My Personal Experience With Fear Aggression (Chapter 7)
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How does this all end you might be wondering?
I was devastated when I decided to put Frisbee down. I cried all day and night.
I couldn’t sleep or eat and just couldn’t accept the decision.
So, I did what I do best.
I went online and worked tirelessly to find a solution that would save Frisbee’s life. I couldn’t find any place that would take an aggressive dog. Let’s face it. Rescues and Humane Societies don’t have enough space for the good little doggies that have a shot at being adopted, right?
What rescue is going to want to take a dog they probably won’t be able to find a home for. Who’s going to want to take on a dog with a bite history? I wouldn’t want that. Not when there are so many other “normal” dogs to choose from.
Just when I thought it was hopeless, I found an option. It’s called Majestic Canine Rescue and is located in the middle of nowhere in Colorado. They actually take problem dogs, the dogs no one else will take. In fact, they even take court-ordered euthanized dogs who will live their life out at the rescue.
I contacted the owner, Wes Hogan and he said they have a waiting list. He had about 60 dogs already and no more room for more. After all, he is only able to adopt out one here and there so room space is not an easy commodity.
Knowing he could be my last hope I begged him to help me. He said he could move Frisbee to the top of the list if we paid to have a kennel built out for him (about $3k). I agreed and asked if I could fly out for a visit. I needed to see his rescue for myself.
And yes, you might be thinking anything would be better than euthanizing Frisbee and I thought that too but I still needed to check this out.
So, last April I flew out, rented a car, cried the whole time, listened to some Christian music to give me strength, and somehow ended up at the Majestic. I met with Wes and spent the afternoon walking around his rescue and meeting the dogs and learning all their stories. Some of these dogs were there for no fault of their own. Their owners made mistakes or some human in their life made a mistake that cost them their freedom more or less.
On one hand, I was glad I wasn’t the only one who failed my dog but of course, I was sad too. One dog, a mastiff was there because his/her owner was working with a trainer and one particular day I’m guessing the mastiff wasn’t in the mood for training so he/she growled. Instead of acknowledging this as unwanted attention, the trainer grabbed the dog’s face and pulled it close to hers.
As you might guess, this didn’t end well. The dog ended up ripping the trainer’s face in half which resulted in court-ordered euthanization or spending the rest of its life at Majestic.
How sad is that story and who’s fault was that? Not the dogs.
So, when it was time to leave I thanked Wes for his time. I said goodbye to the dogs and drove back to the airport to fly home. Here is a little video I shot with Wes before I left.
I had a lot of time to think on my way home and decided it would be a last-ditch resort but I didn’t see myself able to drive Frisbee out there, drop him off and drive away.
I had some further conversations with Wes about what I was feeling and he explained to me that perhaps Frisbee would be happier and more content there. Perhaps Frisbee would be better without people around. That obviously something in Frisbee’s current environment was unsettling to him and causing him stress.
I took this into consideration but that night when Frisbee jumped into bed with me, licked my face, and laid across my stomach I had to believe that Frisbee does like people.
I postponed the euthanizing because I wanted more time to find another option. If I found one rescue, maybe I could find another. I jumped on the social media wagon and begged people for help. I was introduced to a trainer in Tucson who thought he might be able to help.
So, I flew to Tucson, my hometown, and met with him. We discussed the situation and he didn’t think I should put Frisbee down. He felt if I found the right trainer, that I could save Frisbee. Now keep in mind, it was never suggested that I could ever fully trust Frisbee or that life would be normal with Frisbee. That would never happen but perhaps I could take some more proactive steps with a trainer who specializes in fear-based aggression.
I visited with my parents for a couple of days and other than the visit with the trainer I asked that no one mention Frisbee. I needed a few days away from all the stress to regroup and clear my mind. I was tired of being sad. I needed a break.
Later that day, I was talking to my mom on the phone and I am guessing she sensed my heavy heart and sadness while I was visiting. She said to me this one thing that changed everything…
Stay tuned for the conclusion tomorrow…
And by the way, Majestic Canine Rescue is a place I hold near and dear to my heart. What Wes does is nothing short of a miracle. He is a true angel. As Peppy-Paws grows I will be donating a portion of the net profits to Majestic along with one other private rescue organization. It’s the real purpose of what Peppy-Paws is all about.