Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In Memory of Jupiter

As my foster dog Jupiter has become more comfortable here, he’s started to show aggression with other dogs. While I don’t know exactly what he’s gone through in the first five years of his life, I know that lack of socialization played a big part in the dog he has become. And while Jupiter is just wonderful with humans, for the sake of other dogs, and due to a huge shortage of foster homes available to take in a dog like Jupiter, I made the very difficult decision to euthanize him. As I struggled with this decision, and thought about conversations I’d had with other rescuers about Jupiter, I looked in Jupiter’s eyes and we had a heart conversation something like this:

Me and Jupiter in happier times

Me: Oh Jupie, I am so sorry I can’t save you.

Jupiter: You already did save me. You’re the first person to ever really love me.

Me: You’ve come so far. When you first came here you would shy away if I raised my hand, but now you know that if I raise my hand it is always to pet you, and never to harm you. You were mistreated by your previous owner, but you still are the most loving, affectionate dog.

Jupiter: You’ve given me everything that I’ve never had before. Good food, medical care, a comfortable bed, and most of all, your time and affection.

Me: And you’ve given me love and comfort in return. Your life has been awful before you came here, and now in such a short time it has to end? It isn’t fair!

Jupiter: I know. But I live in the moment, with no time for regrets of the past. And this moment, being with you, is perfect.

Me: My friend said this is bound to happen when you rescue the toughest cases.  But Jupie, you're the best dog.  I’m so sorry that I have failed you.

Jupiter: You didn’t fail me, my previous owner did.

Me: I hate him.

Jupiter: I love you.

Me: Wait for me at the Rainbow Bridge?

Jupiter: Of course.

Kenny - Dog Walker Extraordinare

This morning I held Jupie in my arms as he died, and I whispered to him to find Kenny. All Paws Rescue recently lost one of our best volunteers - our dear friend - and we’re sure he’s now at the Rainbow Bridge greeting all the dogs he’s helped to save. I believe Kenny will take care of Jupiter until I get there.


Kari in Vegas said...

Rest in peace sweet Jupiter. That decision must have been so hard.

Stop on by for a visit

Blueberry's human said...

What a hard decision you had to make. I'm so sorry. But yes, you did show Jupiter love that he had never known before and you did all you could for him.

So sorry to hear you lost one of your volunteers! May he rest in peace and yes, greet all those animals that make the same journey.

Casey Jones' Mom said...

So sorry. If they could only talk to you and let you know their past. As hard as it is you did the right thing. My heart goes out to you. He had love at your place.

Diane said...

I'm sorry for your loss. It's a position I have been in myself. Take care.

Ashton said...

Oh Jupiter...RIP sweet boy... I'm so sorry mankind has failed you...I hope his journey to the bridge was a quick and happy one..

Laurie, we all know you tried...and stand by you during this difficult time.

Cupcake said...


I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I know you love Jupiter.

Run free Jupie.

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

Sorry for the loss of your friend Kenny. Thank you for showing Jupiter love & kindness. Life just is not fair :(

Two Pitties in the City said...

Such a tough decision. I will always remember a conversation I had with Mr B's foster mom where she said she was fostering a dog in a similar situation and it was so difficult and she just kept holding on and after many, many months she finally made the decision to euthanize her. She said she kept thinking back on it, and realizing how all the time, resources, and space spent on that single dog could have helped so, so many more dogs during that time. I really like your writing, it puts it so well.

Anonymous said...

I cry when I read about Jupiter. He was a good walker at the adoptions for me, even though it was so hot. Thanks for saying that Kenny will be waiting for him. That makes me cry, too, but it is a big comfort. Linda

Tucker The Crestie said...

So very sorry to hear about Jupiter. What a heartbreaking turn of events, but someone has to make the hard decisions and it sounds like this was the right decision to make, even though I can't imagine being the one to have to make it. Sending you a big hug today.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for you loss. /: Rescues who take in pit bull type dogs though should really make some type of back-up plan for dog aggressive dogs...pit bull types are prone to dog aggression, it's genetic (although not all of them are). It's a shame this dog had to be put to sleep over something like this.

Beth Lacey Gill said...

Goodnight sweet Jupiter. He's in terrific company on the other side. Warm hugs from Baltimore.

Cr8z4Cats! said...

This makes me very sad. I'm so sorry Laurie. I know this had to be a gut-wrenching decision for you and one you did not take lightly. We rescuers can only do so much for the pets we save - especially with limited space and other pets to care for. You have to think of the safety and well-being of your other foster pets. It's not fair to put them in harm's way either. It just sucks when you can't save one, especially when they have suffered from the actions of their previous owners. I'm glad Jupiter at least got to experience real human love and affection in his life.

Dog Foster Mom said...

Thanks everyone for the kind comments. I just want to clarify something for "Anonymous". I generally only take in pit bulls after an evaluation, but in Jupiter's case a guy I'd never met showed up at my door and said Jupiter's previous owner was going to shoot him, so could I take him instead. I had no "backup plan" because his only other option was either to be shot, or for me to take him directly to a shelter where he would be euthanized. He was a strong heartworm positive, and malnourished, anemic, and in bad shape physically. We got him treated and for awhile he was fine, but as he started to feel better physically, he became aggressive. This was not just a matter of him wanting to push around other dogs - he tried to kill a dog, and showed that he would do the same with other dogs as well as cats. We consulted with pit bull rescue experts who advised that they would euthanize him, and it would be a liability to adopt him out. I couldn't keep him here and had nowhere else for him to go. So I understand your concern for dogs who are more likely to be dog-aggressive than other breeds, but the fact is rescues who take in pit bulls, including rescues who specialize in pitties, often end up euthanizing dogs like Jupiter because it is the responsible thing to do for the safety of everyone. But at least he died peacefully and without being scared or in pain, and he was held by someone who loved him.

By the way, I'm glad you posted, because it was a good point and I appreciate the opportunity to explain, and I hope it makes more sense now.

Sam said...

Such a tough decision, but you made the best one for him. He was loved, and your memories of him will be the best, because you made a decision that saved him - and didn't let him fall into the "bad dog" scenario his previous people had set him up for.


LP said...

Laurie, we just wanted to say we think you are AMAZING! You have opened your life and heart up to so many animals in need and you have saved so many lives in the process. Making the decision like the one you were forced to make for Jupiter , would never have been a decision that you would make lightly. We know/understand that.Our hearts break knowing you had to make it in the first place.Not everyone can be saved because some times, too , too much damage has been done. Jupiter died knowing he was loved and because of this , you did in a final yet very important way , save him.

the critters in the cottage xo

Barb's Cats and Quilts said...

Laurie, you're a saint. We all feel for you and sympathize with you. Jupiter was so lucky to have found you.

Sue said...

We're so sorry!. I wish we could save them all. As we all know there are people out there who should never be allowed to have a dog, they don't appreciate all a dog can bring to their lives.

We do the best we can and that's all we can do.

Anonymous said...

Laurie, thanks for clarifying all of that and the situation. I was under the impression that he had been pulled from a shelter, not as a last minute resort for his life. I'm not saying it was the wrong decision in any way to have him euthanized, I understand dogs like that have a one in a million chance of landing a good home, and it wasn't fair for you or your other fosters or even him. I just wanted to make the point that some rescues who take in a lot of pit bull types don't understand the higher chance of dog aggression, I just wanted to make that point and i'm glad you understand. Fostering isn't easy, I've been faced with these decisions before and it totally sucks all the way around, but you just have to make the best of it and save the ones you can, I can't thank you enough for being strong enough to do it.

Dog Foster Mom said...

@Anonymous - thanks :-) Jupie is the first dog, out of hundreds I've fostered, that I have ever euthanized for dog-aggression. I've kept and worked with pitties that have had all sorts of problems, but in Jupie's case it was the danger he posed that made me unable to work with him. I know all about keeping dog-aggressive pitties (I've been fostering Ziggy for two and a half years, because he can be dog-aggressive and needs a home with no other dogs). The thing with Jupie is the intensity/amount of damage he would do, and in spite of my policy of sharing everything on my blog (for better or for worse!) I didn't want to go into details on the danger he posed and thereby damage the reputation of the breed for those who consider all pitties inherently dangerous. Plus he's my baby and I love him and didn't want anyone to think poorly of him, because he was only doing what he was bred and taught to do. Not that he cares about his reputation now, but I care because he was a sweet dog who wanted so much to be loved, and that is what I wanted others to know about him. Anyway, thanks for reading, and understanding. I am glad you posted, because I am sure others probably thought the same thing, but didn't say anything. And I'm all for people having and sharing differences of opinions in a civil way, because we can all learn from each other (and I freely admit I have much to learn!) :-)