I came home from school today, and was promptly greeted at the garage door by a very happy dog. Little does he know. He wasn’t aggressive, and didn’t even try to escape out of the front door as I went to my neighbor’s house to pick up the kids.
We came home, and after I looked at the mail, and Maddie showed me some stuff from school, we all ended up in the living room. I decided now was as good a time as any to start prepping them for the inevitable.
We talked about how King had bitten Warren last summer. Maddie remembered how “Joey” had bitten her earlier that year. We remembered how King had bitten me out of the blue just a couple of weeks ago. We had also heard stories about how King had snapped at neighbors as they tried to get his collar when he had left our house without authorization.
I told them that King wasn’t going to be living with us anymore.
Annaliese: We took King to the Dr. today and now he’s all better.
Maddie: My puppy will miss him.
Annaliese: Yeah. My gray doggy will miss him.
I told them that the Dr. was going to put King to sleep, and that he wouldn’t wake up anymore. That King was getting old and crabby, and that he was biting more and more often. I asked J.D. to come over to me, and I asked him to show me where King tried to bite him yesterday. J.D. pointed to the back of his head. Then I turned J.D. around and showed them where King would have bitten him, had he been facing the other way.
Annaliese: Why won’t King live with us anymore?
I told them that it wasn’t safe for them if King stayed here. I told them that I loved them each too much to let King hurt them. It was time for him to go away.
Maddie and Annaliese began to rattle on about their puppies some more, and how Maddie would then get a puppy, and when our cat gets old and starts to bite, he’ll go live somewhere else and then we can have a kitten. Just generally prattling on the way little girls do.
It dawned on me that I hadn’t heard from J.D. in a few minutes.
I looked over at him, and tears were rolling down his face out of his little red eyes.
I asked him what was wrong, and my tough little almost 5 year old told me that he had just yawned and that his eyes watered when he yawned. I asked the girls to go in the back and play, so that I could talk to J.D. alone.
They left and I asked him to tell me what was wrong, and he said “nothing”. Please tell me why you’re upset, and he said “I yawned and my eyes are watering”. I asked him if he was said about King going away, and he nodded his head. I told him that I was sad too, and we both began to sob, just lying there on the couch.
I hugged him for a few minutes, until we both collected ourselves. Truth be told, he got it done faster than I did. With tears streaming down my face, I told him how much I loved him, and that it was my job to keep him safe. “I love King too”, I said, “but I love you more, and can’t let him hurt you.”
King has always been one to have a sense for “pain”, and came up and pushed his way in between us. J.D. and I spent the next 30 minutes or so, just petting King. He even rolled over on his back and let J.D. scratch his belly.