A series of small failures

my last day with Gogo
December 5, 2008, 2:24 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,
I gave him a bath, dried him off with a towel, sat with him by the fire. He gave me the longest, most intense Gogo love look ever. (of course, he was dominating me at the time, putting his front paws right on my heart and sort of standing over me.) he also almost bit pooka several times, as she jumped up onto the futon to get in on the loving.  I scolded him, then gave up, suspecting it was our last day together. I simply got up, walked away, and called pooka over to separate them. I took them for a ride into the canyon. we walked on a trail into the mountains for a while. They both seemed really happy.  He lifted his nose up toward a low branch of a pine true and paused, smelling.  

enjoying his freedom


Still can’t figure out how to add the video in here. Here’s the link to my last video of him, walking toward me on our last walk, just before i took him to Bethany, who is fostering him.

I am totally overwhelmed by her kindness.  So, so grateful.  Maybe it’s karmic payback for the dozen-plus dogs and cats I rescued and cared for in Puerto Rico.  I have love, but i just don’t have the skills to work with Gogo’s issues. Looking back,  I wish i had found him professional help long ago, before I went broke. And I am beyond broke. I gave her my last $50 (she even reduced the price of the surrender fee).

Bethany saw my last-ditch desperate plea I put up on Craigslist Tuesday night:

anyone willing to rescue a dog from euthanasia (pleasant grove)


Reply to: comm-942865384@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-12-02, 9:24PM MST





I’ve had my dog for 5 years. he’s a rescue dog from puerto rico. He has become a biter and has injured children. I can no longer keep him. I love him dearly, but cannot allow him to bite anyone else. I have come to accept that he must be euthanized. Before I turn to this desperate last step, I thought I’d put this request out — is there is anyone who believes they can train a dog to not be a biter, who will guarantee that he will not be in contact with children, who has the time and the resources (or expertise) to train him? he is super loving usually. He must have had some trauma as a puppy, living on the streets. I found him and adopted him at about 6 months. He is fiercely loyal, so sweet and affectionate to me… Yet he bites children — which is totally unacceptable. I’ve tried crating him. He has chewed his way out of his crate. He also has extreme separation anxiety and has damaged window screens, blinds, doorframes, even hardwood doors. He has tried to dig his way out of doors and windows. I say this all because i want to be honest about his situation. I have tried to protect him and care for him, but I have reached my limit. i can’t risk that he’ll ever hurt another person. 

can anyone help?

About an hour later, i got an email from Bethany, who runs Wasatch Canine Camp, in Cedar Hills, probably a mile from my house. She doesn’t believe in euthanasia, and has the experience and skills to work with him. I talked to her for a long time, and wanted to make sure that he wouldn’t be around children. She said he eventually would, but with a muzzle, and not until he’s trained to not bite. I want to believe that he can change his behavior. I don’t want anyone else to get hurt.  I also don’t want him to die. I want him to have another chance.

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I adore Gogo.  He and I have an amazing connection. He helped me to open up to love again. And yet, I can’t get the image of my boyfriend’s three year old daughter, screaming, crying, and bleeding, out of my head.  He bit her on the mouth. And this was the third time. I bought him a muzzle but didn’t use it, stupidly.  I crated him, but he chewed his way out of the crate. It was getting to the point that I couldn’t leave him without some destruction or injury occurring.  And I was in denial. I tried to always be around, watching him for any signs of aggression when he was around my boyfriend’s kids or my nephews, but i couldn’t be there all the time.  I didn’t have the funds to hire a trainer, and he needed some expensive, weeks-long, in-the-home-of-the-trainer type training. In the end, i decided i couldn’t let him be around children ever again.  And not being able to crate him without him escaping and then destroying the house anyway (he scratched and clawed through screens, and destroyed blinds, hardwood floors, and doors), i had to make a choice. It’s hard to say, but i chose humans over him. I chose my relationship over him. Not that it should put any pressure on my boyfriend… i know how badly he feels about all this. I know it would have escalated, eventually, to this point, even if he wasn’t in my life.

I decided to consult with a couple of trainers to see if Gogo could be helped.  They told me it was a possibility, but unlikely that he could be trained to stop biting. There would be no guarantees. And by this point, it was clear that i couldn’t risk it happening again. I couldn’t risk a lawsuit. While I don’t have anything to lose, having him in my parents’ home was a huge liability for them.

I took him to a local vet on Tuesday to talk to a trainer there. After working with him for an hour, she told me she hated to say it, but that she thought euthanasia would be the best option. My mom tried to talk me into just doing it right then.  I told her I wasn’t ready. She said, “you’re never going to be ready,” which i knew was true, but I wanted to at least try a little harder to find an option that wouldn’t involve me making the decision to end his life. 

Later that night i wrote that post on craigslist. And Bethany stepped forward.

I am so grateful for good people in the world, for people willing to give of themselves and help others. 

And I am so fucking sick of being in this position, not having a job, barely making any money as a freelancer, being in debt, living with my parents, not having my own car. This year has been really rough in many ways… leaving behind my dream in Puerto Rico, leaving Gogo’s brother behind with my ex, the demise of my restaurant, losing my nephew Cooper in that horrible accident, and now losing the one being i felt absolute unconditional love for. Gogo helped me feel free to love. After so many sucky relationships, i was shutting down. Yet my heart just opened up to him. I used to wonder how i could love him when he was such a jerk to everyone else. He terrorized his brother, Didi, plus Lulu and Thea, the distemper puppies we nursed back to health. He always tried to dominate Pooka, who seems sad right now, but also so much calmer since he left. Tom, my ex, dominated Gogo, and got him to stop his overt campaign of terror, though Gogo did learn to silently dominate the others… When he thought we weren’t looking, he would bare his fangs, silently, sending the message. If any of the dogs tried to come near when Gogo was near me, he’d warn them away with a growl (or give them the silent fang treatment). He bit my friend’s son just before i left puerto rico. Ironically, she had brought him over to meet Gogo because I was trying to find a home for him. My mom didn’t want me to bring him to Utah, because I had told her about all the property destruction. And after spending $30,000 to build out this apartment (the basement) for me, she didn’t want him to destroy it.  But Gogo and the boy were not a good fit. Gogo doesn’t know how to play. Never has. His idea of play is scaring the ball away from the others, and then running off with it, alone, where he can destroy it. Anything any other dog had, he would bully it away from them. The kid tried to play with him, and Gogo bit him on the nose.

I was nervous about bringing him on the plane because of his claustrophobia issues, but I had him sleep in the crate he was going to travel in for a few nights before we left.  He seemed to view it as a safe place. He made it fine. After we arrived in April, everything seemed to be cool for a while.  My brother took care of him once, and though he terrorized my brother’s dog, he didn’t hurt anyone. Until Harper. And then Elliott.

The last time was the worst, and I was there, unlike the other times. It freaked me out to see what Gogo was capable of.  And I vowed then that it could never happen again. I used to take him with me when I went to SLC to visit my boyfriend. We’d put him in the crate if he started acting anxious or bared his teeth. We both decided that wasn’t even an option. He could never go up there again. And that meant that they could never visit me in my home. Things were starting to get desperate.

I did consider just being single and continuing to care for Gogo, but i feared for my nieces and nephews also. And when Animal Control got involved, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before they arrived and took him away. I had to think about whether I wanted to be with him when he died–at a vet’s office, or whether i could risk Animal Control taking him and not allowing me to be with him. It seemed that dire.

I first saw Gogo five years ago this week. We passed him on the street, a curvy, one-lane road (with no sidewalks, just tall elephant grass where the asphalt ended) that we lived on, in the hills of Rincon. Every time I drove up the street, I was worried that I would find him and his brother squished. I should have known better. He’s a survivor. But after 3 or 4 days of seeing him there on the street, and stopping to feed him, I finally couldn’t take it any longer. I went to every house on that part of the street and asked if he belonged to anyone. They all said, no! take him. Gogo wasn’t hard to coax. he was pretty social. Didi took some coaxing, however. Tom, my ex, named them after characters in Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, which he had acted in once. Two characters, waiting by the side of the road for Godot (God). It didn’t escape me that we were saving him. It was my birthday, December 9, 2003. They became my birthday gifts from the universe.

The original intent was to find homes for them, as we did for most of the other dogs (except Pooka, and then Lulu and Thea, who got distemper and were not adoptable). But i fell in love with Gogo and Didi and kept them. They got into trouble, killing neighbor’s chickens and bringing them home as gifts. Once, Gogo came home with an egg in his mouth, totally intact and unharmed. When I was in New York doing my yoga teacher training, Tom took them to the beach almost every day. Gogo had some possession issues. He’d pee on people’s blankets and try to steal their food. One time, Gogo came trotting across the sand toward Tom with a piece of fried chicken in his mouth. He dropped it on Tom’s blanket, without a single tooth imprint. (Tom has been a vegetarian more than a decade, but he appreciated the gift.)

Gogo survived rat poison (put out by one of our neighbors), as well as being hit by a car. I know he wants to live. And he was dedicated to me.

Talking to my friend David tonight, I realized that Gogo was jealous of my boyfriend. I think that’s what set this all off. I think it was less fear of the kids, and more trying to hurt Tyler. David tried to comfort me by saying that all this has its own energy, and that energy is moving and things are adjusting and it doesn’t have to be negative. Gogo is also symbolic of some of my own self-destructive tendencies. He is symbolic of my past trying to destroy my present. Still, I’m sad to lose him.


3 Comments so far
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I didn’t realize how much you have done for this little guy. I will try even harder now, knowing how much he has gone through, to get him social again with everyone and everything. If I am unable to train him out of little kid biting he will become my dog, and watched always, in order to make sure it will never happen again. He doesn’t deserve it.

I’ve really enjoyed having him around, and he is already doing better around my dogs. He’s showing his teeth less, growling less, and snapping less. He is even starting to follow my Pit Bull around, I think they’re becoming friends. I am sorry you had to go through all of this, but I’m grateful that you rescued him and were willing to put forth all of your effort to helping him be happy. I hope you start feeling better soon, and feel free to check in on him anytime.


Comment by attractivelyconfident

So glad you didn’t have to euthanize him. You were both lucky to find Bethany.

Comment by mamaneeds2rant

[…] their way. So, I only have one dog now (Pooka), and she’s much more mellow than she was when Gogo lived with us (he has a new home and a new name!) My plan is to feed Pooka and then take my 15 […]

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