Monday, September 30, 2013

Broken Promises

I think my Facebook post said it best on Saturday:  "I've been through some pretty bad things in life but this has to be one of the worst. My (heart) hurts."

On Saturday, I had to put down one of my foster dogs, Bentley.  It was not a decision that I made but one I had to follow through on as a foster.  It is a decision that breaks my heart and I still want to cry when I think of those big brown eyes staring and me and giving me kisses in his final moments.

You can see all the mats and hot spots
Over the Labor Day weekend I was asked to pick up a dog from Corpus Christi that was being turned in by their owners.  They had a heartbreaking story that resulted in them loosing their home and having to give up their pets.  It was a sad situation as they were using an electrical cord as a make-shift leash.  The dog was in sad shape, with an ear infection, in desperate need of grooming and had hot spots, from what I could see. 

The oldest daughter was 14 and just sobbed and didn't want to give up the dog.  I think we spent more time waiting for her to give him up than it took to fill out all the paperwork.  As soon as I thought we could get him in the crate, she would just hug him tighter and pleading with her mom to not let go of the dog, to let her keep it.  I promised her then and there that we would find a great home for this dog and he would have his happily ever after.  That is what this rescue does, we find great homes.

How I failed. 

Sitting patiently having the mats cut off.
I had Bentley the first week after picking him up.  That Monday, I did a hack job on him trying to cut off the mats.  He was such a trooper and while he didn't want me near his ear (for good reason) he never got snippy with me.  The next day he was ushered to the vets to be checked and get treated for his raging ear infection.  Outside of the ear infection, he was in good healthy.  Thursday was a trip to the groomers to clean up my clipping.  The poor guy was so scared by that point that I had to call for him when I picked him up, he did not want to come out of the crates in the back at Petco. 

I sent as much information to the rescue team as I could about him and they continued to work to find him a foster home.  One was found and I met the new foster family that Friday.  Unfortunately by Saturday evening, he had bit one child twice and attempted to bite another adult.  So, Sunday he was back in my home.

No, he was not one of the dogs that made the trip back to Nebraska with me.  I knew he was still too unsettled and given the number of children that would be around, I did not want to take the chance or stress him more, so he was kenneled at the vets office. 

The happy dog
90% of the time, he was such a great dog.  He was eager to please, enjoyed his walks and wanted to snuggle.  The other 10%, you just did not know what he was going to do.  I doubt that he was ever trained.  I had to work with him on treats, the first week I thought I was going to loose a finger, but by the end, he was getting more careful with each piece.  He created a fear that he would bite you if he didn't want to do what he was instructed to do.  If I grabbed him by the collar, his first reaction was almost always turning to try and bite.  He bit me once when I was trying to pick up Guinness food bowl out of her crate, that he had claimed at that moment.

Because of this, he was not considered adoptable by the rescue president.  I understand and know it was best for him.  I would not want a child or someone else to be seriously hurt if they were bit by him.  But, it was so painfully hard to do.  It was almost as if he knew and was pleading with me.

Friday night he was extra cuddly and spent most of the evening on the couch with me.  When I told him it was time for bed, he went to his crate, no issues.  Saturday morning he just followed me around and would lay in whatever room I happened to be. 

My last picture of him.  Waiting for the vet.
Saturday, I took at dog that was so excited to go for a car ride and was nothing but tail wags and put him to forever sleep.  I stayed with him through the end with some last kisses from him and those big brown eyes forever staring at me.  As with all fosters, I opened my home and heart to him. 

I hope that he forgives me for the failed promise of happily ever after with a new family.  I hope if the family ever learns of what came of him, they too will forgive me.

Maybe my heart is not cut out to be a foster mom.

RIP sweet buddy.