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to have sobbed my heart out at work today because I shouldn't have to do this

(485 Posts)
caniscantanymore Wed 17-Oct-12 20:53:55

I'm a vet. Some details changed or omitted for anonymity purposes and because I'll get flamed for this.

Today a man brought his dog in to me.

The dog was a large, boisterous adolescent puppy. He hurtled into the room, bouncing up to me excitedly, wagging his tail all the time and nudging at my hand with his muzzle. His big squishy paws crashed against my chest each time he paused to greet me, as he bounded around the room investigating all the smells. He was an unusual cross, very striking to look at and obviously a bright and energetic dog. He was adorable.

The history went like this:

The dog had been bought as a tiny puppy by a couple who were told it was a "designer" cross between two specific small breeds. Now, if the people who bought this puppy had had the slightest inkling about what they were doing it would have been immediately obvious to them that this was most certainly not a cross between two small breeds. But anyway, they didn't have a clue so they bought the cute little puppy from this dubious source (probably at a cost of several hundred pounds) and took it back to their family home, complete with toddler.

The dog grew a bit and it became clear that it was actually going to be really big. It was bouncy, energetic and destructive. It kept racing around and knocking over their small child. So they rehomed it to a family member.

The family member also had children but they were slightly bigger children. The family member really wanted to do the right thing, so they tried to "discipline" the dog. The dog began to show occasional signs of aggression and was completely hyperactive in the home, destructive and unmanageable. I was not surprised to hear this, since it was obvious to me from this dog's heritage that it was the sort of dog which had significant needs in terms of exercise and stimulation. In an attempt to magically resolve the issues the family member had the dog neutered. Which unsurprisingly made no difference.

Today the dog was brought in to be put to sleep. It had growled very aggressively when a child had put its face near his, and between this and an imminent change in circumstances the family member felt unable to manage the dog any more. He had tried local and national rescue organisations, all of which were full. He had nobody to care for the dog overnight tonight. He was not able to take the dog home, partly because of safety concerns and partly because the decision had been taken together as a family that it was the right thing to do.

So I put this healthy, affectionate, vibrant dog to sleep while it munched on treats and the third owner in its short life cried into his fur. Then when it was just me and the body of this poor puppy I had a good old cry myself.

I know there will be people who think I was right to put down a dog who has shown any signs of aggression under any circumstances. I disagree.

I know there will be people who think I was wrong to put down a dog when I could have taken it and found it a new home. I disagree.

I also know that there will be many many people who have no idea that this is happening all the time in this country because of irresponsible ignorant greedy people, selling dogs to irresponsible ignorant feckless people, who then pass them on to naive and thoughtless "rescuers" who eventually get to the end of their tether and bring them to me for euthanasia. All the time.

These are the dogs who bite children in the home due to a total lack of knowledge, reasonable expectations and effort to socialise them adequately.

These are the dogs whose owners can afford four figure sums to buy the latest random mongrel "breed" with a stupid made-up name, but cannot afford fifty quid to get it vaccinated, far less any money at all to treat even minor illnesses.

These are the dogs who clog up rescue centres all over the country, waiting along with thousands and thousands of others for the home with no children, no other pets and eight-foot fences, with an owner who has experience of managing behavioural problems, works from home, has stainless steel furniture and can write blank cheques to pay for the inherited illnesses the dog suffers from. Homes which don't actually exist.

These are the dogs who I have to put down because I know that it is more responsible of me to painlessly take their life than to condemn them to wait with the rest of the enormous population of "difficult" dogs sitting in rescue kennels all over the country.

Please, please, I implore you. Get advice before you take on a dog - from a vet, a qualified positive behaviourist, the Kennel Club, the Blue Cross, the Dog's Trust, the RSPCA - the information is there for the taking, there is no excuse. Go to a decent breeder, who has a waiting list, or a rescue centre which really grills you thoroughly before matching you with a pet. Find out how to bring your puppies up properly so if you do find your circumstances change then at least they are rehomable. Make sure you can afford to pay for the unexpected. Make sure your expectations are fair.

Please, because I can't keep having to do this sad

Sunflower49 Thu 09-Jan-14 02:56:09

Sorry just noticed zombie thread!

UriGeller Fri 10-Jan-14 16:38:53

Yeah but Sherlustholmes bumped it intentionally. Imagine how many dogs the OP has had to put to sleep since she wrote the post. shock

MissFenella Fri 10-Jan-14 19:50:41

this post is doing the rounds on facebook too

Loopylala7 Fri 10-Jan-14 20:44:13

sad soo sad

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 10-Jan-14 21:12:00

So sad, you poor thing.

There are so many Xmas puppies round our way at the moment. Tiny, already off the lead, owners with sod all control or care for what might happen as a result.

I do wonder how many will be running in the same park this time next year, when they've chewed too many expensive trainers or don't match the new sofa or have jumped up too many times. sad

AwfulMaureen Fri 10-Jan-14 21:21:57

Anyone who wants a dog should be made to work with the buggers for at least a week or to live with one. We've had a friend;s dog to care for and its made me realise that I never want one. I'm not dedicated enough...I LOVE them too. I just can't commit the time, energy or patience they need. They are SO needy!

caniscantanymore Fri 10-Jan-14 23:59:53


CouthyMow Sat 11-Jan-14 00:07:39

I would love a dog. It's been 3 years since my last dog died, and Ii am mentally ready. But there is no way, given my inability to walk a dog due to my physical issues, that I would be getting one. I make do with snuggles from my (responsible) friend's doggies. (Who are fully insured).

caniscantanymore Sat 11-Jan-14 00:15:24

Just wanted to say that I'm aware this is active again. If it helps one person to open their eyes and think more carefully before embarking on dog ownership then I will be delighted. It's on Facebook, complete with lots of accusations that I shouldn't have PTS on the basis of growling alone (I didn't)/I should have taken him home (with my children and pets and job and life that's just not possible)/I should have just "found a home" (loads of them available for a dog like that ... not)/I should have driven it to a Dogs Trust (they never put healthy dogs to sleep but in order to do this they turn away the unrehomeables, plus they're miles and miles away, plus I was at work)/I should have a relationship with a local rescue (I do, they were full) etc. Needless to say, there was plenty more to this situation that led me to come to the conclusion that it was my only option, but I am bound by a duty of confidentiality and so am not going to give details.

I still think about him a lot. He got under my skin. Hopefully one day things like this won't have to happen.

JillJ72 Sat 11-Jan-14 08:59:09

You did your job, you did the right (but so horribly wrong) thing after exhausting the options, and I feel for you.

Those comments you mention from FB, not supporting you - shame on them. I get you. Pet ownership is a serious responsibility, not a whim or an overnight decision. It should be researched, considered carefully, given time to mull, and then finally make the decision with a good understanding of the responsibilities of being a pet owner. And that youngling pets do grow up.

We had a dog when I was younger, budgies and cats. In my household now we have a cat (he is insured), and chickens - I spent 6 months researching this decision.

Seriously, if the reader doesn't get the OP's post, I can only conclude they may be a contributory party to the heartbreaking work the OP has to do.

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