I've avoided talking about Chief for a long time. And for good reason, really. I get all emotional and start crying like a baby. Well, this is Chief.
Chief was a pound puppy that graced our lives with loyalty and love for several years until we unfortunately had to have him put down. Put down is a nice way of saying that we had him killed. Well at least I think of it that way when I am really feeling down and mad at myself for the way everything happened.
Chief was an amazing dog. He was obedient, loyal and great with my kids. He was irreplaceable and I always knew that he would be one of those dogs that I would look back on with fondness and love. Chief made me feel safe at night when my husband would be gone and I knew he would never let anything happen to my kids. Chief slept at the foot of the bed every night, carefully watching, but always ready for a pet if you asked him.
One day, completely out of the blue and totally unprovoked, Chief bit my then 6 year old son in the face. This wasn't just a "nip", it was a gash that ended with us at the Doctor's office. You see, several months prior, Chief had his first and only VERY bad seizure. He woke us up in the middle of the night having a terrible seizure that almost made me take him in to the vet. Ever since the day he had that seizure, Chief wasn't the same dog. A couple days afterward, he nipped at one of the kids. This wasn't our Chief. In the next few months, Chief just wasn't the patient, careful, and loyal guardian I had known him to be. Something changed.
When Chief bit my son, I knew something was terribly wrong, this just wasn't the dog I knew. I talked to the vet extensively about it over the next few days. The problem was....I was emotional and irrational. The vet finally told me that this dog could very possibly and most likely have neurological problems that are causing his change in behavior and that I could not ever trust Chief around my kids anymore. My options were to do VERY expensive tests on him, but that ultimately it wouldn't change the fact that Chief could bite someone else. I couldn't accept that and I certainly couldn't breath.
To make a very long, traumatically painful story short, my husband had to make the hard decision to take Chief in to the vet and have him euthanized. When my husband came for the dog that day, I literally clung to Chief and sobbed like a complete crazy person. I can't even imagine how hard it was for him to take Chief from me that day and do what we both knew needed to be done, but that I didn't have the strength to do.
There is a point to all of this. When this happened, I struggled for a long time to understand why Chief had to die. I was mad at God. I was really, really sad for a long time. I'm still sad. I want Chief back, but I know that there is always a reason why we go through the trials. I hate that saying "everything happens for a reason" when I'm going through it, but when He makes it clear as to why I went through it, I GET IT!
Shortly after Chief's death, I discovered a shelter for dogs called Hopes Haven. I learned that there are places for dogs that don't have a chance anywhere else. Perhaps they would have been able to help us with Chief. Maybe not. I try not to think about it too much or else the waterworks start up again. Bottom line, I know God led me straight to Hopes Haven.
I've since been fostering through Hopes Haven and have been diligently loving every second of it. If it weren't for my Chief's death, I would not have reached out to foster. It was BECAUSE of his death that I did. I was not emotionally ready to adopt, but God put Hopes Haven in front of me and I decided that I was ready to foster.
Then God sent me her.
This is Tank. My first foster through Hopes Haven. My fostering was a complete failure because I ended up adopting her! Tank was EXACTLY everything that I needed to heal my heart. We were both depressed, broken hearted and had some serious issues. Tank brought me out of it.
I look forward to volunteering for Hopes Haven. The series of unfortunate events that brought me here won't ever be forgotten. We must not ever forget that the road that takes us to our destination might be rocky, but totally worth it.
Chief! Sit. Stay. I love you buddy. I look forward to the day I get to see you again. No doubt baby!