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I just had to have my dog put to sleep. How long before the hurt and guilt goes away?

A year and a half ago, we adopted a 2 month old dog for our kids. He was the cutest puppy, but he never got over his biting habit. A couple of weeks ago, he bit my 11 year old son, not seriously, but enough to make us think that the next time could be worse. We, as a family, made a decision that he had to go, so today I took him to the animal control center.Even though I am a 44 year old father of two, I cried like a baby on the way home, though. How did anyone else get over a similar situation?

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17 Responses to “I just had to have my dog put to sleep. How long before the hurt and guilt goes away?”

  1. sniffydogs said:

    You did the right thing. You tried for a year and a half. Unfortunately the dog probably had some issues or poor breeding. At least you were honest. We get people all the time who drop off dogs and we find out they are biters. Rescues and adopters too can’t take the chance of placing dogs that are biters. While you would feel horrible about the dog biting a neighbor child, in today’s litigious society, you could end up losing your home. Most rescues carry millions of dollars in liability insurance for this and we temperment test these dogs as best we can.

    It does feel horrible though. I’ve done it too many times.

  2. aattura said:

    I’m sorry you had to put him down — it sounds like there may have been other options:

    Why wasn’t he trained NOT to bite? Cases like this sometimes need Professional intervention — a dog behavior specialist, or an Obedience trainer.

    ALL dogs, starting from a VERY early age, need Obedience training — including your dog, starting from the time he was a puppy. Did he have Obedience training?

    Did your son do anything to provoke him???

  3. Herding C said:

    My sis had to do that also. They had a family dog (which, if it was a human, would have been declared emotionally disturbed or retarded or something). My sis really tried with this dog, even though it taxed her patience sorely. But it snapped at her older child and she had a baby, so it had to go. That’s just the way life is. Some dogs are just defective. My sister is an animal lover too and she’s always had pets. It was hard for her too, but she had to think of her family. You did the right thing.

  4. SE said:

    Why could you have not rehomed the dog by giving him to a family without kids???!

  5. Rockin said:

    You did the right thing. Although the dog feels like part of your family, your children are more important. Good luck, I know it will take awhile to get over loosing him, but just know you made the right choice.

  6. allthebadonesaretaken said:

    You had the dog euthanized? I don’t want to sound insensitive buy why didn’t you just give the dog away to a family or person with no young kids?
    Back to your question, time and maybe another more gentle dog or puppy.

  7. Maraleh H said:

    You did what you needed to do to save your son. You are wise to get the dog out of the situation too. Sometimes you can place those kind of dogs, but there is a very real risk in doing so for liabilities sake. Everyone who has a dog and loves them cries, because they are a very real part of the family, and you grieve for them as such. The best advice is to go through the grieving process and keep the good memories with that puppy in a scrapbook. You will never forget him, but time does eventually make it easier to get through it. When you are ready, maybe later you can get another dog that is better mannered. Just be very careful to check out the parents and to see the temperament before you buy into one. If a puppy is overly bity, never buy it. A proper and responsable breeder would never sell a dog that was not tamed down enough to be handleable. Also, do some research, as there are some breeds like the cocker spanial or sheltie that are great around kids. It all depends on your lifestyle and what kind of activities you want to do with your dog. If you go to most animal shelters, they can help you responsably figure out what kind of dog best fits your lifestyle too. They may even have a good fit that someone left there that is just right for you and your family, and they usually are pretty good at screening the animals that come in for temprament. I hope this helps, and hang in there. My condolences for your loss, and best of blessings,

  8. pg said:

    I’m sorry you felt you had to do this, but what’s done is done. Just please, if in the future you decide to get another dog, to hire a professional trainer instead of trying to train the dog yourself. As for the hurt and guilt, I’m sure it’s very hard on you now, but try to focus on the good times you and your family had with the dog and unfortunately, only time will help you to heal.

  9. tigerkitty2 said:

    you should feel guilty, one bite and off to die? 11 years down the tubes.
    you should have given it to a dog rescue, as it was probably environmental. Some dogs just get tired of being tormented by kids.

  10. River Hermit said:

    Ohhh Yeah, time will heal & you did right…we’ve been where you’ve been…had you given sucha dog away, it could have harmed someone else so take comfort in that – YOU DID THE RIGHT THING !!! Sometimes getting another dog is helpful just make sure it’s friendly & loves kids, carefully put your hand out see how the dog reacts… if friendly…get on the floor ( DOGS level – NO STARING & SMILING…teeth showing – its aggression to a dog ) see if the dog is playful, friendly… gets its butt in the air & head down…if aggressive or scared PASS on the dog, especially when you have tots or kids…or with puppies do the “Swing Test” works with cats too, gently hold them under the arms so their feet are just off the ground, it the animal just hangs & doesn’t fight chances are it’s a sweetie, mellow & a keeper !!!Take Care 🙂

  11. p_wabbit said:

    I think you are suffering from profound feeling of GUILT..

    not to sound insensitive – but you had this dog from puppydom.. you failed in your obligation to properly train the dog. I’m sad that this dog wasn’t given a chance at a better life – although it sounds for the best that it is no longer under your charge – as a poorly socialized untrained dog is a serious liablity and does not sound like you were up to the responsibility.

    ..I’ve adopted adult shelter dogs, with serious “baggage” and worked very hard to retrain and recondition them. One bite does NOT an agressive dog make.. did you consult a behaviourist? was it an agressive bite? a fear bite? a play bite? and accident?? Did you ever bother to teach your dog bite inhibition? Did your 11 y.o. rough-house with the dog? Did you play tug-of-war type games with your dog??

    I URGE you not to even consider getting another dog unless you are willing to make the necessary commitment (ie taking the time to TRAIN it).

    Sometime I think rather than dog licenses – we need dog OWNER licences..

    You get NO sympathy from me – I hope the guilt makes you feel horrible, maybe you will appreciate what it means to be a responsible dog owner.


    I just read some of your other questions! You never even got around to HOUSETRAINING your dog!! You never bothered to teach the dog bite inhibition, never got around to housetraining it.. so when your dog fails and stuff he was never trained to do – you kill it.

    – you don’t deserve a dog!!!

  12. 2 Happily Married Americans said:

    Sorry for your loss. You will get over it in time. In my lifetime, I have had 6 dogs, and 4 are gone now. All four must have thought life was good here because they lived good long lives, but just wouldn’t let go when the suffering got intolerable, so each had to be put to sleep. Even though it was years in between, each one was hard. The initial shock is the worst. For a few weeks it will be very tender in your heart, then a little less, and so on. Eventually you will remember all the good things about your dog, and the pain will be gone. Just like grieving over a person’s death, but there is something different when you were actively part of putting them to sleep. Instead of punishing yourself over it, think of the possible pain you saved your children or others if he was a biter. Better he dies in your loving arms than in a doggy death row where he is held just like a person is after an attack. My brother had a german shepherd for several years, and he actually mauled a young boy, then attacked a neighbor. They should have had him put down the first time, but were too attached. The second time, was much worse, and then the whole family was just devastated when he had to be put down. As much as we love our dogs, we would never be able to stand for biting, and would do just what you did.

    After the initial grief wears off, maybe you could go to an animal shelter or and get an older dog who does not have biting tendencies. When dogs are abandoned or found by rescue groups, they are screened for such things to avoid placement with the wrong type of household. There are many dogs out there waiting for a home, and sometimes that is the best way to ease the pain your family is feeling.

    When you do get another dog, be sure to get your whole family involved in obedience training. Its great for bonding, and also teaches both the kids and the dog what the correct way to act is.

  13. Momma said:

    Perhaps the biting was the beginning of a mental illness for that dog, and out of love, you did what you knew was best….protect him from potential harm/abuse from outsiders, or another owner.

    I just had to have my dog put down this morning (Tues), because of kidney failure, and I’m crying with you.

    Think of how loving you were to your dog, and the great memories.

    Nothing is easy about losing a pet, regardless of the situation.

    I’m so sorry for your grief, and mine.

  14. Sammy Jo Mammy said:

    Well…..I have to have my dog put to sleep next week and ive had her for 9 years…She has always been aggresive to our other dogs but has never hurt them until today..she also attacked my sister and brother..i really dont want to put her down but i have to before she hurts someone else..hopefully you gave your dog all the love you could as ive done mine and i really cant tell you when your grieving will end…but maybe when i get over it ill let you know.It will probably be a really long very sorry for your loss.this is a picture of my dog that i have to put down.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

  15. SUSAN C said:

    Well I sympathize with your situation. I had to put my dog to sleep on 2-19-07 and we are still not completely over it my husband still cries sometime when he thinks about him or when something reminds him of him

    we had Bolo 8 years and this was a sudden death thing in a way he jumped up on the bed like every morning and gave my husband his good morning loves they were as sloppy as ever and then he jumped off the bed and at that moment he seized or something my husband jumed up out of bed and got Bolo to his feet and he just started urinating in the house something he hadn’t done in years and he was breathing very hard and his gums were white and his heart was pounding

    my husband carried him to the car he could not walk and we rushed him to the Vet and he was bleeding internally and was dying he had a tumor on his spleen and it ruptured and the best thing to do was to put him to sleep and my husband made that decision for Bolo but it was the hardest thing for my husband to do but he did it out of love for buddy his best friend you see I am starting to cry just repeating this story

    The vet gave us sometime with Bolo before she stuck the needle in and my husband laid down on the floor with him and held him and cried himself to sleep with Bolo he slept only about 15 minutes with him then the vet came in and my husband held him and kissed him and told him he loves him and will miss him gave him a kiss on his head and then on his nose that was there thing Bolo would always stick his head in my husbands face repeatedly until he kissed his nose and bolo would always win he was a 105 pound boxer and not over weight he was just huge and very broad and tall

    So I am here to tell you and anyone else who wants to know that it has been 2 1/2 months and it still hurts but it it is especially devistatingfor my husband they were the best of friends and all day every day companions since my husband got disabled after breaking his back

    hell when he would nap in the afternoons after taking his pain meds Bolo would get up on the bed and actually share my husbands pillow with him

    Sorry a bit off topic

    Sorry back to your question the only thing to stop the hurt the pain is time and thats all just time hang in there it will ge better
    believe me we never thought it will get better and it is we just cry once in awhile now instead of all day

    My husband had Bolo creamated and put in one of those figurine urns he got the biggest one so that he can put Bolo’s tags and collar and leash in there with him and he is on a beautiful mantle in our bedroom and will be with us forever

  16. JBN said:

    You’re son was probably mean to it. I would have kept the dog and took your brat kid to an adoption center. Idiot.

  17. Josphine Piccuillo said:

    Fantastic job here. I seriously enjoyed what you had to say. Keep heading because you absolutely bring a new voice to this subject. Not many people would say what youve said and still make it interesting. Properly, at least Im interested. Cant wait to see much more of this from you.


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