Barkley was euthanized Monday afternoon. He had at least two bite incidents on his record and I didn't feel that I'd ever be able to adopt him out. More to the point, I didn't feel that it would be responsible to even try to adopt him out again.
He was a nice dog, I loved him. He just wanted to be loved and I can identify with that. But he was very high strung, which is unusual for a Rottweiler, and he didn't have very good impulse control or bite inhibition. He and I could have been happy together forever, but he wasn't good with other dogs and he wasn't dependable around other people. His energy level was such that he would constantly harass other dogs until they got sick of it and then a fight would happen. Some dogs learned to handle him, others not so much. Even if he wasn't in direct contact with other dogs, his energy raised the anxiety level around here and brought out undesirable behaviors, e.g., fence running, barking, and aggression, in other dogs.
He wasn't quite as bad as Ochie, but he was close, and he met the same fate. Ochie went to another volunteer some time ago and I never said much about it. I wanted someone else to meet and evaluate Ochie because I felt that my judgment of the dog had been tainted for my dislike of the dog. He made me crazy, and he had the same effect on a lot of the dogs around here. Like Barkley, Ochie had never bit me, but he did bite Clay and his energy level and lack of control made me concerned about adopting him out. Sure enough, Ochie bit the other volunteer within a week or so, confirming what I had thought and sealing his fate.
I don't blame the dogs, it's bad breeding, bad upbringing, or both, but it's not a problem I could fix. I could have lived with it, but I couldn't ask anyone else to. Actually, in the case of Ochie, I couldn't live with it, he just made life intolerable around here. Barkley wasn't that bad, but he was close and he seemed to be getting worse.
Most of the dogs we have around here are dogs that weren't suitable for adoption, like Trooper, Sparky, Maya, Vince, and Max (let's face it, he's probably staying). But there's a limit to how many dogs we can keep, and keeping those that make it difficult to keep others just doesn't make sense. So I can rationalize it as the "right" decision, or the best one under the circumstances, but it still sucks.
I guess I should have left both these dogs at the shelter. I don't think they would have gotten out alive, however, and this way they had a chance at least, and an end of life experience with someone who cared and was there for them. They had some time that they wouldn't have had if they had been left in the shelter and I think they had some good times around here. Monday afternoon, after a buttload of sedatives, Barkley laid down on the floor pressed up against my leg where he felt the most secure and he breathed his last. It was the best I could do. It wasn't enough. It wasn't what he deserved.