This evening I will go over to the home of my friend and KC Pittie Pack co-founder, Crystal, to hold her hand as she says goodbye to her longtime foster, Charlie Machete. Crystal found Charlie running around the Trolley Trail in our neighborhood in July 2011. After being unable to locate his owner, she took him in as her foster dog without a second thought.
It became clear pretty quickly that Charlie had some deep seated issues to overcome – fear of people, distrust of (some) dogs, being generally nervous… I have watched for the past two years as Crystal has worked tirelessly with Charlie to help him overcome these issues. She took up jogging to help him expel his nervous energy, she worked on his confidence through training, she bought endless types of leashes and head harnesses to find just the right one for Charlie, and even turned to medicine to help him get through a day without feeling the need to act out with aggression.
Charlie was adopted last year to a guy who seemed okay with working on those issues… until Crystal received a call from a shelter in Omaha alerting her that Charlie had been dropped off at the shelter and unless she picked him up, they would have to euthanize him due to his aggressive nature towards the shelter staff. Crystal’s boyfriend Zach raced up to Omaha to retrieve Charlie and back into foster he went. Crystal amped up her training efforts and things seemed to be getting better… until they weren’t.
After a couple more incidents of Charlie biting or attempting to bite people, Crystal has made the difficult decision to put Charlie to sleep. I will be there by her side as the vet comes to her house to do the procedure. I’ll admit, although I have had several family dogs put to sleep over the years, my mom has always shielded me from the procedure, opting to go to the vet’s office by herself to spare me the pain of it all. So this will be a first for me. But I know that I wouldn’t want to do this alone… and I always got along with Charlie. So I want to pay my respects and tell Charlie that he is a good dog, he is loved so much by Crystal, and that he isn’t going to live his life in fear anymore. And I want to tell Crystal that she is a good foster mom and that she is loved and supported. Today is going to be a hard day – if you think about it, please send some good thoughts and prayers to Crystal and Charlie.
I’ll be back on Monday with part two of my East Coast trip….