Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Doggie Bigot

I'm feeling a little bad because I'm seeing some things in myself that I don't like.

The couple who gave us the dishwasher as part of the F²/D² also had a dog that they needed to get find a new home for. The problem for them was that they were a two-dog household and she (the dog in question) was having some dog aggression issues with the other (older) dog who had some form of epilepsy. The medicine would control things, but when the older dog would have a seizure, the other dog would try to attack. They had a two-year-old with a new baby due in autumn and there were concerns that if one of the kids tried to get in between the dogs they might get hurt.

We met the dog who needs a home and she seemed really submissive and sweet. She did a lot of face-licking, which Celeste loved, and was really cute.

The problem was that she is a pit bull/doberman mix who was rescued as a puppy from a fighting dog situation. Had she grown up with the people she was taken from, she'd be a fighter.

That's what has me nervous. Our yard isn't dog-proof — two sides have decent fences that belong to our neighbors; the third side is our fence, but it's in very bad shape (which generally isn't a big deal because it's overgrown with ivy, forsythia, and other plants); and the fourth side is unfenced — and there are dogs a yard or two over, which could be a problem. Plus, we see a fair number of dogs being walked in our neighborhood: There would be plenty of opportunities for a bad dog interaction.

But the bit that has me second-guessing myself is that I am nervous about Celeste and the dog. She was really sweet in her house, but I worry that the stress of adapting to our pack might set her off and cause a problem. Plus she's a very strong dog and if Evelin were walking her and trying to control the stroller at the same time ... it's easy to imagine something bad happening.

So, right now I'm feeling guilty for turning away a dog that needs a home, but I keep thinking it's the right move for us, but I'm not 100% sure. Sigh. If anyone is in the D.C. area and is able to take a sweet, crate-trained five-year-old pit bull/doberman mix (no other dogs in the house), let me know: I can try to put you in contact with the dog's owners.


Anita said...

Not to be dog biased either, I would TOTALLY not feel bad about denying that dog a home. The breed does make a big difference and I think you made the right call.

If you all do adopt a dog, check the breed's homepage for info about it's interaction with children. For instance, golden labs despite being friendly dogs, should not be around young children because they get too excited.

Collies, clearly, are the best! ;-)

T. Carter said...

Yeah, it was checking the breed pages that helped tip me against things. It's still sad though: I know that most pit bulls are fine, gentle dogs, but the fact that this one is so dog aggressive just has me worried.

KirstenM said...

Sounds like you made the right decision to me - hard, I know, but right for you at the moment.

marchenland said...

If you decide to invite a dog into your pack, you will know the right dog almost immediately, I think. The wrong dog is the wrong dog, and you really can't second guess yourself on that. If nothing else, thousands of years of cohabitation have made dogs and humans almost psychic about each other, and if you spent much time worrying about the dog, I think she'd pick up on it and that, in turn, would make her behave poorly.

Although mutts aren't always traceable in terms of breed and therefore traditional behavior, I think that as a general rule, they far outweigh the vast majority of purebreeds. Additionally, the dog breeding world can be a horrific one for the animals. The fact that they don't end up on someone's plate is about the only thing that distinguishes them from other livestock. Purebreeds are terribly overbred and the existence of a market for them, often based on spurious information, just adds to the stress put on them. (I used to show dogs, and to this day, it horrifies me that I participated in that world.)

You have to get a fence, though. Sooner or later, the dog will have to be outside unattended.

That's my 2 cents worth of dog advice.