Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Crazy dog-night, last night.

I seriously thought I was going to have a panic-attack!

And the two culprits? Timber and Daisy.

First a little background: Daryl and I have been contemplating giving Timber back, which means for his remaining 5+ months or so he'd live with a different foster family. Now that I'm so hugely and uncomfortably pregnant, and not to mention not so steady on my feet, it's been pretty trying to coral a 65+ puppy. By no fault of his own (I mean, after all, he IS a puppy) Timber has OODLES of energy and with the craziness that is our life right now planning and preparing for baby Hunter, we just don't have the time and energy of our own to devote to his training. We've missed like the last 3-4 puppy training classes which we both feel horrible about but Big D has been working OT on the weekends, something we desperately need with a baby (and an almost completely unpaid maternity leave) on the way and I just can not handle him for the classes on my own anymore.

And then throw into the mix the fact that when Daryl is NOT home, I'm (while exhausted and with a sore back and an annoying waddling walk) trying to deal with three crazy dogs who feed off of each other. As in, if one barks, the other barks. If one is hyper, they all are hyper. It's gotten to the point when I let them outside to do their business that I do it in shifts. First shift is Daisy and Tucker (and Timber meanwhile goes WILD in his crate knowing that they are outside but he is not...he barks and moans and cries at the top of his lungs...something that will NOT be cool when there is a newborn in the house) and THEN I take out Timber. Otherwise if I let Timber out with the other dogs, he won't focus on doing his business...he just wants to play. And then he ends up tinkling on our damn living room carpet. Hence the reason we need to steam-clean it!

And I now only take him outside, in our fenced-in yard, on his leash or on a long lead, becuz he still has the bad habit of barking (crazily) at our neighbors' puppy and when this happens, he is back in the bushes and completely loses control and doesn't pay attention to me. So I have to keep him away from that back area now...BUT the problem with that is he is a very STRONG 65+ pounds and I'm a very tipsy-topsy pregnant lady...not a good combination as I've almost been pulled off my feet a handful of times.

And then there is Daisy. I'm sure you all remember my issues with her, becuz I've written about her numerous times and our dilemma in trying to find her a new home. She is aggressive and she has always been the alpha-dog of the house with her and Tucker but when Timber came along, and especially once he started to grow, he would continually challenge her. They've had some tiffs before (almost all started by Daisy, the 20 pounder, going after Timber) and as Timber got older he stopped backing down and started standing up to her. Not good. This only infuriates her more and instead of the brief "spat" being over, it would sometimes continue.

Well, last night was the worst.

I was home alone with the dogs, as Daryl had to work over-time. They were all pretty much behaving, hanging out in the living room as I went back and forth between the living room and kitchen, cooking dinner. Timber had his bone (only he and Tucker are allowed these bones becuz Daisy gets EVIL with any kind of edible treat, rawhide, marrow bone, whatever and will bite ANYONE who comes near her, dog or human) and I always stay nearby just to make sure Daisy doesn't try to steal it. She "knows" that we don't let her have them, so what she does is wait till Daryl or I are not looking and she will steal the bone right from Timber and Tucker who do not resist. HOW a little tiny dog can have so much power over two BIG dogs is beyond me!

Anyway, Timber must have dropped the bone and lost interest in it trying to see what I was doing and so Daisy did her "guarding" stance...she'll stand over something and growl and show teeth to anyone who comes near it, even if she does not have the item herself. And before I even knew what was happening, Timber decided to go retrieve his bone....

...and all hell broke loose.

Daisy attacked him (and she is tall enough that she is right at the level of always going for and attaching herself to the scruff of his neck) and Timber immediately bristled and fought back. I say "fight" but usually I don't think he is super rough. I think it's more of him just trying to show her that she is NOT his boss, and that he is NOT afraid of her.

But instead of Daisy just moving away as she normally does, she continually kept fighting back. And Timber continued to go at her. I screamed at them to stop (which I know my fear must have escalated it but it was horrible and I was afraid that Timber would kill Daisy, even though she was the instigator, he is MUCH bigger, stronger and with LARGER teeth). At the same time I was panicking becuz Daisy would NOT BACK DOWN.

I did something really stupid. I tried to step in the middle of a dog fight. I grabbed Timber by the collar, hoisting his upper body up and away, thinking that if Daisy couldn't reach his neck, she'd finally back down. Meanwhile he was twisting and turning trying to go back at her and for a moment I freaked out thinking 'What if he accidentally bit ME in his haste to get at Daisy?' so I contemplated dropping him but Daisy was still advancing, so I backed away with Timber.

I know you are never, ever supposed to try to separate fighting dogs like that. My father had instilled that in mine and my brother's brains since we were very young (we grew up with many dogs) but yet I was panicking, I couldn't see anything to smack at them with, I couldn't distract them and I didn't know what to do.

And at this, my gentle-docile-teddy-bear-of-a-yellow-lab, Tucker, joined in the fray. I know he must have thought his Mama was being hurt in the ruckus (and never mind that it was probably like a pack mentality at that point of "Attack!"), becuz all he saw was my wrestling with Timber and he immediately dove in and tried to bite Timber's neck! I swear I almost peed in my pants and saw my hand get THISCLOSE to a set of teeth...I'm not even sure at this point whose teeth cuz it all was happening so fast! And one of the big dogs came down hard on my poor foot, which did NOT feel good.

I screamed at them again and finally, good-lord-FINALLY, Daisy took a step back but Timber was totally pumped up and seemed confused at this point, still lunging, so I quickly ushered him into his crate, then Daisy into her crate, and when I came back out to the living room, poor Tucker was racing frantically all around, wagging his tail anxiously, like "What next, Mama??" and I just burst into tears and started shaking.

I think the reality of it all just set it and and throw in the fact that here I am pregnant and I realized how they could have easily knocked me off of my already-clumsy feet? Well it did not sit well.

So this is the final straw that broke the camel's back. We have to give Timber back and we have to remove Daisy from the house before the baby arrives. Tears and sadness be damned, I have to do it. It's not a safe environment for me while pregnant and it definitely won't be a safe place for a little bitty newborn. And I just want to reiterate that I don't NOT trust Timber around the's just that he is still young and high-energy and we have a small house and I think he needs a different kind of environment right now. But Daisy? Yeah, she can't be trusted. :-(



Fidgeting Gidget said...

I'm really sorry to hear this but I'm so glad you're ok and that the fight broke up before it got TOO crazy. I'm sure it's going to be difficult to do, but you're right, the safety of your baby comes first. You're doing the right thing!

Emily Jean said...

WOW. You, my friend, need to be careful! This story gaves me a horrible feeling in my gut! I know it will be tough but letting them go will be the right thing to do, for EVERYONE!

Morgan said...

Oh nooo you poor thing! Why do crazy things like this happen when our hubby's aren't home!? :)

Anna Kauz said...

That sounds awful!!! I'm so glad that they stopped fighting before it got really really bad. Good luck finding a home for the both of them! Remember you are doing what is best.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. You're right about Daisy. If you don't trust her, then you're probably right. We were pretty certain how Kahlua would react to the girls, and we've been correct in our initial assessment. It wouldn't be so bad when Hunter's young, because he's not mobile and easily put out of reach. But once he starts crawling and turning over, that's when the trouble will start.

You're right about Timber too. Giving him back because you just won't have the energy to devote to him is hard, even though you know it's the right thing to do for him.

Jaina said...

Oh April, I'm so sorry about that. You had me cringing here until I reached the end and knew you were okay. That's really scary. I'm sorry you have to give Timber back and give Daisy away, but you definitely have to think of your safety and Hunter's safety. At least you'll get to keep good ol Tucker. ::hugs::