So about that "other thing". Well I can't recall, but I am pretty sure I've complained on here about Kenji and his peeing and pooping and jumping the fence. Cause it was driving me BONKERS!
Well we decided to give him another chance, thinking we'd spend some of the tax return on getting him fixed, groomed, flea meds, and crating him at night.
We got as far as getting him a crate, which for several days he just squealed in there all night till finally we put the crate in the laundry room. With a quilt over most of it (not smothering him, but enough to make sure he was warm).
Well he was finally starting to get the message, started calming down in the crate at night, Tom took him out more during the day, he'd still jump, but we hoped fixing him would discourage that maybe. We even borrowed a tie-down with about a 15 foot lead on it so that we could stake him out in the backyard on nice days while Nicky was out there.
But then, April 24th, Kenji bit Gabi. He didn't break the skin, but he marked her hand and scared her. They were both literally within arms' reach of me when it happened and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I didn't know what could have precipitated it. He was on the floor between the sofa and the bench that we have as a coffee table. She was behind and bent over him. Did she step on him, did he have a rawhide and she tried to grab it? Was she falling on him? I don't really know. I suspect he had a rawhide because after Tom put him outside Benjamin was lying in that same spot with one. But regardless of why it happened we knew we had to take that seriously and find him a new home.
I tried to ask around at work and the neighbors, but nothing easy came up and time kept marching on. The next weekend I was watching the girls while Tom and Nicky helped Nana move into her new place. (She's finished moving in and now lives only 3 blocks away!) I was changing Lily on the bench, Kenji was lying on the sofa with nothing, no toy, no rawhide or anything. And Gabi walked up to him (right in front of me) and reached to pet him. And he snarled and snapped at her hand. This time he didn't bite her, but that was it. I staked him out in the backyard for the rest of the day. They were both right there, two feet from me! And I knew she hadn't stepped on him or pulled on him or anything this time. He had to go.
Tom and I knew he had to go. It was just a matter of doing it. During the week is just too busy, and then there was Easter weekend, and then finally I found out the best place to take him was the Virginia Beach SPCA. They're a no-kill shelter and had room for him there. So Saturday, April 14th, Nick and I took Kenji, his crate, leash, brush and Advantage flea stuff to the SPCA and turned him over them. There was only a $50 fee to do it, and I was glad to pay it. Everyone there was so nice, and understanding. I'd written up an essay on Kenji's history, habits and why we had to let him go (but why he'd still be a great pet for someone without small kids) for my home-hunting before and I turned that over to them as well. They assured us that a small dog like him would be snatched up super quick and he wouldn't be there long.
Poor Nicky. While Tom and I are feeling relieved to have finally committed to the decision and are enjoying being a one-dog family again (because really, Bobo is the best dog ever, even with his quirks) Nicky has cried about Kenji several times. I feel awful about having to give away his dog, and we hope we haven't scarred him for life. I think taking him with me to the SPCA was a good idea. I'd let Nicky choose if he wanted to go and he did. And he go to see what a nice place it was. But still, it's really hard on him.
So that was our other big thing. Tom and I still feel guilty, but are also resolved that it had to be done. If Nicky had been the one bit, I admit I'd have probably said he deserved it. And if the kids were older I'd expect them to learn to read the dog's body language and act accordingly, and we could work on training him. But I just cannot risk it with two 1 year olds in the house. One slip could be one too many.
By the same token though, Benjamin is a stellar dog for the kids. Maybe it is because Tom and I had him as a little puppy and trained him about biting early on. He has no food guarding or anything like that either. Or maybe it's just that he's big enough that the babies can't hurt him so he doesn't worry about that like Kenji may have. Kenji was only 10lbs, he just looked bigger than that, but he was fragile under all those curls.
Anyway, the deal is done, Nicky is sad, we feel guilty, and we won't be getting another dog till the girls are older.