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My heart is breaking, VineyRidge to the rescue - the Angel saga continues.

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  • My heart is breaking, VineyRidge to the rescue - the Angel saga continues.

    I did not want to ever have to post something like this, and didn't want to put on the 'feel good' thread about Angel, but the unthinkable happened this afternoon.

    It is hard to type this through my tears.

    Angel and Cubby got into a nasty dog fight this afternoon. It was probably triggered by the excitement when one of my daughter's friends parents came to pick her up. I had walked out with the young girl to make sure she could get out the gate without any of the dogs escaping, when I heard the sound you never want to hear, two dogs fighting to the death.

    I did what you should not do, attempt to break it up, screamed for my husband, all the humans came running out of the house and we did our best to break up the fight before any blood was shed. At several points we were all on the ground, wrestling with the individual dogs, I had Angel, my husband had Cubby, and somehow Angel got away from me, and went back for the attack, and would not let go of Cubby's neck. It was at that instant that I knew I would not be able to trust her ever again.

    We managed somehow (not sure how, it was all so horrible) to get them apart, I chased Angel into my house and locked her in my office. My husband brought Cubby in, and bathed her, and checked for damages. She has a large scratch (not a gash thank the Lord) and a few nips on her ears, and Angel has a small tooth puncture on her cheek.

    I do not really know what triggered this, and it breaks my heart, especially now, Angel is sleeping at my feet as I type this, and I am reaching for another tissue for my eyes.

    My saint of a husband came in and checked on Angel when he was done with Cubby, which also broke my heart, I really thought he would hate her after what happened. We have all been trying to figure out if there is any way we can deal with this, but I don't think there is, we are not physically or mentally equipped to deal with any sort of visciousness in our dogs, or how to train it out of them.

    I know the dogs view me as alpha, and I suppose if I could have reached them and "broke it up" before it got into the "red zone", maybe it would not have happened, but I cannot police them 24x7, and would hate to come home from dinner some night to a dead dog.

    I called my neighbors, but they are not in a place to be able to take her at this time, they have their hands full with the GSD pup. I asked them to check with their barn helper to see if she could take her. I'm waiting for them to call back tonight or tomorrow morning.

    This is killing me, Angel is such a sweet dog, but evidently she has a dark side, and it may well have been Cubby that started it, but Angel was going to finish it.

    So, tomorrow, with a very heavy heart, I will call the Humane Society, and bring her in. At least they are a no-kill shelter, and hopefully they can find a home for her as an only dog.

    God that made me cry - I so wanted to save this dog and give her a loving home for the rest of her life, and I really thought that was going to happen, and now this. And it kills me to think of how confused and betrayed she will feel. I don't know if I will be able to get over this.

    Please, please do not flame me for looking out for my other dogs, you have no idea how hard this is. Jingles for a better home for Angel would surely help right now. She really does deserve a family to call her own, that can love her forever, until her time to cross the bridge comes.
    Last edited by MunchkinsMom; Nov. 30, 2009, 11:37 AM.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

  • #2
    No flames..I had a foster here at one time that caused total mayheim with my pack...I broke up several fights until he found another home (thank goodness)....he would get into the red zone. We were very fortuante to find a home who was willing to work with him and last I heard he was doing well.

    I have one suggestion just in case....get yourself a wire muzzle when she is around the other dog. Thought I'd throw that out there just incase it would be helpful to you and the situation.


    • #3
      No flames, some tears yes. I know how hard you have worked for her and with her. You do have to look out for your pack. Hugs...


      • #4
        oh, sweetie... no flames here.

        I am so, so sorry for you. I am sorry for her.

        You did your absolute best you went SO FAR above and beyond anything 'necessary' for her...

        My heart breaks for you. My boys fight, but I know the trigger (changing food) and can mostly avoid it. And I live alone. And no children. And rarely visitors.

        Some may come up with ideas, or say you do have a choice... I think you are doing what you know in your heart is right for your family and other dog. The RIGHT thing is hardly ever the easy thing.

        I'm just so sorry for you. You did your best. Sometimes our best isn't good enough and it's just not meant to be. Please KNOW that you taught her it's ok to trust and love humans again, and we'll all pray she finds her own human who needs her.
        InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

        Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


        • #5
          No flames.

          I have heard breeders tell horrific stories of female dogs living together and one day carnage breaks lose.

          Hugs to you, because it's the toughest decision yet.

          There is no light and dark side to animals, they just are.


          • #6
            Oh, I am so sorry. It sounds like she definitely needs to be in a "one dog" home. Perhaps another male would be ok, but I would agree that you probably need to re-home her.
            Good luck.


            • Original Poster

              Thank you all for your kind words. I wish I knew where the muzzles that we have somewhere in this house were hidden, as that might be an alternative until I can get her to the shelter tomorrow.

              I just got done doctoring up both dogs, I found a few puncture wounds on Cubby, and loaded them up with Animax, she will go to the vet tomorrow, and one on Angel, she was so good about letting me doctor it, that I began to cry again.

              I don't think I will sleep well tonight. Or for many nights to come.

              I know I can't save them all, but Angel is special to me, wormed her way deep into my heart in the past year and a half.
              There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


              • #8
                Dear Munchkinsmom

                I am so sorry you are going through this.

                I missed something, though. Why can't she be an outside dog, since that is what she was before you brought her in? That's what my B.O. has. Two outside dogs, with very nice digs.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
                  I know I can't save them all, but Angel is special to me, wormed her way deep into my heart in the past year and a half.
                  Awww...so sorry...she wormed her way into all of our hearts in the past year and a half. So sorry.
                  I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


                  • #10
                    MM-You did your best for Angel and you're doing your best for her and the rest of your pack now. I know you don't want to do this but you have to accept reality and keep your entire family safe. Angel adapted to your home and I'm sure she'll now adapt to a home as an only dog. Make sure you post her information in the giveaways on here and I'm sure she'll find a good home. You did your best, and now you're doing the right thing for all concerned. The pack you have has to come first, and my heart aches for you.

                    Many people would never have made the long effort to capture her in the first place. And this may not have a good outcome for you, but because you captured her, and she is now a house dog she has great chance of being adopted to a forever home. You and the rest of your family have given her a chance for a great life, it just won't be in your pack. And if it had happened at my house I would have had to make the same decision you did.
                    Last edited by JanM; Nov. 23, 2009, 07:19 AM.
                    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                    • #11
                      Are you sure this is something that might repeat itself? I am no dog expert, but two of our girls seem to have a horrible, loud, all out fight, about once a year. We always get as far away from them as possible, and the fight is over in a few seconds. There are always huge amounts of saliva on the dogs, but no blood or wounds. I think this is some sort of alpha dog ritual, and as long as no one is hurt, I ignore it. It seems to happen only when there is some sort of stress at home, such as when I am frantically cleaning house and cooking to get ready for a holiday.


                      • #12
                        No flames, but . . .

                        What happened is very normal when a new dog comes into an established pack. It takes about (in my experience) four months before the new dog will make an attempt to assert dominance over other dogs in the pack.

                        What you experienced was not at all a fight to the death or anything like that. When a dominance fight is involved the wounds will all be to the ears and head--mostly to the ears. When a fight to the death is involved the wounds are to the legs so the other dog will be hamstrung and less able to move away from attack. If you haven't found evidence of leg wounds then the dogs were having a dominance fight, which is normal and common and to be expected, especially when one of the dogs wasn't properly socialized to household living.

                        When the people who witness such a fight get involved with screams and yelling commands, the animals don't listen to anything except the tone of voice. Usually they interpret such sounds from bystanders as encouragement to continue.

                        This is just a phase that your dog pack is going through in establishing the level of each member, and everything would probably work itself out if the people didn't interfere. However, I do know that that is extremely difficult and not something that most families can endure. My dog family has been through many such situations; and some times it resolves to neutrality and sometimes it doesn't. But mostly now, even when it doesn't, the confrontations are primarily noise and not blood.

                        I'm thinking now of my puppy who, when she reached sexual maturity, was slashed often in the face by another bitch who would no longer tolerate pushy behavior. I'm also thinking of two dogs who lived together for years in armed camps after the first few fights and the damaged ears one had ever after.

                        As long as the only damage was to ears and around the muzzle, neither dog was trying to kill the other. Angel was just attempting to establish a higher place in your dog pack over another bitch.
                        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                        Thread killer Extraordinaire


                        • #13
                          Viney has it right.

                          I totally did not read the initial post with care. I think Viney has it right.

                          Your dogs have ear/face scratches, not "I'm going to kill you, bitch," scratches.

                          I'd re-think things, and give it a few days.

                          I would be happy to chip in a few bucks for a dog trainer to come to your house to assess the situation, and I image other people who support rescues would as well.

                          Again, I'm sorry for your situation.


                          • Original Poster

                            Vineyridge, thanks for your very informative post, and I am sure you are 100% correct as to what was going on. The part that concerned me was this - as soon as we had them separated, I was telling my husband to turn Cubby away, I already had Angel facing the opposite direction, thinking that breaking the eye contact and eliminating the sense of threat from both dogs. I was saying it in as calm a voice as possible, and Angel still went back and attacked as soon as she got away from me again.

                            It was at that point I knew that this was not meant to be. Also, Cubby has been in "guard mode" ever since, and probably would not hesitate to start another fight. I cannot have this in my life, I thought for sure I was having a heart attack after it was all done, and I am not kidding.

                            You are right that this is not something we can endure in my family, my husband had a heart attack 4 years ago, my father in law is a sextuple bypass surgery survivor, I have a teenage daughter, and I am not as young as I used to be either.

                            I am not faulting either dog, I do know that sometimes this is what dogs do, but when neither of them was willing to back down. . . that was the part that I could not live with. Cubby was here first, and we never had any issues like this in my pack of dogs ever before, and honestly I could spend the rest of my life happy to never have to experience it ever again.

                            I will always love Angel, for the sweet dog that she is, and pray that the right person will come along and adopt her quickly. Everyone that meets her falls in love with her. Maybe I was not meant to be her forever owner, just a stepping stone to a better life that she can fill a home with love.

                            As to letting her back to living life outside, I thought about that, but I would have to fence the entire pasture in no-climb to keep her in. I cannot afford that, and cannot risk her living like she did before, with me constantly worrying about cars and shotguns and dog fights, or coyote attacks.
                            There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                            • #15
                              Funny (odd) thing is that the fight could have been triggered by something as innocuous as Cubby and Angel both trying to go through the same door at the same time. It's just as likely that Cubby started things as Angel.

                              Hello, Elizabeth. Nice to see you back.
                              "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                              Thread killer Extraordinaire


                              • #16
                                OMG !!! I am sooo very sorry for all involved ~ please know we are all broken-hearted about this ~ certainly a no blame situation. Thoughts and prayers for all dogs and humans. Please keep us updated on Cubby's condition as well as Angel's new placement. Jingles for a quick and happy solution to your dilema.
                                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                                • #17
                                  I found the original thread about her but could not wade through all 80 pages.

                                  A couple of things I'd suggest, before giving up also are, did you ever get a harness on her? If not, use a horse halter upside down. You know, the nose part slips over her head, the jowl part under her tummy with you sticking her legs through the appropriate slots on each side, and then buckle the crownpiece around her tummy. Once it is on, praise her, treat her, and leave it on. It is quite possible that you've been so stressed out about it that she just picked up on the stress level too. Once the halter is on, it will be much easier to grab her if you do need to nip some behavior in the bud.

                                  Crate train her. If you want to find a way to give her some time out time, first let her learn that the crate is a happy place, treats, toys in there and just a chill out place good for a nap. If you are concerned that you see a sign of some problem brewing between her and one of the others, distract her by getting her into her crate.

                                  I agree with the folks that say that was not a fight to the death to be all upset about, seemed like normal dominance skirmish to me. Did you ever get a picture of her? With the references to her singing that I saw in what I read of the other thread, I cannot help wondering if there is some Samoyed in the woodpile, but of course without a picture I have no clue. Good luck, and 'chill' for a few days on PTS'ing or rehoming her.

                                  Oops, sorry did not see this before, which does put things in a different light, the ' I thought for sure I was having a heart attack after it was all done, and I am not kidding. You are right that this is not something we can endure in my family, my husband had a heart attack 4 years ago, my father in law is a sextuple bypass surgery survivor, I have a teenage daughter, and I am not as young as I used to be either.'. I completely empathize on that one (am not a spring chicken myself, either).
                                  Last edited by sdlbredfan; Nov. 22, 2009, 09:51 PM. Reason: add more
                                  RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                                  • #18
                                    I am so sorry

                                    I had this happen once when I had GSD's. I had taken a foster dog and she and my other bitch tried to kill each other.

                                    The comment about the legs, I think, is correct. One of the dogs had an incredible number of punctures on her legs, the other one had one very serious slash to a leg that almost bled out.

                                    My vet told me that it was very difficult to have two female dogs in the house and that I would have to rehome one or I could expect it to happen again. Luckily I found a home w/a K9 policeman for the second dog.

                                    Hope Angel finds the perfect place.
                                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                                    • #19
                                      Before you actually rehome her, if at all possible, I would really suggest getting a proper dog behaviorist (NOT just a 'dog trainer' - look up Patricia McConnell to see the sort of person I mean) to come in and look at things.

                                      Even if you don't feel able to keep her, bringing someone who is experienced in to assess the existing situation where the problem arose should REALLY help get more information about what kind of home situation she would be best in. There can be really very complicated social things going on beyond just 'she can't be with other dogs' and it would be helpful to have an idea of exactly what the issue is.

                                      That way when she is rehomed, you can have more confidence that she'll be in a situation where she's not likely to get bumped again later down the line.

                                      Also, I don't personally trust any dog trainer who ISN'T interested in coming to assess things at home/with the other dogs and people before making statements about the dog. (This is particularly the case given the number of dogs you have and the number of people around at the time the incident occurred. There could have been all kinds of subtle social things going on that no one noticed and so for the dogs it wasn't a sudden thing at all, but rather a reasonable progression of events.) (I'm not saying this to make you feel bad, btw - I probably wouldn't be able to recognize those subtle things, either. That's why we have dog behavior experts. )

                                      Again, I don't want to say 'oh, you should keep her' because obviously you and your family need to be realistic about what you can handle. I just want to suggest you get a proper expert in to make sure that your idea of the situation is realistic (so you don't get rid of her if you don't really need to) and to make sure you have as much information as possible for rehoming her.

                                      I do agree with some of the other posters that this might just be a case of 'growing pains' with the dog social structure, though. One of the trainers we talked to when Pirate and Foxy were having some issues right after we got him said that it can take up to a year for a dog to really settle in to a new place and bring the full personality out. Now, with Angel, you did know her before, but it's still a very new situation for her. (Heck, we've had Pirate a year and a half now and he's STILL getting more himself every day.) That's one place where an expert assessment in the home might really help.


                                      • #20
                                        I'm so, so sorry this has happened.

                                        (I must admit, I was relieved it was not worse news after I saw the title of the thread.)

                                        You've done amazing things for and with Angel, far above and beyond what most people would have even considered. You know what you can cope with, and if you know the situation needs to change, then it has to happen. If she needs to be an only dog, sobeit.

                                        If there is any doubt whatsoever about her fate at the local shelter, please consider the rescue run by Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw. They do an amazing job placing each dog in the right situation. www.dannyandronsrescue.com

                                        Bless you for your continued care and concern for Angel. I think she crossed paths with you for a reason.