Kirk Evans Blog

.NET From a Markup Perspective

Not Ashamed to Cry This Time

I started writing something about how cool Maverick is and how the struts implementation seems obvious yet unfamiliar to many .NET developers. Frankly, I could care less about technology right this moment.

I have 2 dogs that are like my kids.  We have had them for about 7 years each.  Tonight, I have to put both of them to sleep.

The oldest is a female beagle mix (we think) named Derby.  The vets usually say she kind of looks like a beagle, but she has this really fluffy butt, maybe collie?  She has a really cute face, and is my cuddle bum.  She follows me everywhere, and curls up next to me during late nights of coding.  We got her from the humane society, and was my wife’s Christmas present our first Christmas together.  Even though she was my wife’s present, she more than turned out to be my dog.

My boy dog, Buck, is a lab-spaniel-pit bull, where the pit only shows in his cheeks.  He is a really beautiful dog, he stands tall and has a confidence to him.  He weighs around 50 pounds, but loves to sleep on my chest.  Needless to say, he has disrupted more than his share of nights’ sleep.  He follows my wife around the house, but he cuddles up to me to sleep. This dog is my play buddy and rough-houser.  That dog is my fishing buddy; he likes to sit with me at the pond in our backyard and to lay in the yard while I do yardwork.

These dogs are more than pets, they are integral parts of our family.  Read my book, they are in there more than the rest of my family.  Derby slept under my feet during most of that book’s writing.

About a year ago, I was out of town, working a contract. My wife called me to let me know she was at the emergency room with my son. Derby, the beagle mix, had bitten my then 2-year old son, Carson, in the eyebrow.  The wound required 4 stitches to close the profusely bleeding hole. We decided it was a freak occurrence, we would just be really careful with that dog around the children.  We even rationalized that the dog just happened to catch a tender spot on Carson, and that’s why there was so much blood.  She didn’t mean to bite, she was just scared.  It’s easy to make excuses for something you just don’t want to do.

This past week, Buck bit Carson, my almost 3-year old son. He didn’t break the skin, but it is a miracle that the skin wasn’t punctured. Carson had a good sized welt on his head for a couple days, and 2 indentions where the teeth were stopped by his skull.  To further the irony, Buck bit him on the forehead, just over the other eye he received stitches on the previous year. Carson wasn’t doing anything towards the dog that warranted agression.  And that is what scares the vets the most.

Even though Buck has been a great dog, the reality is that he bit my son, and tried to bite my son in the face. What we thought was a freak occurrence turns out to be a part of both dogs’ nature to assert dominance over each other, and Carson’s face is just about face level with Buck’s. The vet further explained that once the dog starts to show dominance, it will continue and get worse. We have a baby girl, Avery, who is still crawling but will be walking and running soon. And once she starts, she is almost guaranteed to pull on the dogs’ tails, grab their fur, etc. What then? Do we risk another bite?

I considered making the dogs completely outside dogs, but the vets don’t think they will adapt well, having always been inside dogs. The loss of intimacy with the family would almost certainly wear on them, the vets said, and we still have to consider the possibility of the kids going into the backyard.  Besides, that just makes the kids strangers to them, and the dogs would already be more prone to violence to unfamiliar people. Giving them away is not an option, because of their history of biting. Their regular vet said the only option is putting them down. A friend in our Sunday school class, also a vet, echoed the sentiment. 

Tonight, I am going to the vet to put 2 of my best friends to sleep. Then I will go sit by the pond, drink a couple beers, and cry for my friends.