While there are many joys to animal rescue – knowing a life has been saved, watching their first feelings of comfort and happiness, seeing them go to a loving home. But there are its downsides, and the worst is having to say goodbye to a dog who is just too badly damaged to change…
This comes from Janine at Speranza Animal Rescue:
To the ones that couldn’t be saved…..
I have started writing a post on this subject numerous times in the past months. But I always deleted it….
Trying to find the right words is something I struggle with. Knowing that there will be many that sit behind their computers and not understand. As I sit here and type through the tears – I know many will pass judgement, and just won’t ‘get it.’
Being a rehabilitation center, we take many dogs off the streets, never knowing their past or history. We take some dogs from shelters that can’t be evaluated, due to aggression – we assume it’s fear based, but we never know until they arrive here.
I have had over 300 dogs, primarily pit bulls or ‘bully breeds’ come to Speranza throughout the past 4 years. Many have gone off to forever families, some will remain lifers – meaning they will remain here for the rest of their days – happily and loved.
But then there are the handful of dogs that have come here – and their endings are never spoken of.
They are the ones where love wasn’t enough. Whether it be a chemical imbalance, or just so much trauma from their past life – we will never know.
I have been bitten. Badly. A bite to the face. My lip almost completely detached. It took the plastic surgeon over 3 hours to stitch me back up. He described my face as an ‘onion.’ Having to start stitching each layer – from the inside out… That dog is still here today. Why? Because he had a reason to bite. It WAS provoked, and I only blame myself. He is a lifer as he has certain triggers that we understand here, and we respect them.
I have been attacked. Two years ago I brought in a dog that was deemed dangerous by the state. On the 6th day he was here – I was sitting with him and my boyfriend outside in the yard. The dog was sitting on my lap, showering me with kisses.
I took him inside to his kennel, he tried to push out. I pushed him back in. I saw that ‘look’ in his eyes. And the next thing I know he had me cornered. And was lunging for my throat. To this day if my boyfriend hadn’t heard my screams, I would be dead. And I believe that with every inch of my heart.
He was euthanized. He had demons inside that couldn’t be fixed. Love wasn’t enough for him. I cried beside him, as he was euthanized, with a catch pole around his neck.
I wasn’t helping him cross the rainbow bridge. I wasn’t able to hold him tight – had to watch him fight to his very last breath – I told him through the tears that I loved him and it wasn’t his fault. But I don’t know that he believed me.
There have been a few others that had to leave that way. No warning. No bite and release. One bite. Holding on. And shaking violently. These are the ones that need to ‘let go.’
These are the ones that I can’t have around and risk the welfare of myself or others. These are the ones that hurt my heart the most.
I will never and have never euthanized a dog for a bite and release with a warning – and I never will. As that’s the part of rehabilitation. Finding out those triggers and working through them.
I am writing this, as I remember the ones I couldn’t save. And my heart is breaking. These are the ones that keep me up at night. These are the ones I blame myself for. These are the ones where love just wasn’t enough.
To those few. Please know I think of you often. I cry about you frequently. And you will forever be in my heart.