On Tuesday night we had Maximus euthanized, along about midnight. At about 8:30 or 9:00 we were sitting on the couch watching television. Ronnie was on the loveseat. I was on the couch with Buffy. Maximus was playing with one of the puppies’ balls he’d found. It had a squeaker in it and he was squeaking it and squeaking it while he was in his crate. We laughed about it and I worried a little that he might swallow it and choke. A few minutes later he came out of his crate with the little yellow ball and jumped up on the couch between me and Buffy. He dropped the ball on the couch at his feet, turned to look at Buffy suspiciously as if she might take the ball from him….and lunged at her grabbing her by the throat and shaking her violently. I sprung forward and grabbed Buffy just as Ronnie arrived to grab Max and pried his mouth off Buffy. I ran with Buffy in my arms to my office and slammed the door. I could feel the blood and was afraid to look at the damage. I just knew I’d see her jugular gushing bright red blood.
Luckily she had puncture wounds on her neck and back but no gushing, gaping wounds. Ronnie had put Max back in his crate. We wrapped Buffy in a big towel and left for the animal ER. By the time we arrived I knew that Maximus had to be put down. This was his fourth attack in less than 18 months. We couldn’t take any more chances with him. He attacked each time with no provocation, with no advance warning and then with no understanding that he’d done anything wrong. He was a loving, lovable, sweet, goofy big dog 99% of the time. It was the 1% that we could no longer deal with. What if next time the animal he attacked didn’t live through it? What if next time (and we knew there’d be a next time) it was a human, a child. We knew we had a loaded gun with no safety in Maximus. There was no turning back this time no matter how bad it hurt to make that decision.
They took Buffy in immediately and started her on some painkillers and checked that she was stable. She was the second poodle there that had been attacked by a mastiff. What are the odds? We talked with the veterinarian and she agreed to euthanize Maximus that night. I was afraid I’d back out and ultimately put someone or someone’s child or animal at risk if I waited until the next day. So we went home and got him, now acting like nothing was wrong just like he always did. And we took that sweet, big, goofy dog and handed him over to the tech. We said goodbye to him and watched him walk away for the last time.
They kept Buffy overnight and I picked her up at 7 A.M. They had installed a drain in her neck where the skin had been pulled away. She is on pain meds and new antibiotics. But she’s alive. I’m so, so happy for that!!!!!!!! Such a sweet little dog should never have had to endure this trauma. I took her to the vet yesterday to get checked out. There was some bad results for her liver and kidney functions when they did her blood work at the ER. Her liver tests were slightly elevated but her BUN (kidney) test was triple what it should have been. This isn’t from the trauma but could possibly be affected by the trauma. We don’t know how long she’s had these elevated enzymes. So now I am injecting Ringers solution subcutaneously to help give her more hydration and help flush her system. In 2 weeks we’ll rerun the blood work and see if it’s come down any. The beginning of next week I’ll take her in to have her drain and staples removed which will make her more comfortable, I’m sure. She has some stitches and some hellacious bruises which will only mend in time. We may have to put her on prescription dog food to treat the kidney issues, but we can do that, too.
Maximus was never a mean dog. If he were the decision to euthanize him would have been an easy one. There was something in Maxie’s brain that just didn’t function properly. He was taking 3 Prozac capsules daily and that calmed him down fairly well, but occasionally he would snap for no good reason at all. Hell, we could never figure out a reason for any of his attacks. They were never after any kind of preamble, not even a growl. He would, out of the clear blue sky, just lunge at a dog’s throat and start shaking them. The first time it was a 15 pound fluffy neighborhood dog walking down the street; thankfully he didn’t shake him but nipped him deep enough to have to have antibiotics. The 2nd and 3rd times were at 30 pound Bandit in our own house, this time was the 4th with 14 pound Buffy. He would go from complete calm to a snarling, raging, driven maniac. When we broke his grip on the dogs he would be Maximus again, big, goofy Max. There was just something wrong in his head somewhere.
We are definitely in the grieving process now. I still cry several times per day. I still remember the sweet little things that he would do and how he would lay on the couch with his head in my lap totally relaxed with his “momma”. It hurts. It will probably hurt for a while yet. But I made the right decision. It was the only thing I could have done. It’s different around here. All of a sudden the biggest dog in the house is gone; that leaves a big void. Max had the loudest voice, the largest crate, the most energy and the softest heart. Today we took down his crate and moved the furniture in the living room. It hurt to see his empty crate sitting there each day, but now that it’s gone I think I miss him even more. We gave him a good life; I just wish it could have ended differently for him and for us.
Rest in peace, Maximus. We love you, big boy!