Difficult Decisions (Dakota)

The older Dakota got the more play he demanded. He was about a year old and we were exhausted, and he wasn’t letting up. He started getting into things he knew he wasn’t supposed to and stealing our things so we’d have to pay attention to him. One Sunday evening he was unusually quiet. We thought he was just tired from being at the barn all day. After dinner I took him out. He squatted and nothing came out then he started throwing up what seemed to be gallons of water. I called the emergency animal service since our vet didn’t have weekend hours. We rush him in immediately. 

After an exam, the vet said he suspected a blockage in his small intestine. We couldn’t imagine what it could be since he’s always with us. We sat in the waiting room for several hours while Dakota was in surgery. The vet finally came out and said surgery went well, they found the blockage. He held up a bag and asked if we had any idea what this thing is. It was a hard, bouncy cat ball the neither of us new we had. Dakota found it. They wanted to keep him over night, but he had to be picked up before 8 the following morning and transferred to his regular vet. When we got home I left a message for Dakota’s vet telling them he’d be there early the following morning. Morning came and I picked him up and took him to his vet. He was to stay there for a few days to make sure there wouldn’t be any complications from surgery. A few day later the vet called. There were no problems and we could pick him up, but he needed to stay quiet for about a week. I told her if he was supposed to be quiet, they needed to keep him. The only way we could keep him quiet was to keep him crated and we certainly couldn’t crate him for a week.

Dakota got the all clear to come home and resume his (almost) normal activities. He was as active as ever but starting to get a bit aggressive. We weren’t sure if it was the surgery that caused this or having to be quiet for over a week. We took him to dog trainers, did everything suggested, and nothing could break his aggression. In fact it was getting worse. If he stole something that wasn’t his and we tried to take it, he’d growl. If we persisted, he’d bite. I could no longer handle him. I was getting to the point where I was afraid to be home alone with him. Since I worked at home, this was getting to be a huge problem. He was as strong as an ox and weighed about 30 lbs. less than me.  After trying to push thru this, dog trainers, Greg having to come home from work to rescue me from Dakota trapping me in one room, it was time to make a decision. We just couldn’t continue the way we had been. 

In early December 2009 I made arrangements for a Springer rescue to take him. We drove him to a foster home over an hour away. We watched as he played with the other dogs and made himself at home. He was happy and barely said goodbye. A few months later I got a call from the rescue. He’d been rehabbed and rehomed. He was living with a family in Delaware that had 2 boys that loved to play baseball. Dakota was going to love it there.

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