for the love of Red, our hard day

Today is Red’s last day. I’m trying to make it special, trying to let her know that she was loved deeply by her family. I’m also trying to think of all our options and make sure the choice to euthanize Red is the right one.

Red came to us four years ago with baggage. The details are unknown. By ten months of age Red was already an accomplished fence fighter due to a natural propensity and, probably, due as well to her breeder’s dog management system.

My purchase of Red was a mistake. Could her life have been better without my intervention? Perhaps.

If Red had been purchased by a woman who stayed at home 24/7, who lived on 100 acres with cows and sheep, and who trained softly her life would have been lovely.

If, on the other hand, she had gone to a man, to a person who worked outside the home, who practiced herding or trained intermittently, or who punished to modify behavior, Red’s life would have been worse.

In many ways we gave Red the best four years possible for us. We could certainly have done more and I’ll forever carry with me the knowledge that I failed Red in some way.

But the baggage she brought to our home at 10 months of age proved to be too heavy a burden over time. And now she has to go, and I have to take her to her final destination.

The thought of someone beating or punishing Red to alter her inate behavior is beyond consideration. It’s impossible to think about simply rehoming her, knowing that someone will be hurt and someone will have to make this same hard decision.

For two years I’ve recognized that Red had problems we could not solve. In addition to the elusive physical issues, Red displayed symptoms of mental illness. Whether these were treatable anxieties, or clinical insanity, we’ll never know.

Though purchased to be an obedience and agility dog, Red became a stay-at-home companion who accompanied me on all my cottage visits, sneaked out of the yard to wait for me by the road when I went swimming, jumped the fence to accompany me on mowing tasks, and went insane.

Though it sounds horrible, I must say good riddance to the attacker of the aged and infirm dogs in her pack. But also a loving goodbye and be at peace to the sweet Red who woke me every morning with a gentle nudge of her prematurely gray muzzle and happy trails to the wiggle-butt who clearly loved me more than life itself.

Dear Red, please don’t make a pain in the ass of yourself at the rainbow bridge. Your great-grandmother, Belva Woodburn, is my guardian angel and will sit with you. I’ll be there before you know it.  All my love, Mom

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One Response to “for the love of Red, our hard day”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Marsha, I am so sorry you had to go through this. You clearly loved Red and had so much hope for Blue’s future. I know it was not an easy decision for you with either of them. Have a good cry. You did the best you could.


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