We wanted to share this slideshow of images from Queenie's last day to help raise awareness and acknowledge a side of rescue that many don't see. Please note that these images are emotionally intense and for some, may be difficult to view.
Tuesday, May 9th, 2017, was one of the hardest days we have faced since we began this rescue in 2015. It was the day we chose to say goodbye to one of our best friends, Queenie.
Let me take you back to the beginning of our journey with this one-of-a-kind dog. It was March of 2016 when she made her way to us from an owner who could no longer handle her. We believe that these people had bought her as a puppy and simply didn't care to put the work in for her. From day one, we knew she would be a challenge. Little did we know, Queen would be our greatest challenge to date. She was our first taste of what real aggression therapy is like-- could we take on the task of "fixing" Queenie?
Through extensive rehabilitation, we worked through her issues and she came out on the other side of it an amazing, loyal, and obedient dog who lived to please. She was no longer aggressive towards people and other dogs and we were (are) so incredibly proud of her progress. She slept in bed with us every night and was an integral member of our pack. She wanted to change and she did, for us.
But everything wasn't perfect. We knew early on in her rehabilitation that something wasn't quite right in Queen's mind. The best way to describe Queenie is mentally unstable. When triggered, she had no self control-- while we had complete trust that she would never hurt us (and she never did), we couldn't always say the same for other dogs. She had severe barrier frustration and would stress herself out in her kennel whenever another dog or person would pass by. While improvements were made to her behavior, her level of intensity and anxiety were harder for us to reach in her.
We strongly believe that Queenie's condition was a result of a combination of irresponsible breeding and poor pet ownership. Under different circumstances, perhaps Queen could have made more progress or even could have been a "normal" dog... but by the time she made her way to us, the damage was already done.
As hard as we worked and as many obstacles as she had overcome, she was still a danger to our pack. With Queen in our lives, we were constantly on edge, keeping an eye on Queenie's body language and trying to prevent her from becoming triggered.
We gave Queenie extensive, continued training, daily exercise, and different medications to keep her under control but she still lashed out. Queenie's constant state of anxiety was becoming harder and harder to relieve and even harder to watch.
There came a point when we realized we could never safely adopt Queenie out... we were willing to allow her to live out the rest of her life in our care. We knew Queenie, we could control her behaviors, and everyone in our home created an incredibly deep bond with her.
Queen wanted to change but she didn't know how. Her medications eventually didn't have the effect they once did, her anxiety levels were rising, and incidents were occurring more often. We began to worry about whether or not this was a quality of life for Queenie or the rest of our pack who were clashing with Queenie more and more often.
We put months worth of thought into our decision. To say that making this decision was complete agony for us would be an understatement. This was a day we all hoped would never come.
We had to make the decision to euthanize Queenie. In the end, we couldn't save her and we fully acknowledge that heartbreaking fact. Not every battle is meant to be won. We couldn't let our own dogs live in a constant state of fear any longer. We couldn't face the risk that Queenie posed to the dogs and people we love any longer.
Everything considered, we have no doubt that Queenie came into the right hands. With any other handler, we know that her life would have been cut much, much shorter. She was so spoiled and so loved in the time she was with us.
On May 9th, thank you to our incredibly compassionate and flexible veterinarian, we were able to help Queenie pass in the comfort of her home, surrounded by those who love her. Our good friend and photographer Paige captured the "ceremony," before and after, through her lens and we have included many of those photos in the slideshow below. The photos are emotional and for some are very hard to see, but we want to use this blog to expose not only the happy days of rescue but our darker days. We want to show our supporters just how much work, commitment, and love goes into every dog that passes through our hands. These emotional photos capture that in a way that is hard to put into words.
We are so thankful for our friends, family members, and supporters who saw us through this difficult day. Your kind words and condolences have meant the world to us.
To Queen, there is so much we wish we could have told you. We'd tell you how much we learned for you, how you paved the way for us to save so many other dogs with aggression issues. We'd tell you how much love in our hearts we have for you and how when we let you go, you took a large piece of all of our hearts with you. We'd tell you that you were always our dog and that you will never be replaced. We'd tell you that we'll forever miss your big goofy smile and your head butts. We're glad you are finally at peace baby girl.