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The Greatest Teacher Who Never Lived

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I my wife’s room in Carson City there is a sign that reads, ‘Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement.’  This last week I got a big dose of experience.

As you may recall, several months ago we thought our dog was dying.  That may still be true, but it is not an immanent event.  After a string of events that included Mary being on the business end of the dog’s mouth (no injuries), we decided to investigate giving the dog away.

That being said, it was a very difficult decision.  Certainly one we did not enter into lightly.  The key point to understand was that we did not decide to give the dog away, but to investigate giving the dog away.  We also agreed that the end result of whatever we did could not result in the dog being put down.  If that was want we wanted I could just take to the vet right now and be done with it. 

After some work we found three options:

  • SPCA
  • The county
  • Another family

We were able to rule out the first two quickly.  They would take Cassie and put her up for adoption, but if no one claimed her after five days she would be put down.

For the family option, we asked some friends with no luck.  Then I decided to post an ad on Craigs List.  Enter the poor judgement.

I put up a picture of our dog with a brief note about her and why we were looking for a new home for her.  The note basically read that we could not give her the kind of love she deserved.  I also mentioned the three children and her age, condition and such.  Then I put that we had bedding, supplies and that I would offer $100 for set-up costs. 

Here are some of the e-mails I got:

  • You have a heart of iron.  Your children will not turn out well.
  • PLEASE DO NOT  offer money to people to take your 14 year old dog!!!!
    My God do you really think someone wants a 14 year old dog? They will take the money and dump the dog a few miles from your house.
    I can not believe anyone could be so cruel. The dog would be better off dead than in the hands of someone who would take the dog for money.
    Please, at least contact Cocker Spaniel Rescue.
    This is the most heartless post I have ever seen on Craigslist. Some creepy person has just been waiting for someone like you to take advantage of. You can’t possibly be that naive to think someone will want an old dog. They only want the $100. They should be giving you $100. Take the dog to the vet and spend $100 to have him put down!
    How can you give up your dog in his elder years? All he really wants is a warm place to be and  enough food to eat but that is too much for you??
    Take him to the vet and have him put down! Unlike you he will miss you and probably die wondering where his family has gone.
    PLEASE do not do this to your poor friend.
  • why not just have the poor thing put down at the vet someone will just come get the money and the dog and dump the dog and make some money please rethink your choices   
Those were the best three.  The one almost common thread was that it was mean to give the dog away.  If we really loved our dog we should kill her instead.  Now, I am just a simple country type boy who is not all that familiar with the ways of the city folk, but is seems to me that killing a dog is less kind than that giving it away.  But that is just me.
I was particuarlly amused with the messages that pointed out that whoever took the dog would take the money and kill the dog.  Again, simple county bumpkin, but I ain’t that dumb.  Of course we would screen the person and of course we would only offer the money to help them get set up.  Bring me a reciept and I will pay you back kind of set up. 
We did get two messages that were supportive.  Those were nice. 
So long story short, we kept the dog.  After all that it seemed that we just need to make the time we need.
I am now going through all of the mean messages and responding to them with compassion not shown to us. 
And so it goes.

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: The Quick Pet Stop » The Greatest Teacher Who Never Lived

  2. While some of the comments you got were more hysterical, they are not based in meanness, they are based in the realities that those of us who are truly devoted to dogs as companions, and professionally, deal with every day. There really are people who will do nasty things to your 14 year old dog to get the money, there are dogfighters who look “normal” who would come to your house, get her, and use her as bait (tying her mouth shut so she could give some fighting dog the taste of “winning”, and there are people who would, admittedly, rescue her from a family who no longer wants to deal with her issues. With a dog of that age, do you really think that expelling her from her “pack” (which, to dogs, means imminent death if they can’t find a new one) is preferable to calling a trainer or behaviorist to help you with her behavioral issues, and a vet to deal with the health issues? If you have a dog that you consider dangerous, why would you think it ok to pawn her off on someone else, and why would anyone want to take on that burden, and the impending vet/trainer costs to rehab a 14 year old dog (which, in some cases, really is possible). It is not heartless to euthanize an old dog if there is no loving home for her save yours. At least she would die in her owner’s arms, not in a shelter, not at the paws of some fighting dog, not alone with strangers. Cowboy up to your responsibility, please. Whether they were decorous or not, the people on craigslist were right. It is not a crime to want or need to rehome a dog, what is sad is the lack of emotionality you display at this dilemma, and your quickness to point the finger at those of us who DO ultimately do all we can to live up to the mantra, “pets are for life”. Euthanasia is not the worst that can happen to an old dog – what they deserve is for their owners to be heartbroken at thought but willing to accept the responsibility if it becomes necessary. What all dogs need is an owner who begins prevention, management, training, and veterinary attention early in the dog’s life. Did your dog bite at your wife out of pain? Are you doing all you can to relieve that pain? Readers on craigslist perhaps thought not, that you were simply tired of dealing with the dog, and were so spineless that you wanted someone else to do your dirty work so that you would not have to “see”. If the solution cannot involve euthanasia, then you should have been on craigslist looking for another dog professional, not a new home for a virtually unadoptable dog.
    With all the young dogs dying in shelters ( there’s almost no hope for yours. Learn before you criticize.

  3. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion; I’d like to suggest reserving judgment until you know the situation and the character of the person that you’re so quick to judge.

  4. Scott Oxarart

    The sign is actually in my room now. I love it.


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