A Thanksgiving Dog Loved and Lost

Today, my heart feels deeply the weight of our collective sins against God’s creation. For me, a commitment to God is also a commitment to be good stewards of this Earth and to care for all God’s creation. I connect most easily with horses and dogs, so I have always opened my heart to those horses and dogs in need of love, those that have been neglected, abused, or abandoned.
Last week, we welcomed into our home a dog that clearly needed love and food. He wandered onto my friend’s farm a couple of weeks ago, a half-starved bag of bones. She took him to be fully vetted and neutered and asked us to take him in and find him a good home—a request to which I gladly agreed. We recently had to say goodbye to the dog our children grew up with. He had a good life, but we miss him terribly. I thought it would be good for us to foster and to help another dog.
On Tuesday, my husband went to get him and quickly fell in love with him. By the time they made the 30 minute car ride to the house, my husband had named him and declared Bean his dog—unusual for my husband who always claims the dogs are mine.
Bean and Bear
We bathed him, fixed him up a kennel, and bought him a new collar and tag complete with our address and phone number. He quickly bonded with my Lab/Dane mix and the humans in the house. Our older female dogs was a little leery of him, and he thought the cats were a snack. We knew we had some work to do, but we thought it would be a good match for our home.
Thursday evening, I was preparing to feed the dogs. Our other dogs went in their kennels without any trouble. Bean, however, got very excited and tried to jump on top of the kennels. When my daughter tried to correct him, he turned around and went after her. My husband was able to get him off her and in his kennel, but my daughter had to be taken to the ER, where her nose was stitched back together.
Friday morning, he climbed up and over our fence and got out, but my husband was able to find him and bring him back. At this point, we already knew we would have to find him another home and were keeping him and my daughter separated. Later in the day, he went after our cattle dog mix Maggie over a toy.
Saturday morning, he escaped our yard again. When my husband found him this time, he tried to attack my husband. We knew needed to get animal control involved, because Bean clearly had the ability to be extremely dangerous. When the animal control officer tried to approach him, he went after her too. She determined that we would have to keep everyone out of the area until he found and killed whatever small animal he was after.
Bean Sleeping
Finally, late Sunday afternoon, animal control was able to catch him. They came to our house, so we could release him to them. I was so heartbroken I couldn’t even go out to talk to them. My poor husband had to verify that it was Bean and sign the release.
Most likely, he will not pass evaluation following his 10-day quarantine, and he will be euthanized. We are devastated not only for the loss of a pet we were already deeply in love with but also for the life Bean should have had. Even my daughter, who will always carry the scar of his attack, is heartbroken that it came to this. For us, our animals are members of the family, and Bean—despite the outcome—is still much loved.
Neglected, abused, and abandoned animals are a tragic product of our separation from God and his creation. They represent an ugly side of this world that I hope one day will be non-existent. Bean never should have been lost and alone, starving in the woods. If he hadn’t, who knows what kind of wonderful, loving dog he could have become.