Wednesday, October 29, 2014

RIP Haley, We'll Always Love and Miss You

Ok.  I've been debating posting about this, but it's the only way I can think of to let everyone know, without having to rehash it by telling everyone individually.  None of us are really up to talking about this a whole lot at the moment, but I would rather people know so that we can heal without reopening wounds every time we have to tell it again.

We made the extremely difficult and heartbreaking decision to put Haley down yesterday.  She had been an amazing dog for 7 years, but in the last month and a half something in her changed.  She attacked and almost killed a family member's dog without warning or provocation back in September.  On Monday evening, she and Caylee were playing just fine, and then Haley followed me into the kitchen.  Caylee followed right behind her, and touched her on the back (not a slap or a grab--literally just put her hand on her), and Haley spun around and went after Caylee.  She knocked her down and bit her face and didn't stop until I yelled and grabbed her, which fortunately was pretty quick since I was standing right there.

Caylee is fine.  We took her to an urgent care clinic and they superglued the deeper puncture.  Everything else is healing up fine, and she shouldn't have much of a scar.  It could have been so much worse, and we are grateful it wasn't.

I wish Haley had growled or given me some sign so I could have stopped her, but there was no warning.  While Haley had been a bit unpredictable around new dogs, and would respond in kind to aggressive dogs, she never exhibited unprovoked dog aggression until September, and had never exhibited any sort of human aggression until Monday.  She had growled at Caylee once or twice in the past, and snapped a couple of time when Caylee hurt her accidentally--both normal dog communications that Caylee had done a good job of learning to respect--but she never gave any sign that she would actually hurt Caylee, especially without any provocation.  She was always patient with her, and would go behind the couch or to the bedroom if she didn't want to play.

With this incident following so closely on the heels of her attacking our cousin's dog, we knew that we couldn't keep Haley.  Though it was very tempting to rationalize doing so, Caylee's safety, especially in her own home, takes priority.  Besides, any plan we could come up with for keeping her would have inherently decreased Haley's quality of life in our home.  We tried to get her into a non-kill shelter or rescue group to rehome her, but because of the incident with my cousin's dog, and especially because she attacked a child, no one would take her.  We talked to friends and family, but no one was in a position to take her.  We talked about putting her up online, but couldn't bear the thought of her ending up in a bad home, or as fight dog bait, or possibly attacking someone else's child, or grandchild.  We talked about training as an option--the problem is there was no observable trigger either time.  It wasn't a pattern of aggression, but instead moments where Haley just unpredictably snapped.  I really think something was starting to go wrong in her head.  So, we made the best decision we could among all the bad ones, and chose to have her put to sleep at our vet's office, which she always enjoyed going to, with her boy by her side.

I spent the morning beforehand loving on her and giving her treats and ice bones.  Haley was on her best behavior, knowing she had done something wrong, but she was her happy, normal, cuddly self.  She was my big cuddle bug velcro dog, so I cuddled her a lot.  I brought Caylee downstairs to hug her and say goodbye, so that Haley would know that Caylee was ok and not mad at her and so that the bite wouldn't be her last memory of Haley (for however long her memories of Haley last).  Caylee wasn't afraid at all, and Haley nuzzled her.  Bryan took her, and was with her the whole time.  He got to love on her for a good hour before the procedure itself, and said she wasn't ever scared, just the normal vet office slight nervousness, and that it was very peaceful.

We are pretty torn up right now, and Annabelle is pretty sad and confused, but time will help.  Soon we'll be able to look back at our time with Haley, and it will bring comfort and not sadness and regret.  I miss my dog, and am heartbroken, but she attacked my child--Caylee comes first, period.  Anyway, if you're still reading, feel free to stop here.  As I've said, it's not something we really want to discuss or talk about much.  That said, for my own processing, I'm going to make a list of all the things I'll miss about Haley, and my favorite memories.  Feel free to read them, or not.

I will miss her jumping into bed in the mornings, after Bryan went to work, and cuddling.
I'll miss how soft her fur was, especially her ears.
I will miss the adorable way she perked her ears forward when we said one of her words (even words like bro-co-li), for all the world looking like the 6 month old pup we first brought home.
I'll miss how high she could spring into the air, and the looks on people's faces when they saw her jump for the first time.
I will miss how she would lay on the stair landing while we were upstairs with the baby, or when one of us was upstairs and the other was down, just so she could keep an eye on all of us.
I'll miss the way she would let me know when the baby way up from her nap, even before the monitor picked it up, by coming to get me or by sitting on the stairs and staring at me.  I'll miss how her she would jiggle her legs while sitting on the stairs.
I will miss her low bark when she wanted to go outside and we weren't moving quickly enough, and her loud bark when she heard something in the yard at night.
I'll miss how she would always lay on the bed or outside the bathroom door while I was showering, just to make sure she knew where I was.
I will miss the way she loved to go on walks, and it will always haunt me a little bit just how excited she was to go on leash and go to Bryan's truck, and ride away shotgun style.
I'll miss the way she greeted us at the door, and how she would tell us when it was time to go to bed.  I will miss the way she would come back out and lay on the couch beside me when I couldn't sleep and decided to stay up and binge watch TV.
I'll miss the way she would go to sleep behind the chair in our room, only to get up after we were all in bed and kick Annabelle off the pillows on the floor at the foot of our bed and curl up.
I will miss watching her run with Annabelle in the back yard, doing laps.
I'll miss the way her head popped up in the backdoor window when she wanted to come inside.
I'll miss they way they wrestled and played together, and the way they would hunt lizards in tandem.  I will miss the way they would always go to "their" bowls--there's only one bowl now.
I'll miss the way she took her time to eat, then drink, then go outside.
I will miss the way she was always underfoot in the kitchen, and the way she would curl up in my lap, or lean against my legs.
I'll miss watching Caylee hug her and watching them play.
I will miss hearing her "sing" with Annabelle when Caylee cries/screams, and I'll miss hearing Caylee say Haley's name as she slowly fades from her day-to-day life and memory.

I'll never forget how she loped up to Bryan when we first went to see her, and how she sprawled in his lap.  She jumped in his truck without hesitation, sat in my lap in the front seat, and didn't look back.  She wore the collar she had on that day every day, and would get very affronted if you took it off of her.
I will never forget when she caught the sparrow in midair, and was so proud of herself--and was so confused as to why I was crying.  I'll never forget when she came back to camp at the ranch holding a deer leg, looking as if she'd just done the best thing in the world by raiding a deer dump.
I'll never forget her wading into cacti to get at the turkey buttermilk that Bryan had dumped there.
I will never forget how beautiful and strong she looked when pointing at birds.
I'll never forget how she mostly clipped her own nails by biting them off.
I will never forget how she loved her walks, how she played with Penny, and Dixie, and Tiberius and Abby.
I'll never forget the way she loved her jingle tire ball, and how confused she was about playing fetch outside instead of inside.
I will never forget her running full speed down the length of our first married apartment and the entry hall in our home, and not being able to stop.  She would skitter and slam into the door, get up and shake and jump around, and then do it again.
I'll never forget her nervous tick when we first moved into our house--she would stand next to a wall and tap it with her foot.  We had Haley footprints under our dining room window until we repainted.
I will never forget coming back into the house, after forgetting something on the way out the door, only to find Haley standing on the dining room table, trying to see out the window to see where we had gone.  And I'll never forget her and Annabelle howling together when we would go on a walk without them--we could hear them clear around the block.
I'll never forget how, after I swatted her with a wooden spoon one time, she found the spoon in the sink and shredded it--and had a vendetta agains wooden spoons forever more.
I will never forget her stealing most of my carefully-made crab cakes--off of the island, without moving the plate an inch.
I'll never forget her doing her tricks for cookies.
I'll never forget the way she would flip her head upside down to look at me, instead of just turning around, especially when I had stopped petting her without her permission.  Her ears would flop back and then she would head butt my hand until pettings resumed.
I will also never forget the times when I was reading a book instead of paying attention to her, and she would insert her head under my book and throw her nose upwards--sending my book flying across the room--and then lean into my legs and put her head in my lap.
I will never forget her cuddling me when I was on bed rest, and how she would rest her head on my pregnant belly, or the way she and Annabelle would supervise feedings and diaper changes when Caylee was tiny.

Rest in peace, sweet Haley dog.  Putting you down is easily the hardest decision we've ever had to make.  I don't know why you snapped and attacked Caylee, and I don't understand, but you were incredibly loved and are and will be sorely missed.  Good dog.  


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