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Tragic story... and now I need to find Riley a home


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Riley needs to find a new home and I am devastated.

 

This past spring I got married. Riley tolerated his change in sleeping arrangements (crate instead of on the bed) and his new roommate (3 year old English Mastiff, Sarah) well but he continued with his habit of guarding me if I was sleeping or lying down in a room by growling at anyone who wants to enter. My husband tolerated his quirks and hyperactivity until a horrible incident this week.

 

We were visiting my family for Christmas and my brother was there with my 20 month old nephew, Greyson. There were 4 dogs there, Riley and Sarah along with Dudley (Dane X Lab) and Lucy a Golden Retriever. There was 13 other people milling about the kitchen. I was very pleased with how well Riley was reacting to Greyson as he had been fearful around other children and I worried that he could be a fear biter if cornered. He ignored the toddler as he moved about and didn't even give him a hairy eyeball. Suddenly, Greyson was screaming and bleeding and I was told that Riley had bitten him.

 

I myself was bitten as a 1 year old child in the face and ended up with 250 stitches and large permanent scars. My family went through hell. Immediately on hearing the news, I knew I'd have to put Riley down. Luckily Greyson had only a very small nick on his lip that quickly stopped bleeding. But still, I knew it would have to be done. When I pulled my mom aside to assure her that I'd do the responsible thing she told me, NO, that Riley had not acted aggressively as all. Greyson had been given a large piece of ring bologna that was half stuffed in his mouth and Riley had only been going for what he thought was an offered treat... or stealing it, I can't be sure.

 

We, of all families, understand that devastation that a "good dog" can inflict on a child. It was a wake up call. We were beyond lucky. If Dudley had lunged for the bologna he might not have been so accurate.

 

It is a simple enough thing to keep Riley away from my nephew who we only see several times a year. It will be another thing when we start our own family, which could be less than a year away. My husband wants the dogs gone for tthe safety of our upcoming children.

 

I love my dog. He has been my best friend and truest companion for the past 8 years. I can't begin to describe the emotional turmoil that has been the past few days. In the end, I understand my husband's concern, and I won't choose a dog over him.

 

I am not worried about finding a good home for Sarah. She is young, sweet, lazy and a desirable/unusual breed. I am worried about Riley. He will turn 9 in January. He is a typical high energy BC. He can be overly protective of "his person". He howls when left alone and will break his teeth or a kennel if locked in one in an empty house. He is thunder-phobic... fine if he has a lap to snuggle up on, but he may try to escape from a house and bolt if left alone. He gets along with most female dogs but few males.

 

Riley could also be the most wonderful companion for the right person. He loves people and will smother strangers in kisses. He's a great traveler and will sleep in the car for days on end for multiday road trips. He's extremely obedient. You can call him back by his name or a whistle even if he's in full squirrel/deer/rabbit chase mode. He's perfectly house broken, respects electric fences and lives well with cats as long as they aren't mean. He's healthy, but doesn't tolerate exertion in high humidity well. He loves swimming and running alongside me on trail rides on my horse or bike. He will play ball or frisbee as long as you are willing to throw it.

 

I need to find him a new home. Does anyone know of someone looking for a dog like Riley? Maybe an older, active couple? A family with older children?

 

What is the best way to go about trying to find the right home for him? A BC rescue? He doesn't have to leave right away. I don't know where to start other than asking folks I know who might be able to take him. I have my hopes up that one of my friend's grandparents will be able to take him... I've stayed with them before and they adore Riley and told me if he even needed a home to call them, but they have found another dog since then. I'm hoping...

 

Pic is of Riley and my friend's mini-Aussie at the Rolex 3 day event.

post-4287-034676700 1356586003_thumb.jpg

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I am not trying to be unkind. But why on earth did you let a 20 month old wander around in such a situation? 13 people, 4 dogs. And he had food. Oh, man. That was just a huge incident waiting to happen. You are really lucky your didn't end up with a huge dog figt with a baby caught right in the middle.

 

Now the damage is done and the poor dog is taking the fall. And you are devasted.

 

I know this is my opinion but I don't think you can judge the dog's behavior by this incident. I wonder if you could get a behavior specialist to see him and evaluate him. It might be easier to place him in rescue - or if he can just stay at your house until they find someone he wouldn't have to be fostered.

 

I wouldn't judge a dog by that situation. I would be more worried by the growling at bed time. Surely you can find a single person who needs a companion for walks and stuff.

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My friend raised three kids with two high drive labs in the home. One of them wound up in mandated quarantine because of a bite. My friend was furious as it was the ER that called animal control. Despite the fact that she clearly stated that the dog, who grew up with the kids simply made a mistake takeing a piece of pizza out of the kids hand. Qt was only because the rabies was out by, no kidding, two days. A long, documented vet history and a smart ac officer took care of the situation. Moral of the story? Even the best, and this dog is one of the best I know, make mistakes. You do not put dogs and children, especially tiny tykes who are right at mouth and nose level, in that situation!! I feel horrid for all three of you.

The dog I wrote about and his lab friend spend most holidays with me. Two reasons. One, when they travel it is hard to take them. Two, they know I don't mind having them and this way, in a very, very large family, things like this don't happen.

 

On another note, your husband...I don't believe that it is a choice between dog or husband. I believe 100% in family and compromise and honoring your partner. But it is a two way street. There are plenty of kids raised with dogs and successfully so - with some management maybe. Does it take extra work? Yup! Does it take two attentive parents that are on the same boat? Yup! To me, if Riley truly means that much to you, maybe you guys should see if there is a solution that honors your feelings as well. Not to the detriment of future children and not to the detriment of a nine year old loyal companion. Longer than your husband I might add.

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I am not going to lecture you about what happened. Only to say how sorry I am that it happened and really glad that the child wasn't hurt to badly.

I don't understand why you need to place Riley now. Except your husband has put his foot down, no more dogs. Did you not discuss these things before you got married? I know things change but I think your husband is being unreal and just plain selfish.

 

You must do what you think is right, but I think if you stopped the guarding of you it would go along way to show your husband that the dogs are a workable situation. Why on earth is he making you get rid of the other dog? Does he not believe in kids and dogs together at all? Why not? No need to tell you countless stories about dogs and kids, I'm sure you know them. But for the life of me....I don't understand.

 

I'm sure if you go with rescue and keep him till someone finds a home you will be able to find the right place for him, but I really think he is in the right place. Although I guess I could be wrong.

 

What ever you do, I wish you luck and really I am so sorry your nephew got bit. It's a tragedy no doubt.

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Wow... :(

 

I am so sorry that this happened but that the toddler is ok.

 

However, I have to agree with the others that posted... This really was the "13 other people's" fault. For any dog savvy people to let 4 dogs loose in a house full of strangers and small children is a giant mistake.

 

And, for you and your husband to cast aside your loving 4 legged companions that you each had before you got married because you don't want to deal with them when you decide to have kids is a shame. And so sad.

 

Did you not have a conversation about having kids and dogs at any point in your relationship? Are you really sure that there isn't any other viable solution? Seems like you have made a quick decision.

 

And I'm not a rescue expert, but with this history now, I am not sure if a rescue would place Riley.

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So upon re reading this, your husband will dump his totally innocent dog too?

In all honesty, sounds more like convinience to me.

 

Yes, if, and yes, I use if for a reason you are blessed with kids (and I acknowledge that there are few situations where dogs and kids don't mix - few) it is better for you to start looking early I suppose. And yes, if you can find a home for what seems to be a somewhat special needs older dog, take it now. So he won't end up in a really bad place later.

 

One more thing too. Your headline reads "tragic"! Tragic is something totally different in my book.

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I am sorry Riley-dog but why have you decided to find homes for both dogs ?

 

My border collie is 15 months now and has been around children maybe once a month sometimes more sometimes less. My choc lab is 14. same situation.

 

They learn acceptable behavior.

 

I would understand if you had your own child and there were apparent issues. But really you are only contemplating what may happen because of really a strange incident.

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Tragic to me is that you would instantly agree to give up both dogs because you plan to have children and there was an incident resulting from humans making a big (tragic?) mistake.

 

This whole story saddens me: it didn't have to happen and now that it has, the dogs pay the price. So typical and so unfair. Is it truly not possible for two humans to manage two dogs around (future) children?

 

I know you're looking for solutions for Riley and not lectures, but seriously, do you want to raise children without dogs? Knowing how much a dog means to you? Is this the only possible solution (I'm also wondering what else might become verboten now that future children are part of the discussion)? Clearly your husband feels the dogs need to be gone, but do you really feel that way? If not, surely there's an opportunity for compromise. You say you won't put your dog ahead of your husband; I have to question how anyone I loved enough to marry would ever put *me* in the position your husband has put you in regarding your dog, not to mention his own.

 

ETA: If, after cooling down over this incident, you and your husband conclude that the dogs must go, please put them both into rescue. The fact that his dog is an in-demand breed probably makes it even more important that she go into a rescue (so she won't be exploited because of her breed); getting both dogs into rescues means that someone will take great care in making sure they get into appropriate forever homes. I assume you realize, though, that Riley might be difficult to place, even through a rescue, because of his age. I'm not sure if his behavioral problems are an issue, because it's possible that the guarding could be corrected with consistent training.

 

J.

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No one has acknowledged that you were in a tragic situation when you were a youngster. Do you think this might have triggered a PTS type response from you? I am so sorry that you were bitten so severely as a child. If this bite has brought up bad memories that you are having a hard time with, please seek out some counseling for yourself. If this is the case, don't let your past ruin you or your current dogs future.

 

Am am writing out of concern for you, not trying to make you feel bad about what happened recently or what happened long ago. Please take some time, relax and think about what is happening now.

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You say you won't put your dog ahead of your husband; I have to question how anyone I loved enough to marry would ever put *me* in the position your husband has put you in regarding your dog, not to mention his own.

 

J.

 

A. Frickin. Men!

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Yea. If that were me the man would be hitting the front door.

 

Honestly, that is why I never married. I never met a guy that liked animals as much as I did. And I was not about to live without them. Or live where I felt like my animals and I were walking on eggshells all of the time. hat is way too stressful for me. And I know of cases where husbands or wives have come home to find out the other spouse has gotten rid of the dog or cat while they were away.

 

This whole thing is just so sad.

 

The mastiffs that I take care of are really good with little kids. They are so big that the kids can't hurt them. They are protective but it's more that they put themselves between the perceived threat and the child. You do have to be careful with them around other dogs because some are dog aggressive.

 

I don't think I would really trust my border collies around little kids. They haven't ever been around children and both my young dogs are pretty reactive. Zeke seems to like kids but Tommy doesn't know what they are and she barks at them.

 

Honestly, no dog should ever be left alone with a child. It is just not safe for the dog or the child.

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Why can't you manage your dog? I recently had a holiday gathering with small children. MY older border collie really isn't interested in them anymore. I would not subject him to "possible" incident. Our dog was part of our celebration, with me supervising, then put in a room with a bone and toy. He was treated to a special walk after company left. I've managed dogs like this my whole life ( I'm old now) It can be done. You may be up set with what happened, but really think about this. A 9 year old dog that is part of your family, you want to let go? This breaks my heart.

 

The situation your dog was in, would of been too much stimulus for any of my best behaved, trust worthy border collies.

 

I've had several dogs in my life that I managed quite well that didn't like children. All the dogs were socialized with children, but for whatever reason didn't like them. So, manage your dog. supervise, there is nothing wrong with putting your dog in a room while children are visiting. You're planing a family of your own someday, it still can be done. Please re-think this.

Best of luck to you

kate

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9 years vs 6 mo. That's an easy call especially when what *he* wants is an ultimatum. You know what went wrong, please don't compound it by abandoning Riley.

He would be hitting the front door so fast he would think his ass was on fire. But I'm older and I don't put up with much anymore.

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No one has acknowledged that you were in a tragic situation when you were a youngster. Do you think this might have triggered a PTS type response from you? I am so sorry that you were bitten so severely as a child. If this bite has brought up bad memories that you are having a hard time with, please seek out some counseling for yourself. If this is the case, don't let your past ruin you or your current dogs future.

 

Am am writing out of concern for you, not trying to make you feel bad about what happened recently or what happened long ago. Please take some time, relax and think about what is happening now.

 

Yes. This ^^

 

I'm not sure that a small nick on the lip would qualify as a bite history. It wouldn't in my book. It sounds like a dog being a dog and a kid being a kid. And it sounds like Riley has very good bite inhibition.

 

Maybe my extended family is special but, after thinking about this for a couple hours, I can't imagine ANY of them insisting that I rehome my dog (or euthanize) if something like that had happened. The blame would have landed square on the shoulders of the adults for not preventing it from happening (and having so many dogs in a situation with lots of food and small kids). Everyone would have been relieved that it hadn't been worse and made sure that the child and dog never got in that type of situation in the future. Riley is not a bad dog, he is not a dangerous dog. He is just a dog that acted very well considering he was in a house full of people and dogs.

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Wow. I think that you are making a monumental mistake here. Riley was put in a situation that was nearly doomed for failure, and now is being given away as a result. This is just WRONG. PLEASE talk with your spouse and let him know how you feel, this could lead to serious resentment in your relationship on your part that cannot be undone. My husband would never ask me to give up one of my dogs, he knows what the outcome would be! Your friend/partner of 9 years deserves better than this IMO. This absolutely breaks my heart. There is no reason to give up pets in order to have children. My boys were raised with dogs and are better humans as a result IMO. Being raised with dogs will teach your children love, caring, empathy and will reduce the likelihood that they will develop allergies as well. PLEASE give this some more thought.

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I have six border collies who live in the house. I have two young nephews, 3 and 5 years old. They like dogs and their parents are responsible around dogs and also like them. Even so, when they come to visit all of my dogs go into their crates in another area, out of the way. No dog comes out and moves through the crowd with all the excitement and possible dropped food. Toward the end of the visit when food is put away and the toddlers are tired and not running so much, my perfectly behaved 12 year old patriarch comes out and pays his respects to the visitors. Sometimes his daughter comes out too. The rest of the crew, some of whom like children and some who don't, stays put til the little kids are gone. All were socialized by me with children, but grew up to have their own feelings on the topic. None of my dogs is mean or aggressive toward children, but some of them are more sensitive to toddlers than others.

 

This may be overkill, but nothing is worth having something bad happen between a dog and a visitor, adult or child, to me. I was always suburban, with a "family dog" (saintly, they all were), but now that I'm on a sheep farm with so many energetic, intelligent, physically active dogs, I am extra extra careful.

 

My husband, who grew up afraid of dogs after being treed on a woodpile by a German Shepherd when he got up in the middle of the night at his aunt's house at age three, has slowly and kindly adapted to sharing his home with my 6, and has good relations with each. I try and respect his needs in turn.

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I'm not sure of the term "upcoming children". Are you pregnant? Whatever, there is plenty of time to get Riley used to kids. And babies start out as small and virtually immobile. They don't chase, pull on body parts, offer then remove tidbits.... They just smell great and lie there. Dogs and cats get used to them.

 

Then, as they grow, they do wonderful things like drop food. Dogs, at least, learn to wait for the drop - not jump up to serve themselves. And they learn to do most of the post-meal clean-up - of the eating area and of the kid. Gently, which gets them way more licks.

 

I grew up with cats in our house, an ancient dog at one grandparent house, and a cat and 2 dog at the other. I raised our kids with dogs and cats. My grandkids are being raised with a dog and 2 snakes (one house) - 2 dogs, 4 cats, several snakes, and some spiders at the the other. The kids all know how to behave around animals - and the mammals know how to behave around kids.

 

I'd sort of worry about DH's response. What if he decides one or more of your friends look like people who won't agree with his parenting style. What if he worries about the attitudes of your church or other groups. He should at least be pro-active instead of re-active about real problems. And not create habitual behavior out of a single response. The "one strike and you're out" (heck, the whole team is out) response raises flags with me.

 

If you're planning on kids, he (not just you) should start teaching both dogs how to get along with kids of various ages. In calm, 1-on-1 situations. Walk one dog where you're likely to meet a mother with a stroller - past neighbor with toddler. Even visit that family with the nephew. It cannot be all of a sudden. It has to be gradual. And now is the time to start. With the dogs - and with DH. He definitely needs training.

 

Heck, our daughter (~46) came for Christmas with her partner of several years. She wanted to visit all her old friends from down here - none of whom he's met before. So they stayed in a motel, rather than with us. And he could stay there while she did some visits. Or go to a back room and read while everyone schmoozed and reminisced. It's been a success. Even humans need some way to get away and calm down.

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"I'd sort of worry about DH's response. What if he decides one or more of your friends look like people who won't agree with his parenting style. What if he worries about the attitudes of your church or other groups. He should at least be pro-active instead of re-active about real problems. And not create habitual behavior out of a single response. The "one strike and you're out" (heck, the whole team is out) response raises flags with me. "

 

 

 

^^^^ Especially this part!

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Only want to add to excellent responses already given that a nick on the lip, especially given the situation, is hardly a "tragic story". It was a reasonable response given the situation. I am sorry a child was hurt, but it is neither his NOR Riley's fault. I was bitten on the lip by our lab/Aussie mix when I was about 7 years old because I tripped and landed my full weight square on her back. She whipped around and bit all the way through my lower lip before I knew what had happened. Was it my fault? Not intentionally. Was it hers? HELL no. My parents made me gurgle hydrogen peroxide for hours, gave me a kiss on the head and told me to be more careful next time. End of story.

 

 

What does your husband intend to do, put your future kids in a plastic bubble and never let them leave the house "for their safety"? I'm sorry, but it just sounds like an excuse to me. And I also share others' concern about your husbands behavior. Sudden controlling ultimatums, knowing how you feel about Riley, soon after the wedding are a massive red flag to me. I hope I'm misinterpreting. But I feel it's worth mentioning. I very sincerely hope for the best for you and for Riley.

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Given what you said in your original post, perhaps your initial response to the situation would be reasonable to reconsider.

 

Since it's your husband who appears to be leading the discussion and he has decided that the dogs must go (and you've decided to agree with him), then you can let him take the responsibility for taking both dogs to the vet and having them euthanized.

 

(This is not what I would suggest for someone who was looking more generally for a way to think through the situation that precipitated your original post. I'm respecting that your post should be taken at face value).

 

I hope you find the way out of what is clearly a very difficult turn of events.

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I'm going to go at this a different way. I am a person who raised kids and dogs (German Shepherds, in fact.)

 

A dog lunged at a piece of meat a child was holding (in his mouth) and as a result nicked the child's lip. You now have come to the realization that you do not want to raise your children with this dog...or even the other dog.

 

BUT

 

What happens when your child is out in the yard, and when backing up your car, you ALMOST hit him. Will you get rid of your cars?

 

What happens when your child goes to the playground and falls from the jungle gym? Will you prohibit him from ever climbing anything again?

 

What happens when your child falls on his roller blades and breaks his wrist? Will you never let him on skates again?

 

What happens when his brother punches your younger child in the mouth. Will you adopt out the other child?

 

As you may have guessed, all of the above (plus more) have happened to my kids.

 

I understand how frightening this was for both of you...and you are reacting to that. BUT THINK.

 

We cannot protect our children from the world; it's just not possible. It could have been any of the four dogs there who reached for that meat.

 

Also, getting rid of your dogs is not going to stop the neighbors' dog from coming over and biting your child.

 

I am almost ready to say to you both: DON'T HAVE KIDS!!! Cause this kind of stuff happens all the time. And as a parent, it breaks your heart if anything happens to your kids. But it's all part of life.

 

The fact that your mother, who went through your dog bite, said it was not the dog's fault, tells me that it probably wasn't the dog's fault.

 

Both of you...just please think about the whole picture here. We all want to be the BEST parents in the world and protect our kids from anything that will harm them...but that is just not realistic.

 

My heart goes out to you both. Just give this some time and think things through.

 

My best to you both.

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You cannot know how your dogs are going to react to your future children by this one act that sounds like it wasn't even a bite on purpose.

 

I had a shepherd mix that was 7yrs old when I was surprised to find out I was pregnant, I was even more shocked 8wks later to find out I was having twins. I was worried about what my dog might do around kids. She was a terrible resource guarder to other dogs (she caused some bad fights over toys and goodies).

 

I did not get rid of her though I did talk to a good friend who said if things did not work out she would take my pup. But we were going to give it every effort first.

 

This dog was the best dog EVER with children, from the day we brought them home from the hospital she was their guardian and best friend. They could do anything and take anything from her (obviously she was closely watched for a very long time.

 

Give your dogs a chance. Don't be one of those people who discards their family members because of having children. At least see how your dog is. Resource guarding is something that can be changed. There are a lot of resources to change this behavior.

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