Monday, February 14, 2011

So What About the Dog ??

Well, right now it looks like we are keeping Tootsie.

Against my wishes.

My feeling is that having her in our household, on our property, is now a known threat to Tucker's safety.

We took steps to keep her separate from the cats, but something happened (we still don't know what), and the first chance she got she killed Tess, and went after Tucker.

To me, the best decision is to:
    - fulfill my responsibility to Tucker to take every step possible to keep him safe, by finding Hydrant a new home
    - fulfill my responsibility to Tootsie to take every step possible to make sure her new home is a good, loving, responsible one. With no cats. Ever.
    - for several reasons, acclimate Buddy & Flopsy to living primarily inside the home, but crated when we are not home

Jason disagrees. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. You see, Tootsie is his dog. He's had her the longest, for eight years.
So I don't know that it's so much that he disagrees with my reasoning, as much as he can't bring himself to get rid of her.

I understand. I disagree, but I understand.

We talked argued about it last night. In short order our mature, reasonable discussion of possible solutions degraded into a childish exchange, just using big words to mask the immaturity. And just to be clear, we both fell into that.

His idea is to use our underground fence system to fence off all openings to the house, except one: the laundry room, which is where the dogs currently used to stay on nights it's too cold for them to be outside.
It's actually been cold enough (single digits) for me to bring them in the past two nights, but I can't bring myself to do it. The "what-ifs" won't stop running thru my mind.

He feels this will not only prevent Tootsie from getting into the house unexpectedly, but also keep gun-shy Buddy from damaging the doors trying to get in, come hunting season.

I agree that it is a good idea, and possibly still worth doing, even if we get rid of Tootsie, but the biggest problem is that we already had taken steps to separate the dogs from the cats, and while we were out, something had happened, and they got together. Something beyond our control. So what happens if the fence shorts out? Or we miss the battery on her collar running low? or there's some other malfunction?

I don't feel that it's worth the risk.

The risk of reliving that scene again. Or of that scene happening at a time when Jena comes home with us. Or that scene repeating itself (God forbid) in a time & place where we see it unfold, and maybe Jena sees something so... awful.

Or Jena gets a little older and decides that Tootsie wants to play with Tucker so brings Tootsie in the house, thru the laundry room. Or takes Tucker out into the yard so they can play. And then not only witnesses what happens, but lives with knowing that she did it.

Yeah. To me, that's not worth the risk.

To him, it is.

To him, those are all random "what ifs" that are very unlikely to happen. But after what Tootsie did to Tess the first time she had the opportunity, I see it more as a matter of time before the opportunity presents itself again. We can't be there all the time, we can't be everywhere, see everything.

He also thinks getting rid of another pet so soon after losing Tess would be too traumatic for Jena.

I think we need to remove the known risk from the household, to prevent the likelihood of an even greater trauma in the future.

But not only is it his dog, he is also the head of the household, so he will most likely "win". Although I decided from the beginning this is one of those things that no one "wins". It definitely feels like one of those situations where there is no "right" decision, where every possible solution, is a bad one.

As we went to bed, I asked him if he'd made a decision. He said he had not. I told him if he planned on keeping Tootsie, then I expected to see additional locks installed on the French doors, and the additional fencing installed around the house, like yesterday.
My husband & I are both world-class procrastinators, but I told him there would be no "next time I'm off, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year". Not with this. That if he decided to keep her, then his next day off I expect to come home from work to see the new locks in place and the supplies for the fencing purchased and the installation at least under very good progress, if not completed. And that if it couldn't all be completed in one day, it would be completed his very next day off.


I guess we'll see what his final decision is. But I think I already know. {{ sigh }}


Cynthia said...

You didn't ask for opinions, but I'm going to give one anyway this time. And it's horrible timing for it, but again - I need to step out of line here.

It's not Hydrant's fault about what happened with the cat. It's horrible that it happened, but it happened. You both knew he had a problem with cats, and you got cats - at least one of them after you were aware of the issue. That isn't his failing, it was dangerous decision making by his owners. It was putting a drug addict in a meth house and asking him not to shoot up - the potential for good decision making isn't present. There are all kinds of training options to teach him impulse control and defuse the issue - which should have been put in place long ago - such as at the time that it was first realized he had an issue and that you were determined to bring cats into his world. That didn't happen - and again not his fault.

It is a lot easier to re-home a cat, any cat, than it is to re-home an 8+ year old dog with cat-aggression issues. Your intentions were admirable and you tried to do what you thought was reasonable. However, cats should never have been brought into your home knowing this dog had an issue with them. I know I mention getting a cat at least once every 6 months and every time my husband reminds me that one of our dogs would not tolerate it. Thus, no cat. Re-homing the dog for failings of his parents is not the right decision here. I think you should re-home FireCat and shelve the idea of any more felines until Hydrant has lived out the 4-5 yrs max that he has left in peace.

Also, you can 'what if' the world blowing up tomorrow. 'What if'ing' is not productive and never accurate. Stop that. How many times have you 'what if'd' and it's actually occurred the exact way you 'what if'd'? 'What if' removes credibility from your argument as it proves you are reaching for additional supporting logic rather than sticking to the current facts. If you knew your argument was correct, you would not 'what if' to give it added strength. Stick to now, here, what is, not what if.

Jodi said...

point of clarification - when FireMan & I met he had three dogs, I had two cats. We did not find out about Hydrant's cat-aggression for more than a year after the cats & I moved in. We had taken steps to correct her behavior, to no avail, which is why the decision was made a long time ago to keep them as outdoor dogs.

Jene said...

I think my main concern would be with FireGirl, not with FireKitty. I'm not one to jump to immediately re-homing a pet, but you're not the least bit concerned that Hydrant might one day turn his aggressions against her? I would be absolutely terrified of that happening after he's already shown himself capable of that kind of damage.

I feel like I can speak from some experience here, as my sister was SEVERELY bitten by our black lab dog when she was little. He was the sweetest dog ever, had never shown any aggression, but she fell on him while he was sleeping and he lunged for her. It took stitches and surgery to put her lip back together.

My parents re-homed the dog the next day.

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