Friday, March 28, 2008


I've been feeling very emotional the past few weeks. I cry at news stories at the drop of a hat. I know this is fairly cliche for pregnancy, but being this emotional made it hard the other day for me to make yet another round of calls trying to find a home for Natasha, our lab-pointer mix who nipped my son last week.

Natasha is sweet in the right environment, but she's been on a reign of terror since DH and I married and moved in together two years ago. In the first year, she nearly killed Soulmate (my DH)'s dog, Ceilidh - a much smaller dog than Natasha, several times. Then, DS (let's call him Hippo) came along. With Hippo's arrival, Natasha began pooping in the house with regularity. It's not that she would ask and we would ignore her (though admittedly we sometimes would). She would stand up, look us in the eye, and poop on the floor right in front of us with no warning. Yeah.

When Hippo started to walk, she upped the ante and started peeing on the floor as well. If Hippo comes within 4 feet of her, she growls. We'd been looking for a new home for her since Hippo was 3 mo old. When he started walking, we decided it was time to really, seriously try to rehome Natasha.

We hired a company called Last Chance Dog Rehoming. We paid them $60 for an initial evaluation where we were told we'd receive advice on how to cope with her until she left. The advice: don't let her near the baby. Uh, no shit. Then we paid them $100 to write an ad to be posted on the local pet adoption websites. The ad was a joke. They referred to her horrible home several times in the posting. Now, I'll admit I'm not a great dog mama at this stage in my life - it's all I can do to be an adequate mama to Hippo - but Natasha is fed, taken out, walked on occasion, and has a host of comfy couches to sleep on. She could use more exercise, but she's hardly abused. I emailed and asked them to take out the references to her home life. They did, but they didn't get why I was mad.

Fast forward to last week. Hippo was marauding about the house and I thought I had a handle on the situation, but he got too close to Natasha too fast and she snapped at him. I don't believe she intended to bite him, but her teeth connected with him when she snapped causing a minor scrape. Still, a bite is a bite and I called Last Chance and anyone else I could think of to help us find her a new home with no kids. Last Chance said, "Sorry, we don't have any foster homes right now." Remember we are paying these people and we've offered to pay for food and vet expenses while she's being fostered.

So, I emailed everyone I know again. Soulmate placed ads in the local online marketplaces. I called some more rescues in town. Finally, someone suggested the SPCA. They said that they had the same kind of problem with their dog when their daughter was born and the SPCA was able to find a home for the dog within a day. I called and must've talked to the bitchiest employee there. This is where the emotion comes in. The woman flat out didn't listen to me. She wouldn't let me finish telling her about Natasha and her needs. She just said, "I've heard enough." and told me I was cruel to think of rehoming her and just delaying the inevitable - putting her down. She said that if I "took the easy way out and pawned her off on someone else" that person would end up having to put her down. I lost it and was sobbing at this point. I ended up hanging up on her because the conversation was pointless.

In the mean time, I felt backed up against a wall. I didn't want to put her down, but she'd not safe around my child and I can't have her in my house. I called the vet and told them I was thinking of putting her down. After they established that I had already talked to all the rescues in town, they told me to bring her in for a physical assessment by the doctor. In the meantime, they would see if they could help out at all.

About an hour later I received a call from Last Chance. They had heard that I had an appointment to put Natasha down and were upset by this. I explained the situation - that I was taking Natasha in for a physical assessment and that, yes, I had talked to the receptionist at the vet about putting her down. Miraculously, Last Chance now thought they had a foster home available. I was sobbing throughout this conversation as well. I knew I couldn't put Natasha down myself - I'd have to have Soulmate or his dad take her if it came to that.

Nevertheless, I took Natasha to the vet that afternoon with a lighter heart - hoping that this was the light at the end of the tunnel. The vet found her delightful. We updated her vaccines and he said he understood why we were rehoming her and that he thought we'd find a place. She wasn't a lost cause. While we were there, Last Chance called the vet to make sure we weren't putting her down. They assured the receptionist they would have a foster home within a few days.

That was Tuesday. It's Friday now. I emailed Last Chance Tuesday night to tell them what the vet had said. I haven't heard from them. I emailed them again this morning. We'll see if they get back to me.

I honestly don't know what to do. I feel like I'm stuck at the bottom of a well and yelling. I can see people walking by, but they aren't responding to me. I don't want to put her down, but I feel backed against a wall. No one will take her and I can't keep her. What's left? I can't abandon her to a shelter - she'll be completely unadoptable if she's in a cage all day (I know this about her as she came to me initially as my foster dog years ago). They'll end up having to put her down anyway. It seems less cruel to me to do it while she still lives with us.

The thought makes me sick.


Mud Mama said...

Oh sweetie, huge hugs, we had to rehome dh's yorkie for the same reasons. I'm so sorry. Sensing lots of good vibes and foster home vibes. I don't know if this is an option for you, but could she go to doggy daycare until you find a foster home?

KEM said...

Thanks MudMama. We've offered to pay for someone to foster her (like in a boarding sense). The biggest hurdle we're encountering is that she doesn't get along with other dogs or cats. She and Ceilidh (Soulmate's dog) have fought almost to the death several times. :(