i am going to talk about the ripple effect again…

Posted: July 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm

the ripple effect is not just some random outward moving thing without any kind of predictability. sometimes it seems like it is but really with some thought and common sense it is pretty predictable in where it is going.

one of the reasons we do so well with some types of biters here is because if we can figure out the reason for biting, we remove that reason from their lives. biting can become an escalating habit…if it was successful in meeting their needs the first time then it may be successful again.

if you do not want a certain behavior to spiral out of control, then take away the triggers and opportunity BEFORE it becomes a huge big problem. if you do nothing and just watch it escalate, pretty soon it will grow into something unmanageable and  gigantic and the next steps you have to take will not be happy ones.

today two things happened which if i am really careful, will seriously impact 2 of the animals for how ever long they will live here…which in one case, may not be too much longer….if i am NOT careful…it may impact more.

i have said it one hundred times before…rescue is a burden of responsibility. it is a burden because there will be times when whatever decisions or actions you make (or do not make) are going to haunt you for the rest of your life…and you cannot escape from that.

and so every step has to be carefully thought out before the ripples reach out and drown you or someone else.

when i came home for lunch today…bailey was outside and unsupervised running the fence line in full out mindless prey drive with amos the donkey. amos’s adrenalin was just as hyped up as he battled along the fence line against his new arch enemy… the prey driven dog.

i was livid..i went outside and gave bailey supreme shit and sent him flying back into the house. now here is a new rule that bailey must live with….he is NEVER to be out of my room unless i am with him or he is secured on a leash..not even to just go outside in the yard to pee. his prey drive is escalating and he has reached the point where in my mind he has just become a full dangerous dog. bailey got away with running that fence line one time too many. i am utterly convinced that he will if given the opportunity kill either one of the smaller barn yards or one of the house cats.

his switch is fully turned on and i have no idea how to turn it off.

and now what do i do..i cannot send him out..i thought a home in the city might do…but what about wandering neighbor cats that might jump into his yard one day…do they deserve to die in the jaws of bailey, a dog i know has a serious problem? if that was your cat who jumped over the very wrong fence…how would you feel about that?

up to this point….i do not keep truly dangerous dogs at saints. but there in lies the problem..i happen to love bailey a lot by now and i want to find a iron clad way to keep him safe from himself.

tonight the only options i see are either euthanizing him before he kills..waiting til after it happens or making him live in a roofed and locked outside kennel all day til i get home at night. it is one thing for me to make a mistake and carry the burden of responsibility for the rest of my life…it is another thing altogether to leave that burden for the staff or volunteers..they did not sign up for that kind of responsibility around here.

the other thing that happened also involved amos the donkey. and it also involved possible deadly violence to another. amos was to stay segregated from all of the other animals until several months after his gelding. he is a full jack (stallion) donkey and he is dangerous with all of that testosterone pumping around. i said it was ok for him to come out into the riding ring when no one else was in there. this was a really bad decision on my part because i did not consider that al jumps the fence  into there and those stupid little dogs squeeze in under the gate.

anyway thankfully it was not one of them that he went after today because if it was, one of them would be dead. today he went after ellie -mae as she was napping underneath the new shelter, where she was not supposed to be. amos went up in full rear and pounded the shit out of her neck and the back of her head. it was the absolute worst spot on her body that he could have aimed for and i think amos knew that too.. if her thick muscles have not fully cushioned those blows, she may well end up with swelling inside the spinal column, which will lead to swelling within the brain…we won’t know for sure that she has escaped this for several days.

i did talk to the vet and he said we also have to watch for dehydration and fatty liver disease because if she stops eating or drinking because her neck is too sore, she could get really sick within a few days from that too.

so now we have a donkey that just lost any chance of ever being fully intregated into the barn yard at saints. we caannot risk trying him out once his hormones are gone because we already know now that amos has felt and acted violently towards a pig and a dog. his hormones may settle at some point but it won’t do a damn thing to his memory…once he has done it once, he may do it again..violent donkey feet applied with enough force to the the right part of the body, can under some circumstances be deadly….it is not a risk with him that  i can take now.

amos will never be allowed in the riding ring again or the fields because even if we are careful to make sure pigs and goats and sheep are not ever anywhere near him again…we cannot keep 30  trusting and busy dogs from sneaking under gates, over fences, playing with balls next to feet or just trotting innocently along.

my only two options for him are to find him an appropriate home or forever safely confine him.

and this is why all of us have to try to be superhumans and never make a mistake because when we mess up, some animal around here will pay the full price.

i am still thinking about bailey that i do really love…do i try to prevent him from killing by being totally on top of him and taking away all freedom?  do i trust if i do find him a very good home that they can take on the very real and lifelong responsibility to protect any animal he sees as prey who might get anywhere near him? or do i just love him and kill him and then know he is forever dead but safe?

anyone who thinks rescue is black and white, only about doing good things and forever a happy ending, has never seen the ripple effect and fully understood the part in it that they played.

please be well and strong  ellie, we all really do love you and are sorry you were hurt today…it will not happen again.

amos and bailey i am really pissed at you both for making me think about both of you like this today.

15 Comments on "i am going to talk about the ripple effect again…"

  • lynne says

    sorry carol but my opinion not that it probably matter is if you are going to take away all of baileys freedom and he is confined to the bedroom then he may as well be dead. that is no life for a big dog, if euthanized he will feel nothing anymore. if you could find him an ironclad home then great. it is really hard i would imagine when you take on new animals because you really do not know what they are like and hard to know what to do with them when they become a problem. i love bailey too i do not envy your position in what to do. you will know.

  • Rae says

    Carol did you know there is a donkey sanctuary just outside of Salmon Arm?
    http://www.turtlevalleydonkeyrefuge.net/
    Maybe this would ba an appropriate spot for Amos?

  • erin says

    bailey has issues with cats too? that i did not know. i disagree with lynne, because he doesnt fit in doesnt mean he should die for it, does it? can you do a trade or something with another rescue? is there a german sheaperd rescue group? shit, baileys a good dog, hey dogtown got room for another?

  • Carol says

    the problem erin is that by shifting him over to another rescue or home (and no, dog town will not take him..i have been down that road with them before when angel the dog killed murphy the cat several years ago)..i am not only asking another rescue to be forever responsible for him BUT if they place him incorrectly..it does not absolve my responsibility to either him or whoever he hurts because i passed bailey and his problem on to others to get free of them myself.

  • Erika says

    If the donkey sanctuary will take Amos I think that would be the best thing for him. I worked on a farm with donkeys for 10 years and they certainly needed each other and were a tight knit little herd. Just my opinion after having worked with them and because I don’t think it is fair to keep a herd animal apart from others of his kind. (I do know that he needs to be kept apart until he is gelded though).
    Erika

  • erin says

    but its not just passing the buck, its about protecting the other animals, which most other rescues dont have. frig. im still too new to saints to know alot of the histories (ie dogtown). if you do ever write a book carol i ll be first in line to buy it.

  • lynne says

    sorry erin but if bailey fits in nowhere he has no life i so so do not want baileys life taken but confined to small spaces is no life either. i really wished one of us would have seen what was going on, i actually look out there quite often when bailey is outside but i must have been in the kitchen or something. this really did not have to happen. amos and bailey running the fence got them both in shit amos probably got quite excited and unruly with bailey and then took it out on ellie. i feel very bad for both of them. hope there can be some positive outcome.

  • Carol says

    yes erin BUT..in passing the buck i still have to make sure that bailey is well protected forever. there are some really great and some not so great or careful rescues out there….like everything else it is the nature of the varied rescue beast..everything from great to good to mediocre to downright a mistake.. i work alone so much now that i cannot even really say that i know for sure where others stand in how well they practice their craft. if i send bailey out to a not so careful place..i have not done him any favor at all…i have just perpetuated his ongoing life’s troubles. i can’t do that to him.
    and the bottom line is…a good portion of our animals over the years have come from other rescues who couldn’t cope with them but they were ok for me to manage because we have more help, more space, more actual resources plus i am pretty tolerant of many things that others are not..so if bailey is a big problem for me…he will probably be an even bigger problem for someone else.

  • Brenda says

    I trust in your judgement Carol re what to do about Bailey. What a shitty decision any way you look at it. I’ve seen Bailey get into a frenzy running the fence with Dusty. I had a heck of a time getting him back in the house, and it made me nervous. I hated to put him back in, but it was necessary. This is a scary situation – for Bailey, the other animals, the volunteers, and especially you. I understand the BURDEN you talk about now – really shitty! Whatever you decide is going to cause you turmoil and grief. I support whatever that is. I’m just a very small part of SAINTS but have come to know to trust in you and your heart.

  • Rae says

    Carol what about Puff Daddy, where is he now?

  • nicole says

    oh puff daddy. carol or mj can give a better update, but i believe he is currently vacationing in montreal!! so spoiled.

  • Carol says

    no..puff daddy, (aka kai) is living with mj’s daughter who is the one who adopted him, out in the boonies of manitoba…she is a conservation officer now. he still comes back for frequent visits to mj’s…he has turned into a pretty good dog…he was just a bit mixed up in his head from being in the wrong homes….i think from what i have heard from mj that his head is ok now.

  • cheryl and stef says

    Okay I know you have probably heard of this but how about putting Bailey on Prozac. I have 2 people now that have both had their one was a cat and one dog on it for 6 months. The cat was almost killing the pup, sent puppy to vet twice for almost taking out his eyes. The dog was just high anxiety and you could not control him. Prozac for a few months and for some reason it erases any learned behavior from before. I would not have thought it would work but these 2 animals are absolutely different pets. I wonder if it would work for aggresive dogs also.

  • Rae says

    Good that makes my heart happy. He is a good dog, he was just confused.

  • nicole says

    MJ’s daughter is in montreal for the summer so Kai went out there with her.

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