Monday, April 7, 2014

The Midget

You want to eat her face from that picture too don't you?;)  This is a difficult post to write, but it's gotta get done.  I have never felt more like a failure than I did earlier this year.  At the same time that Heffner was going through his surgery and difficult recovery from anesthesia, I called Ruthie's breeder to let her know that I couldn't do it any more.  Things just weren't working out with The Midget.  Because she's a reputable breeder, she took Ruthie back. 

Ruthie went from being in a home where there were a lot of people around a lot of the time to living with my ex husband and I.  Two people who worked full time and also had two giant dogs that were established in the house.  I knew this was going to be a transition for her and I was prepared, or so I thought, for the difficulties that potentially come with transitioning an adult dog into an established household.  At the time, I really thought my biggest hurdle was going to be Heffner.  He HATED her.  That first day I had serious doubts because he couldn't even stand the sound of her.  I had them on different floors of the house and any time she made a peep, it would set him off.  With time, a LOT of effort, and stubbornness on my part, as you've seen from this blog, all three dogs were able to coexist together.  Not only that, but Heffner and Ruthie could be loose in the house on the same dog bed together.  Now THAT seemed like quite the accomplishment!  I think I was so focused on making it work and maintaining the balance that I had found with all three dogs, that I was initially seeing certain things as just an annoyance.  But they were an annoyance that continued to build and not get better to the point that I just couldn't deal with it any more.

There were the constant accidents in the house.  I have never had a dog on SUCH a strict schedule as I did with Ruthie.  I literally could not take a shower and leave her loose in my house without coming out to find some sort of accident.  As soon as I got home for work, I'd rush all three dogs outside in the hopes that I could get her outside before she had an accident in her crate.  While all three were outside pottying, I'd quickly grab collar, leash, and dog coat for Ruthie so that I could quickly get her suited up and out on a walk in the hopes that it would prevent her from having an accident in the house.  I say quickly because it was not uncommon for her to start pooping while I was putting her coat on.  The regimen goes on and on.  Every day, every part of my time at home was centered around this dog and trying to maintain a happy balance that did not include cleaning poop or pee up from inside the house. 

Now add to that the screaming in the crate.  If I was lucky, I could sleep in until just past 7am.  That was her alarm clock regardless of how late I let her out to potty the night before.  I had some nights where I would be out with friends and not get home until after 1am (this was not often.  I'm getting old and staying up late is not my forte).  I'd let her out to potty and to have a break from her crate.  That did not reset the alarm clock.  There was still the blood curdling screaming at around 7 am.  There was the blood curdling screaming if I was trying to take a nap.  I couldn't leave her loose while I slept because there would be accidents to clean up.  But keeping her crated when she knew I was in the house was inexcusable.  The only way I was able to get relief was with a bark collar.  She was stubborn enough that she managed to scream her way through the first two out of five settings.  Even so, she would still periodically test the collar.  And the screaming was always there as I was putting the key in the lock upon getting home from work.  It came from inside the truck as I was unloading the big dogs for whatever outing I took all three on.  It happened during nail trimming (don't even get me started on that half hour weekly ordeal.  I seriously would start drinking before I did her nails in order to be able to work myself up to it).  And it happened during ear cleaning.  To the point where I've had neighbors look over my fence while I was cleaning her ears because they thought someone was getting brutally murdered in my backyard.  To be honest, there were times where I wouldn't have been surprised if I had the police knocking on my door letting me know that they had reports of domestic abuse from my residence.  It was bad.

There were other things as well.  She had burnt out two house/dog sitters because she took so much more effort to monitor than the two big dogs.  I just hit my breaking point where it seemed like no matter what I did and no matter how controlled I tried to keep the situation, it wasn't making a difference.  I hate that I couldn't figure out how to make it work, but ultimately that wasn't the complete problem.

Ruthie went back to her breeder about a week after Heffner's surgery.  Because she's been breeding frenchies for so long and has so much experience, there were things that she was able to pick up on that I had either missed or didn't think much of.  I chalked a lot of things up to Ruthie transitioning from a bustling household to one with two working adults and two giant dogs, to one with only one working adult who was trying to split her attention between three dogs.  Everyone knows that all dogs transition differently when going to a new home.  There are periods of adjustment.  I just kept thinking that this was what she was going through.  Ruthie had some degenerative neurological issues going on.  Potentially a brain tumor.  She was also losing sight in one of her eyes, which wasn't helping.  For these reasons and other issues going on, Ruthie's breeder decided it would be best for Ruthie, to let her go.

And yes, that's hard.  I felt like a failure for this little dog because I couldn't seem to figure out the perfect combination of whatever that worked for her.  And I also missed that there were health issues going on with her that were ultimately leading to some of the behavioral issues that I was seeing.  It sucks.  Life with Ruthie was not easy, but she was a hilarious and sweet little dog.  While there were trials along the way, there were also great moments.  Ultimately, I loved that little dog.  Here are a few parting shots of the Almighty Midget:


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Do not beat yourself up for it. It sounds like you did the best you could and gave Ruthie a life of love.

Kennedy said...

I'm very sorry for both the decision you had to make to let Ruthie go back to the breeder and her ultimate health issues that have her not here any more. Hopefully she's quiet and peaceful on the other side. All our best.