Friday, January 30, 2015

When doing what's right hurts more than ignoring reality

Yesterday I took our sweet rescue dog Fendi to the veterinarian's office for her annual check up. She was her usual anxious self in the car as we rode. I  was used to her being a bundle of nerves outside our home. The  pet adoption agency where we rescued her said she was picked up roaming the busy streets in the North Metro Atlanta area.

When we adopt a dog we assume there has been some sort of abuse issues. She was fearful and edgy until she felt safe inside our home. Then she quickly became affectionate and grateful.

At the same time I was leery of her fearful anxiety, but I didn't realize I was getting use to it, too. Probably because when she was inside our home with us she was affectionate, obedient, playful and a cozy snuggler. She was that way with Don and me and with our daughters when they came to visit. She adored us and we adored her!

Fendi was definitely a four-legged member of our family

Fendi Balint playing board game with her family.

Fendi snuggling with our daughter Mary

Our daughter Grace with her buddy Fendi

Fendi loved to snuggle with me in my early morning reading

Until our visit yesterday morning I didn't know I  was ignoring little signs of her aggression. The doctor and staff all noticed it. Fendi bit the doctor and the doctor had not touched her. When they tried to put a muzzle on her so they could care for her she got more heated. Then I tried to put it on her and she aggressively tried to bite me.They even tried to sedate her so they could help her. Fendi was out of control in fear and anxiety. It was a very difficult day. Fendi was frightened and irrational.

The doctors and staff had been generously and patiently working with Fendi and me for months to help her calm down about coming to the office. They were trying to help me teach Fendi she could trust people, since she was clearly abused before we adopted her. They told me yesterday all the work and love was not working. They all agreed she was getting more aggressive.  It was heart breaking. It was a terrible trial and I'm not going to go into all that happened. I will say that after I called Don and told him about the reality of her condition we sadly realized the best thing to do was to put her down.
My guy Don with a cozy Fendi  ... within a week of her adoption

I realize now that I was just used to her passive aggression because she was such a joy for us inside our home. But I heard God telling my heart -- through what I was experiencing and what the medical staff was telling me yesterday -- that she's in internal, mental angst from her tormented past and it's getting worse. I didn't know then that she was in this dark condition when we adopted her but God's grace and our love for her subdued some of that aggression for a while. I guess since she was getting into biting more and more it was God's way of saying, "Let her go now." The staff told me it was obvious we gave her so much love and happiness.  They tried to gently warn me that her issue is serious and we could have big problems later.

 Whenever someone came to our front door -- a French door --  she went ballistic trying to scratch through the door to get the person she saw standing on our front porch. She was loud and very aggressive. I see in a new way that God used us to create a loving world for her inside our home and she did not want any "intruders" in this sweet world to take it away and abuse her.
Our daughter Mary and Fendi snuggling again

When we took her for a daily walk she was anxious and loud. The doctor explained it was like Fendi was saying to the outside world who tormented her and abused her, "I'm going to get you before you hurt me." That's how pitiful it was for Fendi outside our home. She was in misery.

Fendi is insisting Grace let her join her in her stretches after a her yoga workout

In our home she was loved, She was well-trained and I taught her cute tricks. So the fact that her aggression had increased meant she was mentally unstable. Finally we realized it was a red flag for us. We are living in a neighborhood community with lots of children playing in the streets!  

The day we decided to adopt Fendi

Before the eyes of our God we had to be responsible for Fendi's behavior. Don and I could not let this continue to accelerate into who knows what?  No, putting her down was the right thing to do in our case. Fendi is no longer in her pitiful angst, either. Yes, doing the right thing really does hurt a whole lot more than ignoring the reality of Fendi's situation. 

But we trust God will be pleased that we did what was best, not what we initially desired. We have a responsibility to honor God toward our neighbors and in our community. The pain of loss remains for now. We'll leave the rest to God.

For HIS glory,
"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together!" Psalm 34:3