Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Very Bad Thing

Trooper did a very bad thing. And I’ve had a very bad couple of days.

Sunday was our regularly scheduled agility class. He was doing fairly well, running some moderately difficult courses.

There was a new dog in class, who moved up from the beginner’s class … it was their first advanced class. The dog was a teenie tiny little Pomeranian named Kilo…no bigger than a teacup Chihuahua, but with two inch long fur. Almost a mini-Trooper.

I was standing watching Kilo run and jump over his 4 inch jump heights…he was just so adorable and looked like a little toy.

Which is what Trooper must have thought he was as well because all of a sudden Trooper was following Kilo on his jumps. Trooper has never left my side during agility … I have the food and he’s usually begging. But his prey drive kicked into full gear when he saw Kilo running.

In less than 10 seconds, Trooper had snatched Kilo up and was shaking him. I don’t remember much - I remember hearing Kilo’s mom screaming “Oh My God” and someone else telling the other students to keep their dogs back.

I don’t even remember seeing anything … truly … it’s like I had blacked out and could only hear and feel. I stuck my hand into the back of Trooper’s jaw to try to pry Kilo out but he just bit down harder. I think we freaked him out because we just swarmed him and surrounded him. He didn’t know he was doing something wrong. He wasn’t being aggressive. He never once growled. He never lunged at anyone or tried to bite anyone.

My mind completely blanked … I didn’t say No, Leave it, or Drop it. I don’t know if any of those would have stopped him, but he is a very good boy and usually obeys well. I am horrible in emergency situations.

Kilo had not one single puncture wound.

But Trooper’s jaws are extremely strong and Kilo died several hours later, after much effort by the emergency vets.

I cannot tell you how devastated I was, and still am. When we got back from urgent care for my punctured finger (down to the joints on both sides of my finger) I fell asleep from exhaustion. When I woke up, hubby told me that Kilo didn’t make it. In a daze I went into the bathroom…I started feeling cold but sweaty and then I threw up violently for several horrible minutes. And for the rest of the night I cried.

I couldn’t look at Trooper for the rest of Sunday and even most of Monday. I stayed home from work because the doctor wanted me to keep my hand elevated to bring down the swelling and avoid infection. Trooper kept coming up to me and sniffing, or putting his head in my lap, but I just couldn’t deal with him. He’d never done anything like this - had never gone after another dog ever. We had always been careful because we know he is a Malamute and has a very strong prey drive.

We are paying for Kilo’s vet bills and have offered to buy his owner, Diane, a new doggy. I believe she was looking at two potential dogs yesterday, for which I am so thankful. I told hubby that there is nothing more soothing and healing than a puppy.

Unbelievably, Diane doesn’t hate me. I would. I hated me! She is obviously a better person than me.

I’m beyond traumatized. I want to keep doing agility but I don’t want to face anyone. I’m horrified, humiliated, embarrassed, disgusted. How can I give my boy love? How can I hug him and tell him that I love him? My brain tells me that what he did was NOT his fault … it was strictly an instinct that he’s had built into him over thousands of years. He doesn’t know right from wrong. He is an animal and all too often, as humans, we attribute human characteristics to our dogs that they never have. He’s back to being his happy self (he never stopped actually) but I am not. I don’t think I can ever forgive myself for what happened.

I know that time heals all wounds and I hope to be able to get back to normal. I can’t fathom Diane’s forgiveness yet. There isn’t enough money in the world that can make up for her loss and I feel completely unworthy of her goodness.

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