I have come to an almost unbearably horrible road block in my rehabilitation work with Tucker, a 5 year old Australian shepherd from Boise, Idaho. I have a very short time to find a place for him or I will have to make the hardest decision I’ve ever faced in my rescue career and have him euthanized. I don’t believe in saying “put him to sleep” because that’s not what it is. It’s murder, plain and simple and I’ve never believed myself to be a murderer, yet here I am.
Long story short, Tucker has a history of being unpredictable and aggressive with smaller animals and children. He ended up with me after, upon expecting their 2 child, Tucker’s original family felt they could not trust him and were being forced by family toward the decision of having him euthanized. Move Mutt stepped in, found him a foster home in Las Vegas, and I began intensive work with his behavior.
Tucker showed improvements, but attacked a puppy in his foster families home and they no longer felt comfortable having him there. A friend of mine allowed me to bring him to his home, where I continued our training. Unfortunately, I made a very poor decision and trusted him too soon, exposing him to my young niece on Thanksgiving. All was well at first, but something triggered Tucker and he attacked. My niece is fine, but has made several trips to the hospital to ensure the wound does not become infected. I no longer have the support of my family or friends to continue helping this dog.
I know there are those out there who have no tolerance for a dog that bites, but I look at it differently. This is a working dog from a line of herding animals that never should have been sold as a pet in the first place – but he was. This is an innocent animal that has been placed in this situation by us – people – and he doesn’t even realize what it is that he’s done. There is a home for him out there. One with no children. One with someone who will understand and nurture his intense devotion, amazing athleticism, and high intelligence. I just don’t have much time to find it.
If you are not familiar with Move Mutt and my story, I am a canine behavior consultant, working with pets since 1975. In December, 2008, while in the midst of realizing my dream and building a world-class behavior/ training /education /rescue and daycare & boarding facility in Boise, Idaho, I was bit by a dog while breaking up a fight and almost lost my life to an infection (sepsis). After beating the 1 in 10 odds the doctors gave me of simply surviving, losing the fingers on my right hand, my dream, the $2.1 million dream project, my home, my car, most of my belongings and my relationship; me, my 2 Australian Shepherds and 2 kitties, moved in with my family in Henderson, NV. A detailed story can be found at bothwww.movemutt.org/About-Us.htmland www.movemutt.org/Team-Biographies.html.
I have since struggled to simply regain my health and rebuild my life to a point where I can once again take care of myself and my pets. I have not been able to return to full-time work yet and am working with the help of friends and volunteers to keep Move Mutt, the animal welfare non-profit organization I founded, running. I have since been contacted by the families of several other people who either lost limbs, or their lives to sepsis following a dog bite. They’ve all asked about my experience and how I’ve been able to continue my work in animal rescue. There is no way I can imagine doing anything else and in addition to continuing my work with Move Mutt, I am now trying to use my experience to educate as many people as possible about the precautions to take while working with dogs if you have a compromised immune system. While I don’t want one more person to needlessly suffer, I feel just as strongly about not allowing animals to needlessly suffer.
I know that Tucker can and will form a loving bond, he just needs to be somewhere that he feels safe and secure, with a person or people that he can trust and love. He needs time and patience. I would give everything I have (even the rest of my right arm!) to be able to be the one that that can give Tucker what he so richly deserves, but without my own home, and not knowing when I will have one again, I am completely helpless. Tucker is an amazing, awesome dog and he does not deserve the fate of so many other Australian Shepherds that are thrown into situations where their normal behavior is considered dangerous.
I am desperately seeking assistance with this misunderstood animal and am praying for an angel to help us! Move Mutt will offer a donation, financial assistance for care and transportation, and any other things that may be necessary. I will offer my time for transport and for facilitating a safe and healthy introduction, no matter where it is, to Tucker’s new environment. If there is any way at all you can help give Tucker a home, I would forever be in your debt. There are pictures, video and more background on Tucker at: http://www.movemutt.org/Tucker.html.