The Day We Gave Our Dog Away


 This is a tough post to write.

With all of the joy and happiness that we've been experiencing lately around our house, there's also been a bit of sadness. As you guys know, this little blog has two official mascots- our two dogs, Maggie (on the left, a coon hound) and Tucker (on the right, a lab mutt). David rescued both of these dogs about six years ago and they've been faithful family members ever since.

David and I knew that bringing baby H home may stir things up with the dogs. After all, there would be a totally new dynamic in the house. So we read up on how to integrate the dogs and the baby- talk to them about the baby coming, bring home a baby blanket from the hospital for them to smell, etc. We thought we were fully prepped and ready to mix and mingle the pups and the pea pod.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. The day we brought H home from the hospital, the dogs were wild. We thought it might take some time for all parties involved to get used to the situation, but there was something about Maggie's behavior that really bothered us. She was abnormally tense- her muscles and jaw were completely tensed up and she stood postured, as if ready to pounce. And she wouldn't relax. In fact, she would sit in front of me holding the baby, panting and posturing for hours. She made us nervous. She made Tucker nervous. It's hard to explain, because it's not as if she snapped at the baby or anything... it just didn't feel right.


What happened to our sweet, loving Maggie? We're not sure. But after several attempts to have her and the baby in the same place over the course of the last couple of weeks, her quasi-aggressive behavior didn't change. So we called the adoption agency that David rescued her from and discussed it with them. They agreed that the situation didn't sound good. The agency, which is a no-kill organization, explained that they would take Maggie back if we decided she was no longer a good fit for our family. 

We tearfully talked it over with all of our friends and family and everyone agreed that it was best not to take any risks with Maggie's behavior around the baby. How bad would we feel if her quasi-aggressive behavior turned full-on aggressive and she hurt the baby? There's no way David or I could live with that. Plus, with the way she was acting, there was no way we could ever feel comfortable enough to do things like lay the baby on the floor or in a bouncy seat sitting on the floor.

So, as hard as it was, we decided to give Maggie back to the adoption agency. Poor David had to make the hour drive to the center to drop her off... and of course, I had to stay with the baby, so he had to make the trip alone. It was a very sad day for all of us. More than a few tears were shed.


But the upside is that David and I are 100% sure of our decision. Sweet Tucker has relaxed even more now that Maggie isn't around. He is such a loyal and kindhearted dog. He watches the baby for hours on end, sniffs the baby when he starts crying and likes to lay with us on the floor when we do tummy time. Tucker even gets up (albeit with a sigh!) to accompany us in the middle of the night for feedings or diaper changes. He's the best big brother around.


So it's kind of a sad story, but hopefully has a happy ending. Maggie can find a home and a new family that suits her better while we continue to grow our family with baby H and Tucker. 

Have you ever had to make a tough choice like this to protect someone you love?

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57 comments:

  1. We had to do the exact same thing but for different reasons. Our first baby is Mabry a boykin spaniel handpicked by my husband right before I got pregnant. He is an amazing dog but just couldn't keep eating things. He went through to very invasive and expensive abdominal surgeries in his first 9 months and his surgeon explained that he wouldn't survive a third. He was a wild thing for sure but was sweet as can be and loved our sweet Wells when she was tiny. But one day we found a baby sock in his poo and realized that it wasn't safe for him to be in a home with tiny socks and toys and blankets and little things he could eat. We tried crating him all day or leaving him on the porch and realized this was too sad for all of us. We turned him over to Boykin Rescue who assured us they would place him in a wonderful environment just right for him. Clearly he now lives with a retired couple who have no kids and needed someone to love and of course they are type A OCD clean freaks so there is never anything left out that could hurt him. Oh and they live on a farm with ponds and ducks and another lady boykin for him to love on. At least this is what we tell ourselves....ha! Handing him over was literally one of the saddest days of our lives.

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  2. Oh Michelle, so sorry to hear that, but at the end of the day the baby comes first. I bet Maggie will find herself in an environment where she is can be the queen bee and she won't be tense. You made a good decision but I'm sorry you had to deal with that! Ugh. Baby H is scrumdiddlyumptious over there in his bouncy seat by the way!!

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  3. So sorry to hear that the situation didn't work out with both dogs and your sweet baby. It is heartbreaking to lose (for whatever reason) a pet, but you had to do it for the safety and welfare of your son. I'm sorry you had to make this decision, but you did the right thing. I hope Maggie will find a better-suited environment soon.

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  4. Michelle I am so sorry to hear this but totally understand your decision. We had two dogs as well when we brought our first baby home. Things were ok until baby N started crawling. Then our male yellow lab started growling at her whenever she crawled anywhere remotely near him. We knew he needed to go to a new home as we couldn't risk our baby's life around him. Bailey found a new home and everything was great with our other dog. This does happen and I'm sure that Maggie will find a great new home where she can be relaxed and so will you. It is very hard but you made the right choice. Love the baby pics, even though I don't comment most days, reminds me of when my kids who are growing up way too fast were just little squishy warm balls of love.

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  5. I really commend your for writing this post. I know it was probably very hard to do. We were in the same situation two years ago when our first was born. One of our dogs just didn't react well. She snapped at him three times, and that was it for us. We gave her to my parents and she has been so happy ever since. She definitely prefers to be the Queen Bee. You made the right decision!

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  6. oh michelle! i am so so sorry you have had to go through this, but you definitely trusted your gut and made the right decision. i remember being so nervous about one of our dogs especially before we brought sawyer home- we were lucky though and our dogs reacted fine, except they wanted to lick his spitup off of his face.... gross.
    anyhow, i am thinking of you, and i am sure maggie will find a forever home, and maybe this post will even help her find one?

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  7. I can't imagine how hard that was for you guys, but ultimately it's the right decision. I have some friends who really should find the strength to do this. They constantly have their baby in a play pen or fenced off from their dog. That's just not a good situation. Here's hoping that Maggie finds a new home where she can relax.

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  8. Oh I can't even imagine Michelle, I am so sorry. But at the end of the day you 100% made the right decision no matter how hard it was. Someone said this to us this past summer "no matter how much you treat them like family, they are still animals and can't really be trusted". It is so true.

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  9. Oh that's so sad. But Im glad the agency will find her a good home and she isnt in any danger! She will probably be happier too, since clearly she was stressed.

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  10. Such a tough decision :( , but sounds like it was the best for one for Maggie and your family. Although our dog hasn't demonstrated any aggression or worrisome behavior since we brought Ben home, he certainly is whinier and needier. I feel awful, sometimes I just don't have the patience for him anymore. It's funny how such a little person can change the dynamics SOO much... http://vtmamateurs.com/2012/03/30/my-1st-son/

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  11. Oh, Michelle, I'm so sorry. :( I think you guys did the right thing. Our dogs were crazy excited about Natalie when we brought her home. They barked for HOURS, and every time she'd cry at night. It. was. *awesome*. Eventually, they settled down, but agressive/semi-aggressive behavior would have freaked me out too. So sorry you all had to say good-bye.

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  12. Oh wow how heartbreaking. You already know you did the right thing but Im sure it didn't make it any easier. Glad to hear everything is going more smoothly now.

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  13. What a tough decision. I'm so sorry. You, of course, did the right thing! I know you'll miss your gal, but you at least know she is going to a place where she is happy and you guys are more comfortable.

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  14. Hugs!! We had to do the same thing with our Husky/Terrier mix when we had our first baby 8 years ago. Our dog, Toby, was always wild and crazy despite doggy boot camp, etc. and he just became even more wild when we added a baby in the mix and couldn't devote all of our attention to him. He became aggressive toward us--thankfully never the baby, but you never know--so we had to find a new home for him. It was definitely hard and we felt like we were betraying him and being irresponsible dog owners, but first and foremost, we had to be responsible parent to our baby, so we don't regret our decision. You definitely did the right thing!

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  15. Oh this is so sad but I definitely understand! Maggie's behavior would make me nervous too, and you don't want to feel that way in your own home with a precious new baby. You want to be comfortable and know that baby H is safe. Proud of you for making a hard but right decision!

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  16. I'm so sorry you had to do that, it must have been beyond heartbreaking. It was definitely the right thing to call the shelter and return him to there to make sure he has a good home and life ahead of him, especially after he's had such a nice life with you

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  17. I am so sorry to hear of your struggles with Maggie. I completely sympathize as we had a similar situation several years ago where one of our dogs did actually bite our 2 year old in the face. He was fine, but it is so hard to do what you have to as a parent. I am so glad no-kill shelters are more prevalent today and Maggie can go on to live happily in a home without small children. Thinking of you.

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  18. Sorry to hear this :( When you adopt a pet you always think it's for life. And you may think you love that pooch like you'd love a child, until you have a child. And when you have your baby and your dog together, it becomes very clear that your child is more important. You did the right thing by rehoming Maggie before something awful happened. I hope she finds a new "no kids" home where she can live out the rest of her days sleeping in a sunny spot.

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  19. I am so sorry, Michelle. I am sure that this was so hard! Since your dogs were like children, I can only imagine how sad this must have been. But this absolutely sounds like the only decision you could have made. For it to continue on for weeks like that sounds so strange. I'm glad that you know now that you've made the right decision. I bet that provides for a more relaxing environment for everyone. :) Have a great Tuesday, and feel comfort in knowing that it's the best for all parties (even Maggie who was probably so uncomfortable with the situation as well).

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  20. Michelle, that just breaks my heart. You had to do what was right for your family, obviously ... but I know how hard it was for you guys. Take comfort in the fact that what you did was best for the baby, and for your own peace of mind. Thinking of you!

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  21. Oh no!...I am so sorry Michelle...I know that was a really tough decision and you are stronger for having to make it...I know Maggie will find a great new home.

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  22. I'm really sorry Michelle, that is very hard to hear and I'm sure infinitely harder to go through. Sounds like it was the right decision, and I'm sure Tucker is happier because he's a better boy :)

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  23. I know exactly what you are going through.... our dog Rudy was our 'baby' before we had babies. For some reason, when we brought home our youngest son, he turned agitated and aggressive... EXACTLY like what you described. We tried everything... special trainers, special vitamins, and nothing settled him down. We went the same route as you and worked with a rescue agency to have him adopted by a loving home with no kids. It was so sad giving away a special little member of our family, but it was the right decision for us. Hang in there... you did the right thing.

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  24. Oh, I have tears. I am so proud of you guys for making such a difficult decision. You gave Maggie an incredible home for a long time. That is amazing. And Tucker and baby ten June look like two peas in a pod. Hang in there. Can't wait to meet BTJ {baby ten june!}.

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  25. Michelle I am pouring out tears over here! My heart is breaking for you. I worry so much about how our dogs will acclimate to kids one day. They are my babies right now, but I know someday that will change and I will have to make decisions based on a real baby. I am sorry you have to go through this. It's reassuring that they will find Maggie a great new home. My heart is sad today for you :(

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  26. I can only imagine this was so heartbreaking! In the end, it sounds like you did what was best for you & for Maggie. Know that you gave her a wonderful home for many years & that she will find another good home.

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  27. What a tough situation. So sorry you are going through that. I can only imagine how heartbreaking that is and how conflicted you must have felt.

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  28. We had to do the exact same thing with our beloved dog, Biscuit. We felt horrible about it at the time. We had had him for 6 years and he had been through alot with us. We had him through the birth of our 2 daughters, and through the passing of our older daughter. But when our 3rd (a son) was born, it was as if he was like "this is enough"... I get no attention. He was acting strange and tense and rough around our new little guy and after 3 weeks with our son home, we did the same thing. Back to the humane society. My husband did that long drive by himself as well. I will tell you...we have never ONCE regretted it. He deserved better, we deserved better. It was for the best. I wish the same for you!

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  29. so sorry, she's a beautiful dog! but, of course, there weren't any other options, you did the right thing!

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  30. I'm very sorry you had to do this. I personally couldn't imagine. As for some these comments, I'm completely blown away. In your circumstance I understand but the thought that just because you have a baby it's okay to ditch your dog completely angers me (I am NOT referring to you!) Dogs are lifetime commitments NOT pre-baby test runs. I blogged about this recently. Completely infuriates me!

    Again, I feel for you and completely understand that you had no choice in the matter. It's the others that anger me!

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  31. This is the saddest thing ever!!! We are expecting our little one in December and have a 5 year old beagle/basset mix. Hopefully this doesn't happen to us. She has had some contact with our baby nephew and she seems to be ok. Hopefully she will be a good big sister! I'm so sorry for your loss and I pray that Maggie is in a good home!

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  32. I'm glad that you feel at peace with your decision but it is not something that I could do.

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  33. So sorry to hear this, Michelle, but I so glad you have peace about the decision. Hang in there!
    xo Heidi

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  34. So sorry that you had to do that, Michelle. Thank goodness you had the option of a no kill shelter. You have to make many tough decisions once you have kids and it's so hard.

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  35. Good call...tough, but the right decision

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  36. I'm so sorry. I couldn't even imagine BUT you do have to do what's best for the baby. We have 2 doxies one that can be a little dominant and territorial (I know I never thought a sweet daschund could be like that) I always pray that she wouldn't be an issue once we have children but we shall see. Glad you guys feel more relaxed though!

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  37. Oh Michelle! I'm so so sorry that you guys had to make that decision, even though it was the right one it couldn't have been easy! :(

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  38. I'm so sorry! I know that must have been really hard, but you made the right decision. It doesn't sound like that was a good situation for anyone and you definitely wouldn't want anything to happen to the baby. I'm sure they'll find a good home for Maggie!

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  39. Michelle, I can relate...we had to give up our cat (my parents too him in) after Elie was born. They did not get along at all. And, then we had to put our 11 year old Springer Spaniel to sleep. She had bitten Elie on the hand and went after my brother. He was a sweet loving dog, but while Mark and I were at work the kids that lived behind us would torment him while they were cutting through our backyard from the bus stop ( he loved to run around outdoors, and we didnt' want to leave him cooped up on nice days). He became very aggressive, understandably. When we moved to our new house, we went from being on a cul de sac where Elie could play freely and in our side yard to her having to play in the backyard...where Jack was. It wasn't working, we didn't trust him around her nor her friends. Given his age and the fact that we KNEW he had biten before, we could not adopt him out!!! So, be thankful you made the choice prior to that happening!

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  40. You absolutely did the right thing. I know it was incredibly hard, hugs hugs & more hugs! Sometimes a big change in a dogs invironment can bring out behaviors that you never new existed. As much as you love Maggie, keeping her was not worth risking your babies life. Please don't let the ignorant thoughts of a couple of people upset you, you did the RIGHT thing!!

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  41. I am so very sorry for you Michelle. I went through something very similar with our two dogs. It was the most painful time of my life, but I am very at peace with the decision and know it was the best thing for everyone.

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  42. I think, unless you've been in that position, you can't say what you would do in this situation.

    I'm sure it was heartbreaking for you, and it took a lot of guts to write on a public site about it. My sister had to give up a rescue dog when she had my niece because of aggresive behaviour, even before she was born, her rescue dog would attack people randomly and be loving the next. She tried everything to make it work, and took her to the vets to see if there was something to give her. Jessie (the dog) failed every single agression test the vet gave her and the vet said she'd need to be put down. It was absolutely heartbreaking, but it could have been life threatening to my neice if my sister hadn't checked every avenue and found out her agression was just off the charts.


    at least maggie will be rehoused and in a loving home, you definitely did the right thing. xo

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  43. I'm sorry that you had to give one of your dogs away. I can't imagine getting rid of one of my cats! The baby's safety is definately more important then a pet. Thanks for sharing your tough story.. it's a heartbreaking but necessary decision

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  44. I am so so sorry, Michelle! That had to be the hardest decision...but one that you had to make as a parent, since the welfare of your child comes before everything else. You did good, mama. I'm sorry for your loss though! :(

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  45. Michelle - I’m not usually a ‘comment reader.’ Normally I’ll read the blog and then move on to something else. This topic though I knew would tug a lot of heartstrings so I read through all the comments. I’m surprised honestly. I thought there would be more hateful comments posted than there were (I only really noticed one). Now, I realize there’s a good chance you might have had to delete or un-approve some negative comments but still – I’m impressed with the level of support you’ve received. I come from a different side of the fence… I’m not ‘kid friendly’ – I can handle other people’s children for a few hours and then I’m done. I don’t want children of my own. I love animals and would have ten if my husband would let me.  I also worked at the Humane Society and have seen animals dropped off for all kinds of reasons and in all kinds of conditions. I have worked with breeders. I have worked as a dog trainer (and still do). I know dogs. And here’s what I can tell you – you did the right thing. Not all dogs are meant to live with children just like not all humans are meant to have children (ahem… me). I know that this had to be a devastating decision for you and your husband. I get it. My dog is my baby and I can tell that you love your dogs deeply. Have peace. It was the right choice for both your family and for Maggie.

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  46. What a hard decision! I am not one who supports others that get rid of their pets due to small changes in their lifestyles but from the sounds of your post, you did the right thing for both you, H, and Maggie! Have faith that you brought her to a place that will look for a new home for her where she can be top dog again. And now they know not to pair her up with children. From what you described, she was having some clear issues with your new addition and I am proud of you for doing what you had to do to protect H, and Maggie from something much worse. I hope this finds you peace with your decision!

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  47. Poor you - I agree that although it was a very tough decision, it sounds like the right one for both the dog and your new baby. We have a cat, adopted when he was 7 or 8. We'd had him for about 1.5yrs when my son was born, and man - that cat was annoyed. He's a people cat but hung out downstairs away from us until my little screamer finally went to bed. Luckily he got over it and tolerates our toddler, although my son loves the cat WAY more than the cat loves him. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2 wks when our daughter is born. Each animal has its own personality, as you've experienced with your dogs...I'm sure Maggie is much less stressed now, too. I'm glad that Tucker seems to like his new role as protective big brother!

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  48. Aw, this is so sad. I'm sorry friend. Of course baby comes first. I'm glad Tucker and H are already best buds. You definitely did the right thing for your little fam, even though it was so hard. I'm glad everyone else here is being so supportive!

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  49. Thank you so much to everyone for your sweet, supportive comments! I did receive a few comments from readers who don't agree with the decision that David and I made about Maggie. Since I try to keep Ten June a positive, happy place, I decided to delete those negative comments. I appreciate each of your opinions, but of course reserve the right to keep things positive and supportive here on my blog, especially when it comes to a sensitive subject such as parenting. I know all of you understand. Thanks again for your love and support!

    -Michelle

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  50. Oh my goodness, my family had to do the same thing with our Bichon, also named Maggie. I had moved to college and my parents were traveling all the time,and we realized it wasn't fair to leave her at the kennel all the time. My mom found the perfect owner for her - a retired woman looking for an older dog for a companion that she could spoil - through the adoption agency and as hard as it was to let her go, it was better for all of us. It takes a little time to heal from letting go, but Maggie is so much better off and I'm sure your Maggie will be the same way. Sending y'all love!

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  51. Oh man, this must have been a HARD decision to make. I can understand why some people would leave non-positive comments on here about your decision, but I think until they've truly walked in your shoes/been in this position, who are they to judge. It's your life- and I commend you for being brave enough to write this post. I also think you went about it the right way- you didn't put the dog to sleep (I know some people who have done this), you didn't drop her off at the humane society- you placed her back with the rescue organization that she came from and you know they'll find her another great home! It's obvious she wasn't happy and your other dog wasn't happy as well. This post does make me nervous for what's to come in my future- we have 3 (!!) dogs and the middle one is not a fan of children/new things- I already know she's going to be a challenge when it comes to a new baby. I just hope she can adjust and that we won't have to make this same decision because it would absolutely break my heart to have to do this. Fingers crossed. And kudos to you again.

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  52. So sorry you had to make this decision. I stand by you. Ignore those posting negative comments, they are miserable trolls.

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    1. I don't believe name calling like that makes it any better

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  53. This breaks my heart, and I'm not sure I can continue reading this blog. I can emphasize with the situation you were in, but did you consider hiring a dog trainer to work with the dog before deciding to give him up? What about setting up baby gates so the dogs were fenced off from whatever section of the house the baby was in? Or having a friend take the dog and slowly introducing the baby to the dog outside the dog's domain (the house) until he was more comfortable with the baby. When you make a decision to adopt a dog, that decision needs to be forever, not just while it's convenient for you. With all due respect, what you may not realize is that even though you took him back to a no kill shelter, shelters only have so much room for dogs and by taking him back it likely took the place of another dog they could have rescued from the E-list at the local pound. This is just too sad to read.

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  54. I totally understand why you did this. We have a super sweet dog, but she does not do well around children. She gets growly and snappy. If Luke & I ever decide to have kids, we most likely wont be able to keep Gracie. It hurts just thinking about it. I'm so sorry that you and David had to make that decision, but you have do do what's best for the baby.

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