I knew this day was coming
. I've been dreading it for months.
The dog finally got the boy.
It wasn't anyone's fault, really. He was running through the house, as three year olds seem to like to do, and he tripped. This happens quite often. The problem was that this time he landed too close to where the dog was sitting. Since she's pretty much made it known that she is not a fan of him, it's not a big surprise that she didn't appreciate this, and she bit him.
On the face.
If that dog had hit him half an inch higher, or if she were a younger dog with better teeth, I'd probably be typing this after having spent an evening in the emergency room. Fortunately, all he was left with was a blood-blister looking mark under his eye, and a bit of bruising around it. It looks worse in real life than it does in the photo.
I told myself that if the dog bit him, she would be gone. I told myself that there was no room in my house for a dog that bit my child. Then the dog bit him, but I ignored it because it didn't break the skin. It was just a nip, really. He seemed more annoyed by it than anything.
Then she bit him again. Then there was a third time.
Still, I let it slide. She was just nipping him, just giving him a warning. I told myself that if she really hurt him, and left a mark, THAT was the proverbial line in the sand.
And she crossed it.
Tonight I had to take that dog, that dog that was my baby before my baby was my baby, and surrender her to animal control. She got a big red stamp on her paperwork that said BITE DOG. She was led away on a cheap red leash by a volunteer who informed me that BITE DOGS were not put up for adoption to the general public, and I cried.
I failed that dog.
My husband told me that I shouldn't feel bad. The boy is more important than the dog. I rescued that dog from being sent to the pound seven years ago, so she had received seven years of love in our home. I tried to find her a home. I asked everyone I knew if they wanted a dog, or if they knew someone who wanted a dog. I blogged about her
. I tweeted. I posted on Facebook. I tried Craigslist. I tried Petfinder. I thought I had found her a home on three different occasions, but each time, it fell through.
I tried, but how do you explain to a dog that you tried?
Tonight, my heart is heavy. I feel so guilty, but I know I did the right thing. The next time, the boy might not have been so lucky. She wasn't going to get better either, not with another child in the house. What if she were to bite the newborn? She's been snappish and territorial since we brought Bubba home from the hospital, so it's been a long time coming.
I just want to smack everyone who self righteously told me I needed to call the Dog Whisperer. Yeah, let me dial up Cesar; I'm sure he has nothing better to do than to come help me with my dog problem. I don't need to pay my other bills; coming up with money for a personal dog trainer is more important, right? To the people who felt the boy was the one who had to be dealt with; always people with no children who chose to ignore the fact that you just don't choose a dog over your child. The people who acted like I was treating my dog as a disposable plaything, who don't realize how much that dog meant to me, and how hard it has been knowing that I had to let her go.
And now to realize that not only did I have to let her go, but I had her sentenced to death. To them I say, don't judge me; you have not walked in my shoes. You don't have to deal with the guilt from this. You didn't have to choose one life over the safety of another.
And I hope you never do.