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.


447 thoughts on “I Put My Dog Down Today

  1. Sometimes you have to do what’s right for the dog…no matter what anyone else thinks…this shows her strength and responsibility to her dog, not weakness.

  2. People can be so cruel. My 6 week old granddaughter, Zaylie
    Maighe, passed away unexpectedly. While the ambulance, sheriffs, and state police investigators were at our home for hours not giving us even a moment to comprehend and grieve, within minutes of the 911 call people in our community were posting the meanest untrue statements. I love love love dogs. You did the right thing. If Sutter had bitten and killed a child you would never forgive yourself and with his history you could potentially have gone to jail. God bless you for making the tough decision.

  3. I respect you for fostering and I respect your decision to put Sutter down. In my opinion, you went above and beyond. I hope none of the holier than thou people who are criticizing your choice are ever in this position!

  4. You were a very brave and strong person, our one Greyhound had aggression to large men, dog breeds that had shown aggressive behaviour to him in the past. We found out he had a brain tumour. We miss him everyday.

  5. It’s a tough day when the love you have for an animal is put to its altimeter test and that is doing the right thing. I have struggled with this in the past and have aleays realized that the animals quality of life surpasses any feelings I may have. My heart goes out to you in such a heart wrenching decision.

  6. I can understand the feelings involved here. Unfortunately, the dog was not capable of getting along. There are people out there who are similarly disposed. At some point in time you have to do what is best for the dog, person, and yourself. I HATE euthanization, but have had several of my dogs put down because of physical problems. Spenser suffered bloat at 13, and the operation and recovery would have made his last years miserable. several of our Yorkies suffered kidney failure and had to be put down to end their suffering. It is a tool that should be used sparingly but has purpose!!!

  7. I recently had to let my sweet companion “go”. She was only 14 with a fast growing sarcoma which was not life-threatening. But after a horrible seizure she was no longer able to stand or walk. I’d promised when I brought her home as a puppy that I’d always take care of her. So I did. Everyone had told me “you’ll know” when it’s time and I did. I did for her what I hope my family will do for me.

  8. Adopted a bull dog a few years ago from a Humane Society Shelter in K.C. Wonderful, loving, sweet, glued to our sides for 24 hours! Then the drugs the shelter gave him wore off. He was blind, deaf and riddled with arthritis to the point he had to be carried out to pee. The shelter did not want to be responsible for putting him to sleep so they passed him off as a healthy dog to make him someone else’s problem. We made the next 24 hours of his life the best he had ever known and then put him to sleep to stop his pain. Other rescued dogs got 14-15 great years with us, him, just 2 days, but we improved ALL there lives. As the author said, “To know that one life has breathed easier because of you, is to know you have succeeded”.

  9. You had a tough decision to make and some people will agree and some will disagree. It doesn’t matter what they think. What matters is that you did what you thought was right for the safety of others. He was unpredictable and thus a danger. At least he got to go peacefully in your arms instead of at the cold hands of animal control or worse the police. May Sutter rest in peace and may your grief lessen quickly.

  10. May your baby rest in peace but sometimes it’s just a matter of doing the right thing in your case it was as painful as it was the right thing to do.no matter what anyone else says or thinks. Just know you loved him and he loved you.

  11. You were that dog’s guardian and best friend. You made the difficult decision, which was excruciating, but it was made from the place of love and respect. I wish all humans had that much love and respect for animals and for each other. You are stronger now and you will heal. Thank you for taking the difficult road and saving your dog and others. Peace to you

  12. i got a teary-eyed when i read your story and i understand your sadness. i got one dog same as yours or maybe far beyond the dog you had. my Jamir (my dog’s name) protection from other people was muzzle, leash and ME.

  13. I understand that you did all that you knew to do, and wrestled long and hard with this decision. There were too many comments to read through, so forgive me if I am repeating this information. There is a place in Kanab, UT called Best Friends Animal sanctuary that will take in animals that have such issues. They fought in court and won the right to keep Michael Vick’s fighting dogs alive. Their motto is “Save them all.” They have supporters all over (including myself). I went and visited the sanctuary back in April and it is absolutely incredible. The dedication of these people is astounding. Please keep them in mind for yourself or anyone else who are in this situation in the future. I would also suggest looking them up and considering becoming a supporting member to help them continue to do the amazing and life saving work they do. You gave your dog everything you could and gave him some amazing times. Be at peace knowing you did what you could and gave love with all do your heart.

  14. It’s very sad but if my dogs ever attacked that many people…well it wouldn’t get to that stage because I wouldn’t of let it go on that long my dog attacks someone unprovoked without a medical issue its a dangerous animal and should be put to sleep as sad and heartbreaking as it is I’d rather that than the death of a child on my hands.

  15. There are some humans who have done worse than Sutter and are still around … Tough call – sorry you had to make that decision and glad I was not in your shoes – I think you did the best you could in the given circumstances – only you are walking in your shoes . God bless

  16. So sorry for your loss. You put your dog’s welfare above your own emotions and that is a very brave thing to do. It was just a
    matter of time before an incident occurred in which he would have been taken away and euthanized by animal control. Every pet owner’s worst nightmare. At least you were able to give him a great last day and do it on your own terms. He left feeling loved! Peace to you.

  17. Rip pup, hopefully he finds a new home. I feel for this woman, and hope to never go through what she’s gone through. I commend her for writing about it though and as a person that worked at vet’s and animal rescues….I agree with what her decision, as painful as that had to be for her. She doesn’t deserve the negativity, she deserves our support to help her get through this rough patch.

  18. Wow. Incredible story. I appreciate their courage to share it. It’s easy to judge others. And it’s hard to put every incident in one article. So I’m sure this person had many many more “close calls” . In the end, t’s apparent Sutter was loved.

  19. I have been through a very similar experience….broke my heart. To those who criticize, I hope you are never in this situation but you can’t know what it’s like until you have.

  20. What a honest loving thing to do…can’t imagine the grief…I love animals..in fact get along better with animals than people..they never let you down, disappoint, or judge..never lie or let go of a secret..so my dearest you did something that took so much courage and I applaud you for that…

  21. I am so sorry for your loss. I am sending thoughts of comfort. You gave so tirelessly of your time, resources, and love. I wish that all dogs had an opportunity for a loved one that commits to them as you did to Sutter. I wish you peace.

  22. I understand your pain and your loss. We love our pets, become part of our family and forever in our hearts. It was a tragic situation and a difficult one, but in the end I feel you did the right thing. So sad… You are in my thoughts and prayers!

  23. That dog sounds like it should of been a working dog there was a dog just like that on an episode of Ceasar Millan it was some kind of cross could be agressive went on tredmill or walks plus played with toys for like 2 hours a day could never relax. And it is now a working dog sniffing out mobile phones x

  24. I would have put him down much much earlier, an untrustworthy biter is VERY VERY scary when he has to be out in public. When it is a mixed breed, you have NO clue as to what the temperaments were of the parents. Genetics is VERY hard to overcome, even with the best efforts.

  25. We have a story just like yours with the exception
    of a big yard and 24/7 care. Iris still managed to kill everything that wandered into the yard. Birds, stray cats, raccoons, etc. When one has an aggressive dog that is a danger, there is really no alternative. Especially when you consider quality of life for animal or human.

  26. That is always a worry with PitBulls .. they might be big goofy sweethearts but if they ever turn for whatever reason, who is big enough and strong enough to deal with it and not lose a child or be terribly wounded by the dog attacking.

  27. I am another one that totally understands since I too, had my Rowe find his peace. Without giving details here (shared your post and my story of Rowe) my heart goes out to you and Sutter. RIP Sutter – You, Rowe and others like you are at peace now.

  28. You did everything you knew how to do. Early trauma and separation from parents has a huge impact for most living creatures and sometimes the damage is insurmountable.

  29. this person listed all the people that the dog bit, if every one of them had reported this dog then the results would have been very different, if a dog bites you, nips you, chases you, then report it, it will help the owners who are trying to make difficult decisions about their dog out in society

  30. Feeling your pain! We too were finally forced to do that. It hurts that with so many dogs in the family that all get along just great or with minor correction, this one was constantly causing pain, anxiety….and vet bills. Hate that it was necessary!

  31. What a beautiful sad story and until you are in that position, you shouldnt say a word. People who live in glass houses SHOULDNT throw stones……

  32. A very sad story indeed. I known people that had to euthanize their dogs for the same reasons as Sutter was and it wasn’t easy for them or for us who took care of them when they boarded in our facility. They tried everything they could but in the end they had to do the best and most responsible (and human) thing for their dogs. I hope all the people wishing ill and calling Sutter’s owner nasty names never have to face the same situation.

  33. This is so sad! This person obviously loved her dog! Things happen that are beyond our control and management. She did the right thing. Better for her dog to leave this world loved and cared for than in a shelter totally terrified. I am very sorry for her loss! I would have done the same thing.

  34. I’m glad this person shared her story Im sure it wasn’t easy no one likes to play god but who r we to judge my feelings go both ways but she had to find peace in her own heart I’m sure it wasnt an easy thing to do so rip little buddy until u meet again

  35. Walk a mile in my shoes… Remember that song … Okay then sing it and leave those negative comments were they belong … IN THE TRASH!!

  36. This story had me in tears halfway through. I can’t imagine the agony this poor woman went through. To have to put down a healthy animal because of behavior issue’s, so heartbreaking, I feel terrible for the difficult choice she made.

  37. U were a rock 4 Sutter…no one really knos why things happen ..good or bad..but I did everything imaginable 4 Sutter. I kno it hurts badly..just kno in time it will hurt less & less. U’ll never ever forget him..& he waiting 4 u on the other side where there’s no time.. so he’s waiting patiently 4 u 2 come walk with him again. He holds no grudges against u..just a happy wagging tail.
    Remember him & all the pets ice had in ur life with a smile..bcoz I kno & they knew they all had the best of ecerything u could imagine..especially ❤!

  38. Man I feel for you. I have a dog that was incredible for the first 5 yrs but after being attacked 3 times and kicked in the head he became the attacker (can’t say I blame him). Of course I am lucky in the sense he is only aggressive towards animals. I went through all the emotions you talked about. It is so hard. I still have him. He is 10 yrs old now and I will keep him till his dying day but there were days I was close to making a different call. It also has dramatic impact on your life and life style. You can’t take him anywhere so you can never go away. People letting there dogs run off leash because “there dogs are fine” putting you, your dog and their dog at risk. It is insane. I am glad I get to keep my boy and I am so sorry it had to go that way for you. I think once people start getting attacked you have so few options if it can’t be corrected. Thanks for sharing your story.

  39. This is a terrible, traumatic decision to make, regardless of the circumstances. This woman and dog loved each other and, as someone said, perhaps the dog was “wired wrong” the same as some people. She had done her very best and made the inevitable decision to avoid anyone else getting hurt. I almost laughed about the person who suggested she spend 100 per cent of her time with the dog. That is not real life! I cried through the whole story but I know she did the right thing.

  40. I feel for you. People can be insensitive, cruel, and even downright ridiculous ( just buy a bigger house with a big yard ) from the safety and annomynity of their keyboards. We are in a similar situation. We rescued a dog at six months of age. We should have been more suspicious when we realized that we were his third owners already at that tender age. We knew right away that he was not the sharpest tack in the box, but his problems seem to run deeper than that. A slow learner, we attributed it to possible in-breeding. He is now two, and is growing increasingly aggressive toward people who come around, particularly near and into our house. Even people who come regularly. He will now even growl and bark when after an absence of just a few minutes, my husband will walk into the room or upstairs from just having been downstairs. He will be laying down resting, and just growl for no apparent reason. He is a small dog, a toy poodle, so the problem is easily remedied by just picking him up when he exhibits this behavior toward others, but I am concerned for him as this is a relatively new behavior which seems to be getting worse. He has always had anxiety problems from the beginning, and is on medication, which may or may not be helping. I am concerned that his behavior may escalate to biting.

  41. you did the right thing. in spite if how he acted with you, sutter wasn’t happy with his anxiety. he’s at peace now. he died knowing how much he was loved. many dogs don’t have that.

  42. Thinking of you, which surely must be a very hard time. I cannot understand people’s cruelty, you did not give up lightly, looks like you tried everything possible. I’m sure Sutter would know that, you tried to give your best. Bust sadly, sometimes this is not enough. By being brutally honest and compassionate to all, you surely avoided greater disasters. Respect for that’d

  43. Don’t blame yourself and don’t let the awful things people say hurt you. I was faced with the same diffucult decision with a very aggressive American bulldog. He attacked one of my English bulldogs and she required surgery. She was very protective of me but when I tried to correct her once she growled at me. I knew if I gave her away she’d be abused or hurt another dog or human. I too made that difficult decision to save her. I never put the effort and countless things you tried. She was, at the time my husband’s decision to get her to protect our English bulldogs as we’d had some stolen. I was not familiar with the breed. I too made the diffucult decision to put her down. She was just a little over a year old. I live with the guilt still to this day and that was over 16 years ago. But despite how much I loved her I knew it was what I had to do. I live with the guilt of not trying hard enough. I have now rescued a very psychotic pug who continues to have issues even after trying everything but I’m her 5th home and will continue to do what I have to this time. The thundershirt, meds, etc have not worked for her either. I’ve had her almost 4 years now. I also have a very neurotic Dane (also the now ex’s dog) and two other dogs with their own issues. So I’ve been in your shoes and continue to do so. You did the right thing and perhaps you too will continue to beat yourself up as I continue to but I’m trying to forgive myself for doing the right thing. Bless you for doing the best you could. Wish I’d tried harder. I do know the pain.

  44. Such a heartbreaking story. A very hard decision to make but I honestly can’t criticize it…better to have put him down humanely, surrounded by love rather than risk him being shot by the police or euthanized in a cold impersonal shelter. Sooner or later he would have seriously hurt someone, and then the owner would have been criticized for not having done something about it sooner. A no win situation whichever way you look at it.

  45. After my female golden retriever gave birth my male golden retriever Bud became very overprotective. Which is a natural thing to do when it comes to you kids (in this case pups). We kept two pups (both fixed) one male and one female. The male we kept was born with three legs and I wanted to a dog for my own. Almost 3 years the older male Bud started to attack the three legged dog and my female dog but never mama! She would just snarl at him and he would know ok I’m backing off! We thought we could handle it and thought it was still a phase, and it will pass. If they fought (which wasn’t bad, but scary) we would separate them and they would calm down (yes like children lol) till he became blind and hard of hearing almost 3 years ago. He started to attack us, my mother’s leg was bitten so bad she lost a lot of blood. My sister was attacked all over her arms and hands, my father has scars from Bud biting him all over and I have one scar from him biting my hip. We decided to put him down, because of that very reason. Now, he was a very sweet dog, never complained, always ate his food, was very fit never a major problem until this. I feel your pain and want you to know it was the right thing for you to do. May your dog RIP and run free in Dog Heaven 🙂

  46. so very sorry for your loss, I know this had to be the hardest thing in life that you had to do, You did the right thing, your dog left with love in his heart and not with strangers,it is far better than animal control doing this, with a stranger who really didn’t care about him

  47. I have empathy, I have husky bitch that is dog aggressive and stranger aggressive and generally a ‘asshole’ but she is MY asshole and I shall forever till her last breath fit my life around her and take every precaution and prevention to keep her safe and exercised and stimulated and more importantly to keep others around her safe. I could say how selfish she is to make her life easier and she’s a murderer for putting her dog down, maybe I’m the selfish one for not doing that myself as I couldn’t think of not having my miserable ‘cowbag’, brave woman to put herself out their for critics to blast her. Maybe me sob this post, run free Sutter!

  48. I’m so sorry for you loss. You loved him very much as I love my dogs. I believe you did what you needed to do. I had to put my 5 yr old basset down when she got diagnosed with cancer. She was still vibrant and young and playful, but we knew we couldn’t afford to do anything more for her. It was very painful to let her go when she appeared so healthy. I grieved terribly at that decision and for her loss. My prayers are with you.

  49. im sorry to hear about putting ur dog down….ur story and my story is almost the exact same….saved my dog,raised her…..she loved my spouse and i alot but no one else….tried dog resues,trainers and all the above…..in the end all we could do is put her to sleep…..worst thing i had to do ever in my life…..i had to hold her down cause she lungged at the vet person several times after the sleep meds….i just wanted to die and still do thinking bout it and my brain goes over and over all the stuff i would of changed and etc…but long story short our stories are alot alike and i feel ur pain everyday until the day i die

    1. I am sorry for your loss. I also replay in my mind the “what ifs” over and over again. I still come to the same conclusion. It still does not take away the regret, guilt…as my dog trusted me. I will see him in heaven.

  50. What a tough decision
    A decision only you could make
    You did your homework and tried your best
    For that I support you
    I don’t judge your decision
    I am not in your shoes
    I simply want to say I’m sorry you had a tough day and I support you in whatever you had to do
    You both can be at peace now

  51. It’s a terrible position to be in but the best decision was made given the situation. You should in no way be faulted. You saved him from himself. May he rest in peace and be enjoying full health at the Rainbow Bridge.

  52. this moving story touched my heart and made me cry as I felt the pain so intensely of doing the same to my beloved labrador Henry nearly 4 years ago A dog is for life and any problems they have you have to work with them and accept and do your best Henry was attacked badly as a puppy this may have caused his problems not very often but occassionaly he would freeze and just bite out start growling and then carry on as if nothing had happened similar to a fit but nothing could be diagnosed . so we carried on gave him a wonderful life but never trusted him in society like we did with other dogs we have had and loved in the past whenever he was out he was muzzled we looked for beaches without people then was able to let him free as he loved the seaside Then when he was 12 years old tragically my husband who he was devoted to was dying of cancer and Henry out of the blue suddenly attacked him not a bite it was viscious he ended up in hospital as his body had no immune system I knew what i had to do i rang everyone to see if they would take on Henry but the lab trust said it’s good that your trying but you know deep down what you must do no one will take a dog thats bitten someone .I was heartbroken not only tying to cope with the horror of my dear husbands illness i had to make this awful decision myself as my husband was the sort that wouldn’t kill a spider let alone a beloved dog . it’ is one of the hardest saddests acts to do have your dog sent to heaven the hurt is still inside me so i know the pain this man went through he has my sympathys . it was the only lie i ever told my husband in 25 years that Henry was taken on by someone who lived near the seaside and it gave him some peace before he died to think Henry was safe and well x

  53. I understand. You did the right thing. You had several other choices but you made the best choice, for both you & your beloved dog. I will pray for both of you.

  54. Many years ago, we adopted a dog and she was a black and tan, a cute puppy, but bred for hunting. We lived in the country and had four young children and she was fine until she became mature around 2 or so. Then we had chickens and she chased a few and killed some of them. That was kind of concerning, because once a dog does that it is hard to stop them, especially when they have that hunting instinct. She was very gentle & loving with us (though protective. Then one day she was aggressive toward one of our sons friends when he came over and almost bit him. we made the difficult decision to put her down because if we had rehomed her maybe she would have lived in a cage or been tied up a lot if a hunter got her, and we couldn’t give her away to a family for sure….I have always had a dog all my life & many different breeds, but I would never risk having a dog that imight njure a child or another dog or a person & wasn’t predictable. Any guilt I would feel about putting an aggressive dog to sleep would be totally compounded by having them put to sleep after they injured somebody permanently or even scared them badly by hurting them

  55. Thank you so much for sharing this. Today I find myself in this position of having to put a young dog down because we are realizing nothing is going to be fixed no matter how much money, time or attention we give him. Its a horrible place to be…but what do you wait for…someone to be hurt badly, an animal actually killed? Something is broken in his head…whether he was born with it or abused before we rescued him, its a huge problem. He also can be sweet and funny and cuddly..but without warning the other side shows up and its never pretty. My heart is breaking right now, I worry I’m not giving him enough help, time , love but my brain knows we’ve done all we can. I am not willing to make him live muzzled, tied to a chain all the time when I can’t watch him or crated …that is not the life for a dog. It seem so cruel to put them down…to play god as you say..but do I do this peacefully and humanly for him or wait till something horrible happens…maybe putting him in pain from being caught or hurt back. There is no perfect answer..no matter the choice there is pain for that care about that animal. I also never saw myself doing this …but I see now that not all dogs are able to be saved and sometimes the way to save them is to save them from themselves. Again thank you. Reading this helped me a lot to day. Knowing I’m not alone, knowing how I feel is normal and how I should feel .and knowing people understand…for the ones that don’t,..they haven’t dealt with a dog of this nature…let them come save it and see how long they stick it out. How much money they are willing to spend. Its not a decision made lightly…nor should it be…but sometimes its the only one that can be made.

  56. Dear Melanie, I understand what you had to go through. When I was 7, my Dad’s Beagle bit a little 5 yr old girl in the face. My Dad had to put the dog down and he told me he waited 7 years to get sued. He never got sued. We got a poodle/springer spaniel when I was pre teen. That dog bit everyone in the family and neighbor kids too. We put him down after he lunged at my little sisters face. My sister rescued a pit mix who bit her a few times and attacked her other dogs. The final straw was when he got out and attacked the neighbors dogs. No question he had to be put down. A law suit was waiting to happen with all these dogs. You did the right thing and ignore all those evil people and their vicous comments.. Your dog had a good life with you.

  57. Melanie:

    I love dogs and animals more than anything in the world. As I don’t have kids, they are my favorite thing in life and bring me the most joy. At the moment, I’m having to decide whether to put my “soul” dog to sleep because of a chronic health condition. This is the most difficult decision under any circumstance – to have control over another life. You spend their whole life protecting them and then comes a time when you have to make the decision. Pure misery.

    You clearly pursued every avenue possible. I commend your self-less bravery to make such a difficult decision knowing what was likely to come as a result of that decision. Guilt.. Although the choice is never easy you had to make it under the most awful circumstance (a young healthy dog). Although Sutter was happy with you, he was suffering in some way and expressed his suffering in a way that we can’t understand. Otherwise why would he demonstrate such extreme behavior issues. I’m sorry for your loss and I’m sorry for Sutter. As “they” say, no good deed goes unpunished.

    As far as all of those “hater’ comments – public forums are just gross. Personally I don’t want to know everyone’s opinion or what goes on in their warped minds.

  58. We rescued a 5 week old puppy in March 2015. He was just skin and bones with a broken tail. A co-worker almost ran him over while driving home. A few days later, we decided to take Rocky home. We named him Rocky, because he had a rocky start in his short life and he was tough. Early on, there were many signs of aggression. He lunged at people and bullied other dogs. I loved him so much. About a month ago, Rocky attacked our 13yr old beagle. Our beagle is timid, weighing 20 pounds. Rocky at 8 months old was about 52 pounds. A few weeks later, he attacked our beagle again and it was more vicious. The third time was so bad, my husband had to twist his collar to cut off his air for him to let go our other dog. Here is a beautiful dog who was fun, playful, and wanted to be a lapdog, but something changed when he turned 8 months. The aggression was always there, and I have worked with a trainer. The last attack was frightening, as we have a 57 pound puppy who is amazingly strong and will not obey our command to stop. It was like he was out to kill the other dog. We made the harrowing decision to put him down. The trainer and I agreed that he could not be re-homed. He was too aggressive. I was fearful we would have to kill him to protect our other dog or grandchild. We did not want that situation. He loved us. So how can someone else who he does not know control that aggression? He lunged and growled at strangers. We kept him in the house and backyard. Even with being on guard, it was not enough. I will miss my Rocky Road. My heart aches at the decision, but I am glad he went peacefully surrounded by those who loved him.

  59. Sorry about your loss,had to put my dog today and it surely sucks,I held him and eased him into his eternal sleep.. He was sick and every vet told me he is suffering,I stayed up with him the last 2 nights and he stopped eating,he had lotsa cancerous tissue that made him bleed out through his tummy and coughed up blood,I had him for 16 years,when I saw his suffering I couldn’t bare to look at a dog that was barely conscious..
    He was my baby till the end though,I held him and sang him his sleeping song while I cried,that was shitty but his eyes never closed,I felt his heartbeat stop after the convulsions.. Its scary and heartbreaking to watch,helps de sensitize us in the long run I guess.. Never get a pet unless you’re willing to let it go,especially when its going to be your best friend.. Losing them is a sad feeling,I guess,changing routines are so hard..
    Remember the good times,they are in pet heaven now,all his chases are running in slow motion,no more pain,you gave them all you had and they did to you..
    Life goes on but never forget the love they shared,I won’t,my little Golden pup…

  60. Three years ago I rescued an emaciated scared am. bulldog mix. He came in my home and stole my heart. A big lug, cuddle bug, sweety boy. After the first week I had some friends over to meet him. He bit my friend in the face unprovoked. I took him to the dog park regularly but he became aggressive with other dogs. It hurt because in my home he was the sweetest guy. He began chasing my cats as prey, and on walks lunging at humans and dogs. I recently moved in with my fiance and her son, she has a boston terrier which was almost mauled to death monday. He has also snapped at the child. I had a trainer work with him and the vet advised it would be best if I put ziggy down. This is the hardest decision I am ever having to make. My five year old cuddle bug is a loose cannon. Anything can set him off and hes 85 lbs of pure muscle. So we have made the appointment for Saturday to save Ziggy from himself. Ziggy was badly abused prior to me rescuing him and I take pride in making sure he had daily hikes, snacks, and cuddles for the past 3 years. I know he had a good life with me but my responsibility to my family and step sons safety come first. Its the hardest thing and I have been crying all week but this post really helped me accept it so thank you so much for writing. I will see ziggy again and he will be at peace and not fearful of anything anymore.

  61. I TOO Had TOO.have my dog put to sleep.I had a Doberman, he broke my sons arms,tore up every thing in house,and I still could not put him down,I loved this dog so much,I took him to the pound one day,and woke up the next day and went back and got him back again.I tried every thing to make it. Work and I also wound up putting my beautiful dog,max,my best friend to sleep.I miss my Max,so much I will always Love him and I Know one day we will be together again,forever.Max,I will always loveyou and I will never forget you.

  62. We just had to put our Neo Mastiff down for almost identical reasons at age 3.. Like you we tried all kinds of different trainers, classes, socialization etc.. our vet kept telling us that it was a genetic condition and that nothing would resolve it. We refused to give up on him, like your dog, Gus was awesome with us, which made it so hard to give up on him, it has only been a few days and it still hurts. I still feel like I betrayed him…I know what you went through, I am sorry for your loss.

  63. My friend in the Bay Area had the same problem and same solution. You made a very hard decision and my heart goes out to you.

    Some dogs really are just ‘off’. It is not something that is always controllable or fixable. The genetic component has been studied and documented – (remember the study with the foxes?).

    You loved your dog and were a responsible, caring owner. Ignore those who post nasty, critical comments. We know better.

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