Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Death of a Dog





There was a very bright flash of light followed by a clap of thunder that rattled the house. The lights flickered then died. Tyger Lynn wanted to go out and bark at all of this and I let her out. Everyone Lilith and Tanya stayed with me on the sofa. Tanya has learned to give me space while I’m writing but she has also learned that crowding me may mean more pettings. She doesn’t understand how I can man handle her with just one arm. The truth is I was used to navigating the sofa with Lucas who was about eighty more pounds of dog. But Tanya has learned, had learned, to share the sofa. She had learned to share food. She had learned to go to her crate without being told. She was learning some manner in public.

But there was the attack on Lilith that left Lilith with a serious gash on her leg. We came home from an adoption event and Tanya was always ramped up when we got home. I had to grab her by her hind legs and swing her around to get her to come down off of Lilith. And there was the time she attacked Tyger Linn and I had to drag her out of that fight too. There was always some triggering event, and after every adopt event I would force Tanya to stay away from the other dogs until she calmed down. Last week I took her straight into the house with the other dogs and let them all out into the yard and Tanya was okay. I thought we had turned a corner of sorts. I thought she had come down from where she was.

There were two trucks out here last night, men talking to one another just outside the fence, and all three girls were pretty excited. I put Tanya in her crate until the lights were back on and the guys were gone. I had let Lilith and Tyger Linn out. Tanya seemed fine. She was happy to get out of her box and when I let her out she didn’t seem ramped up at all.

I heard the fight and I wondered if it was coyotes. It didn’t occur to me that it was my dogs. I found Tanya on top of Tyger Linn and tried to pull her off by her collar and it didn’t work. I grabbed her hind legs and pulled but she wouldn’t let go. I grabbed the water hose and it seemed to make her madder. There was blood everywhere. I went back into the house and got the shotgun. I really didn’t think I would have to shoot Tanya but I knew the sound of the gun might be enough. They were still fighting but Tyger had managed to escape and get about halfway to the house. I put the barrel down as close to their heads as I could and pulled the trigger.

A twelve gauge is a very loud gun and up close it’s even louder. They broke up the fight and Tyger Lynn ran for the house. I tried to grab Tanya to keep her from going after Tyger and she lunged at me. I kicked her, hard, as hard as I could, and I screamed at her, “NO” and Tanya lunged at me again, and I kicked her again, and I screamed at her and she came after me again, and I dropped the barrel of the gun down and I killed her.

The blast tore a hole through her but she managed to run towards the house.


I went inside and Tyger was hiding under the table. Her neck was a mess of small homes, torn flesh and blood, so much blood. I clean her off and gave her a bath. Shew as covered in dirt and blood. She sat in the tub and trembled and let me clean her off. I got her out of the tub, cleaned her neck off and she ran under the table again.


I knew I had to bury Tanya. I knew as long as she was above ground I wouldn’t sleep, couldn’t sleep, and it had to be done at night. I went and got the wheelbarrow and the shovel and thought about calling someone. But close to midnight no one is there. My crazy little girl was torn up bad. I had done this to her. Her face was contorted and covered in dirt and her blood and Tyger’s blood. I went back inside and got a wet towel to clean her face off. There in the light of the flashlight she look like the girl I loved. She looked like she was asleep.


This is the third grave I’ve dug this year. The dog of my heart and his companion are buried in the woods outside my home and now, Tanya, the Destroyer, lies cold in the ground.


I’m good with dogs. I can solve any problem. I can take in any dog, right? I can take the crazy little girl and teach her manners and because I love her I can save her. That’s all arrogant bullshit. I fucking failed Tanya. Now she’s dead.



What have I done?

22 comments:

  1. You didn't fail, Mike. Some dogs can't be saved. You did your best. Sending you hugs, hon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm suppose to save lives, Janye.

      Delete
    2. You did. You saved Lilith and Tyger Lynn.

      Delete
  2. you didn't fail....I didn't fail....we try, we love, we learn...but we do not fail.... <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tanya paid the price for my inability, Jackie.

      Delete
  3. You did not raise her from a pup. There must have been trauma in her past that you did not know or understand. Deep. disturbing trauma resulting in dysfunction. Doggy PTSD. This dog that turned on you was up for adoption. It could have been somebody's kid.

    It happens to people too. We see them on TV or in the papers and we wonder how they were broken and we sob for their victims.

    We govern our thoughts, our intentions and the resulting actions. But the universe determines outcomes and does not ask our permission.

    There will be another dog. It is who you are and it is good

    ReplyDelete
  4. Meanwhile, as you cry for Tanya, we cry for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks William! You are a kind person.

      Delete
  5. I had my heart in my mouth reading this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just read it over again, John. So many typos. So many mistakes.

      Delete
  6. Mike, you gave Tanya months of kindness and love she would not have otherwise had. I am not going to try and convince you that you did not fail. There is no point. But I am going to remind you that you did not fail Tyger Lynn this night. You did not fail the family Tanya may have been adopted by. I am so angry that I was not be there to dig with you or calm the girls. I have never hated an ocean so much as I do tonight.
    Mike, what would you say to another fosterer if they were telling you this story?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would tell them never take a gun to a dog fight.

      Delete
    2. Be kind to yourself, Mr Firesmith. xo

      Delete
  7. What have you done? Only your best, which is better than most. You did not fail Tanya, Mike. She would not have lived if not with you. Imagine if she did get adopted then something like this happened to the new owner, who would probably be less equipped to deal with the situation. Perhaps it was meant to be. My thoughts are with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Scoacat. I need them right now.

      Delete
  8. Oh shit, I’m sorry to hear this.
    You did the very best anyone could do this dog, as you do for all of them. It doesn’t sound to me that you had much choice at the time. Only you know if you shot her in anger, but repeatedly attacking you doesn’t give you any choice, she had to be stopped.
    I am sure, however it didn’t come to this through anything you did, or didn’t do, while she was in your care. Yes, it was a failure, but it wasn’t yours, it happened way before you.
    I hope Tyger is recovering well, mentally and physically.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TYger is hiding under the table more than I like but she did get out and run yesterday. None of her wounds are as serious as they looked yesterday

      Delete
  9. Glad to hear she's doing well, I hope you follow suit.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I could just now read this. You already know how I feel, but use all of us to help you.

    ReplyDelete