they didn’t charge us.