Our Dog Snapped at My Baby... Please Help - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-26-2005, 02:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've spent much of the evening crying, because I'm just heartbroken over this. I'm not sure what to do at all... or, rather, I think I'm going to end up having to do something I hate (get rid of the dog)...

As background, we got Jesse about a year and a half ago from a shelter, so we're not sure at all about his background. For the most part, he's a happy, friendly dog, if anything more reticent and shy than aggressive. He has growled a few times at us, but usually when he's woken up from a nap to move (like when he's lying in my spot in the bed). For awhile, we had a group of friends coming to the house, and there was one person that he actively disliked, and he was very unfriendly towards that person. In that environment, he did snap at this person and one other person that was over (two different occasions, but both involving picking something up from the floor).

Needless to say, we were worried about having a baby in the house with this history. However, once we stopped having that particular group over, everything seemed fine. Until tonite...

Brian was crawling on the floor, and to be honest, I'm not exactly sure what happened, I just know that I heard a growl, and I looked down and it looked like Bri's head was in Jesse's mouth... now I know that if Jesse had wanted to bite, he easily could have, but that sight was one of my worst nightmares come true. Brian screamed for a little while after the incident, but he's fine now. Dan and I are scarred, though!

I don't want to get rid of the dog, I love him, but yes, I love Brian more. I'd love to be able to get training for the dog, but right now, we're flat broke, so unless someone is out there that does pro bono dog therapy, I don't think it's an option. It breaks my heart to think that Jesse might have to go through another transition in his life. But I'm also terrified of it happening again, and with worse results.

Is there anyone out there with any advice? I'd love to hear it....

Thanks!
Mindi
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Old 07-26-2005, 02:17 AM
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If you cannot afford training, then your best bet is to find the dog a new home. You will always be worried about him. It is sad to have to do this but he needs to be in a house without kids and you need to have peace of mind in yours. Contact a local no-kill shelter or ask your friends for help. It is best for all.
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Old 07-26-2005, 02:25 AM
 
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Something similar happened to some friends of ours - they were going to put their dogs up for adoption and were waiting to find a child-free home after they got aggressive with their 2 yo DC, but in the meantime the dogs attacked and killed an unleashed puppy in a park while out on a walk (their dogs were leashed) and that was that. The dogs were put down.

I'd find him a new home pronto, before something worse happens. Even if you started training him, the effects won't be immediate and something else could happen.
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Old 07-26-2005, 02:25 AM
 
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call around to local animal rescues, the ASPCA, the animal shelter, and trainers explain the problem He's an adopted dog, in need of some serious training so he doesn't end up back in the shelter. Sometimes they will cut a deal...free/low cost or payment arrangments for training.
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Old 07-26-2005, 02:35 AM
 
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Honestly, I think that the dog needs to go. I wouldn't take the risk of even hoping that training will help. I'd find the dog a home or do whatever you need to do.
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Old 07-26-2005, 03:11 AM
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I would find the doggie a new home - hopefully somebody you know. Some dogs and cats just don't mix well with children.

sorry you have to go through this
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Old 07-26-2005, 03:21 AM
 
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Yep I would get rid of it. It's growled at you, snapped at the baby. What's going to happen when a little toddler pulls on it's tail?

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Old 07-26-2005, 03:44 AM
 
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I wouldn't let the baby near the dog again and I would rehome him. Depending on his breed the outcome if you keep him could be disasterous. What kind of dog is he? If you rehome him, be sure he does not have access to children.
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Old 07-26-2005, 04:28 AM
 
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I saw a show on this not too long ago and a couple of the dogs had this exact problem. The trainer who was advising people said get him to a good trainer immediately - one that will keep him while he trains him until he learns not to do this. The trainer said that this is a BIG problem, and he WILL do it again. So either superb trainer or new home, really. This is not something to be taken lightly from what that trainer said, it is a big big deal.
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Old 07-26-2005, 05:27 AM
 
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sorry it hurts but he has to go, undoubtedly.

ELY -Mommy to many

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Old 07-26-2005, 10:50 AM
 
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There was a baby killed by the family dog recently in the news...somewhere in New England. Baby was in a pack and play, left alone in the room for only a second.

article is graphic!!! Warning!!!

http://www.boston.com/news/local/rho...rible_tragedy/

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 07-26-2005, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I clicked on the link to read about your son, Quinn. I cried through the story, thank you so much for sharing it. I have to say, it really helped me put things into perspective.

Thank you!
-Mindi
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Old 07-26-2005, 11:29 AM
 
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i agree with most of what has been said. the dog has to go. i had a german shephard (well, my ex did) who bit my son in the bottom while he was running away from him (my son was around 7). he went immediately. its hard to do, i know, but if they show a tendency toward biting, they aren't safe (although potentially no animal is really SAFE around a baby).
one thing i wanted to tell you is to tell the people who you send the dog to about its history. you dont want to have someone else experience the same thing. if the shelter knows the dog doesnt get along with kids, they will make sure the home he goes to doesnt have children.
i have a Simese cat (very expensive cat that we took from a friend b/c of her allergies) that i need to get rid of before our babies birth. She is not friendly at all and doesn't get along with the other cats (we have 2 others) and doesn't get along with the other kids. all she likes is to sit on our lap and be pet. that worries me b/c babies are unpredictable and im worried about her scratching, etc. She's given me a bunch of deep scratches when she has gotten scared.
at least feel grateful that nothing more happened and you learned this early.
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Old 07-26-2005, 11:55 AM
 
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well, I have much to say but little time to say it


Quote:
Brian was crawling on the floor, and to be honest, I'm not exactly sure what happened,
1st - NEVER leave a baby/small child & a dog alone together.
Get a baby gate & keep the CRAWLING babe away from the dog. they need their own space.

I have 3 GSDs that I would trust with my life but they are never alone with my toddler.

I will write more later & I'm not in favor of booting the dog yet as you did not mention the
1-breed
2-any training the dog had/has?
3- you so not know the circumstance if the incident... right now my DS likes to puts his fingers in everyones EYES & push.. he does this to the dogs. & of course they would react

Quote:
For awhile, we had a group of friends coming to the house, and there was one person that he actively disliked, and he was very unfriendly towards that person. In that environment, he did snap at this person and one other person that was over (two different occasions, but both involving picking something up from the floor).
how often did this happen.

We need more of the Professional dog folks weighing in on this.
I will write more later.

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Old 07-26-2005, 12:04 PM
 
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When you say he "snapped" at people, did he make skin contact? Even if he didn't break skin, a bite and a snap are different things. It's a fine line, but meaningful. A dog knows perfectly well where his teeth end and where your arm starts. If he's snapping but not making contact, that says to me that he's unsure of his place in the great order of things and needs training help. If he's making skin contact, he's past the point where training is likely to help. There's a reason why most rescues refuse to work with dogs that have ever bitten, and why SPCAs will euthanize them without a second thought. The chance of rehabilitating them is too low, and the risks are too high.

We went through something similar with a rescue dog. Rare occurances of snapping, one previous incident of biting (only two weeks after we brought him home from the SPCA, we chalked it up to he hadn't been home long enough to acclimate). He was great with Talia... until she surprised him one night when he was focussed on "hunting" (he was stalking a mouse he heard in the wall, and was very intently focussed on it). He turned like a whip and bit her in the face.

After the first time he bit, long before we had kids, folks on a breed list (breeders and rescuers) were adamant that we should euthanize him. Once a biter, always a biter, they said. I didn't believe it. We worked like mad with him, training him. We turned from an undisciplined maniac into a seriously disciplined, loving dog. People who'd known him the whole time we had him, including folks with years of training background and a friend who worked with dogs as a psychology grad student, were honestly amazed by what a great dog he became. Then, he growled and attacked my daughter... My opinion changed.

Believe me, it still hurts my heart to think about having put that dog down. And it makes me shake to recommend it to other people. But I don't think it's safe or reasonable to do otherwise. You would be legally and morally responsible if that dog bites someone else if you rehome him. Furthermore, there are *so* many dogs that are put down daily who would make good, loving, safe pets. How is it ethical to keep around an animal who is *known* to be a danger, while killing three animals who are safer? In a perfect world, where there are enough homes for every dog out there, it would be reasonable to try to find a safe home for a dog with aggressive issues. But in a world there just isn't enough room for the dogs that are already here, it's not rational to keep a dog who is already known to be dangerous.

Flame away, I know it's coming. It always comes down to that on these threads...

eta: for those who question how my dog had the chance to bite Talia, I was two feet away watching, and she literally brushed against him in passing. She didn't jump on him, grab him, try to play with him. She simply brushed against his haunch while walking toward me, while I was standing nearby. He spun and bit, I kicked him away. Only time I've ever kicked an animal...

Interestingly, my instinct wasn't to care for her, it was to protect her - my animal instinct was to chase that dog as far away from her as possible, I chased him upstairs to the farthest room of the house, then returned to see how she was faring.
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Old 07-26-2005, 12:12 PM
 
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There is a great book, recomended by our dog trainer, called Childproofing Your Dog. It's a must read!

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Old 07-26-2005, 12:33 PM
 
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I, too, will probably have an unpopular opinion on this, as I believe that there are a lot of things to consider before removing a dog from a home..breed type, whether training is available, and supervision.
My dog growled at my younger son just yesterday. I was right in the same room. Many of you would hear that and say "Get rid if the dog, now."
What you wouldn't know is that my younger son had been teasing her, even after I repeatedly asked him to stop. She let him know the only way she knew how that she had enough. I was fortunate to be there, and removed the dog from the room that my son was in, so she could have her own space, and he could calm down.
I know that tragedies involving dogs and children happeen every day. But I also know that many of these tragedies are preventable, both by properly supervising the dog/child interaction, and proper training of the dog.
If these very important rules aren't followed, then, really, any home with small children is not safe with a dog, regardless of the breed.
Yuo have to be very committed and steadfast in your supervision and training, This includes teaching the child, once they are old enough to understand, that they need to be gentle, and respect a dog. Obviously a toddler or a child even younger is not able to do this, and in my case, obviously they won't always listen..but that is when it is the responsibility of the adults to supervise and direct the situation.
I am sorry you are hurting, and I hope you do not take this as a flame, because it isn't. Really, it is just my usual lecture on dogs, children, and the pros and cons of the two. I would be heartbroken if I had to give away my dog, but I would be devasted if she bit my son. And truthfully, I do not know what I would do, and admit I may have a different reaction, if my dog had actually snapped yesteerday, rather than merely growled. The scary part is, because I am always in the same room as my child and the dog, I am sure that is what prevented that from happening. What if, in a different circumstance, I was not in the same room. Sigh..it is so hard.
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Old 07-26-2005, 12:38 PM
 
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Until you can find the dog a new home, the dog has to be an "outside dog."

Until you can find the dog a new home, the dog and your child cannot be together, even under supervision.

The dog has to be rehomed if you cannot find a way to keep the dog out of the house, day and night, and never let the child and the dog come into contact with each other.

We used to do dog rescue, and we still have four dogs left over from our dog rescue days. The dogs all live in the garage in a fenced yard now.

Yes, it is sad, but not as sad as letting my kids get bit or having those dogs be separated from each other. I'm not happy with this situation, but these particular dogs cannot be trusted with our children.
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Old 07-26-2005, 12:42 PM
 
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We did euthanize one of our rescue dogs for severe aggression after Gracie, our older dd, was born. We tried everything with that dog, and nothing would help. He was taking human pyschiatric medication, and had trainers, behaviorists, etc. So I dont' know about the one bite thing, but that may be true. We did not want to give him to a rescue group, because there are so many sweet, easy dogs who are being killed every day at shelters because of a lack of room and resources. We felt we had done everything possible and we didn't want to inflict him on someone else.
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Old 07-26-2005, 12:45 PM
 
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ITA with Tara.
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Old 07-26-2005, 01:25 PM
 
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I agree with Tara. Wholeheartedly. In my opinion you either keep this dog and do what every wrok you may do--and NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER trust this dog--not with adults or children. Or you put the dog down. Adopting him out is a wonderful idea, however, like Tara said--hundreds of dogs who are not aggresive get put down on a daily basis--hundreds. Secondly there is simply NO WAY you can guarentee that dog will not be in contact with children. What often happens is first off the people get him home, in spite of your warnings, they find the dog to be a big sweetheart and begin to figure it must have simply been something you did wrong with the dog causing it to be aggresive, then they suddlenly have grandchildren or a neighbor with a child--or hell they just go for a walk one day and sometimes those little 2 legged short people are just running loose with no parental supervision! What if that bite is a horrible bite--a bite that makes the papers or the evening news--how will you feel knowing it had been your dog who bit. Currently this dog is your responsibility, passing the dog along--he still in my opinion remains your responsibility--you knew about the aggresion, the responsible thing to do is to put this dog down. I know that may not be popular, but this dog has now "snapped" at a WHOLE lotta people, it is only a matter of time before these warnings escalate.

So, everyone can flame me too, but I have been working and training dogs for many years and also working with rescues. You need to aks yourself some questions

1) Am I prepared to either keep this dog crated in a room where the children have NO access?
2) Am I prepared to muzzle this dog when he is anywhere near children or on a walk (because both children and dogs do the unpredictable)
3) Am I prepared to defend myself if this dog attacks someone in it's new home and the new owners come back on me saying in a law suit that I didn't "properly describe the dog's issues" (happens all the time--especially if a bite occurs within the 1st year after adoption.
4) Can I live with my responsibility (the dog) hurting or even possibly killing someone, be they my family or someone else's family
5) Can I live with a healthy, happy, friendly dog being killed so my "snapping" dog may continue to live.
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Old 07-26-2005, 01:26 PM
 
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We have three dogs, only the little one (he hardly has any teeth!) is allowed to be around the kids, the others we keep separate (our house if full of baby gates for the dogs!) They'll play with dh and the kids will watch and get involved, but we don't let them hang out together unless we're on top of it. Even the kindest, best family dog can have a moment.

If you think you can do that, then I'd suggest you talk to your vet about it a bit and have the dog checked over, sometimes hip pain can make a dog a bit on edge.
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Old 07-26-2005, 01:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sagewinna
There is a great book, recomended by our dog trainer, called Childproofing Your Dog. It's a must read!
ITA it's a great book. But the key to getting success with that book, or any other training method to childproof a dog, is that the training has to begin before the baby arrives. This book helped us prepare our late rottie for life with our new baby. We never had a biting or aggressive incident until she was very old and in pain. They were never left alone.

I think your first step would be to never ever ever let your baby and dog be alone together.
The next step you be obdience classes, and maybe even one on one training with a trainer. If you cannot afford training the dog then you cannot afford to have the dog in your home with your kids. And know that training may or may not solve this. Training helps get rid of bad behaviors, not necessarily agression.

My SIL has a dog who should have been put down years ago. She's worked with a trainer. She has this dog completely under her countrol. I don't trust this dog with my kids even when SIL and I are both in the room. He's bitten too many people (most recently that I know was last year when we were at the family cottage, the was outside unattended and ran into the street to bite a passerby). SIL has the best of intentions, but her unwillingness to have him euthanized makes for a dangerous situation, strained relations in the family...I love my SIL, but if her dog is around at family gatherings we either don't come, or I call ahead of time to get my MIL to put the dog in the car. It really sucks and I honestly can't wait until this dog is dead.
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Old 07-26-2005, 02:35 PM
 
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I may be wrong but it sounds like your dog may possibly have sleep/space aggression. I say this because you said twice the dog has growled when you woke it up. Also you said the dog growled when having objects taken away from it right. I've delt ALOT with both instances as I'm a foster home for a rescue. This type of behavior can be delt with but you must be willing to do certian things like crating, usuing baby gates to keep dog/child seperate, always calling the dogs name first to wake it up etc... Are most people willing to do this NO so the eaiser thing may be to re-home the dog. As for having the dog PTS unless you have had the dog evaluated by a proffestional and thats whats been recommned please don't do this. Find a rescue that can place the dog in a home that can handle the situation. It can be done as I've placed sleep aggression dogs before. ALSO a sleep agrression and toy aggressive dogs IS NOT TRYING to hurt you or your child they don't know what has happened untill after it's over.
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Old 07-26-2005, 04:28 PM
 
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We had a client at the clinic- huge dog lover, all her dogs were rescues, a lawyer who educated herself about the breeds she took in, etc. She adopted a purebred yellow lab. Very sweet. Very. Had snapped at one person in it's former home (a child)- owner relinquished dog to lab rescue. Our client took him. Never had any trouble with him. One day, her boyfriend's 8yo son startled the dog- had his face next to the dog's- and the dog bit half of that boy's face clean off.

That dog should have been destroyed before our client adopted him. You can NEVER guarantee that a dog who is rehomed will not come into contact with a child, or a person that they "dislike", etc. It is not worth the risk. Not to your child, not to another one who may wind up in the vicinity of this dog. Unless you can do all of the things that Shannon mentioned every single day for the rest of the dog's life, I would 100% recommend that you have the dog euthanized. Dogs are very important members of our families, but children's safety has to come first. s I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

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Old 07-26-2005, 04:43 PM
 
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i skimmed, but i just wanted to say that when you said youd dog is "more reticent and shy than aggressive" that set of warning bells in my mind. reticent shy dogs in my experience seem to have an agressive side there as well, because something is out of balance so they feeel easily threatened, you know? i agree with others who said that you should either keep the dog but NEVER trust it again, keep it separated from children, etc, or you should find an owner who can do that. sorry this happned to you! i am glad though that you have a warning and can act on it to protect your child.
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Old 07-26-2005, 06:03 PM
 
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the OP still does not know what happened so.....
as I mentioned earlier

there's too many variables in this picture...

Me & DH hug2.gif , adult DD lips.gif & 7 yo DS guitar.gif . 2 GSDs, 6 rescue kitties, 4 birds & a gerbil.
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Old 07-26-2005, 06:33 PM
 
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I read though your original post again and have a few questions. Was your son crawling near Jessie, if so how close did he come?

Was Jessie asleep? This is vitale to me helping you!

The other incidents please tell me more about them did the person picking up the object pick it up from where Jessie was laying, was the object Jessie's?

As I posted above I have experince dealing with space/ sleep agression. It's a form of agression but not one that the dog can in all cases control. In reality my inital feeling is that your son starled Jessie or invaded Jessie's space. This is why crating and NEVER allowing young children on the floor near the dog unless you have your eyes on them is SO important. I tell adopters this all the time however very few people believe me or listen. The largest problems occur when children start to crawl they crawl near the pets or on the pets. The golden rule let sleeping or laying dogs lie is SO important but people don't listen, then I get their dog back. I'm not calling you out or putting any blame on you I'm simply stating a fact from my experinace as a rescuer which may in the future help you or someone else on this board.
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Old 07-26-2005, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, the update on this saga is that we got rid of our dog. With the history of aggression, I just couldn't allow my son to not be safe crawling around in my house. I am still sick over this, and have been crying all day. I spoke with a dog trainer this morning, who told me that if it were her dog, that is what she would do.

We took the dog back to the shelter from whence we got him. They were not too optimistic about finding him a new home with his history, and the fact that he has snapped both at adults and now a baby. It makes me horribly sad, and I can't even begin to share what I'm feeling right now.

More important than anything, however, is that Brian is safe.

I miss our furry baby more than words can say, but Bri is far more important.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in and offered advice. Trust me when I say this was not a decision that we made lightly, even if it was made quickly.

-Mindi
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Old 07-26-2005, 07:45 PM
 
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Oh Mindi, I am so sorry you had to make this tough choice.
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