As trainers, we are frequently asked to take in dogs that people can no longer handle and or manage. We are asked to take on dogs that have bitten children, adults, small animals, dogs or even their owners. They want us to become the place where dogs learn not to bite, where dogs learn to become good, social members of society. They want us to be the half way house.
Here is the reality with some, not all, but some of those dogs.
They can never leave the half way house, they can never make it to sober living and they can only be euthanized. The reality is the dog that you just sent to us ,that bit 10 people, is going to have a really hard time finding his sober living home.
The dogs who leave half way houses need to go into sober living homes. These homes need to follow certain rules and maintain a certain relationship with the dog in order to ensure the rehabilitation process is successful.
When we decide to accept these dogs into our half way houses, we do so with the intention of saving the dog’s life and finding them a permanent home once they complete rehab. BUT, until the dog has actually started a proper rehabilitation program, how are we supposed to know if and when they can leave? The responsibility falls completely on us and our companies and our half way houses are full….
How many people can actually say that they would feel completely comfortable being a sober living home for a dog who has bitten multiple times? Hell, how about a dog that has only bitten one person?
In case you didn’t know how to answer the above question, the answer is VERY FEW! If you are reading this and you are one of those few, I thank you. I am one of those people as well. I have no problem living with dogs who have injured other beings with heartbeats. I whole heartedly believe in rehabilitation and that is way I am a half way house.
With that said, my half way house is full. I cannot collect dogs the world doesn’t want. I cannot keep dogs that cannot be trusted. I cannot re-home dogs who are dangerous without proper intervention. Therefore, I have had to euthanize dogs. Now, before you judge me for saying this, you need to understand one thing. I OWN seven dogs, dogs who could never make it into sober living. I cannot collect dogs! I give chances to those in need and I do my very best to get them into sober living homes. The very few that I have had to euthanize after spending days, weeks and sometimes months with, will always remain with me.
The dogs we as trainers decide to take in, that nobody else wanted, are getting a chance. They are receiving the possibility of a life, not a guarantee. When euthanasia is already on the table, for dogs who have made many mistakes, we are the ones that step up, we are that one light of hope and their voice until the end.