Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Happened

If you follow this blog at all, you'll know how much in love I am with my dog, Koda. We adopted Koda a year ago from a farm. There are many reasons too numerous to explain about why she couldn't stay on the farm. None of those reasons had to do with her temperment or character. So when we got Koda, we noticed a few things about her. First is her intelligence. We've been challenged to keep ahead of this girl! We enlisted the help of a trainer; not just any trainer but one who works with search and rescue dogs and bomb sniffing dogs. She says Koda's smart enough to do these jobs. But Koda has one piece of baggage; leash agression. Leash agression is a behavior that certain dogs adopt because for whatever the reason, they feel insecure when they are on a leash. It usually stems from past abuse or being chained up for long periods (which by the way, IS abuse.) Anyway, Koda knows  over 30 different commands, is loving and beautiful, and has brought my husband and I through some very difficult personal circumstances over the past year. She's been a Godsend to us, and really an angel. I love her as I would love my children. But she has been difficult to walk, because of the leash agression. Every time she sees another animal coming her way, she panics. She lunges, growls, barks, and really, just loses it. We have spent countless hours with our trainer trying to find ways to help her past her fears. Once when I walked her, we saw a dog, she barked and growled and lunged, and when they were past us she dropped to the ground shaking and whimpering, and didn't even want to walk back home. It was a full-on anxiety attack. It's heartbreaking. Living in town, we need to walk her for exercise. We run her in the back yard and play with her, hike with her and take her swimming, but practically speaking, if she is not to become a prisoner in our back yard, she needs to go walking. So a couple of days ago I took her for a short walk, just up the street, hoping that staying on familiar ground would be comforting to her. We were approached by another dog and she lost it. I was holding her leash very tight so she wouldn't get loose and run over to them. She was so frustrated that she turned and bit me very hard in the thigh. I finally got her home and put her in the kennel and examined the bite. It was large. She has never done this before, but the message I am taking from this is "Mom, I've tried my hardest to be everything you've asked me to be, but I just can't do these walks. I am just too frightened to do this anymore."
 And so with a broken heart I have to tell you that I called her former owner and asked her to take her back and try to find her a nice home in the country on a farm with lots of room to roam around.
My hubby and I feel absolutely crushed over this. We know that we have done the right thing for Koda and for us, but it is so painful. I cannot describe the emptiness I feel coming home and not seeing her bright smile and wagging tail to greet me...or to have her come and drop her ball in my lap with a rufff, as if to say "Come on Mom, let's play!"
Some might say that this was a vicious dog. She is not. She is coping with surroundings that she did not have control over the best way that she knows. And in her world it's acceptable. It's just another kind of behavior. She would never bite anyone unless she was tied up. We know that.
I will recover from the bite just fine, probably much sooner than my heart will heal.

We will get another dog someday, but there will never be another Koda.

(p.s. Please, please, even if you mean well, do not send me advice on how I might have 'fixed' Koda. We spent thousands of dollars on training and I've read hundreds of books and articles on the subject. We know all of the techniques. Tried most of them. The ones we didn't try were electric collars and beatings. We just couldn't do that to our friend.)

I love that smile.

Koda, in Native American terms means 'friend'. I will miss you, my friend.


Linda O'Connell said...

My heart goes out to you. Hugs.

jojo said...

I am so very sorry. I know how much you love her and this decision must have broken your heart. She will be happy in a place where there isn't so much stress and anxiety and she can just run around. Take care Deb and let your broken heart mend...thinking of you!

ellen b. said...

Hugs Debora...

Lovella ♥ said...


Anonymous said...

Oh, that would be so hard! I can see you did what you did because you love her. Beautiful pictures!
Love, Anneliese

Amish Stories said...

Being an animal lover as well let me say im so sorry, and i understand everything about losing a family member. Thats what they are to me so i never call them pets. Richard

Elizabeth said...

My love to you and your household, Debora. Take care... x

Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life said...

My first time here (popped over from Rebecca's)... and I was sad to read your post. I love puppies and kitties.... wishing you grace for these moments in your life!


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