It didn’t work out with Frank

Tuesday, December 10, 2013: I feel a deep sadness tonight, and a strong sense of guilt. It didn’t work out with Frank, the new pup, and I feel terrible. It was a really bad day, and I’ve kind of seen this coming, I just thought it would get better. Dec. 10 was a “snow-day”, and I was home for the day because so many patients had cancelled appointments where I work. I’d been taking Frank out to do his business with all 4 other dogs, and it was getting more and more difficult because he and Niko were very aggressive toward each other. There was a lot of snarling, barking, growling, and head-to-head loud, teeth-baring engagement. So this morning, when the barking and snarling was just too much noise at 7:30 AM, I put Niko inside so Frank could do his business in relative peace. It just didn’t seem possible that they’d ever leave each other alone long enough for anything productive to happen. So I casually walked with Frank back over to the snow-covered yard, and that was when he turned on me. I was turning to walk toward the wall, and look down at the creek, and Frank kept coming at me from behind: he attacked my legs, ripped my clothes, latched on to my arm and tore my jacket. I was wearing a lot of clothing, which was a lucky thing. If I walked away from him, he repeatedly ran at me and bit my legs – hard. If I turned toward him, he lunged at me and held on to my arm. He would not have let up had I not thrown my coffee right into his face. That took him aback long enough for me to get to the gate and shut it on him. This behavior was such a surprise for me, because I had approached the outing like a fun time; we’d play in the snow. Prior to this, Frank and I had been doing some serious bonding; I’d taken him on 2 successful walks over the weekend, even one that involved just me and him going to the towpath in the truck. He had even been sleeping on our bed with us or on the floor of our bedroom. I wrote it up in an email to Bob when I got in the house and calmed down about it:

“I just had a really bad incident with Frank. I had to put Niko back in the house while I had him out because they were carrying on barking too much. Went back out with Red and Frank in yard, had just warmed up my coffee, and was enjoying watching it snow. Frank seemed like he just wanted to play – at first. Seemed to be really into the snow, and was going at Red, seemingly to try to get her to play. But she snarled at him, and then things turned on me. I was trying to go towards the wall, Frank kept coming at me and grabbing my coat with his teeth. I heard it rip, and at this point, I just think he’s being playful, but he quickly got really aggressive, biting at my legs, hard, ripped my pajamas, if I turned to face him he lunged at me and put his teeth around my arm. I was wearing 3 layers, and his teeth are dull, but he gripped me hard. The look on his face was pure aggression. Whenever I turned to go the other way, he bit my thighs hard. I was backing up toward the gate at this point, he would not have stopped so I threw my coffee in his face, which took him aback at first, so I slammed the gate shut. He and Red both eventually got through it, and I had to let him back in the house. He seemed all sheepish and whiney and apologetic, but I can’t trust him. Feel pretty awful right now, he’s got a streak of aggression/craziness, and it was directed at me.”

Bob suggested that I not go out with Frank alone after that: “I suggest that you have Niko there, he will not allow that to happen. Guaranteed. It is why he is there, his choice.”

Well, Bob was right about that, but it cost Niko. Later that day, it was time to take them all out again, and I took all 5 out at once to relieve themselves. I did sense that Frank wanted another piece of me, but Niko wouldn’t let him get near me, and they just tore into each other. It didn’t end outside either, they came in and continued in the kitchen, for me to intervene was dangerous; these are two large adult male shepherds. I somehow got one out and one in, but that was about all I could take. Niko was really distraught by this too, and was limping and shaken when it was over. He was the one outside, and he just laid down on the snow-covered deck, and panted. I couldn’t even get him to get up. It had been building up to this, I now saw. And because of this and the earlier incident that morning with me and Frank, Bob took Frank tonight to the rescue lady that we got Niko from. I made sure he gave her a clear warning of what to expect, and he did. I hope it works out for Frank. But after this morning, where he turned on me, I just couldn’t trust him anymore. I feel sad because there were so many aspects to him that were positive. It’s just impossible to know, given how Bob found him and got him, and what was being done to him then just how it had affected him.

I expect fall-out from “beyond” because of this. I expect to be vilified again, like the month-long “dog-house” I was placed in because of how I supposedly reacted to Niko’s biting of Kate last July. I accepted that there was going to be a price, and I was willing to pay it because I couldn’t deal with the option of keeping Frank. So of course, the question remains, what was Bob’s recurring dream about? Was it just that this pup needed rescue, and we did not necessarily need to keep him? Maybe he and Niko were not meant to be together. Whatever it is, may just come out in the future; we sure don’t know right now.

This was taken 12/8 in our house: Red, Frank, Niko all lined up at the gate to the kitchen:

Three Shepherd faces: Red, Frank, Niko

Three Shepherd faces: Red, Frank, Niko

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