For me, over the last two weeks, grief has had a face. The face of my beloved fur baby.
Despite how deeply and unconditionally I love this pooch, I made the decision to euthanise him.
Blue heelers can be a difficult breed. He was very smart and very loyal, but also very protective. Also, in the last couple of years, he had become increasingly anxious.
I don’t know what was going on in his head that made him feel unsafe.
His anxiety, combined with his protective nature, began to turn into aggression.
He behaved badly a few times, particularly with our male friends. Despite us having let them into our house, our dog would suddenly decide, without warning, that he had an issue. He wouldn’t growl or bark. I would just suddenly launch to grab at their hands. He wouldn’t latch on, or bite hard, or break skin, but he was making a pest of himself.
We took have to a behavioural vet, and commenced retraining him. We crate trained him, and we muzzle trained him. We implemented other behavioural technicals, and he started on medication. Overall, his behaviour was much more manageable.
But then he did lunged at my husband one evening. That was nearly the limit.
Another morning he barricaded himself under our bed and wouldn’t come out. He tried to bite me.
It’s so distressing to think that he was that anxious that he would have a problem with my husband and I. He was scared of being outside or felt under pressure, but we couldn’t understand.
But two weeks ago, whilst he was walking on the lead, he suddenly launched at a jogger and bit her on the arm. Luckily she was wearing a watch. The watch band was destroyed.
He was too much of a risk anymore.
I couldn’t confine him to the backyard, because that wasn’t fair on him. We were already prevented from inviting people around to our house because of him.
Tragically, the only choice was to put him down, before he hurt someone seriously and it was forced on us.
The last thing I wanted was for him to be declared ‘dangerous’, and for the ranger to remove him forcibly from us and put him down without us being in control. I didn’t want to be fined, or have someone sue us for damages.
So I took him to the vet.
I’m so bereft.
There’s such a hole in my life.
And I’m so sorry that I couldn’t give him what he needed to feel safe and happy.
Grief has a face and a name – Akro.