Fall 1994- Sept 22, 2005
After wanting a dog for as long as I could remember I finally adopted Sandy a beautiful 6 month old long haired dachshund / cocker spaniel mix from the SPCA . Little did I know but she came with many issues. I was then a 'newbie’ dog owner and I know I made many mistakes but I do know that I did my best with what I knew at the time. And boy did I have to learn alot with her!
I loved her with all my heart and did everything I could do to work through her various issues (general fear, fear aggression, dog aggression, sudden unprovoked aggression etc). She also developed a seizure disorder which may have contributed to the problems.
As she got older the situation worsened even though I was actively working with her. She was a wonderful dog 95% of the time, but the other 5% was unpredictable, scary, and aggressive. Still I decided to keep her. I was committed to working with her. I was in a situation where I could do that as I lived alone and had no children.
I managed and controlled every situation with Sandy. It took huge amounts of energy and time. I kept her away from all children, and all people she did not know. I crated her frequently to keep visitors safe. I saw different vets, put her on medication, and saw dog behaviourists, worked on behaviour modification exercises. I socialized her with other people and dogs in safe places where the people were very dog savvy and aware of my situation with Sandy.
Basically I did everything I possibly could to manage, control, avoid her triggers and better the situation. Still there were many problems. I was bit many times. Sandy would draw blood but not enough to need stitches. Sandy would immediately be in an uncontrolled rage, bite and then 'come to', realize what she had done and run to her crate being very contrite, knowing she had done wrong.
I did this till she was 10 years old. In the last 4 months of her life she was becoming worse despite all my work with her. I could no longer safely take her out anywhere. Then one day she attacked me after I told her to get off the couch. It was the worst bite ever and I knew it was time.
I euthanized her 2 days later. I wanted her to have a peaceful quiet cross over to the Rainbow Bridge, but it was not peaceful nor was it quiet. She had to be sedated first. I fed her Snausages treats and she was happy as could be while I was alone with her waiting for the sedation to take effect. The plan was to have her fall into a coma from the sedation. She would then be given the final injection. The plan didn't work. Everytime the Vet came into the room Sandy became aggressive. The sedation started wearing off. So then we had to muzzle her for all of our safety, and 2 of us held her down while the Vet gave the needle. The whole time she was viciously trying to attack us. In the last few seconds her eyes were wide with terror. It broke my heart to see her so fearful and so aggressive even at the end, but I knew I had made the right decision. This was 3 years ago and still I am balling my eyes out as I write this.
I grieved for a long time over Sandy. I second guessed myself. I felt I had made many mistakes with her. I thought maybe I could have done more or had done things wrong. Then I thought that I kept her too long as she was clearly dangerous and unpredictable in the last few months.
One of the kindest things was said to me by a friend who also loves dogs. She said “Sandy had a great life with you because you were so committed to her. You were so willing to work with her. She wouldn’t have had those 10 years if she had been adopted by anyone else”. It was true. I felt better after that because I knew I had given her 10 good years and many wonderful times. I had done my best in a very difficult situation. I had worked with her until it was no longer safe to do so. I will always love her and remember the good times with her.