I knew you’d never forgive me.
but I was wrong, and I’m so, so sorry.
As previously mentioned, my Elsa dog was returned to me this last Saturday. Obviously a lot of feelings were born as a result, relief being the most prominent. I think I was doing the right thing by wanting her to live a rotation free life. For her, and I can admit it was easier for us. I think I was doing the right thing and trying to be selfless because the reason I was so relieved was because I really love and missed this dog. For all intents and purposes, she was my dog and I should have accepted that while different it doesn’t mean our living situation isn’t ideal. If every one is happy, why isn’t it ideal? I digress.
I cannot confirm or deny any thing as I was not physically there, but the circumstances behind her return involved an attack on the adopter’s other dog. I am going to stick the the “facts” as closely as I can, because I will never actually have clear answers, be it what really happened or an answer in which I am satisfied with. The attack resulted in surgery, but the extent of the injuries I am still unclear on- just what they apparently cost in veterinary bills. My initial reaction was that I was very, very sad this happened. Very sad for the injured dog, and very sad for Elsa. The way I know her, something had to REALLY be wrong for her to react aggressively. I know exactly what went wrong with her and Jack McCoy because I made a mistake, but I don’t know what happened here. The story was that while the adopter was out of the country a house sitter was feeding Elsa inside with her, the other dog was outside and eating. I’m supposed to believe that out of no where Elsa suddenly burst out of a dog door she was too frightened to use previously and just attacked. I say that I am supposed to believe this because it’s passed to me third hand and the only witness is not someone I know or will ever speak to, and I’m unaware of their knowledge of dogs. I would consider myself to be above average in regards to understand what I’ve seen when a dog fight happens, but I know that in the heat of things it can be frightening and confusing. It was hypothesized that it was resource guarding, but RGing is a completely foreign thing to old Elsa and the situation itself regarding RGing doesn’t add up. Issues, even ones not previously known, can manifest out of stress. I could only theorize that perhaps her combated barrier issues were reborn under duress of the move and being with a stranger and perhaps seeing/hearing something outside triggered it. I can theorize a lot of things, but I wasn’t there and this is not as I’ve known my dog. I consulted with friends that I trust, and especially trust with dog related things. There was some back and forth over this before I was told a behaviorist would be coming out to observe and then less than a day later the conclusion she just could not be trusted and needed to be sent back.
I reserved some of my issues with this until she was literally in my arms. They begin with the fact that after she was adopted a handful of photos were posted, a question regarding how to teach her to fetch, and that every thing was happy and well. I never heard any thing else about her. In rescue I try to not be an overbearing foster but I was chomping at the bit having received no personal updates about how things were going, and led to believe they were going just swimmingly- until the news of this attack. At that point it still seemed every thing was fine until it wasn’t. This is where the roller coaster truly began. As concisely as possible:
- In her very first day, doped up and fresh off the plane, Elsa was given immediately free run of the house and introduced to the resident dog. This gave me a nervous feeling in my gut. 2 months later on the report of the attack I was told she had bitten the resident dog the first week and left a deep puncture wound. I did not hear of this at the time, otherwise I would have likely intervened earlier.
- When I raised questions that were not liked, I was told Elsa had been a problem the entire time. She was supposedly a big time resource guarder, leash reactive, and a bully to other animals. That the adopter would have not adopted had she been informed of these things before, and that supposedly (supposedly being a magic word here) a behaviorist had been working with them the whole time. Setting aside the fact that these are not things we experienced and have not experienced since her return, that at no point until it had allgoneverybadwrong I heard nothing of this, nor did any mutual friends to my knowledge, AND such language to imply I withheld any pertinent information, I was extremely relieved she had been returned because if all these things were true and so much so a professional had to get involved I truly question and consider it common sense that you would not leave the country and leave a new, problematic dog with a house sitter and your other dog- a supposed target in some of these issues that had previously been bitten. If any of that is true. If it was I figured I would have been aware from the beginning, or the dozens of other people who have followed Elsa’s life closely over the years.
- Elsa was returned to me in a condition I consider unacceptable. I can’t definitively draw conclusions on whether or not it was intentional, but the fact of the matter is she left us at 44 lbs and returned at 37. 7 lbs weight lose, for an already fairly small dog, is drastic. Her coat was so dull she looked chalky. Dandruff and fur fell out with every touch. When I observed her gnawing the life out of her own hip I discovered she was covered in fleas and scabs from subsequent flea bites/scratching herself. I removed a improperly fitted collar to discover her throat bald and a broken, coarse ring of hair around her neck. I could have just chalked this up to a lot of questions that were not going to be answered or proven, until I picked her up in this condition. For reference, the first link has seven pictures: http://imgur.com/1A6GSBa,ULHzI7s,nZnRPEH,TVmwsqN,G8xK0TS,Wg0CHJZ,IOexq7A#0
For further reference, this is our beautiful gal the day before she left us: https://www.facebook.com/GreenandGrowing/media_set?set=a.853498033049.1073741828.210800172&type=3
Hence why I was not pleased. She also seems to have a urinary tract infection. Willful or otherwise, and regardless of the fact she obviously wasn’t emaciated on death’s door, I do not find any thing about the way she came back to me to be acceptable.
I am openly sharing this because I am willing to admit some sort of fault here. I can’t decide what my fault was, but I do know that I miserably failed this girl. This girl that I saved from death from the “rescue” that miserably failed her before, and however many people were responsible for and subsequently miserably failed her before she landed at the rescue we would meet at. My thought process in just adopting her may still not be right, but I know I can protect her here and not fail her again. I can’t protect her from ALL the things, I’m not a god of sorts, but I hope I can protect her enough that she has a happy ending. I have this tremendous amount of guilt and she’s just laying on a ridiculously giant bed covered in toys and chews.
The worst part, though, is that she just keeps looking at me. Every thing seems the same but something I can’t quite put my finger on is off. I have to chalk this up to adjustment period because it doesn’t feel like before and I hope she can feel right here again. A lot of people (in the spirit of good nature and moving forward) have suggested just that- to brush it off and move forward. In the beginning someone said something that resonated with me: “It’s not any different because the dog is Elsa.”
Yes, it is different because it is Elsa.