07 April 2009

The Bite Heard Round the Block

This is Charlie:

Charlie became our first baby shortly after we learned I was pregnant. It was one of those logic things in which you figure that if your animal lives you can maybe survive parenthood - seemed sound at the time however, I suggest that no one make life altering decisions whilest preggers. Pregnant women have no judgement :)

(and neither do Michaels... it's just a rule)

Michael grew up with a peek-a-poo or two (ha! rhyme!). I, on the other hand, had yorkies. Ok, one yorkie - Rusty. For reference sake, here are photos via google of said breeds:

Note: Small.

We scoured the Internets for a peekapoo and couldn't find a darn thing under 600 bucks. We were NOT paying over half a grand on a dog. Period. We had baby stuff to acquire for Pete's sake.

Then, like a shining star - out of nowhere- lands us a link and a phone number to a place in Calera, Alabama with 4 peek-a-poo puppies - JOY! $300 bucks! YES!

We get to a shack in The Middle of Nowhere, it's freezing and dark. This place was no bigger than a tool shack. Inside, was dreary looking and there sat two or three cages stacked high in this 8x10 space. My heart was broken for any animal that lived here.

Two woman, who probably were not related but called each other "Sister", appeared from an attached back room with a box of puppies. They put them in one of the metal cages and told us about one in particular whose tail had to be cut off because it "got stuck in something".

Remember, I was pregnant. I BROKE DOWN. A poor, tiny little puppy... white... and soooo in need of a good home who had obviously experienced some sort of trauma. I didn't care that he wasn't the cutest in the litter, or that... he really didn't even look much like the rest of the litter - he was coming home with me. We fork over the money, don't question the "surgery" or that his siblings look more "peek-a-poo-esque" and leave.

On our drive home I chose the name Charlie after some Real World guy that I thought was hot - but mostly because I liked the name.

Fast forward/Condensed Version - Vet visit. Charlie isn't a peek-a-poo, he's a jack russell mix. He has food guarding issues and sparring of his spine from the "surgery". The vet hypothesizes that nothing was wrong with his tail and the breeders chopped it off so he'd fit in with small breed puppies. Oh, and to top it all off, they calculated his age. Charlie was, AT BEST, 4 weeks old when we bought him (weaned from his mother and sold illegally an entire month early = issues).

Few more months go by: We are in love with our furry baby, but he's having severe trust issues and is violent. "Untrainable" one vet tells us, "You'll risk the dog hurting the baby if you keep him" adds the behavioral specialist. An hour later, I, 8 months pregnant, leave the vet WITH my dog and refuse to give him up.

Charlie is, for the most part, a wonderful dog now. Time has calmed him and he and Michael share some weird connection thing that is borederline disturbing/adorable. He's playful sometimes, and nice when he wants to be. We even got him a dog, Squish:

(Note: Squish is an absolute moron. Dumb as a rock. Very playful and kind hearted. 100% pug - who knew the mut would be 1,000 times smarter than the purebred??)

We thought we were out of the danger zone: Charlie will growl, but not bite. He is violent towards strangers, but being protective isn't necessarily a bad thing. Guard dog, he is.

Then, last night happened. Conner, being the Professional Dog Annoyer of the household sneaks up on Charlie, who was on the bed. Conner gently hits him on his thigh and in an instant Charlie had shattered the Thin Line. He let out a huge growl and chomped his amazingly large teeth right down on Conner's right wrist.

Michael was furious. Conner was so crushed. I was taken aback. Charlie knew what he'd done.

Conner's ok - physically he has a little bruising and Charlie broke skin. His hand swelled just a bit, but it's fine now. Emotionally though, Conner's confused and upset. "His" dog hurt him. It's so, so sad.

We always said we had proven that Vet and her fancy specialist friend wrong. Charlie wouldn't hurt our children. But now? Now he's crossed the line. I've heard it before, that once a dog bites he's made a break-through of sorts. You could tell in Charlie's demeanor this morning that he is fully aware of what happened.

So, what do we do? For now, nothing. But, it's sad to think we might have to eventually find Charlie another (child-free) home. We'd all be so crushed.

So, what would you do?


  1. I would have to for now, close the dog off in an unreachable area to eat and sleep. Maybe a baby gate in front of the laundry room. Confining him to a private area to eat and sleep will keep the kids from getting bitten again, hopefully. Is he fixed? I've heard of dogs calming down when they are fixed. If all else fails have them snipped.

  2. I wish I had another answer for you, but I if it were me, the dog would go. I love my dogs, but I considered kicking them out when one started snapping at my baby - and that wasn't making contact, just sort of "air biting".

    On the other hand, chasity might have something in the get him fixed realm.

  3. sorry chick, I being the Ellie May of pet lovers fell your pain, and was faced with a similar problem when preggers w/Kylie.
    I loved my Prada, but she had to be put down after an attack incident. She growled at small children, making me weary, and then attacked my toothless shitzu, over nothing more than my attention, and that was that. I was too afraid of how someone else would treat her if we gave her away and she bit someone, so I felt it was better to put her down, the old fashioned farm way (believe it or not, it really is more humane, she never knew a thing and passed while happily munching on a freshly cooked steak). Love 'em as we may, pets are unpredictable and our children are irreplaceable. Good luck!


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