Rehoming Bailey – knowing when it’s time to let go (with UPDATES)

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It is with a very, very heavy heart that I report that we’ve made the decision to find a new home for Bailey. It’s not because she’s a bad dog. It’s because she and Bandit are like oil and water, and it’s become very clear that they can’t live together in the same house peacefully or safely.

I’ve sat down a few times to tell the whole story of Bailey, but it’s too difficult to think about losing a member of our family, and to think about how confusing this must be for her. For now, I’ll just tell you about Bailey and what a great dog she is in the hopes that someone out there may need the loving canine companionship she can give.

Bailey, October 2011

The basics:

Approx. 11 months old, female, spayed

Retriever/pit mix (although that’s just our best guess; I was told she’s a pit/shepherd mix, but she’s clearly a retriever, possibly Duck Toller)

Weighs 37.7 # and really shouldn’t get much bigger; she looks quite large in the photos but she’s actually smaller than Bandit.  She’s a very weird looking dog; she has a giant head and skinny body, and a really strange fur pattern on her back, which makes us think she may be part Duck Toller. She is, however, stunningly beautiful.

Has been through some  obedience training, including a “calm and control” class, all at Tails of Success; she’s super smart and quickly picks up whatever you want to teach her.

She is SUPER loving, snuggly, loves to be with her people. She sleeps in bed with us, loves to do any training you want to do with her and easily learns tricks. She’s just a really great companion.

She is housebroken, and does ride well in the car, although sometimes she barks at people as you drive. She likes to be wherever you are. She does have some separation issues, but that may be much easier to work with once she’s the only dog. She and Bandit have some jealousy issues, so if one leaves with me the other freaks out being left behind.

She really needs to go to a home without other dogs. (** SEE NOTE BELOW **) She has never been aggressive to people, but she is unpredictable with other dogs in the same house. (Think of it this way: people don’t love everyone they meet, and I’m sure there are some people you know who, if you were forced to live with them, you’d want to beat up, too.) She does live with our dog saavy cat, but I wouldn’t put her in a home with cats, either. She and Murphy have never actually fought, but she does play rough with him. And NO small children. She needs a calm environment.

She has mild hip dysplasia, which makes her occasionally being cranky. (I have xrays your vet can see.) She plays, she goes for walks, but if she overdoes it she needs rest and occasionally pain med. She also is taking Chinese herbal supplements under the care of a holistic vet.

The perfect home would be with someone who isn’t looking for just a pet, but a lifetime companion. Someone who is dog saavy, has a lot of patience, and who works at home or can take their dog to work in a calm environment would be ideal. She needs a calm home environment (SEE THE UPDATE!!) . She works really well on a schedule. Her new family must be committed to continuing her training to reinforce and build on the great foundation she’s got. Trust me, you will love working with her, quirks, challenges and all. She will reward you with love and companionship for the rest of her life. It breaks my heart to have to find her a new home.

11/6/11 NOTE: We had a consultation with Suzanne Clothier today. She agreed that Bailey needs to be separated from Bandit asap. We talked about options, including boarding her for a couple of weeks until we can get things calmed down here at home. But Suzanne also said that while a home without other dogs is ideal, she would not necessarily rule out a home with dogs.

Bailey’s problem is that she’s very reactive – like zero to mach 5 in a split second when provoked. But without something to react to, she’s very calm. With medication to help control her reactions, and an environment that isn’t constantly pushing her buttons, she may be OK in a home with another dog. But the circumstances would have to be just right and the owners would need to understand how to manage the situation correctly. SOOOOOO …. right now all options are on the table.

UPDATE 11/15/11: Bailey has been evaluated by a trainer this week – in addition to our regular trainer & Suzanne Clothier – who tested her with another dog, spent time with her at our house, and gave us her thoughts. She said she wouldn’t rule out Bailey with other dogs or a cat; it would all depend on the other animals. We’re also going to test her around some kids to see how she reacts. But Ada, the trainer, said she was very surprised and impressed by Bailey, calling her a sweetheart and eager to learn. She’s also offered to spend time with her every week to help continue her training. Yay!!

FACEBOOK – here’s more info you can share on FB with anyone who might be interested

Bailey, October 17, 2011

How she came to be with us:

I was volunteering at the animal shelter in downtown Rochester last January 22, 2011 when a woman came in and asked what she should do if she had more dogs than she could take care of. Her dog had had a litter of puppies, and she said she’d found homes for the rest of the litter but “couldn’t get rid” of these last two puppies. The pups were 6 weeks old, not old enough to be away from their mother, let alone be the last two pups of the litter to find homes. The shelter has a policy of euthanizing pit bulls, and the woman said the pups were pit/shepherd mixes. One volunteer took one home, I offered to foster the other until a local pit bull rescue group could find a home.

Fast forward a couple of months. Bailey, as we’d named her, was fitting in nicely with our family but we hadn’t yet found her a home. Of course, we were becoming attached to her. At four months, we needed to get official permission from our village to have three dogs; we paid the fee, met with the village board and got approval.

Soon afterwards, our oldest dog, Scout, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of canine lymphoma and given 30 days to live. At that point, we decided to keep Bailey. Fortunately, Scout defied the odds and six months later is still going strong. Unfortunately, three dogs is too many for us, especially when two of them don’t get along.

Bandit is the instigator; Bailey is the enforcer. Bandit, who I call “baby bird bones” because under all of that fur he’s quite delicate, gets the worst end of the battle. I fear that the next fight he’ll be seriously or fatally wounded, simply because Bailey is stronger and faster in a fight.

As Bailey has been learning to control her emotions, Bandit has become bolder, and the fights have become more frequent. Currently, we have to keep all of the dogs in separate rooms. It’s a juggling act to get them in and out of the house and keep them occupied all day; fortunately I have David  home with me until Tuesday so I have an extra set of hands. But once he’s back to work after his vacation, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to handle it alone. So while I absolutely do NOT want to shove Bailey out the door, for her own good and the safety of Bandit we need to find a home soon.

If you think that you can give Bailey the home she needs, please send me an email to joanne@joannebrokaw.com.

MORE PHOTOS AND RELATED POSTS:

Daddy and Bailey have a field trip

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2 responses to “Rehoming Bailey – knowing when it’s time to let go (with UPDATES)

  1. So sad. She is beautiful. Sounds like you and Bailey are at the tail end of some bad breeding and tough situations, and right now you’re carrying all the mistakes that other people have made on your shoulders. You’ve given her training and love she probably wouldn’t have had. I hope you can find her a home that’s good for her, But I also know there are more “problem” dogs than people who can safely handle them (I have a thing for blue heelers, they’re another “problem” breed). I wish the best for Bailey, but I also hope she is out of your home by now, with or without a forever home, and that you don’t carry the burden of that decision.

    • Cynthia, she’s still here, lol! We’re managing by having Scout & Bandit in separate parts of the house from Bailey. When David is home, it’s easier, but when I’m alone I’m managing three dogs who want to be with me all the time. It’s a lot of work; she also stays a night or two a week at the vets, which isn’t easy for me to do but I think it’s working for her OK. The girls at the kennel LOVE her, we’re getting to see how she reacts in different situations. But I really hope we find a forever home soon!

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