This is a hard story to tell.
A few days ago we picked up an 8 week old golden retriever and we called him Harvey. He was coming home to us two other dogs, one of whom you may know from #OtisSez, the other dog is a small Maltese that belongs to my mother in law.
The first days were about house training and integration with the other dogs, establishing the routine and things were going quite well. Harvey was naturally playful and inquisitive but the other dogs seemed to learning to tolerate him.
I was looking forward to documenting the little guy’s early days and excited about getting him into the little photo studio I was setting up. A friend dropped by with flowers and petting him remarked how therapeutic it was. There is no feeling like that of a puppy’s fur – kittens and bunnies are good, but for me this guy was special. Here are some of the pictures from the first days.
On Wed, May 8, which incidentally is one year from the say we said goodbye to a 15 year old golden named Saul, I was sitting in the dinning room, the sun was coming in the windows, the birds were chirping and I had Otis and Harvey sleeping by my feet. Harvey was actually on my feet.
At that moment I experienced something that might be called bliss, and I thought about writing a post about bit. The day before I had spent an hour or so reclining outside with Harvey sleeping on my lap and it was a similar feeling. I was very much in a happy place.
Nothing good lasts forever, and later that day, there was an altercation between the older dog Otis and Harvey. Otis snapped at the little guy over a stick and made contact. Dislocating his left eye. We rushed to the animal hospital where the treatment was to suture the eye shut in the hopes that he could keep the eyeball (probably without sight), we will know in a couple of weeks if that works, or if the eye will have to be removed.
Naturally we were devastated. We had one job to keep the pup safe and had failed. All the what ifs, if onlys and should haves and could haves began to occupy our minds. If there is a lesson, it is we could have been more vigilant. Otis had not displayed this behavior before but dogs will be dogs and can be unpredictable.
After a conversation with Judy the breeder we agreed that the pup could not stay in our house. Otis was displaying resource guarding and it was too unpredictable. It would impossible and unfair to keep Otis and Harvey separated all the time.
Judy found Susan who agreed to take the pup and care for him. After picking him up at the hospital we briefly took him home where thankfully he did not exhibit any fear of the other dogs and then took him to Susan. I am crying as I type this…We will likely not see Harvey again and my heart is broken.
Take care of your loved ones and keep them safe.
P.S. I totally get that this is very much a first world problem, but that does not make the tears any less real.
UPDATE: Response has been overwhelming and we do not need any more offers.
Thank you everyone who has responded with compassion and love.