Friday, May 11, 2012

Parenthood Dilemma # 1 out of thousands

For those of you who know our dogs well, you all know we have been worried about Lilly's ability to get along with our future children. Well, fast forward to present day and our worst fears have been realized. She is threatened by my sweet baby Mark. We know what must be done but it is breaking our hearts to think about getting rid of Lilly. Melissa said it best when she said "if she only knew what repercussions she just started..."  You see, Lilly is slightly obsessed with me. It is probably my fault as I treated her like my child from day one. I even held her on my hip (my clock has been ticking for a while now :) ). She would nap on my chest. When she got older, she would sleep in my bed, under the covers with one head on the pillow and I would scratch her until we both fell asleep. In short, the dog is rotten. And because I got her when I was in college, I had oodles of time to devote and attention to pour on her. Now, not so much. I feel so guilty about what little time I have to give to my child, that I honestly don't give Lilly much attention at all. Part of me feels bad about it, part of me doesn't. Anyway, Lilly would be content to sit by my side all day and have me scratch her back. It's like she remembers how it used to be. Mind you, we are talking about something that occurred over 5 years ago. But she must remember.

When we brought Mark home I thought things would go great. Lilly wanted to be by Mark and me and she never showed any signs of stress or aggression. Now that he is crawling, it is a different story. Remember how I said Mark is enamoured with Lilly and Layla, well kick it up a notch now that he crawls. I was not home to witness it but he crawled up to Lilly and was pulling her hair and touching her and she snapped at him, but did not bite him. We were freaked out but were willing to discount the event since he was harassing her. However, the next day, when Mark was crawling in her general direction, she bared all of her teeth and was snarling at him. I've seen the look before. She does it to other dogs and if they move any closer she will literally lose her sh* and go psycho until the dog is belly up. That terrified me. Two days in a row, and none of her toys or any food were out. She does not want Mark by her.

We called the vet who recommended a behavioralist but did not seem optimistic about the chances of Lilly and Mark being able to co-exist, unless they are kept entirely separate. She also acknowledged how difficult it is to keep an animal entirely separate from a baby. She confirmed that we were right to take this situation very seriously. Lilly is a big dog- almost 70 pounds. She has made other dogs bleed. She is extremely dog aggressive and the only dog she gets along with is her sister, although there have been times when they fight so bad blood is shed. Although those instances are very seldom, maybe once a year if that. She also bit my little brother when he was 9. He was messing with her collar and when he did not stop, she bit him. On his face. She didn't break skin but he had teeth indentations on his face.

As I sit here typing about her past behavior, I see the writing is on the walls. My dog does not like children, she feels threatened for whatever reason. We are going to try the behavioralist but I am not optimistic. In some ways, it will be easier to hear a detached professional tell us that it would be better if we re-homed her. Then I would feel like we gave Lilly a chance. I can't imagine her in another house, with another family. Or our family without her. I thought my kids would develop a relationship with her, atleast Mark. And remember her fondly. Unfortunately I dont think that will happen anymore. Although Lilly does not like other dogs or small children, she has been a wonderful dog. She LOVES adults. She will literally lay by your feet all day. Of course she expects a little back scratch in return. But in all, she is a wonderful dog in a home of adults. I will be so sad if we have to get rid of her but I have to make the best decision for my child. I cannot and will not put him in danger when I can prevent it.

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