Help - adopted shelter dog just sent me to hospital... Heartbroken.

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Member Since
Barked: Sun May 12, '13 11:26pm PST 
Hi All,

I'm sitting here in tears and need advice. Like us all I am an animal lover and believe that if you adopt, it's your responsibility. When I moved to Australia from the US, I went through hell & spent 6K to bring my two cats with me.

My husband had an older border collie and we adopted a papillon puppy from a reputable show breeder (he has buck teeth so she was not keeping him). 2 years later and my older male cat has died and the border collie as well due to cancer which we fought as much as possible.

I have recently moved to Hong Kong for work for a year or two while my husband has stayed back in AUS with the dog & cat & house to finish his phd.

I love my papillon Atticus so much and had a new love for dogs that I started thinking about adopting from one of the rescue orgs here. There is a huge problem here with people abandoning dogs and the government kennels euthanize dogs in 4 days!!

Long story short, 2 months ago I adopted Clement, who was believed to be a papillon mix (much bigger) and about 5-6. He was from the government kennels so nothing known about his background. I knew that he was people shy and likely previously abused and would need a lot of patience. I was fine with that. I have treated him really well. 2-3 walks a day, brushing, toys and playtime, special treats, lots of love...

Gradually he went from sitting across the room to spooning me under the covers. He has his grumpy moments but he had never tried to bite me. He does have issues with strange men and people seeming to appear out of nowhere. He barks and lunges and frightens people. We've been working on it and just this morning I was congratulating him in 3 days of calm behavior.

I make it a point not to push him for snuggles or forced closeness. When I come home from work he rushes in with kisses and saggy tail.

This morning on my way out the door I bent down to get something off the couch and said goodbye and Clement lunged at my face without any warning. It wasnt a nip. He latched on to my nose and wouldn't let go. It was really frightening and I remember thinking he was going to rip my nose off before I managed to get him off.

I was in shock afterwards and bleeding heavily. I had to grab a towel and literally run to the hospital. I'm home now after seeing a cosmetic surgeon. I'm bitten in 3 places, on antibiotics and need to go back to the surgeon in 3 days... it is quite bad. I'm hoping it will heal without a huge scar.

My heart is broken and I don't know what to do. I like Clement and was starting to love him but this is way more than I bargained for. I may never have the same nose again. And I can never trust him with another human or my cat or dog. Atticus is half his size. One thing I forgot, only after I adopted him had the foster told me he had tried to bite his wife's face before. Therefore I generally stayed away.

What do I do? I feel like a fool and I can't even look at him.
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Mon May 13, '13 1:29am PST 
I am do sorry you are experiencing this. frown

Very likely, when you leaned over Clement like that, you scared him. Small comfort to think about after the fact--but maybe some comfort, after a while.

If I'm understanding your post correctly, it sounds like you don't really have dog experience, except what you've gained since you married. While there are certainly things you can Di to work with Clement, rebuild your mutual trust, and greatly reduce the chances of a repeat performance, I'm not sure whether I would recommend the attempt to you, while you're apart from your dog-savvy husband and working on your own recovery from your injuries.


Member Since
Barked: Mon May 13, '13 3:06am PST 
Thanks for your response... every bit helps. I don't have as much experience as my husband but I did adopt Atticus at 4 months and raised him with my husband & was with Kiara for 5 years. Both were/are so happy and loving that I suppose I was spoiled. I guess I shouldn't have attempted to get an older unknown dog but my lifestyle isn't really suited to another puppy. It's sad as 98% of the time Clement is a perfect fit but I don't know how I could get past this. He sits here looking at me with sad, sorry eyes cry


Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
Barked: Mon May 13, '13 3:47am PST 
Rule out medical/seizure as a possible cause. Once you know it wasn't pain or a seizure. I don't know what I would do, but uthanasia is often the answer for unprovoked agressin. If you do go that route, be there and have a vet perform the procedure. Don't take him back to the shelter.

hug I am very sorry this happened and I hope it doesn't turn you off of rescuing another dog that needs a home. Not all strays are aggressive or have problems.

Black dogs rock!
Barked: Mon May 13, '13 3:52am PST 
I posted a response in your other thread hug

Barked: Mon May 13, '13 4:56am PST 
I'm sorry. But a grumpy dog is a dead dog imo. Bite inhibition is a must. If it's not there, then that's it.

However, I ADORE my dogs. I wouldn't put them to sleep if they bit anyone. But I would take them into the vet and have all teeth removed and be committed to feeding them soft diets for the rest of their lives.

I'm a big brat- and I don't care- :)
Barked: Mon May 13, '13 5:52pm PST 
I would rule out medical issues, like seizure or thyroid problems which can cause unprovoked aggression. If he come back with a clean bill of health, then I would look into a behaviorist, or a good trainer with a behavioral background. Koby is fear aggressive, so I know what it's like having a dog you can't trust. I found a good trainer and I am making good progress with him. Good Luck and I hope you heal quickly. hug

Barked: Mon May 13, '13 6:05pm PST 
Tuck, really? remove a dog's teeth because he bit somebody? This is probably the most absurd thing I've ever heard, yet comical at the same time in its own way. laugh out loud confused

Guest, I agree with the others. First rule out any medical issues, then get a trainer/behaviorist to work with you guys. If it is indeed unprovoked aggression, then I would recommend having him PTS. I hope Asher will pop in at some point. She can probably help a great deal here. smile
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Mon May 13, '13 8:53pm PST 
Those of you who are recommending a good behaviorist, it's important to remember that Guest is in Hong Kong. There aren't all the same resources that she would have here, or in Australia, or the UK.

Barked: Mon May 13, '13 9:54pm PST 
Honestly, I wouldn't have all the testing done. I would have him euthanized. While it may have been "provoked" he wouldn't let go.. a growl or snap is one thing. Even a quick bite might be workable. But to bite and hold like that? It just isn't safe. I'm sorry you are going through this frown
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