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Bye-bye Zena... :**( - Jessie T. Wolf
August 15th, 2007
06:29 pm

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Bye-bye Zena... :**(
Today I had to say goodbye to Zena… It’s a decision I’ve been battling with for the past couple of months now…

As much as I have worked with her in the two-and-a-half years I’ve had her, (and no one said that rehab was easy…) and as far as she’s come, she was still hanging on to some issues, and lately it’s just been a battle of wills between she and I. She would just get herself so worked up at odd times to the point where she’d freak out and get all nervous, and suddenly anything I’d do to try and control her would turn into her feeling like she was being threatened and needed to defend herself.

I tried getting more advice from trainers, behaviorists and rescuers, all telling me that it would be better to put her to sleep than try to rehome her, but I simply could not believe that, with how good she’d become. The times where she’d feel insecure and defensive were so rare, that I seriously did not believe that someone with more experience couldn’t handle and continue working with her.

The woman I know who works for Animal Control here came by yesterday with a co-worker of hers, to do an evaluation on Zena. Well of course Zena sucked right up to them, given them her paw and rolling on her back for pets - for total strangers. A year and a half ago she would not go to anyone she didn’t know (she even followed them down the stairs and tried going right out the front door with them when they were leaving!) They were dumbfounded, and didn’t understand why I felt I had to give her up. So I explained about the troubles I’d been having with her recently, where even something as simple as trying to go and get her by the collar if she would not come when called would be risking possibly getting bitten.

If for whatever reason Zena thought that she was in trouble or being “chased” I simply could not deal with her at times, as she’d go straight into defense mode. We were finally able to get over the crate-hell, and got her trained to a point where we no longer had to confine her while we were gone… we could leave her 8-10 hours now, with no problems of her destroying the house anymore! But just… stupid things, like me asking her to lie down if she’s pacing and whining… she’d stand there and look at me… I’d day it again a bit more forcefully, “down,” and she would go maybe halfway and just freeze there, looking at me sideways… but I can’t just go up to her and tug on her collar and physically put her in a down when she gets into her nervous moods, because she looks at me like, “I am thinking about biting you if you touch me in any kind of assertive way…” D-: D-: D-:

With the Animal Control people there petting her, and playing with her paws and mouth, and her being very good for them, they both said that they didn’t see her case being serious enough to having to resort to putting her to sleep. They deal with dogs on a daily basis who are nuts and will tear your head off rather than look at you, and they’ve apparently placed dogs that some people thought could never be worked with. Just a few days ago they placed two “caution” Rottweilers that were nabbed from a grow-op. The two dogs were “guard dogs” and have now been moved to a kennel that specializes with rehabilitating aggressive dogs. They either work with them to the point where they can be safely adopted out to experienced dog owners, or they are trained to work in defense protection with a professional K9 handler. But they always try to find a solution, rather than the quick resort of putting the dogs to sleep.

They think that it’s as simple as our personalities clashing, and that someone with a better fit to Zena’s personality would have much better success with her. The biggest problem is that I am not confident enough to deal with a fear-aggressive dog. I can deal with dominance-aggression no problem, and I have done it quite successfully a few times with past foster dogs. But fear-aggression is a totally new ball game for me… trying to find that balance of being firm, but gentle, and not overly aggressive enough that you’re scaring the shit out of the dog is a hard one. And that’s where I think I failed with Zena. At times I was nervous and overly cautious around her, and I think that she could totally pick up on that, and that’s where we clashed and everything started to become a battle of wills.

They told me it wasn’t my fault, and that up to this point I’ve done a wonderful job in getting her to where she is now. They just think that it’s time for the next step, and time to let someone else, who can better suit Zena’s needs, take over the reins. They said that with her disposition, they should have little problem placing her in a good, responsible home, and I know that they screen their applicants well.

So, today Tim drove me to the Squamish Municipal pound to surrender Zena over… I went with huge bags of toys and treats and food and medication and vet papers and other records… it was so hard…

But the place is nice, and the staff is very nice. It is just a small kennel, clean smelling, and they had maybe five other dogs there (one elderly Yellow Lab had just been adopted). They do not put the dogs to sleep, unless of course they are too sick to nurse back to health, or too aggressive to rehabilitate. So the space is limited, (a few kennels are always reserved for RCMP dogs) but apparently they do very well with adoptions. The kennels are built as indoor/outdoor runs, with a flap in-between, so the dogs can go outside whenever they want. The outdoor kennels each have a doghouse and a kiddie swimming pool. The dogs each get “office time” where one is allowed out to socialize with the staff for a while during the day. The dogs get to socialize with each other too, if they know that they will get along.

I hope that Zena will be okay… I know that they will take care of her, but I hope that someone good comes along for her soon. I feel so damned empty right now… I feel like I’ve failed her in so many ways… but at the same time I know that she came as far as she has because of me… if I had not taken her in, she would have been brought to some Toronto pound and put to sleep right away without even a chance… At least I’ve given her the option to find someone who will be able to give her what I couldn’t…

Zena Relaxed

Bye Zee… :( I hope that you will do much better, wherever you end up…

Current Mood: depressed

(26 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:chibiabos
Date:August 16th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
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*snugs*

I'm sorry.

I was recently hired at a dog boarding place ... I'm the only guy who deals with the dogs. Being the dog lover I am, it breaks my heart when a dog fights with me ... and unfortunately there have been 3 so far who absolutely fear mean, one of them had that fear-aggression toward me. I wish I knew how to comfort their fears, but I don't get a lot of time with any specific dog, most of my time with them is spent trying to wear them down so they'll go to sleep, heh, by either going on long walks through the forest trails or tossing a ball for those who like to chase balls.

I like the job, but ... I really do sigh when there's a dog there who doesn't like me. I want very much to just spend all day every day trying to ease their fears and soothe their memories of whatever happened to them that triggered their becoming men-fearing to the point they won't be so fearful anymore.

I have had to part ways with dogs before, but it wasn't because of personality conflicts, it was just because I had lost my place to live and knew they needed and deserved to have someone look after them who could keep them safe and comfortable. It was very very hard. :(
[User Picture]
From:wlfdog
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC)
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*snugs* :(
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From:shadow_weaver
Date:August 16th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
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Despite how hard that must have been, it sounds like you did the right thing especially since you were able to find an organization that is wanting to help her along her journey. Good luck to you both.
[User Picture]
From:wlfdog
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC)
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Thank you very much...
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From:cass_rising
Date:August 16th, 2007 02:31 am (UTC)
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*hugs*
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From:wlfdog
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)
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*HUGS!!!*
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From:cass_rising
Date:August 16th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
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I'm always here if you need me. Take care of yourself.
From:catwoman69y2k
Date:August 16th, 2007 02:52 am (UTC)
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It was for the best. Im glad you could see the overall situation and even when presented with the chance to go back on it (when Animal Control said that Zena did not seem to exhibit the behavior they were thinking worthy for being put down) and found a better solution for her. *hugs*

Kat
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From:wlfdog
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:42 pm (UTC)
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I am extremely glad that Animal Control truly felt that they could work with her. It's hard when everyone else is telling you to put your dog to sleep. I just couldn't go through with that... I'm glad that A.C. saw her potential as well.
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From:ebonytigress
Date:August 16th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
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Hopefully she will fit snugly into a home.

At least you know you gave it your best shot, and gave her a better opportunity than she would have ever had before you came into her life.
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From:wlfdog
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:40 pm (UTC)
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*nods* I know... and I know she will do very well whenever the right person comes along. It's just so empty around here without her...

Thanks. *hugs*
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From:darklilith69
Date:August 16th, 2007 05:37 am (UTC)
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You're both very brave and very compassionate. Most folks would not have put the thought into it that you have or the heart, in trying to find her a new home, and the reasons why. I myself have had to have a dog that I loved put to sleep because of aggression. We discovered that the poor baby was a husky/coyote hybrid and basically the two personalities could not coexist. One of my life's saddest moments. When he was good he was very very good and when he was bad...he was confused.

*hugs* You did good.
[User Picture]
From:wlfdog
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
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My mom is currently taking care of a Husky/Coyote hybrid as well. When I was still living with her and I had Zena, it was a nightmare trying to keep those two dogs from fighting. Hybrids can sometimes be very hard to work with, and Panda has actually killed a small dog before, but my mom still keeps her... :/ I don't really agree with that, and in Panda's case I do feel that putting her to sleep would have been best.

I gave it my all with Zee, and I saw the potential she had, and she proved to be very good... but just as you said it perfectly: when she was good she was very good, but when she was bad she was indeed very confused. I hope she does much better with someone who better understand her needs.

*hugs* Thank you.
From:notasiwas_blue
Date:August 17th, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)
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I'm gland sweetie as a Husky/Coyote hybrid is a really good dog. :)
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From:wlfdog
Date:August 17th, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad that Sweetie is a good hybrid, too! I miss you both... :(
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From:sniper3
Date:August 16th, 2007 06:17 am (UTC)
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*hugs, just because he can*
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From:wlfdog
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
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Thank you... *hugs back*
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From:puppehkat
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:27 am (UTC)
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Since meeting you at FWA, I have watched your LJ. And while I don't comment often, I do pay attention to the ebb and flow, and I know the struggle you have gone through with Zena. You've done your best.

I've rehabilited my share of animals, and cared for those who couldn't be rehabilitated, giving them the best life i could while i could.

It hurts to lose any pet. Be it to death or to just knowing that you can't take care of something you've come to love so deeply. I feel your pain, but I offer up this in return. She will be with people who understand her nature, and know how to handle it, and hopefully, curb it. And in the end, find her a place where she can be loved for the wonderfully loving dog she can be.
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From:wlfdog
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
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Thank you very much... *hugs*

I hope so... she is a good dog... she just wasn't for me. But for someone else, I know she will be their dream.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:wlfdog
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
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It would be nice to run into her and her new owners one day down the road, and find out what a difference it made in her life and to see her and her new family happy. Well, it's a small town, so who knows...

Thank you for your kind words. *hugs*
[User Picture]
From:jaxxblackfox
Date:August 16th, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC)
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I wish there was something I could say that would make you feel better, but I know there's nothing I can do.... except maybe cry a little along with you, a thousand miles away. I know how hard you tried, and how much you loved that dog.

...I'm so, so sorry it had to come to that Jess'...
[User Picture]
From:wlfdog
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:29 pm (UTC)
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*hugs* Thank you...

I've been crying for two days... -__- It's uncomfortable not having her around... I keep getting up and thinking, "I have to take the dog out now... oh wait..."

You've actually done more than you realize. Remember that Rottie plush puppy you gave me? He's been keeping me company. I take him everywhere around the house with me now.

One day I'll find my dog...
[User Picture]
From:firesplace
Date:August 17th, 2007 04:33 am (UTC)
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(*huggles*)
From:notasiwas_blue
Date:August 17th, 2007 05:37 am (UTC)
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I don't know what to say.. I have real mixed feelings..*hugs*
[User Picture]
From:wlfdog
Date:August 17th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
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You and me both. I've been crying for three days now, and really want to just go and get her back... but I know that if I did that I'd just be going through the same problems again:

Me being too nervous to forcefully correct her when she gets all freaky (you know she bit me before... I got way too nervous around her, worrying that it would happen again, and she's growled at times where she got scared... not something you want to risk in handling a dog that is nervous).

How do I go away to a con or something, with no one here that can look after her? I couldn't board her, as she tries to eat people she doesn't know who are handling her.

Being worried when guests come over that if they move too quickly around her she might bite...

Just too much to worry about... gods I want her back... but I just couldn't handle the stress of worrying all the time about what bad thing she might do. >.<

Do you have the net back??
From:delphi_of_clf
Date:August 17th, 2007 06:04 am (UTC)
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:(, but like ya said, at least she'll have a chance where she's going. Something good should come out of this eventually. I'm sure you know what you're doing :). It's understandable to be sad, but she'll be alright there. And I bet you could even go and visit from time to time if ya feel the need to.
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