Monday, December 10, 2012

Goodbye, Saint

We've had some trauma here lately at Casa Long.

We've had our dog, Saint, for about six years. The King and I got him from the Humane Society just after we moved into our house. He is a beautiful dog. Shiny and black, with the build of a lab mixed with a great dane. He's very big. He has all the typical annoying dog traits. He drools, he barks at bunnies out the window, his tail hurts LIKE THE DICKENS if you get in it's way, he sheds what appears to be all his hair every. single. day. But he is a comfort when I'm home alone. He loves the girls and has always been gentle and kind with them.

In early November, I was in my bath room putting on make up. I did not know that Squeeze had grabbed a bag of Halloween candy off the table and was going to town sitting on the floor in the dining room. Saint laid down beside her for his share. Squiggled walked in and saw Saint with the candy. Being the oldest daughter that she is, she reached to take it from him. And he growled, barked, and bit her. She ran screaming into my room. The kind of screaming where she couldn't catch her breath. I had heard the growl and bark, so I feared the worst.

Sure enough. Squiggle had blood on her lip, under her eye, and near her temple. It actually didn't bleed too much, but it looked scary. The puncture wound near her temple looked so deep I felt like I was looking at her skull. (I wasn't.) Under her eye was like a slit of open skin, and her lip seemed just like a little scratch.

After some phone calls to my mom, The King, and our pediatrician, I threw everyone in the car and we headed to the ER. Squeeze stayed with Grandma, and The King went with us. It was a long day, as it always is, at the ER. In the end, Squiggle got five stitches. It was traumatic. She was such a good little patient, but getting stitches in your face is no fun. There was lots of holding down, freaking out, and tears from all of us.

During all this trauma in the ER, in all our parenting wisdom, we ended up telling Squiggle that we probably would not be able to keep Saint. Her eyes grew three times their size, filled with tears, and her heart broken voice said, "Why can't we KEEP him?" I have no idea what we were thinking. It was terrible timing. We like to be honest with our kids, but there's nothing wrong with saving your honesty for the right moment.

It was a miserable week after that. Deciding what to do with our dog, and still having to take care of him was difficult. For the first couple days, every time I looked at him I cried. I was mad at him, and I was worried about what to do with him.

I cried a LOT that week. Home should be a haven. Pets should be life enriching additions to our families. My child was bit in the face, in our home, by our family dog. The trauma of it was unsettling for me. Squiggle appeared to bounce back well, like lots of kids do. We are thankful the bite wasn't worse, and thankful that he didn't bite Squeeze instead. Eight hours in the ER with a two year old would have been WAY worse.

Squiggle was a great patient.
We made the decision to say goodbye to Saint, forever (if you know what I'm saying). Our vet was supportive, our friends were supportive, it seemed the responsible thing to do. But a neighbor of a friend heard our sad story, and asked if we'd be interested in re-homeing him with her instead. She had experience with large dogs who needed rehabilitation, and was looking for a guard dog and companion. It seemed the perfect scenario so we did it. Sadly, it did not go well. So now we are really saying goodbye, (if you know what I'm saying). However, if Squiggle or Squeeze ask, Saint is at Joanne's house, (if you know what I'm saying).

Squiggle seems fine with the whole thing. She has said, "I miss Saint." But she has also said, "I'm glad Saint's gone. So we can get a new dog someday." Squeeze seems ok, too. I'm worried she will be afraid of dogs since I believe she witnessed the whole event, but so far so good. We have friends with a large german shephard, and we plan on letting her spend time with her to hopefully help prevent the fear. We don't plan on getting a new dog any time soon. Although I do have an entire Pinterest board called "Dogs".

The storm has passed and settled now. But, oi, it was a bit of a doozy. I wouldn't have expected it to be so difficult, but it really was. I'm so glad it's over. What kind of pet storms have you been through?