Friday, November 16, 2012

Liberty's story

We found Liberty at Petsmart when the Humane Society was there. Katrina was 3 and when she went over to pet Liberty, Liberty threw herself on the ground, stomach up for Kat to pet her. We immediately fell in love. We adopted her but not before bringing in the other two dogs to meet her on neutral territory to make sure everyone got along.

She was born on July 4th, 2006. Her original name was Molly but because we already have a Molly in the family (my parent's dog), we renamed her to Liberty.

We were told that Liberty had a slight case of Separation Anxiety. It was soon discovered that it was not a slight case.

A few of my neighbors thought that we named her Liberty because if we left her outside when we had to run errands, she would escape, ie.wanting her "liberty". We named her because she was born on the 4th of July.

So, we knew we had to keep her inside when we left because she would escape. She destroyed everything when we left the house. Leaving her in a crate caused her to cry constantly (I video taped it) and hyper salivate.

We took her to the vet for a solution and was instructed to see a specialist. I think she was $120/hr but we were willing to pay for it because we loved her so much and my feelings about dogs are "WHEN YOU ADOPT A DOG, IT'S FOR LIFE". Also, it was kind of fun to say, "Well, my dog's therapist says.....". We bombarded Liberty with sedatives so I could go to the grocery store without having my home destroyed. We bought pheromone collars, sprays, outlet dispensers and received a prescription for Prozac. We were also given instructions on how to ignore her when we leave and to ignore her until she settles down when we return.We left a tv on, a Kong toy with peanut butter to occupy her. We closed every door to every room with the exception of our master bedroom. We left that door open and opened the blinds so she could look outside and not feel so "trapped". We moved the garbage can from the kitchen to the closed bathroom so she wouldn't destroy it. Sometimes we'd forget to shut the bathroom door and we'd come home to this:

We even took her to Petsmart for obedience training. She passed!

It was shortly after this that we discovered she contracted Valley Fever. Boy, those are expensive medications! She was now taking three medications...Prozac,  Fluconazole and a dog anti-inflammatory for her swollen shoulder from the Valley Fever.

When we left for a cruise in January of 2009. We were gone about a week. When we returned we're not sure what happened, but Liberty attacked Zoe. I mean ATTACKED. Gigi started to get in the action, too.
Zoe required surgery. There was a lot of damage to the muscle deep inside where Liberty's tooth had kind of hooked around it and pulled.

There was no food or toys they were fighting over so we're not sure what triggered the attack. I had the vet do a urine test on Zoe to see if maybe she was sick and Liberty was picking up on that and trying to take over alpha status. It was discovered that Zoe had crystals in her urine. We immediately started Zoe on medication and a recommended vegetarian diet.

We decided that the stress of us leaving for so long, maybe the new anti-inflammatory drugs and Zoe not feeling good was why Liberty attacked.

We were good for about another 3 years. Liberty still had her moments of destruction but for the most part, things were good until Liberty attacked again. We were babysitting a relative's dog, which happened to be a puppy, when Liberty lost it and attacked Zoe again. This time was worse. She had tubes sewn into her to drain fluid. This was on Christmas Eve 2011.

This time, we got a dog trainer that came to our home to observe the relationships between us and the dogs. We had to wait until we got our tax refund because having a dog trainer come to our house is NOT cheap. In the meantime, we kept the dogs separated and occasionally, I would come home to something like this.

That's flour, powdered sugar, plastic bags and lots of other things I can't quite remember right now.
My friend, Amy, loaned me her dog collar zappers. Zoe got one and so did Liberty as we weren't too sure who was the instigator. The zappers worked like a charm and I never came home to the above messes again. When Angel, our at home dog trainer approved them, we kept them on 24/7.
Angel taught us new tricks, rules and strict routines for the dogs. We even got Liberty in a crate! Whenever we left the house, she went in her crate. She was good about, too. No crying or whimpering. We also started her back on the Prozac as we had stopped it sometime earlier because her anxiety seemed to be a bit better. I also bought her a Thundershirt to help keep her calmer.

I don't know what happened yesterday. The meter man from the electric company came to the back fence to read the meter. The dogs went nuts and before I knew it, Liberty was again on top of Zoe ripping her apart. 

I had just taken off the Thundershirt that morning to wash it. She had worn it for several days in a row.

When Liberty attacked, I had Blake and my kids and the two girls I babysit inside. I ran outside and pulled Liberty off of Zoe and when I looked up, Trent had Gigi. I guess Gigi was going for it, too. Zoe ran inside and the girls shut the door.

I couldn't look at Zoe's wound until the baby was picked up. It was only about 15 minutes to that time. I also called Erik to come home immediately. Once I got a chance to look at Zoe's wound, I knew we'd be going to the vet again.

I was sick with worry. SICK

I knew at this time that this was it for Liberty. We have tried EVERYTHING with her. We have spent thousands of dollars on dog trainers, therapists, medications and special gadgets for Liberty not to mention the thousands of dollars on surgeries for Zoe and the pain and agony she's been through.

It was an easy decision to make but the hardest to fulfill. I couldn't put her in a rescue because what if she attacked another dog? I couldn't find her a home with no dogs and no kids (she's never attacked humans but who wants to take the chance???) because who would put up with her separation anxiety and the very expensive Valley Fever meds? I just know that the first time Liberty destroyed something in a new owners' home, it would be a trip back to the Humane Society.

She had to be put down. And she had to be put down by us. I have NEVER put a young dog down that was physically "healthy". She had something in her brain that just clicked and made her attack and no matter what we did, we couldn't fix it. What if the next time she snapped, it was with one of the kids?

The entire family agreed. Erik had to work (as he is in a new job) so the kids and I and my mother took Liberty in to be put down.

Last night, she got every treat we had left in the house. This morning she went for a walk and I didn't yell at her for pulling on the leash. She was fed both Zoe's vegetarian food AND her food with an extra scoop and then we pretended not to look when she went for Zoe's food in the storage container. She rode to the vets' with her head hanging out of the car window and loved every second of her last few minutes of life.

I feel like I murdered my dog. She was my favorite dog. She was mine. Zoe belongs to Erik. Zoe doesn't even like me. 

The kids had the choice of leaving the room when her heart was stopped. Both of them stayed and petted her until she died. I'm proud of them. They're brave kids because I'm still crying and it's been hours.

I miss her so much. She'd sit at my feet and talk to me with little howls that sounded like, "I love you". She slept on the floor at my side of the bed.

Liberty's last picture with the kids this am. I can't even show you a pic of Zoe because it's so bad.

Thank you for reading and thank you for all the support and well wishes you've given me on Facebook.


Ohhh Snap said...

My heartfelt condolences on your loss. I hope you can take some comfort in knowing you did all you could. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

It's Jenn! said...

Saying prayers for you and your family. I'm crying right along with you! I don't know your entire story, but from what I've read, you did all you could and what a better way to go than surrounded by those you love, without suffering. I don't comment often, but this one got me. Big hugs!!

Flamenco92627/ Julieta said...

What a difficult decision you had to make. My heart hurts for you, and I'm so sorry. Condolences to you and your family.

DonnaMundinger said...

Oh Sweetie! I'm so very sorry. I've got tears too but can't even imagine what the family is going through. You did everything humanly possible and made the right decision. My heart goes out to you. xxD

Carole Beath said...

Oh Heather... for a long long time I read the adventures of Liberty. I know you did everything you could to make Liberty comfortable and happy. I am so so sorry, Heather. I know your heart is broken. My heart broke reading your story ...

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