This post has been running around in my head for over a week. At first I didn't post because I didn't know how it was going to play out...then I didn't post because it's all just confusing and hard.
Last Saturday was our second session with the dog trainer. We thought we were working on basic obedience, but the longer Rachael worked with us & Trixie, the more we realized we had some bigger issues. We were misreading some of her behaviors as protective, but she was actually being aggressive toward James. (I know, we're ignorant. Believe me, we feel it.) Long story short, the trainer left to get a haltie (like a muzzle, but not...Trixie needed a lot more structure than we thought)...she came back with her 2 and 4 year old little girls, and Trixie wouldn't let the kids in the house. She was growling, hair raised...I had to hold her back. We regrouped and tried to have the older child approach Trixie, hand out...but Trixie wouldn't back down and it escalated. Poor James and I still didn't realize what we were dealing with...we thought, oh, crap--we're going to need more training. But no, that level of aggression is a deal-breaker. We consulted right then with another dog trainer who agreed that Trixie couldn't be around kids, and then we waited for Tuesday morning (of course it was Memorial Day weekend). It was a long few days, with Trixie either crated or in the back yard. James and I took turns walking her and loving on her, but we couldn't let her around the kids. It's hard to put it all into words, really...I don't want to go into too much detail here because I know Kayci reads my blog. We consulted two dog trainers, the animal shelter administrator, and our vet, and all four agreed: an animal that is that aggressive can't be anyone's pet. So, we took her to the vet on Tuesday afternoon and did the humane thing.
We unknowingly put our kids (and ourselves) in a dangerous situation with an aggressive animal. If it hadn't been the dog trainer's kids, we might have continued to misread Trixie's behaviors and thought it was unfortunate, but not a big deal. It was a very big deal, and we're lucky nobody was hurt. It just doesn't bear thinking about, but you know it runs around and around in my head.
I really thought we were meant to have Trixie, and we were all in on this dog. I think that's why it's so hard to understand and deal with. There's so much I'm not explaining well, but that's the gist of it: we no longer have a Trixie, and we're trying to understand it all.
And PS: we're so not getting another dog any time soon.