Friday, December 17, 2010
Dealing With The Cards Dealt
One day five years ago an offer of some free hay had me heading out to check it out one morning. Jingle at 15 years old came along for the ride. From the email I gathered from what they briefly said they were moving and as i drove long i wondered why they didn't need the hay where they were going. I even went as far to question and wonder what they did with there animals and if they were giving them up. I also thought, I hope they don't have any dogs. It always hurts my heart for the animals being torn away from what they know , moved from there home and families.
On arriving i saw three dogs and during the conversation with the donor he told me they were moving to Australia and i exclaimed "but what are you going to do with your dogs?". Sadly the three dogs would be separated and the big one had still not found a home. This is how i got Buddy.
Buddy is unlike any dog that has lived with me. He prefers his own company and appreciates a good love when he asks for it. He likes to be on my bed but not when i am in it. He is a bit of a loner and prefers to do things on his own. He doesn't follow me around when i am outside working for example. Unlike my other dogs who would lay in front of the barn as i did chores and then followed me into the house when I was done. Buddy does and is where he wants to be it really makes no difference to him where i am. As long as i am there when he wants me to be.
When Buddy arrived at 2 years old he chased the pigs , chased the horses and scared my cats. He would learn, but it was a long process and my gentle Buddy, BUDDY , and then BUDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY would escalate sometimes. Trying different techniques to teach him , changed very little of his behavior.
Buddy had not ever been dried off and i know this because when i dried his feet his lips with snarl and he would growl at me. It took a lot of guts to teach this dog as he was big and bending over to do this put my face next to his. Every chance i got i touched his toes, held his paws when he laid down and eventually he got used to it.
When he is on my bed and i would go in and lay down to cuddle i questioned if his voice was a growl or if he was talking. But when a friend came to stay with me and leaned up on the couch he was laying on and he growled i knew his growls were exactly that.
He was here when Rose was brought in as a baby. He seemed taken with her and took on an almost protective nature. They played together, chewed toys , he let her sleep with him and on him. With me always watching the big dog and reminding him to be gentle with her . They were great friends.
But as Buddy got older as did Rose i watched a new behavior emerge. One of an Alpha dog who when Rose would come to greet him as she did since she was little, Buddy would get rigid. He would stand tall and his body language clearly sent a message to me that he was ready to take her on. Don't presume here because i rescue pigs i know nothing about anything else , i know aggressive body language i don't care who it is man or mouse. I kept a watchful eye on Buddy and would bark out the words "out" when i saw him do this. I had no control over Rose this way but I did with the dog and to prevent something terrible it was the dog who needed to move away from the situation.
If you go look back at my movie with then Bacon and Buddy, you can see what i see coming from my dog.
One summer day i heard Rose scream on the front porch and running out there was my dog and a pig whose face was bleeding. I didn't see it happen but i knew it was a dog bite and once again i questioned my keeping such a dog at a Sanctuary for rescued pigs. Pigs will duke it out and over the years when i have found one of my pigs with a scratch or two i have looked and wondered if it was my dog or not. And i have heard the horror stories of dogs killing pigs at Sanctuaries and i know what damage a dog can do to a pig as i have one here without an ear. I am always telling people never ever leave your dogs and pigs together unsupervised.
Last night when i got home from work i greeted Buddy in the driveway. I came in and Cotton followed Buddy right back out the door . A few minutes later i heard a blood curdling scream from a little pig . I rushed outside and saw the two separate and saw blood gushing from the pigs snout. I immediately called the dog in exclaiming "WHAT DID YOU DO????"?? That question carried so much in it you have no idea. My mind raced with how our lives just took a huge change, will i need to euthanize this dog , give him up , get a kennel a muzzle. I was using my hands to direct my dog and told him to get in here and get in my bedroom. And up on my bed a dog looked back at me with "don't you touch me" . His fur was raised and his eyes were black , this dog scared me but called him to follow and pointed to the pig and told him NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO now get back in my bedroom and i shut the door to attend to the pig.
I got him settled and cried my heart out for a little pig who was brought here to be safe only to be attacked by my dog. And my dog .. what of his life now and how it will change.
Needing help and totally upset i looked towards a rescue forum only to be met with judgment and no thought to my experience with multi species. I for some stupid reason thought the people on there would be nice to me and offer up some kind of assurances or a home or help for my dog. Over the edge now and sobbing hysterically i edited all my words and shut this computer down.
This morning because I am high strung and an emotional Italian I have decided to CALM down and manage my dog. Last’s night ordeal sent me over the edge with working and coming home and getting back in here after 9 the night before to still feeding the inside crew and then me.. menopause and no sleep add’s to the mix of emotions.
I bring an animal in here to be safe and he gets hurt here … but the pigs duke it out and get hurt too so I don’t look at that pig any differently I just keep an eye out for the problems and remove them before they are one.
I have a dog who I will never trust. I just talked to a friend and she gave me an out if I needed one as she would take him soooooooooo now I have done musical chairs this morning with dog and pigs and will have to be way more aggressive with my watch. In order for Buddy to live his life out with me without being a danger to anybody here I can never forget what happened last night.
My bedroom will become his room , simple as that and I will buy a muzzle even though no one has suggested this to me it will make me feel better to have this option available at times.
Today Buddy found his front porch gated, his dish and water in my bedroom, also gated. He is NOT ever to be trusted with the pigs again. And no matter what i do I will be criticized mostly by dog people because there are more of them and they are who they are and love there dogs. And no doubt pig people will be on the other side of the fence saying get rid of the dog.
The decisions i have come to this morning were founded by someone who loves them both equally , this is my torment. All of our lives changed last night and in order to keep everyone safe precautions have been taken. Buddy's life will be the most dramatic change but verses the options It is the only one i can make. As an animal lover and to give him a life here unless i can truly find a better one for him somewhere else. Yes i would give him up ..
I am more educated now thanks to him, about him, then I will ever be now .. and he will never be the dog I ever wanted him to be and that’s just the way it is as I have a pig here who has the same issues and I manage him. Sucks but that the cards dealt to me and my dog.