I Put My Dog Down Today

“I put my dog down yesterday. He was not sick. He was not old. I rescued him over 8 years ago. And I put him down to rescue him again.”

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This incredibly heart-touching piece comes from Indrani, a volunteer at Pound Puppy Rescue:


I put my dog down yesterday. He was not sick. He was not old. I rescued him over 8 years ago when he was only 2 months old. And I put him down to rescue him again.

Sutter would have been one of the 4 million dogs euthanized in a US shelter that year. But instead, he and his litter mates were rescued by Pound Puppy Rescue, a local puppy rescue. Just days old when he was brought into his foster home, Sutter and his litter mates were bottle fed until they could eat on their own.

Sutter was the most beautiful dog I had ever seen. Deep red coat and amber eyes. Naturally athletic. We were unsure of his breed but a DNA test told us cattle dog and boxer. His herding and hunting instincts were interminable. And from the very moment I got him, something was ‘off’.

I socialized him at home with friends and other dogs until he was fully vaccinated. Then I took him to the dog park 5 times a week, the beach, work, dog friendly restaurants, puppy school, agility training, nose work class. Despite all these efforts, Sutter was hyper vigilant. Never relaxed. Always on edge. He put a dog at the dog park in the hospital. He bit a child riding by on her tricycle. He bit people in our house, the cleaning lady, the gardener and a fireman. He chased the postman down the driveway baring his teeth. Amazingly none of these instances were reported, but Sutter’s freedoms were restricted. I rescued Sutter and it was my job to keep him safe. Inside our home with our family, Sutter was a dream. He never chewed anything. He wasn’t needy. He was affectionate. And quiet.

After my divorce I moved into an apartment, and hired a dog walker. I gave her very explicit instructions. About two weeks into her job, she called me to tell me that Sutter bit the apartment manager. Two days later, Sutter bit a dog. Sutter had three days to find a new home. I managed to find him a place to stay until I could move. I was not giving up on my dog.

Sutter was a management issue. Walking him became more and more stressful. Crossing the street when people came towards us. Pulling him away from children who wanted to pet him. As I became more vigilant, Sutter fed off the energy and got worse. Walking him was no longer fun, it was a chore with the thought, “What’s going to happen next” constantly going through my head.

I tried everything: trainers with an iron fist, muzzles, and thunder shirts, medication. Nothing helped. He growled at everyone that gave him a sideways glance. He lunged without warning. He air snapped. But all the while at home, he was a great companion, goofy happy and chill.

Last week, our elderly neighbor was walking by, and as her back was turned, Sutter lunged, knocked her to the ground and bit her. No warning. What would a dog who has been loved his whole life, have to fear? What is going through his head that makes him so insecure and defensive that he would do this? Again, luck was on my side and our 84 year old neighbor made it through unhurt.

I talked to experts and trainers, veterinarians and shelter staff. Sutter had no chance to be rehomed; it would just transfer the liability from my home to another. I could limit his freedoms even more. Only walking him in the dead of night. I could put a muzzle on him at all times. But then the question of quality of life comes up. Quality of life for him. Quality of life for me.

All this time, for the last 4 years or so, the thought of euthanasia has loomed in the background. And to be brutally honest, a bit of relief would seep through the heartbreak when I thought of it. Relief at not wondering when the next time would be. Relief at not worrying about getting a call from the police or animal control. Relief at not being at risk of a lawsuit. Relief at avoiding the distinct possibility that Sutter could badly hurt someone. Of all the people I spoke with, only one told me not to consider putting him down. Because I would never forgive myself; because I would feel guilty for the rest of my life. That, to me, is a selfish reason not to do it. How would I feel if Sutter put a child in the hospital or killed a dog? The guilt would be unbearable. The guilt that I didn’t do something sooner.

So yesterday, I spent the day with my boy Sutter. I made him a scrambled egg for breakfast and he had the last bite of banana. We took a long walk along the coast, and I let him sniff every blade of grass, and eat whatever tasty morsel I would usually pull him away from. I let him look for mice in the scrub. We watched hawks hunt for their breakfast and stared at the ocean. He rolled in the wet grass and jumped up smiling at me.

Then, we took him to the vet. We went into the quiet room and spent some time with him. The tech came and gave him a shot that made him sleepy. Even then he was strong, he refused to go to sleep and jumped up several times, walking like a drunk. We finally convinced him to lie down on the blanket. We pet him and kissed him and gave him treats and hugged him and told him we love him so much. The vet came in and injected him with some bright blue medicine, and his breathing and heart slowed down. His eyes remained open and we talked to him gently, telling him to go to sleep. Then he was gone.

My pain was excruciating, and it still is. And maybe my friend is right. I may never forgive myself for playing God and deciding Sutter’s time was up. And the rescue volunteer in me is calling myself a hypocrite of the worst kind. How can I save a dog, only to euthanize him when he was still so vibrant and healthy?

I will likely struggle with these thoughts for many years to come. And I will always miss Sutter, the little puppy that I rescued. But in the end I know I saved him from himself.


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Update – one week after posting:

It’s been a week.

I am reeling from all the support I am getting from strangers far and wide. I wish I could respond to each and every one of you, and I hope that those whom shared their own stories can feel my big, virtual hug.

I didn’t write my story to share it, I wrote it for myself. Catharsis. And it was cathartic. But then I got to thinking, despite the sensitive topic, perhaps there are others who have gone through the struggle, who are going through the struggle, who may have to go through the struggle. I had no idea so many people put their dogs down for reasons similar to mine. And some people were forced after a final harrowing incident. People have been sued. People spent thousands of dollars digging themselves out from the aftermath of their dog’s actions. Dogs have been taken away by animal control and euthanized by the authorities (my biggest fear).

I was playing Russian Roulette. But with a big red dog.

I am also reeling from some of the cruel and hurtful comments. I know I opened myself up by posting my story on a public forum. I was actually a bit wary as I clicked the ‘publish’ button on the WordPress site. I voluntarily made myself vulnerable to the rude, cruel, condescending, judgmental, holier-than-thou people that I know are lurking about. But still, my open wounds started to bleed.

To the people who asked why I didn’t just buy a house with a big yard: What a nice idea. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. Buying a house with a nice big yard for Sutter would cost at least a million and a half dollars. Even if I could afford that, in a practical sense, a nice big yard is not all that a dog needs. When I was married, I had a nice big yard. Sutter never went out there unless he had to go potty. He would rather hang out on the couch inside.

To those that asked why I waited so long to put him down: The situation was not as cut and dried as it seemed. Sutter did make contact with multiple people and dogs, but the incidents were always spaced apart by months or even years. After each incident, I tried new remedies like a muzzle, medication, a new trainer, better management.  I admit I was in denial, and I admit that I let my guard down. He seemed to be calming down and getting much better. During the last incident with the old lady, Sutter was seemingly ignoring her altogether. He was sniffing something off the path, and she was walking by on the other side. Sutter lunged and jumped after her as she had already walked by. He was lightening fast and there was zero warning. I regret that this happened with all my heart. And I am so lucky that the lady was okay even though she fell on her face. That was the wake up call. The thought of Sutter being taken away by animal control, and the recollection of all the past incidents, and the recommendations of several trainers, behaviorists, the vet, my attorney, family and friends, led me to the conclusion that enough was enough. I had already moved once, and I recently bought my condo. I loved Sutter with all my heart, but the realization that someone could be hurt very badly, I could be sued, I could lose everything, was a dark cloud hanging over my head.

Why was he allowed so close to people? Why did we let him come into contact with anyone on the walks? As someone stated, it is impossible to control the world. Do you realize how many off-leash dogs are around all the time? And how many toddlers run around wild, not listening to their parents’ calls to come back?

To the people who said we should just keep him inside at all times: Sutter loved his walks. He would stand at the door, wag his tail and smile, waiting for his walks. I walked him. A lot. At 8 years old he did not need as much stimulation and exercise as he did as a young dog. But I walked him a lot to keep his energy down. I got up at 5am every morning and took him out for 45 minutes, rain or shine. Then after work, I took him for 3-5 miles. Every day. Sutter would no longer thrive had he been on house arrest. And he still needed the exercise.

What about a muzzle? For a dog like Sutter, quality life would surely suffer. He was a highly sensitive dog, and a muzzle bothered him to the point of catatonia.

And yes, I know that cattle dogs are not for everyone. And yes, I know that cattle dogs need free space to run and play. They are working dogs and need to be kept busy. Sutter was abandoned in a box mere days old. I had no idea what his breed was when I adopted him. He had a short nose and floppy ears. At about 4 or 5 months old, his ears popped up and his nose got long. Even if I knew he was a cattle dog, I could not predict that I would get divorced and be forced to move out of my home. Things happen to people. And I did everything I could to keep him with me, even when he bit the apartment manager and got evicted.

What about medication? Sutter had blood work done and medical exams and there was nothing ‘wrong’ that the vet could detect. We tried anti-anxiety medication which did absolutely nothing. We tried sedatives which did nothing until the dose got high enough for him to be a zombie. Neither were good solutions.

What about finding a home with lots of land or a no-kill shelter? I wonder if any of the people saying I should have just found a new home would have taken on a 60 lbs, high energy, unpredictable dog who lunges and bites dogs and kids and people without warning. And as for ‘no-kill’ shelters…very few of those really exist. Even ‘no-kill’ shelters kill. They kill when a dog is sick or aggressive, to make room for others. A sensitive dog like Sutter, scared of loud noises, not happy around other dogs and strangers – what would his life be like locked in a cage like that? I honestly don’t think just being alive is enough. Doesn’t one also have to experience joy?

I was accused of not spending enough time with him. I was told that he needed to be with me 100% of the day, every day. How dare I leave him at home when I work. I was berated and told that I was the cause of his anxiety and violence. People hoped that I didn’t have children, and said I should be sterilized. I need a “kick up the backside”. I saw comments like ‘every dog can be trained’, ‘you didn’t try hard enough’ and that I have just given permission to the world to kill healthy dogs. Someone told me that they hope I see his face every day and suffer. I lied to my dog, gave him a great day, then killed him. I am a piece of shit. I am an asshole. I am useless and worthless. I will go to hell. The dogsnobs blog dedicated a whole blog post to me, my bad decision, the mismanagement of my dog, and what an idiot I am. Selfish, evil bitch. I should go fuck myself.  And my favorite, from dear Star Mitchell: I should go kill myself.

So yes, I am grateful for all the support, but I am a human being with feelings and the desire for people to respect and be kind to me. Of course, with the events of last Monday, I am grieving, regretting, questioning, wishing I could go back in time. So for now, I am going to lick my wounds, and take a walk to the coast, where my Sutter Puppy and I walked every day.


453 thoughts on “I Put My Dog Down Today

  1. I am so sorry you had to go through this. I had to put my 17 year old cocker spaniel to sleep in 2004 because her kidneys were failing and that was very hard. I probably would have done the same thing with Sutter but with a breaking heart, knowing he was so loved while I had him and did the best for him I could. Just remember he went over the Rainbow Bridge with all the other special pets that people loved. You can never bring Sutter back but there are millions of animals out there that need all of our love and care and I know you will find that special someone again that you will be mom too. Best of luck always.

    1. You put your beloved dog to sleep because of an illness, she ended her dogs life just because SHE couldn’t manage. Only thinking about herself in the terms of SHE could get sued, SHE could lose everything. It’s a sad, horrible situation. There was many options that it seems she didn’t even attempt. My only thought is i do hope she feel the remorse of murdering her family member so she won’t do it again. My heart is with her, but more importantly my heart is with Sutter.

      1. Thank you for sharing your experience with Sutter. Im sorry for your loss, but in my heart feel you went to great lenghths to keep the dog.
        I am in a very much the same situation with my white lab Abbey. Shes bitten me seven times and drawn blood. Bit my husband once and is more aggresive..she chases kids, runners, and has dragged mr on the ground three times. Once recently into the side of the house hit my side body and face. Yet in house she does commands and is very hyper. We spent a lot on vet bills and can not keep this up. I don’t thinl we can sell or give her away. Human society will probably put her down. Its exhausting me and my husband our health is not good. So im afraid Abbey needs to be put down. It’ll be a very sad day, yet a relief in many ways.
        God bless you and please pray for us on one october.

      2. You’re a complete prick. Judgemental wanker. It’s easy to critique but hard to actually be constructive and share this. Good luck with people liking you.

      3. Anonymous you are cold-hearted and unable to understand all the circumstances that Melanie went through to “manage” her dog. You should be ashamed posting these statements and not not having the courage to own your words by posting yourself as anonymous. More people should be a courageous as Melanie to realize her only option.

      4. You have literally no idea what you’re talking about. I would like to see you try to handle the same situation.

        Also, there is zero logic in saying someone is selfish for not wanting more people and animals to get hurt, you idiot.

  2. Dont be so hard on yourself. Sutter got more love from you than anyone else could have ever given to him. You had more patience with him than most do with their own children. Your story conveys so much love in your heart, not just for your pet but for life too. The most important thing in all this is that you dont love that love in compassion you have in your heart. Dont let this heartbreaking attempt discourage you from pouring all that love into a new friend, whether it be beast or man. I admire you. You may not have done EVERYTHING POSSIBLE, but you did for more than what anyone could consider reasonable. Free yourself of guilt. The reality is the shortened time he had with you was so much more than 99.9% of people that adopt would have done for him. Keep on keepin’ on.

  3. I think you did the right thing. Sometimes we have to do things in life that hurts us so much. He had a good life with you and he did not suffer. I’m in a position right now where I have two older pets that will need put down sooner than later. It’s very hard . My heart and prayers are with you!

  4. Know this: for every instance Sutter lunged, growled, or ended up biting someone he must have felt bursts of emotion/stress/aggression that even he did not understand. He was your sweet dog who was at the mercy of behaviors he could not control. You showed absolute mercy in delivering him from this day-in, day-out struggle. Try to remember that and ignore those who have no clue how hard you worked to find solutions for your sweet boy.. He likely had some type of brain based pathology that veterinary medicine has yet to unravel. Be well.

    1. Very well said. There are many humans who grow up in wonderful homes with no abuse or major trauma and still develop into pedophiles, rapists, and killers. Sometimes there are just genetic malfunctions that cause animals of all kinds to behave in ways that are not able to be righted. In the case of Sutter, he may have had an enlarged amygdala, which can cause heightened fear and aggression. Hopefully someday scientists and doctors will be able to find the roots of these problems and amend them.

  5. I had a similar situation about 10 years ago with my cat. He was suffering from bad urinary tract infections, and I’d take him to the vet for the doc to treat him for one, and a couple of weeks later he’d come down with another. The vet finally told me, when I asked if he was suffering too much from the infections and the trauma from the vet visits, “At this point, are you keeping him alive for his sake, or for yours?” I knew then it was time to let him go, and the doc euthanized him an hour later. You did the right thing in letting him go, and don’t let any internet trolls tell you otherwise. Take comfort in all the good memories you have of Sutter, and although I’m not particularly religious, I know I’ll see Muchkin again someday, and I’m sure Sutter will be waiting for you when your time comes too!

  6. Dear Melanie, no matter how hard it was, you did the right thing.
    I’d thank the good Lord every day, that Sutter didn’t maim or kill a child, an adult or a dog, during his Life. How could you have lived with yourself, a rational , loving , responsible human being, if he had.
    He was NOT a rational ,responsible human being. YOU and no one else were responsible for him.
    People talk, and probably mean well, but in the end, they were NOT responsible for him.
    I admire you for your decision, and the guts to carry it through.
    SUTTER loved you and DID NOT die a killer !!!!!!! Bless you and hang in there… Ines.

  7. My heart goes out to you. I’m sitting here crying as I type this. I don’t blame you in the least for what you felt you had to do. You’ve lost a good friend, a companion. Even though the vet could find nothing “wrong”, there seemed to be a problem. with Sutter. Possibly a tumor (or something) on his brain. We do the best we can for our companions, but there comes a time when our “best” just doesn’t seem to cut it. I’ve had to “put down” many animals and I know it’s NOT east (even when it seems to be the best for them. You gave Sutter a chance , many chances actually(which he would not have had in another home). You did your best and I’m sure that Sutter appreciated it. He’s probably waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge (whenever you arrive) and he will be the same, excitable puppy you remember (without the propensity to attack without provocation)..

  8. Dearest Melanie,
    It is hard to have respect for some one who says they love animals, but can be so cruel to people.
    I do not think I would have been able to hold out for 8 years, given the incidents you describe. I can appreciate the agony of indecision. The fear of the consequences from his actions battling against your love for a sweet and loving personality. You did “the right thing” for as long as you could, until you had to do “the only thing left”. Bravo to you.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  9. I was unable to respond to your blog immediately because Annie was attacking the back fence because the neighbor dog is outside. Dog people are much like human parents–every one of them knows the Right Way to train a dog. I have received all kinds of advice, myself, but until you have tried to manage a fear-based aggressive dog, the experience ‘seems’ so simple. Annie is four. We are older, rarely have houseguests or children around and have a securely fenced back yard. We have still considered euthenasia and may again for all of the reasons you listed, but ultimately, because it is impossible to control the world. Like Sutter, she is still with us purely due to the grace and understanding of people who have not reported her bad behavior, and the responsibility weighs heavily on us.. I am so sorry for your loss.

  10. Having made this same kind of decision 6 time over the past 25 years with my Rottie’s I’ve had the pleasure of sharing life with…I can only tell you that you made the right choice. Our loved one’s (animals) count on us for their well being. We are hteir care takers in life! It’s a responibility that we can’t take lightly and at the end of their funtional life they look to us to make the right decision!

    Every time I questioned whether or not it was the right time…I prayed that they would just drift off in their sleep, but each time it was left up to me.

    It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do…and your what…because I loved each and every one of them I would/will do it all over again! I would much rather hold them and know in my heart that they knew I was there when they drift off to there heaven, then dump them like a bag of trash for someone else to deal with!!

    Rest assure the the critic’s are just that…critic’s with no knowledge of compassion!

  11. We had a similar experience, but our dog was four and bit me, my husband, and a neighbor who was watching him. He was a big, goofy pup most of the time, but then the demons would take over and he was a miserable, angry dog. In the middle of the night I would wake up and hear him growling. We had myriad dog experts in. Took him to several vets….nothing helped. He used to LOVE my mother’s small dog. The last Christmas they were out, he kept trying to attack her. My husband walked him to the vet one final time, but couldn’t go through with it and brought Ninja home. A week later, he attacked him. Unprovoked. My husband walked him back again, after a delightful day of all Ninja’s favorite activities. I miss the goofy, galoot, but I know we did the right thing. We DO have a big yard, we DID walk him twice daily. He HAD been socialized with other people and dogs. He WAS on anti-anxiety drugs. We HAD several experts in. NOTHING worked. Until I went through this myself, I was smug that there were no bad dogs, only poor owners. No longer. Ninja, and Sutter, had issues that nothing could solve. Ninja’s quality of life was declining. He was vicious more often than happy. I miss him every day, but I never regretted the decision.

    1. After reading this, I know what must be done, CAN be done. Bubba’s day has come. After 10 yrs of trying it all but still nothing working 🙁

  12. I had to put my dog down a month ago. It was the hardest decision I ever made. She was like a child to me; as a matter of fact it was my husbands answer to not having a child together. She too, was a herd dog…a blue heeler. She was beautiful, smart, and loving to our family, but she had terrible anxiety towards other animals and strangers. She bit a friend who had to go to the doctor for antibiotics. The doctor reported the bite to the health dept. who in turn contacted us to let us know she would need to be quarantined. We took her to the vet to do so and she tried to attack a small child while getting her there. We had to make the decision to put her down because we couldn’t trust that she wouldn’t maim or kill someone if she felt threatened by them.

  13. Dear Melanie,

    You did the right thing. I had to do the same thing with a dog that I loved dearly, he was also a rescue. I am so sorry for your loss.

  14. Wow what a heartbreaking thing to go through. For you Sutter was the perfect dog but when out in the world, his perceptions got him into terrible trouble. You can be at peace to know that you did everything you could to help this dog. You are brave.

  15. I was in tears reading this as well .. and I agree as a pet owner we battle demons within our own mind .. you made the right choice .. he is still loved and as happy as you made him .. take care of yourself .. and one day you will be reunited again

  16. You did the right thing for Sutter,. He would have been miserable caged or kept in a small compound. Dogs need to run and enjoy and be happy. I share your grief and know you loved Sutter or you would not have put him down. Your compassion for him made the choice hard, but necessary. Bravo to you and my best wishes that you find another dog companion to fill the void – that is the only solution for the grief you are feeling. Sutter would not want you to be alone.

  17. my son just went thru the same thing with his 2 yr old german shepard gunnar, it was either you doing it or animal control. so he did it his way.

  18. I too had to put down my dog “Princess”. It was the hardest decision I have ever made. She was 10 years old, mixed breed. I had gotten her for my wife but she adopted me. I feel your pain and it will get better. She rests now just outside my back door.

  19. I’m so sorry for your loss., I had a yellow lab, Boris Becker, who had similar issues as your Sutter. He got expelled from doggie day care, we couldn’t go to the dog parks anymore and I was always afraid we would walk out of our building at the same time dogs he hated would be coming in. Then he bit my nephew while I was babysitting. I am lucky in that my veterinarian was also my very good friend. She told me Boris just wasn’t right in the world and that she herself would euthanize him. That was how strongly she felt it was the right thing to do for him. Once I came to accept this decision I fed him 2 Jackson Hole burgers and we walked across central park to our friend’s office. It was a very peaceful good-bye. Again, I’m sorry for your loss. Sutter just wasn’t right in this world and I hope you get to see him in the next.

  20. I have had to euthanize 3 of my dogs, not for the same reason. They were old and had cancer. How I cried for weeks and still to this day many yrs later I still cry over losing my girls. I cried when I read your story. It sounds like you did everything to help Sutter, unforntunately, nothing helped. It’s easy for other people to judge you and say horrible things , they need to be put in that position to see how they would handle it.

    You make a gut wrenching decision, can’t imagine how hard that was for you. Putting down a sick dog was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my life.

    Hopefully someday when your ready you will adopt another dog.

    Good luck.

  21. Melanie,
    I’m so sorry that you had to deal with this. My heart hurts for you. I have been in rescue for years and had to deal with putting down rescue dogs and my own personal dogs. I know it’s tough but do not let ignorant people hurt you. Until you are put in that situation and have to deal with it you have no idea what you would do. I had a problem dog and had to force my husband to take her after we divorced because I was afraid she was going to kill one of my other dogs. Thankfully it worked out and she is happywith him. But I had to deal with keeping her seperated from my other dogs for years and if she got loose and attacked one it was awful, it lead to vet bills, anxiety and stress. If he hadn’t taken her I was going to put her down, I too would have had no choice. I’m truly sorry for your pain. You did the right thing and I hope you will take a chance and adopt another dog in the future, because I know you are a wonderful pet parent.

  22. I have a dog who is not very accepting of new dogs or people. It is hard to walk her or take her out in public when there are lot of people or dogs. I have never even thought of putting her down. I just don’t walk her or take her out when I am afraid of her lunging at someone or trying to bite someone. I keep her indoors, take her out later in the night, exercise her indoors. I would be devastated if I have to put her down without deemed medically necessary. If you love your dog so much you have to find a way to keep him/her alive and safe. I have lived in apartment and house with her. I put her in a room or back yard if I have visitors. I have fell flat on my face when she took off after a squirrel. I have got bitten by her accidently once and she has lunged at visitors. But then I find a work around to keep her safe and alive and keep others safe too.

    1. I agree. There are ways to keep both the dog and others safe. Been there done that. But it takes work. This is a throw away society. Sad.

    2. I thought I could keep my Pom safe. They were separated, he went on walks at night.
      But when you have 165 pounds of muscle that snaps, there is nothing that will stop him.
      I fought as long as I could. I weigh 113,my Pom was 5 pounds.
      I will never get over not being able to stop the mauling of my dog.
      It will happen to you. I just hope your dog doesn’t get hold of a child.

    3. Just wondering – what kind of dog do you have??? How old are you??? I am 75 years old and, no matter how hard I would try, I could NOT control a larger dog (like a Cattle dog/Boxer). I have worked for a no-kill shelter for almost 10 years and you don’t believe the calls you get from people wanting you to take their dog after it has bitten one of their children or a neighbor. I always had to decline.
      I very much feel for the lady who lost her dog, but I believe with all my heart that she did the right thing for the dog and herself.

      1. I am 90lbs myself and my dog is 65 lbs. I know I cannot control her if she is pulling or lunging. That’s why I don’t put myself and her in a situation where one of us or someone else can get hurt. I love her to death. She is stubborn and hard to train. But I will never put her down for being aggressive unless I am forced to by system. Do we put down humans who kill or injure others seriously? .

    4. Finally someone has my view!I agree with you completely.This is really a selfish individual that failed her dog ultimately.

  23. I cannot imagine the agony you went through when coming to that decision. You did the right thing. Very brave, and in the end, the most compassionate choice for Sutter.

  24. I’ve never responded to any posts like this but felt the overwhelming need to write something. I had almost the exact same situation with a dog that I got as a puppy – he with his litter mates were found in a cardboard box in ditch along side a rural road. I, like you Melanie, tried everything I could think of to save him but had to make the decision when he was seven years old to euthanize him. That was January 4, 2012 and I think about him all the time and still wonder if I did as much as I could have. When faced with a situation like this, it has to be one of the hardest decisions a person has to make. I also had a lot of support which was important to helping me heal and to get over the guilt I felt. You have suffered a loss that is no different then if you had a dog who was sick, injured or in pain and nothing else could be done. It took me a long time to come to understand that for myself. My thoughts are with you.

  25. Your a wonderful person who did a wonderful thing, not once or twice but the whole time yall were together, You did everything right and far better than a lot of pet owners do because you are a true animal lover not jus a animal owner. Don’t ever think otherwise because you would be wrong and that only hurts you and Sutter wouldn’t want that. To all the hater commenters….Did you actually do what you suggested be done and it actually solved the problem?? If not then don’t post what you “think” should have been done, it helps no one. This was a heartfelt story wrote extremely well. I would adopt another one because there’s one waiting for a true loving owner like you right now and I believe you will find a different experience this time ad be glad you did.

  26. I have to agree with the person who commented that some dogs (like some people) just come in to this world wired wrong. I’ve been thru that experience.

    I think you did everything you could above & beyond what many others would have done. And until any of the people with the negative comments have walked in your shoes they have no right to say ANYTHING.
    To those suggesting you buy a new house on a bigger property, etc, etc, etc, I wonder if they are offering to fund this move for you. What an idiotic thing to say. Not everyone can afford to just up & move or buy a bigger house.
    Some people obviously do not engage their brain before they open their mouth to speak.
    I hope you’ll be able to ignore the negative comments & know from others who have been thru similar experiences that you gave Sutter a wonderful life for as long as you could. I commend you.

  27. I am so sorry for your loss and your sadness. So many people can be so mean and ugly. You know you loved Sutter and he loved you with all his heart. To those people that are so mean, would you prefer Sutter be taken away after a biting incident and then euthanized at the shelter. You were a great parent to Sutter and he loved you with all his heart. Only think happy thoughts about your life together.

  28. Why didn’t you get help from a true behaviorist? I am sorry but our decision is akin to decisions made at pounds…. got a problem? put them down…., it is NOT the way to go.. for anyone else here who thinks this is a good choice..please don’t get a dog until you get some education

    1. You are bullying the one who wrote this post. She did try everything. She was very educated. Shame on you.

    2. Amen! About time someone didn’t bow to her and tell her she did the right thing. I would NEVER put my healthy dog down for no reason. There were other avenues. I pray she doesn’t adopt any more animals, apparently they are disposable to her.

  29. You did what you could to help him. He is in heaven now. God bless you for your work to help these homeless pets.

    I sent my Jojo to heaven last Monday due to old age (going to be 19 in September)

  30. Dear Melanie~
    My heart goes out to you. You loved that dog or eight years longer that he would have lived, had you not taken on the responsibility of a tiny puppy who would grow up to have aggression issues. I know of the character flaws in cattle dogs. My friend had one. They ARE aggressive. They are bred to protect! It isn’t their fault if their instincts are misguided, when there are no cattle or sheep to protect! We can’t blame the dog. He was only doing what he was bred to do.
    I have a rescued Briard dog. I almost lost him when he was three years old, when he was rushed to the Animal Hospital, because his Vet misdiagnosed his illness. He diagnosed Lyme disease, when in fact, it was Addison’s disease. He was near death. Today, he is still extremely fearful of people, lightening and load noises, but he has never been aggressive, other than a low growl, whenever a stranger approaches him, and insists on “making friends.” He becomes fearful and backs away. I have to tell people NOT to approach him. He will approach THEM, give them a sniff, and walks away. No aggression, just checking. He has NEVER bitten anyone, or shown his teeth, but he will pee, if they insist on coming closer to him, even though I ask them not to. McGruff is a precious, sweet dog, that many people will never know, because of his illness. He is a clown, and smiles a lot, and he loves his chocolate Lab “sister.” I give him his Percorten-v shots every 28 days, and I pray that he continues to be the sweet loving dog that he is, for as long as God allows me to have him. He is showing signs of hip dysplasia, so I know what is coming…..I will NEVER allow my sweet boy to suffer!
    So, Melodie, God bless you for all you did for Sutter, and know that he loved you more than any human could!

    1. I had a dog with Addison’s – it was not an easy time caring for her. Loved her to pieces. Hugs to you.

  31. I am sorry for your pain. You did the right thing. My roommate/co-owner of house got a Great Dane puppy from a breeder. He was cute and smart and obedient with her and showed no behavior problems with other dogs or people. One day, he came running across the yard and bit me on the butt, hard, causing bleeding. She said she would keep him away from me.

    A few weeks later, when she was gone, the dog attacked me in the yard, knocked me down, bit me 20 some times, and broke my arm pulling on it. I fought him off and escaped into the house. The paramedics took me to the hospital where I was in intensive care, had 2 surgeries and remained hospitalized for 2 months total. They said I was within minutes of dying from the dog attack.

    I survived, but have multiple huge scars on legs arms and face, loss of full use of one arm and daily pain. Animal control put down the dog, we sold the house, moved separately and we will never be friends again (after 10 yrs’ friendship). She, too, still misses the dog.

    I think she should have done something earlier, at the first bite, but she did not and all my suffering is the result of that failure to take action on her part.

    You did the only thing you could do, and you are to be commended for doing it before someone was permanently injured or killed. I feel your pain and I admire your bravery and selflessness.

    1. I’m sorry for your pain. That is truly horrendous for you. I must go put my dog down today, to save the next person from your horrible story. Thank you for sharing. I was on the fence until just now.

    2. I know you wrote this a long time ago, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I came here trying to find peace, whether isn’t done the right thing putting my Great Dane down. I have always know then as gentle giants, but mine was growling and snapping at strangers. You story has reminded me why I made the decision. I am glad I acted before someone got hurt. I wish you well and hope you have healed.

  32. I think you was wrong for putting him to sleep. That was cruel and evil of you. I hope you never get another dog in your life.

    1. That was rather insensitive, Lisa.

      Next time you eat a meal, ask yourself, what had to die to fill your hunger?

      Feeling guiltless?

      It’s rather obvious Melanie is conflicted about what she had to do.
      But ask yourself, to survive, do you feel guilty for your actions?

      Still feeling morally superior?

    2. Cruel and selfish?
      Read Gales comment above and tell me that her friend was kind and unselfish for keeping a dangerous dog that nearly killed Gale….. It’s incredibly selfish to inflict a potentially deadly weapon on society because you refuse to realise or accept the very real danger.
      No one can 100% guarantee the safety of people and others pets with a dangerous dog. If your pet or child got killed by this dog would you still feel the same? My dog is tiny, if he got mauled to death by a dangerous dog I would certainly feel the result of the dog owners cruel and selfish actions by keeping their dangerous dog alive.
      It’s all about social responsibility not how much you love your pet. She loved her dog very much. She just realised her responsibility to society was more important than her own love for him.

      1. The dog clearly detested you. Why did you continue to put yourself in the position of another possible attack? Sounds as though you have no commonsense whatsoever. I would have moved out after the first bite and would have avoided having this dog near me unattended at all costs.

  33. Melanie, do not let the haters get to you. You spent quality time with him and he knew he was loved. It is never easy, especially when they are healthy and vibrant. I needed to follow those same footsteps many years ago, my baby Bella, whom we rescued from a horrible death as a 10 week old. She was one of 5 here in my family and as she grew older wanted to be mom”s only child. This was not an option and i tried all avenues available, but in the end what was best for everyone was a terrible heartbreak, even to this day my soul cries. Stay strong and keep up the good work, there are so many more out there that need you. Wanda

  34. I support you 100% on your decision because I too have a loving dog that has similar issues but not as extreme as yours and I toil over the decision to euthanize him all the time. The unselfish decision to euthanize before my dog hurts another dog goes thru my head all the time. I am very vigilant of how I take care of him and I believe I am doing a good job but something may happen one day and I will have to make the same decision you had to. You did the right thing, the people out there that have never been in your situation have no right to judge you! Thank you for doing the right thing, you are a responsible pet owner and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  35. Not all dogs can be trained and saved. I know that first hand.
    These people condemning you are ignorant.
    You gave him a great life and risked great civil and criminal liability.
    Ignore the negative, and greet the positive.

  36. Your article is beautiful and so sadly familiar to us who have had to face making tough choices to end a pet’s life when quality of life is at stake. II feel so very sad for the difficult choice you had to make out of love for Sutter and his happiness. . You did all you could for him and gave him a fantastic life m and it’s sad dog lovers don’t see how tragic and difficult this choice was for someone who invested the kind of time with a dog as you did each day.. . As a child, I had a very tiny beloved dog who had been abused by a man and was as a result very aggressive to many men or to anyone who touched me. He bit many people, but luckily, we were spared lawsuits and catastrophe because of his size and the times. The love you had for this dog is so deep and obvious. Please take comfort in the knowledge that you were his mother, protector, and best friend through all, even at the end..

  37. I have owned bulldogs since 1989. Bulldogs are the sweetest dogs. I have had to euthanize a few for health reasons after exhausting all avenues to save them. All our dogs lived happy lives. All varied in their activity level from couch potato to inexhaustible. All were crate trained. We rescued two very sickly cousins. Roxy was not pretty – bad teeth, crooked leg, mange, alopecia, cushings, cherry eye, and
    An agressive nature to other dogs. She fought. For attention. Bear was similar – no crooked leg, bad teeth, or cushings. His aggression was more a defensive tactic,
    A better diet and medication corrected many problems. Love and affection took care of other issues. Aggression seemed to be more of an individual issue. We had 3 other dogs at the time. We did isolate their outdoor time at first. Roxy adapted as long as she had her own stuffed toys. Bear was still defensive until one day our dog, Snowball, dominated him. Bear went for her throat. She simply knocked him on his back and stood on him. He wiggled under her like a beetle
    He let go of her neck. He barked and growled. She was quietlay watching him. I pulled her off. He attacked again. She once again swatted him, flipped him on his back. I scolded him this time until he quieted. He never challenged another dog.
    He was the finest specimen of a bulldog we owned but Bear could not handle the stress of a show ring. Snowball was the queen of the ring but never became a champ. You see she weighed no less than 60 lbs. she was a big girl – great for breeding but breed specs say females should weigh 40 lbs. Bear was a muscular
    50 lbs, My mother loved him, and she did not like dogs. We were lucky to live in a small town on a property surrounded by woods on a lake. We were able to offer our dogs every chance. I lived in SF so I know your challenges specially with such
    An active dog, I believe adoption centers need to do a better job fitting the dog to the owner. Checking the dog DNA should be a part of the process. You would have had been better informed. I am curious as to what the victims of the attacks had in common. Angel, Bears daughter, was aggressive toward people with glasses. Anyway, I feel your pain. Before Bear, our bullies lived until 8-9 yrs. old.
    Bear and Roxy lived 12 yrs. Roxy continued to have health challenges. We called her Rocky because she kept coming back for more. Bear never had any other problems. He never played with other dogs but he never wanted for love. We called our kennel Huggen Dawgz because they all loved hugs. We have one dog left, Dino, Bears son. Dino was trained by our dog Munchie. He is the best dog. I hope you choose to share your love with another dog. It’s the best cure for grief.
    A friend gave us Munchie when we were grieving over the loss of some pups.

  38. Dear Melanie and any others who are going through this,

    I have a dog like this. Do NOT put it down, find a home for it in the country if you truly want it to be happy. Our old dog has had a long, wonderful life, and she keeps on fighting. The vet said she would be dead in six months… 4 years ago. She has plenty of space in the fence to chase rabbits, mice, etc., bark at the neighbors through the fence, LOVES to kill possums and other little creatures, and LOVES to go for walks off leash. When around others, she is on a short leash, and I don’t let people around her.

    She LOVES her life, and we don’t have to worry. Find a country home for dogs like that. Best for you, the dog, and the new family.

    1. I live in the country…why would i want a dog like that??
      I had a crazy goat i had to put down…i loved her but she was big and strong and unpredictable. I still feel terrible about it.Out here in the country people are much more realistic about animals..they serve a purpose, or at the very least are not a problem.
      You did the right thing. Sorry for your loss.

  39. I am so sorry for your loss. You gave Sutter a wonderful life and he was lucky to have you. I recognize so many things in your story similar to mine. I have a wonderful herding dog who is loving and great with the family but has tried to bite people and has bitten other dogs. I have taken her to trainers also. I may have to face the same decision you did. It’s heartbreaking for sure.

  40. Bless your heart, I’ve walked in your shoes. Reading the responses to your story, I see an outpouring of support and comfort for you and I can’t add any more good things that have not already been said. You’ll see him again when you cross the Bridge yourself as will I with my dogs that I have cared for. When you can, adopt or foster again to continue the love!

  41. Sorry to read of your pain.
    Sometimes life simply isn’t fair, but you presented your dog with the benefit of experiencing a fuller life than was originally playing out.
    Naturally, as rational beings, humans live by different rule sets imposed by centuries of learned morality and ethics.
    Sadly, they don’t all transfer to our pets and loving them within our own rule sets brings intense grief when we have to treat them differently than ourselves.

    Melanie, your story reads like an animal lover that had to face a terrible decision based upon your responsibility to the safety of others.
    May you find another puppy to fill that hole in your heart and never let this experience haunt you further.
    You did what had to be done.

  42. In 1998 I had to euthanize my 8 year old English Springer Spaniel. He had developed ” rage syndrome”
    His outbursts were unpredictable and very frightening to me and to my then 7 year old son. I could not predict when/if he would lunge or bite. I could not put the safety of my son or any of his friends at risk. Paddy was normally a very sweet playful dog. He loved to give kisses. He would stand on his hind legs and put his paws on your chest and lick your face. Until one day….he didn’t. He growled and lunged at my face. After a consult with his vet to make sure that there wasn’t something wrong that could be treated, he was diagnosed with rage syndrome, which is likely a form of epilepsy. The vet determined that we could try medication, but the only way to know if the dose was right, was if it didn’t happen again. So the only way we would know if the dose was wrong was when he bit someone. I couldn’t play Russian Roulette with my child, myself or any person’s life that may have entered our house. I made the decision then and there to put him to sleep. He laid in my lap as he got sleepy from the first medication and then quietly went into that dark night……

  43. Ignore all of the super critical, all knowing so-and-sos. You know that if there was ANY way to have a different outcome, there would have been one. You did all you could and saving Sutter from himself was compassionate and kind. Be well.

  44. I think she did all she could and in the end did what was best for the dog. Can you imagine how uncomfortable the dog must have felt being so leery of everyone and everything whenever it was outside the comfort of it’s home? Dogs, like people, cannot all be rehabilitated, and some are just not right when they are born. If people can be born mentally challenged, then why not dogs? Obviously, we don’t put people down, but we have medications to help. This lady stated they had tried medications and nothing worked. A dog behaviorist can do nothing if something in the dog’s brain isn’t right. She obviously loved her dog very much, so don’t tell her she could have done more. I had a dog once that had been born blue and they revived him. He was aggressive on top of a lot of other behavior problems and had to be put down after many failed attempts at meds and behavior training. He just wasn’t meant to be in this world and I know he is now much happier and at peace. I do suffer some guilt from it, but I never once have thought he shouldn’t have been put down. Sometimes it’s just the humane thing to do.

  45. If people can have psychological defects, why can’t dogs? She did everything she could and tried for years to reform this dog and give it a chance. Never criticize someone until you’ve been in their shoes for awhile.

  46. I know your fear. I have a small dog who in the last few years has come to hate bikes, skateboards, And kids. I have warned all the kids and their parents to stay away. If I can get the child to just stay put she is fine. But you know children and some adults. Run up or come up to her fast and my heart stops. She will bite them. She has nipped family members and for no reason. I can do anything to this love of ,mine and she does nothing. But I live in an apartment complex where there are kids on bikes, skateboards and they are running and just playing. My fear is she will bite someone and I feel as if she is writing her own death warrant. I do not know why she has changed so much. They tell me she is protecting me. That since I had to leave her with friends due to life, that this is why. But she started this before that. She is a love and wants love from most of us. I hold my breath and walk her where I see no one. But kids on bikes or playing come out of no where and she will 99% of the time hit the end of her leash. I walk her where I can see all around me and am so glad to get back inside. I tell everyone around me stay away. I walk my girl on a short leash most of the time.
    But kids and some adults come close as possible as if testing her. Little ones run up and I grab her up and hold her. And tell the parents ” she will bite” I am not sure if she will or not. I think you did what was right for your fur friend. I am praying my baby changes back, which at times I think she is. But that fear is always there. God knows how hard you tried and he knows why you did it. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty. When they have walked in your shoes then they can say how they feel. You let your dog go with love and if the dog catcher takes them there are times death comes to that dog or any of the dogs in shelters with no love and they are not gentle or loving. And the dog is throw in a pile. They die with fear and pain. Thank you for doing it with love.

  47. Dont be so hard on yourself. You gave Sutter a great life. He was lucky to have had the family he had for the time you were able to care for him. It would have been so much worse if you had to have him put down because something beyond your control had happened and heaven forbid he did hurt a small child or an elderly person. Sometimes the quality of life speaks far more volumn than the amount of time we are given. Sutter was loved and had a family, so many animals are abused or left out in the heat or cold. I know you loved him. There is no question about that. You tried EVERYTHING in your power to keep him. Forgive yourself I know Sutter did because you only had his best interest at heart…….I am an animal lover, but I too know no matter how much we love animals and how good our intentions we do not have the ability to save them all..

  48. I am so sorry to read this post and I can 110% understand.
    I went through the same exact thing with a former partner of mine.
    We adopted what we thought was a cocker spaniel mix puppy about 5 weeks old from the shelter. Benny was with his litter mates and so cute.
    I had to have him so we adopted him. He was a great puppy and dog. I should have known something was wrong at 6 months old when he nipped my finger. After my partner and I separated, Benny lived a more quiet life with him with less social interaction. I remember going to let him out one day at lunch. I was giving him a treat and he lunged at me and backed me into a corner. I kept yelling his name until he retreated back into his kennel. I was honestly afraid. He bit my finger another time for no reason. I was merely petting his head.
    I heard of several instances where Benny would nip or bite others. It was not really bad but kept increasing in frequency. He bit one of my other dogs when he got too close to his bowl. We tried all the training and everything else you described and nothing worked. He just kept getting worse and more suddenly violent for no reason. It was the most heartbreaking thing I have seen.
    He was about 6 years old when almost exactly as you describe, just walking down the street, he lunged at an old man and grabbed his jacket for no reason.
    That was the final straw. My ex partner called me to say he was putting him down that afternoon and if I wanted to say good bye I better hurry.
    We all rode to the vet with Benny’s head out the window. He loved the car rides.
    Benny was euthanized humanely with people that loved him.
    Passing him off to anyone else would have been the cruelest thing anyone can do. What if someone else did not have the compassion we had for him. Would they have abused or tortured him like you read about many other dogs today?
    I read in the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain” that one of the greatest gifts we can give our animals is gift of letting them go when it is time. Some might argue how do you know when it is time. After euthanizing two terminally ill dogs, you learn when it is time. You can look into their eyes and they will tell you.
    Rest assured, you did the right thing for Sutter and for yourself. Remember the great times you had and try to forget the bad. I have two healthy, wonderful dogs now but I never forget my dogs I lost and that includes Benny. We all have a dark side. Benny’s dark side got the better of him and we saved him from himself. You are a good person and anyone else telling you any different has not walked in your shoes. We have.
    God Bless you.

  49. I am so sad you had to make such a difficult decision. It was the right decision though, for you and for Sutter. You did EVERYTHING you could to make it work with Sutter. You did the right thing, but I know it hurts so badly and you have a hole in your heart now. You miss your buddy. I am so sad for you.

  50. I think what you did was incredibly brave and the most loving of all possible alternatives. Sutter no longer feels aggression or fear. He’s happily running the fields over the rainbow bridge. Remembering you with love in his heart. Don’t let the arrogant condescending jerks ruin your memories of your beloved pet. Hugs.

  51. There is hardly ever the “right thing” to do, usually its only the “wrong thing” . . . after something bad happens. Living with and loving animals, especially dogs, is a committment for life, usually the life of the animal. All life on earth is important and here a very very tough decision was made. Melanie will always live her life remembering her love for Sutter, and this is as life should be. No second guesses in life — just live, love, and learn. Bless your heart Melanie and rest in peace ole Sutter.

  52. You did exactly what I would have done in your situation. The liability exposure was huge. Sutter is in a much better place. He will be waiting for you to cross over so you will be together always one day. Don’t let ANYONE tell you you didn’t do the right thing. Those people have never known the joys of owning a pet. They are the people I truly feel sorry for.

    Our beloved 6 year old Golden Retriever has lymphoma and the chemo didn’t work. Three weeks ago, I asked the vet giving him the treatments if, after putting him through all of it, would he be here at Christmas, she said no. Unfortunately, he’s one of those dogs who didn’t respond to the treatment. It’s just a matter of when his quality of life gets to the point where we will have to do the humane thing and help him cross the Rainbow Bridge. He will let me know. Then I will place the box with his ashes on the mantle along with our other three Goldens and our cat. Until then, he will be even more spoiled than he was before.

  53. I am SO sorry! What a tough choice to make! It certainly seems that you did every thing that you could. Bless your heart! Don’t let the bastards get you down!

  54. Sometimes there just is no other choice. They did the very best they could. I appreciate that they had the courage to share their heartbreaking story, knowing the backlash they might expect.

  55. No one should judge unless they gone through it. It is scary. My dog is very protective of me. He snaps at my neighbor all the time even if he’s at the fence just talking over the fence. I’m so lucky that my neighbor is understanding and honestly loves that the dog is so protective. But there have been times when I walk him and I get afraid of what he might take as a threat. My dog is not like how his dog was but it’s unfortunate.

  56. God bless you, Indrani. You made a very wise, fully considerate decision. Anyone who said otherwise will, in time, pay for their salt-in-a-wound remarks

  57. Think your dog will wait at the rainbow bridge because you did give a good life and be happy when you are reunited again … tough choice to make

  58. Other words ,when somebody in my family,has bad manners,bad behavior,mad face,fart all the time,insult me every day,I need to put him or her down(humans are the worst animal on this fucking world)

  59. You have my sympathy and understanding. For those who faulted you for “killing a healthy dog”; I am sorry, but he was not healthy. Something was happening in his head that only he understood. And maybe even he did not understand, RIP boy.

  60. You are very brave in making the decision that you did. It was made from
    Love. It is so sad that it was a choice you had to
    make but it took courage.

  61. Unless one of your critics has lived with an unpredictably aggressive dog, their opinions are merit less. I suspect not a single one of them would have offered your dog a home. The decision you made is an incredibly painful one but it was also the responsible one.

  62. thank you for sharing your story. It was heartbreaking to read. I can’t even imagine what you have gone through. Our culture in the U.S. Is strong in our support and need to protect animals. But in some cases, are we really protecting them? Sutter sounds like an amazing dog that stole your heart. There will never be a right answer, just several very difficult ones. Good luck. I hope you find peace and can focus on the blessings Sutter brought to your life.

  63. So sorry for your loss Indrani. We had a similar problem with one of our rescues. Had him since he was 3 months old (Shar-pei/Mastiff mix, 80 lbs of pure muscle when full grown). Socialized him at the dog park weekly, lived with other dogs, very affectionate with people. And even though he was neutered and nothing traumatic happened to him, when he turned 8 months old, some switch tripped in him and he became very dog aggressive. We also tried various solutions…training, all sorts of different leashes, muzzles, and yes, walking him in the dark. We were hyper vigilant with him, always watching, always careful. When he was 7, he accidentally got out one day and attacked our neighbors sweet, submissive golden retriever while she was being walked by her 12 year old daughter. Traumatic and horrific. Thank goodness my husband was able to grab him and get him off the other dog in time. Although the other dog was bitten, she was treated and healed.

    We felt as if we were living with a loaded gun in the house and also made the same decision you did. We felt that trying to ‘re home’ him was fraught with dangers. What if someday he fell into the wrong hands and was used for nefarious purposes because of his dog aggression? What if he hurt, or worse, killed another dog because his next owners weren’t as hyper vigilant as we were? It was a heartbreaking, gut wrenching decision but we also chose to save him from himself. The night we came home from sending him to the Rainbow Bridge we saw that we had been living with our shoulders up by our ears for almost 7 years. We loved him so much that we didn’t realize that’s how we had been living until we weren’t. RIP Rocko.

  64. I think you did the right thing, the hardest decision to make but the best decision for the pup. He will be waiting at the rainbow bridge for you.

  65. What an excruciatingly difficult decision to make! It takes a special brand of courage to make such a decision…. I can’t even imagine the pain.

  66. I totally understand – our first rescue dog had clearly been loved when his owner tied him to a parking sign in our neighborhood at 5-6 months old (he was 33 lbs and teething) – it is almost 8 years later and our Goofy is the gentlest, sweetest 72lb bull terrier that has ever existed – his little sister, Daisy, however, was clearly abused when we found her living in the woods. She is safe and loved here with us, but her scars are deep and she continues to growl and snap when she gets nervous – we love her every day, as much as we possibly can, and we are cognizant of the fact that we must keep her from hurting other people, even if she really doesn’t mean to. It is a delicate dance and one that we take very seriously. My heart goes out to the author of this article – I cannot imagine making this decision, but I know it is sometimes necessary and I know it was agonizing.

  67. They did the right thing. As a friend to people who are professionals and have had to make the call, they did the correct thing. It is a hard decision. Dont judge EVER.

  68. Feel for Indrani and for Sutter, too. Sad that anyone would have to make such a terrible choice, but it’s the only choice a truly loving & responsible owner who had truly explored all other options could possibly make. Run free, Sutter, and Indrani will will join you at the Bridge one day.

  69. very hard position….she did the best she could….he was loved for 8 years….more than some poor dogs….and how happy was he stressed all the time….so easy to be a condescending jerk…..stfu until ur in that position

  70. This is why my brother and his wife put down their beloved Staff Terrier. She loved people, and they worked and worked to socialise her, but one day, she started ‘hunting’ their older dog, and she didn’t stop until one day, she punctured the older dogs jugular.
    They were able to save the older dog, but they made the decision to put down the Staffy, as the other dog was their baby that they had raised since she was new born, and there was also the safety of their 10 month old they had to consider.
    I have friends who post about how it’s the human, not the dogs that are the issue. They are wrong. It’s not always the humans at fault. Sometimes it’s genetics.

    1. I had to take the same decision with my Mom’s Staff Terrier too, after she tried to attack out of the blue my neighbor which she had known and loved all her life. The Vet came home and she passed in my arms, after a good meal with all his favorite foods. I have never regretted this decision because I know in my heart it was the right one. I had to protect the dog and his possible future victims. I am sure he suffered from some kind of disease which changed his behaviour but we couldn’t find out what it was. We observed him changing from a safe, happy, totally predictable dog into an unstable being with weird behaviours. True Love towards all beings sometimes takes tough decisions….

  71. I had a dog like that. I took the precautions I needed to, to make sure she didn’t injure anyone. Why was he off a leash to knock down and bite an elderly woman to begin with? She knew his personality at that point. You wouldn’t take him to the dog park or let him loose at all! Im sorry for my judgement but I really hope she never gets another dog. She does not deserve to have another one. If she had a kid that was out of control, she wouldn’t take that child to be put down.

  72. I am so so sorry for your loss..my tears are still flowing as I write this..just remember Sutter knew you loved him, and now he is in a place where no one bites, just love.

  73. Thank you for sharing your story. I have a white German Shepard who is extremely aggressive to other dogs. She has been in several dog fights and attacked 2 dogs outright. I am plagued with stress before walks. We walk at 4:30 am, and 10 at night. She is wonderful with people, if she wasn’t I too would most likely be having the exact dialogue you had. So thank you for sharing, it was so comforting to see someone else who understands what it’s like to try to form a life around a dog with this type of special needs. As I sit here crying, I had no idea how alone I felt in this. I’m sorry for your loss and the difficult decision you made. I hope you find peace.

    1. I absolutely know what you must have been going through. Earlier today my pitbull Black lab mix got in a unprovoked aggressive fight that my dog started. My dogs name is Jake. He was a rescue and he was 1 year old when we got him. Right now he is 3. When we first got him from a shelter, we had no idea where he was, what happened to him, and so on… But when we first met him he had bite marks on his ears, his tail was hurt, and he was really under weight so I’m guessing he was abused or used for dog fighting competitions. So anyway when we first got him we had no idea he was dog aggressive. But he got in his first fight with a smaller dog (and it lived, thank God)the first 2 weeks we had him and that should have been the time we gave him back to the shelter but we continued to work with him and try to train him. He did really well for about a half of a year, but he got into another dog fight with a border collie. The border collie made some kind of noise that I guess Jake found kind of mean in some way so Jake broke free from my moms grip on his leash and attacked the dog. The border collie and Jake started to fight each other and the women that was walking the border collie got in the middle and she got horribly injured, so injured that she could have died, but she didn’t! But there is no way of telling who bit her. Anyway Jake lost that fight. The border collie got a grip on jakes ear for about 5 minutes and wouldn’t let go. After a little while he let go of Jake and Jake was very badly injured and we had to rush him to the animal hospital. And then Jake did just fine with seeing other dogs for about a year and a half, occasionally he would cry and bark and maybe even sometimes growl at other dogs but for the most part he was just fine. Today we had him tied to a very thick leash in the front year at our camp sight. He was wearing a harness that we connected the leash to and when my siblings and I were playing bags and my mom was inside the trailer grabbing something for about 15 seconds, a small dog and it’s owner were walking by and somehow Jake escaped his leash and attacked it. My siblings and I were really shaken up and very heartbroken. Everyone around tried doing all they could but Jake hurt that dog so bad that it died. The dog was 14 years old it was healthy and energetic and very sweet. The dogs owners which were grandparents, mom, dad, and kids were very shocked and sad. The police came by and talked to my mom about the fight, they said that because it was his third fight that it is recommended that we put him to sleep because nobody else deserved to go through that, but since in the 2nd fight Jake was the one who got hurt they said it was up to us. My parents came to the conclusion that it is the smart and responsible thing to do just to put him to sleep so nobody has to go through the same thing that those poor people went through today. My parents set up an appointment for my dog to be put down tomorrow at 4ish in the afternoon. We are all very sad about it but I would hate to see another dog and another family to get hurt just because we couldn’t give Jake up. I know it will be one of the hardest things ever but we can’t risk it.

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