The Alex Problem
So the weekend was good and relatively relaxing, all things considered.
I played a little WoW on Saturday, and some of the people I used to play with back in the day have returned in preparation for the expansion. So it was nice to catch up with them.
WoW friends are a little like real life friends, except that I’ve never actually seen them, we only talk while we’re killing giant monsters, and I have no idea what their real names are, instead referring to them as their character’s name. (Like “Coober” or “Lorenthia.”)
Okay so they’re not at all like RL friends. It was still fun to catch up with them.
Then BumbleDay came.
And while Daphne was in a great mood for most of the day (she did wake up on the cranky side, but the world was aglow with sunshine and rainbows once I provided her an apple juice ba-ba), it turned out that Alex was not.
Admittedly, there has always been a strained relationship between our dogs and our daughter.
First there’s Jib. Who hasn’t a single aggressive bone in his body unless you’re threatening one of us.
“It’s okay! Jib is watching. Everything’s peachy!”
Jib’s big problem is that he’s, well, BIG. So he’ll often inadvertently body check the poor little girl on his way by and knock her over. Not anyone’s fault per se, so it’s hard to get upset.
Jib’s tail also happens to be exactly face-height for Daphne, so you have to be careful that she’s not behind him when you tell him what a good boy he is, lest Daphne get a vicious whipping about the head and neck. But Jib is fine. More often than not he just wants to sniff her.
Then there’s Alex.
Alex who, as I’ve mentioned before, is certifiably insane.
However, he can also be (and is quite often), an incredibly sweet and cuddly dog.
But on this Sunday? Not so much.
He was sitting on a chair upstairs while we were all in the game room and I guess Daphne got too close to him, and/or he was in a pissy mood, because before I knew it he growled and lunged up at her, snapping at her face.
Now at the time I couldn’t tell if he’d actually bitten her or not (Daphne did start screaming, thus I was prepared for the worst), so I leapt up and went into full-on attack mode. At which point he decided to bow up, and the fight was on.
Several spanks to the midsection (hard enough to display disapproval but not hard enough to actually hurt him) and he scrambled away and dove under my desk to hide. He got one more whap while he was under there, but given that he’d just cornered himself I stopped and began staring him down. Because despite how angry I was, any further smacks would not have been meaningful.
We stayed there for about 5 minutes. Me glaring at him, not breaking eye contact. Him glaring back, occasionally looking away in sulking deference.
Then I looked down, and noticed that there were three pools of blood that were spreading around my hand.
I guess at some point in our little skirmish he actually bit me, and I was gushing blood all over the carpet. It bled for the entire day yesterday, and was still bleeding this morning when I got in the shower.
This is what my thumb looked like today, before I covered it up.
And now of course I’m left wondering…what if that had been Daphne’s face?
So I’ve determined that this was Alex’s only chance at redemption. We fought about it, and as such I have unquestionably communicated that this is NOT something that he is allowed to do. He must not ever snap at her. (Growling is both communicative and contextual, and something that we can work with. Biting is not.)
And as much as I absolutely hate the prospect of being that guy (the guy who gets rid of a dog because he has a child), that is unquestionably where we’re going if something like that happens again.
Now, some of you might not know me very well, and you might be preparing to launch into Righteous Internet Mode about this. But you’ll have to trust me that I am extremely aware of the responsibilities of pet ownership. I love my dogs like family, because they are my family. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on their well-being and medical care, and I take great pains to ensure they live happy and healthy puppy lives.
I’d take the Puppsi Challenge against any other dog owner in the world and be pretty confident about coming out on top.
It is more irresponsible of me to risk my little girl being bitten/maimed than it is to get rid of a dog that exhibits clear, repeated, and highly unpredictable signs of aggression without provocation.
I ‘effing hate that truth, but it is a truth nonetheless. And it is the unfortunate place that we find ourselves in.
The best outcome here is that he learned his lesson yesterday and won’t ever do it again. If so, I consider leaking out a half-pint of blood over 24 hours to be a fine trade-off to being able to keep Alex around.
Let’s hope so.