Friday, August 23, 2013

Goodbye Sweet Lilly

I still remember the 1st time I ever met our sweet Lilly girl.  I had been living on my own for a while, but where I was living through college didn't allow any pets.  When Daniel and I were going to get married and get our own place, I think one of my first questions to him was, "Can we get a dog?"  I loved dogs!  Through college I pet sat for many people as a side job.  We came to the agreement that dog's were a lot of money.... if I paid off my credit card debt before we got married, then we could get a dog.  I was pretty stoked.  Marrying the man of my dreams, and we were going to get the dog I had always wanted!

I was working at Starbucks at the time, and happened to talk to one of my dog loving customers about how I was excited to get one.  She mentioned that she fosters dogs for the local Boxer Rescue and had one at her house at the time and asked if I'd be interested in meeting her.  Absolutely!  She brought her up to Starbucks, and I went out to the parking lot obviously for our very 1st meeting.  It was love at first sight!  The most adorable pooch I'd ever seen.  Of course boxers don't have tails, so that 1st meeting I recall that she could NOT stop wiggling her entire butt in excitement.  She was so loving and sweet and spunky.  And she had the softest fur I had ever felt in my life.

When we signed the documents and the adoption was final, we were told a little bit of her history.  They had no idea when her birthday was but the vet had made his best guess that she was around 4 months old.  We were able to make up her birthday because of this, and so we celebrated each year of her life on June 20th which was around 4 months back from the time we adopted her.  (June 20th was our engagement date and easy to remember.)  We were told that she was rescued with a sister.  The rescue doesn't usually rescue mix breeds, but she and her sister were an exception to the rule.  She and her sister were trapped underneath a trailer to try to survive as puppies.  They were literally fighting for their lives!  When they were both rescued, they continued to fight with each other and showed lots of aggression towards other dogs until they were split up into separate foster homes.  We were told when we rescued her, that she still showed signs of dog aggression but had been working on it with her foster family.  It was fine by us, because we didn't have any other pets that she could be aggressive with.  And we loved her.
Her 1st night HOME with me.  Daniel would join us in our home after we were married a few months later. We were starting a family! <3 br="">
That following January Daniel and I got married and he moved in.  And we enrolled Lilly into obedience school.  She picked up some new tricks and commands and she was able to be around some other dogs and we were able to work on some of her aggression triggers.

Fast forward to August.... we discover that we're pregnant with Leeland.  We were beyond excited of course, but we also knew that we had an aggressive dog and that brought some fears.  She had never acted out towards a human, but she hadn't really been around babies or kids.
Baby Leeland and Lilly
Baby Leeland and Lilly

Lilly in our annual family photos 2010.  Photos by Alisa Windsor.
After Leeland was born, Lilly took to him like she was a new Mom too.  Made me wonder why we ever worried.  She was a perfect angel.  And she was so curious-- as a newborn, every time he would cry, she would come running to the rescue.  It was pretty adorable to see.... so naturally we had no concerns when a year later, we found out that we were pregnant with Hayden.

.... And then the next year, we bought our first house.  One of the priorities on our house shopping list was a decent yard for Lilly to run around in.  She (We) had gotten a bit lazy apartment living.  The kids were taking up basically all of my day and she was getting walks less and less.  We so looked forward to a backyard that she could run around and be free in.

We found the house, bought the house, and then it became about saving up money to put in the fence.  Until then she was spending part time in the house and part time out in the garage.  We liked to play in the front yard with the boys (it's more grassy) and she would always join us out there.  We would have picnics, throw her toys, and go on occasional leashed walks around the neighborhood.  Aside from the few times that she would approach our next door neighbor's fence and growl and bark at their dogs inside, she was doing well.  And adjusting well to the new place.... And we were still looking forward to that fenced in backyard for her.
Enjoying her Christmas bone 2012.
Carving pumpkins 2012.
Enjoying popcorn, picnic in the front yard with Leeland and Hayden.
Fast forward to yesterday.....  Daniel had just arrived home and was inside for all of 5 minutes talking to me and the boys.  We suddenly hear a lady screaming at the top of her lungs out front.  Daniel ran outside..... not good.  When he came in, he had accidentally left the garage door open.  Lilly attacked another dog-- the dog lives 2 houses down.  The lady was out walking her dog on a leash like she does daily.  A much smaller dog than Lilly, a dachsund.

...... I can't even describe the emotions I was feeling in that moment.  Sadness, frustration, anger, anxiety..... She really seriously injured the other dog.  And the only thing that stopped her was Daniel running out and yelling at her.  The lady screaming didn't phase her at all.... if we hadn't been home and she had accidentally escaped, that dog would be dead right now. (And technically could still not survive.)  We had trusted her outside on her own for a few minutes here and there before.  I often would lift the garage door to let her use the bathroom and then come inside to fill her water bowl and food bowl before going out again to check on her.  Or during the day lift the garage and go about my business fixing the boys lunch, changing over laundry, whatever.  We trusted her-- she would always go out into the yard or the woods next door, use the bathroom and come right back in the garage or in the house within a few minutes.  I have no idea what got into her! The dog had to undergo surgery which is costing us over $650 and still climbing because there will be several follow-up visits.  (And none of that includes if the wounds happen to get infected.)

We were faced with devastation and a decision as to what to do-- and the only logical choice is to euthanize.  We reached out to the Boxer Rescue to get their opinion and to ask about re-homing her and with aggression at this state, euthanizing is all they could suggest.  She's a liability.

I spent the entire day yesterday crying.... I don't think I have any more tears in my body.  I can't believe our sweet Lilly girl did that!  The lady walked on the opposite side of the road, Lilly was never provoked, the lady's dog didn't even bark at her.  And our front yard is pretty big, she had a long ways to go to get there.  Completely unprovoked.... it's an offense that we have to take seriously.

She is costing us more money than we have in our account for this other dog's medical bills.
The chances are quite high if left out again, that at this point she will attack again.
She can't be trusted without 100% supervision.
Her aggression has clearly escalated to more than we can control and what if the next attack is a person?  Or Leeland? Or Hayden?

I know this post will likely receive judgment, and to those people, I have three things to say.
1. Keep it to yourself.
2. You don't know until you walk in our shoes how terribly difficult this is for us!
3. We know her better and love her more than anyone else.

So to our sweet Lilly girl,
I am SO SO sorry.  I feel terrible, and I feel like I failed you as your Mommy.  Your Mommy and Daddy and Brothers love you SOOOO much girl.  It won't be the same pulling into the garage after a day out of the house without seeing your little white butt wiggle.  There's nothing more special than the love that you gave us-- always happy and always so forgiving when the world and people around us are so harsh sometimes.  We will miss you so much sweet girl.

Lilly Kroh
 June 20, 2008-August 23, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment