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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

SweetSeraphim Wed 17-Oct-12 20:56:49

Man. What a moving post. I'm so sorry sad

thereinmadnesslies Wed 17-Oct-12 20:56:51

OMG this is horrific. But it seems like you did the kindest thing possible in an impossible situation.

Dozer Wed 17-Oct-12 20:58:51

sad Am sorry, this part of your job sounds v hard, and you sound compassionate and brave.

If you can, keep trying to influence things for the better.


hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 17-Oct-12 20:58:53

I hear you. It isn't fair. it's not fair to the dog and it's not fair to those who have to do the putting to sleep.

We did thoroughly check out about owning a dog before we got Smudge-the-Hoofy-Puppy-Dog 12 years ago. We thought long and hard, we debated backwards and forwards and waited years to do it right. There are lots of people who do heed the words of vets and professionals like you but equally there are those who know best and those people are much harder to educate.

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Wed 17-Oct-12 20:59:18

Nobody with any heart could flame you. You've done your job and you didn't create this circumstance. Today's dog should have had a better chance but it's not you who took it away.

I'm so sorry. Your post has really touched me.

I'm a cat person but grew up with dogs. My grandparents had springers. I understand working dogs like that and I'm in despair at the number of people who buy them because they look good but don't understand the OOOOMPH they have. It's a recipe for heartbreak.

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Wed 17-Oct-12 20:59:53

sad sad sad

EasilyBored Wed 17-Oct-12 21:01:42

That is so sad. I'm sorry OP, poor you, and poor puppy.

gallifrey Wed 17-Oct-12 21:01:57

That is so sad sad

zombieplanmum Wed 17-Oct-12 21:02:02

Your post has made me cry - when i worked as a vet nurse i was astounded at how many healthy pets we had to put to sleep. It was never the dogs fault angry I lost time me and my friends would cry about this and the male vets even would get emotional.

I still think you did what you had to do and it was the right thing, that poor dogs life would have only gotten worse and he would have been past from one fuckwit to another to another.

We need to make people take dog ownership seriously, they are not fucking toys angry right there with you OP!

ToothGah Wed 17-Oct-12 21:02:11

That is so sad.

Is there not a local rescue or fostering people who would take this sort of dog from you? An arrangement you could make with someone for these occasions?

I would definitely sign up myself if vets asked for people to care for dogs that would otherwise be destroyed - particularly if a vet like you could see there was no real good reason to destroy them.

I'm not going to say any more, as I'm too upset and I don't wish to upset the OP further. But it's so fucking wrong and shouldn't be happening.

Bluestocking Wed 17-Oct-12 21:02:19

I'm so sorry. You are absolutely right; too many people treat animals like toys and expect to be able to just get rid of them when things don't work out.

PoppyScarer Wed 17-Oct-12 21:02:23


Witchety Wed 17-Oct-12 21:03:25

Oh my!! What a sad post!

We are about to start thinking about a family dog, this thread came at the right time.

ByTheSea Wed 17-Oct-12 21:03:40


MrsApplepants Wed 17-Oct-12 21:05:06

Am in tears reading your post. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Unmumsnetty hugs to you

Viperidae Wed 17-Oct-12 21:05:23

I really am not keen on dogs as a rule but your post has even moved me sad

D0G Wed 17-Oct-12 21:05:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

caniscantanymore Wed 17-Oct-12 21:06:54

Tooth, there are lots of people who I can call in this situation. The good ones cannot take innumerable dogs indefinitely. The less good ones are willing but clueless and sending a dog like this to them would be a recipe for disaster all round. The buck has to stop somewhere.

NoMoreMarbles Wed 17-Oct-12 21:07:32

No YANBU sad not one little bit sad

So sorry that is a part of your job. That's totally shit sad

LFCisTarkaDahl Wed 17-Oct-12 21:07:52

You did the right thing.

It's sad for us all reading that story but the dog died happy being cuddled - it doesn't know its dead. I know that's a weird thing to say but it is comforting to me, the dog doesn't know it's dead, doesn't know it's unwanted.

It's our shame and something we have to live with.

ToothbrushThief Wed 17-Oct-12 21:08:01

Sad post - you poor thing. I feel a little tearful reading that sad

ChristmasKate Wed 17-Oct-12 21:08:10

Your post has made me shed a few tears. Some for you and the impossible situations you have been placed in and more for the dogs you describe sad

My DC would love a dog, I mean they would really actually faint from excitement if I allowed them to have a dog but we all work or go to school and it would be another mouth to feed, family member to pay for and it's not possible or fair.

purplepansy Wed 17-Oct-12 21:08:46

sad how utterly crap

can I suggest you send this to some newspapers?

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Wed 17-Oct-12 21:09:10

It's not only dogs. People are awful about cats too. Our local CAts Protection (who provided us with our cat) is full of cats 'sacked' from the family home because the owner gets pregnant. The gits who used to live in our house had a cat. Cat was getting on a bit and then they decided to get a dog. Cat and dog hated each other - so they rehomed their middle aged cat rather than the new cute puppy. It would have better by far had they mustered the imagination to realise that a cat that had never lived with a dog was unlikely to be chuffed. But of course that would have involved them giving up something that they wanted and of course that came first. A lot of people are both stupid and selfish. Bad combination for owning pets.

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