Sunday, November 9, 2014

Our weekend with Jack

About a month ago I decided things in our life were too ... mellow. We didn't have enough crazy going on so we needed to do something to make our lives more exciting. I started looking at houses and after Jake thoroughly refused to look into moving, decided maybe we should start trying to have baby #2. Jake nearly had a heart attack and insisted we weren't ready for that yet {and I agree - if we got pregnant then great but we aren't trying right now}. So then what can we do to make things more interesting?? I know - lets get another dog!!

I've been asking Jake for a second dog since we bought Max. I'm sure I've talked about it in the blog before but I don't know where. We always said we'd get another dog when we got our house. We bought our house, but then it turned into well first we need a fence. We got our fence, and then got pregnant so we decided a baby was better then a puppy. But now Kaycee is a little older so we decided to give it a try! We've both really been wanting to rescue a dog from a shelter so we drove up to Humane Society and looked at a few dogs one evening right before they closed. We found one we kind of liked but wanted to really think things through so we left without a dog. That night I realized maybe 2 dogs would be a bit overwhelming and then by the following weekend I had forgot all about how hard I thought it would be and wanted another dog again! We woke up, got Kaycee fed, loaded her and Max into the car, grabbed some breakfast on the road and headed up to Humane Society!

Kaycee holding onto Max's leash in the car
We had looked at a few online on our way up but decided we'd look and see what dogs "jumped" out at us once we got there. We left Max in the car so we could both walk through and look at all the dogs together {since we can't take Max back where the dogs kennels are} and had a few we liked but we didn't see the dog I'd seen online - a puggle. We asked where he was and they said he was at an adoption event in Draper. He was an adorable dog and I was sure he'd get adopted {he did!} so we decided to stay at Humane Society and find a dog there that needed a home. I asked Jake which of the dogs we had seen he wanted to introduce to Max first and he immediately said Jack, the german shepherd. I had shown Jake a picture of Jack on the way up and we both loved him and thought he was beautiful. Once we saw him in person, we were instantly in love.

We got him out and took him outside to meet Max and to get to know us a little better. We ended up outside with him for probably close to an hour in the kennels. He and Max were both off leash and we just let them sniff each other and they both did great. Max doesn't do the greatest with dogs at our house but at the Humane Society he is chill as could be. The shelter staff told us that's probably because he doesn't feel like it's "his" home so he doesn't care about other dogs being there - the big trick would be how they did at home. We both loved Jack and he seemed to like me and Kaycee but he truly loved Jake. He followed Jake EVERYWHERE in that little kennel. Where Jake was, Jack was.

We talked about it and decided we thought he'd be a great fit for us. We asked about his history and it said he was great with kids, other dogs, crate trained, potty trained and knew commands. Sounds like the perfect dog for us!! They said his intake reason was for "another animal in the home" so we took that as he must hate cats {another thing he has in common with Jake}. We filled out the paperwork, got him some toys, a collar and leash, deshedding brush and bowls and his own name tag for his collar and took him home.

We spent a few hours at home introducing Jack to his new home and slowly letting Max realize that Jack was staying at our house. We realized REAL fast that Jack was an aggressive drinker - he splashed water all over the kitchen. After he'd splash his bowl, he'd step in it and there were puppy prints all over the kitchen and the wood. Our floors looked horrible!! Jake and I figured we'd figure out a way to help him drink slower {maybe he was just dehydrated from the shelter??} and at some point in a few years maybe look into new floors if we needed to since they looked SOOOOO bad. 

After playing for a bit, both dogs fell asleep in Kaycee's room while we were playing with her. I was shocked that Max was laying next to another dog in his house - he has NEVER EVER done that before.  When we have dogs come stay with us, he's constantly fighting and nipping and trying to be dominant. None of that - they were both just chill with each other. I felt so relieved and grateful they got along so well!! 

We rearranged the furniture in the guest bed room to make it my office and moved the guest bedroom upstairs so that the dogs would be able to hang out with me while I work. We also put both of their crates in the office room and left them in their crates while we went to dinner and to see Jake's parents for a bit. When we got home, it was obvious that Jack had some separation anxiety - he had destroyed the plastic bottom tray for his crate and bent the front of his door pretty bad. Jake's pretty sure if he had been in there much longer he would have destroyed the crate and figured out a way to bust out. We aren't used to having a dog hate their crate so much - Max always has loved it once he's in it {getting him in there willingly is another story!} but we knew with any dog there would be some things we'd need to overcome and we'd help him see it's not so bad.

We put both of the dogs beds in our room and hoped and prayed we'd get some sleep. Max slept on the foot of the bed like usual and Jack slept on the floor right next to Jake. He woke Jake up twice nudging his elbow and whining and as soon as Jake took him out he immediately went potty! Heck yes for him communicating so fast he needs to go out! All in all things went well that night and we woke up excited for a full day with our new dog. Kaycee wasn't feeling good so we decided to stay home from church and that way we could introduce Jack slower to his crate and not have to stick him in there and leave him again so soon. He started doing great at going in there and staying with very little encouragement. Things were seriously looking perfect!

Teaching them to eat out of their own bowls and not eat the other's food
Then we decided to take a nap/relax in the living room.

Jack did so good with Kaycee - she touched his tail a few times while he was sleeping and he just moved his tail somewhere she couldn't reach it. Obviously we didn't leave him and her alone but they were getting along so well! Jack and Max, on the other hand, started not doing so well. Anytime Max would walk towards the couch Jack would growl. Jack was in front of us, almost like a barrier between us and Max and I think he was trying to tell Max to leave us alone. We would encourage both of them to be nice and tell them it was okay but Jake started verbalizing that he was worried. Jack was VERY into following Jake around and we were worried about Jake leaving for work the next day but I figured we'd be fine and we'd figure it out. I started having a worried feeling too but figured it was nothing and that everything would be okay.

Then Jake hit the nail on the head - he said he was having the same feeling he had on Wednesday night on our drive. And I realized that's exactly what I was feeling - it wasn't nervousness. I felt the same sick way I did while we were driving. I started getting really worried about that - I knew that feeling I had on Wednesday had been the spirit and that it was protecting us from something. Why were we having this feeling about Jack?

Answer came that night as we were putting Kaycee to bed. Jake was sitting in Kaycee's chair feeding her a bottle and Jack was laying in front of his feet {kind of like the picture below}. I was sitting against the wall and Max walked in with Jack's ball. He dropped in and started wiggling his tail and acting all excited about a game of fetch with a brand new toy he'd found. Jack growled, loud. We told them both to calm down and I picked the ball up to throw it out of the room for both dogs to chase - may the fastest dog win right? Yeah no. As soon as I picked it up and Max showed interest in retrieving it, Jack lunged at Max and all I remember is seeing Max in Jack's mouth. My little baby who was my first fur child was in the mouth of a 72 pound killing machine. I obviously wasn't thinking because the next thing I knew my hands were right next to Jack's mouth getting him to let go and scolding him. Thank heavens Jake was there and had Kaycee so that I knew she was safe. Max was crying hysterically but wasn't hurt, just scared and Jack kept growling at each cry. Jake put Kaycee down safely away from the chaos in her crib and incredibly firmly told Jack to get in his crate. Jack knew who was boss - he knew what "crate" meant and he knew right then he was in big trouble. He stuck his tail between his legs, went in his crate and laid down.

We had family prayer without Jack and put Kaycee down to bed and then walked out of Kaycee's room. Jake looked at me and said exactly what I was feeling but didn't want to think - we have to take him back. And I just fell apart. I'm not exaggerating in any way - Jake will confirm that. I bawled and bawled and bawled but I knew he was right. We couldn't have them fighting like that, especially since Jack was so much bigger and therefore so much more dangerous. And if Jake wasn't home and they fought, Kaycee is my number one person to protect and next time Max might not get away if I couldn't help him. We decided to tell our family right then so we wouldn't back out and would have people supporting us and then we went to bed. Jake slept on the couch so that he could be close to the dogs in their crates in case Jack started freaking out again and I bawled my eyes out in our bedroom. 

Jake took a half day the next day so that we could take him back together in the morning since I knew I couldn't do it alone with Kaycee. Before we left, the dogs fought again while they were both outside to pee and that confirmed it - this wasn't going to work. We loaded Jack into the car and Kaycee just giggled and laughed at his huge self the entire way to Humane Society which made it harder. 

Dropping him off was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I don't believe in leaving animals at shelters. You keep your pets for life. They are part of your family. All the time. No matter what. And here I was, eating my own words and taking a dog to the shelter. Humane Society had begged and pleaded when we adopted him that if it didn't work to bring him back - they want to be the ones to place him since a lot of people on KSL get dogs for free and do testing and crazy things to them.  The whole time I filled the paperwork out, he sat with Jake and Jack kept making little cries like "wait why am I here again?!" I bawled my eyes out as we said good bye and left him there. And I cried the whole way home.

And I cried the whole day. 

And we only had him 36 hours! Ashley, pull it together girl!! 

Jake kept trying to tell me to stop crying - we did the right thing and I knew we did the right thing. I knew he wasn't a good fit for our family right now. I just hated that we'd brought him home and made him feel safe and loved and then took him back to the place of crying sad dogs with cold concrete floors, where there is no toys or beds or cuddles. I'm grateful for shelters because they give dogs another chance rather then putting them down but oh my word they are sad places! 

I haven't cried since the day we took him to the shelter almost a week ago. I have however checked the Humane Society website every single day multiple times a day to see if he is still listed. It took a few days before he was listed but he finally went up and yesterday {Saturday} he got adopted. I can't tell you how relieved I feel to know he has a home and is out of there. I feel lame in a way but I've been praying for Jack every single time I pray and he's a dog! I know that Heavenly Father doesn't care that he's a dog - he knows that Jack was important to our family and therefore it's okay to pray for him because it's someone we cared about. 

Humane Society doesn't give your money back for the adoption but you get a credit to apply for a future adoption. We are going to wait on getting another dog. We realized that Max has a lot of behavioral issues we need to address - he needs some serious help with training. We also plan to socialize him with my family's dogs for long periods of time and see how he does before we bring another pet into our home and our hearts. 

Jake and I both feel like right now isn't the right time for another dog. Not sure why that is - maybe Kaycee is allergic? Or maybe something is going to happen in our lives where having 2 dogs would be extra stress. Or maybe Max just can't handle 2 dogs. We don't know - we just know right now isn't the right time. That's hard for me, especially after going to the shelter and with Christmas coming - I want to give a dog a home for Christmas but I also need to do what's best for our family and for Max and right now that means having a 1 dog home.

I'm grateful Kaycee was so little and she didn't understand that they were fighting. She's a dog person just like her momma and I don't want her to be scared of them. I'm also grateful she didn't realize we had taken Jack back and was old enough to ask where he was. That would have made it even harder. 

Jake and I have already decided and planned - next dog, after Max passes away, will be a german shepherd. We loved Jack SOO much. He was so smart, so easy to train in such a short time frame. He was obedient and loving and eager to please. We know that he would have been a great guard dog and protector for our family, we just can't have a dog attacking other dogs. I feel like we could have worked that aggression out of him had he been our only dog, but I don't know how long it would have taken to get it out and with Max living in the same house it just wasn't safe. Some day though, we will have a german shepherd! 

1 comment:

  1. That is such a sad story Ashley! You were totally justified in doing what you did but I can tell how much you loved Jack already in such a short time and how hard that must have been. :(