We also have a Mini Schnauzer, Maisy, who is my husbands dog (but she thinks she is his wife). Maisy is the oldest, turning 8 years old this year on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th). She and pickles have always been great house mates. Never quite like siblings, but never a problem between them. My husband Terry belongs to Maisy, and I belong to Pickle. Then 2-1/2 years ago, the day after our 14 year old Lab, Molly, passed away, we met Max. He was a very skiddish Boston Terrier male and reminded me of Pickle when she was a babe. My heart was hurting at the sudden loss of our Molly the day before, so I was weak, and we brought Max home with us. We thought he would make a nice addition to our little family.
Being our first male (dog) in a family of females soon proved to be a bit troubling. First, he would hike his leg on everything. It did not matter what it was...my husbands $3000 stereo speaker, my brief case full of important documents, or the corner of our new suede couch. He was (and still is, to some degree) destructive. He ate not one, but two Jawbone Bluetooth ear pieces, and has shredded every pet bed that we have purchased for them since he came in to our home. He ate the corner of our new couch cushion as well as my husbands car seat cover, plus at least one of my shoes, just to mention a few things. As he grew into adulthood he also became more aggressive. Not with us, but with the girls (Pickle and Maisy). He got to the point that he was constantly aggressive with them them for no reason other than to simply assert his maleness on them. Our poor cat, JJ, an old Tabby-Bobcat mix, no longer comes down from upstairs because Max viciously attacks him. JJ use to walk through the room without drawing anyone's attention, now he can not even meow down to us without Max trying to get past the baby gate on the stairway to get at him.
At the recommendation of our vet, we had him neutered, thinking this would take some of the maleness out of him. After about 30 days we noticed that the hiking to mark things had almost completely disappeared. While he was still aggressive with the girls over food or toys, he didn't seem to be bullying them just for the sake of bullying. We had discussed finding Max a new home several times over the last 2 years, but we were hopeful that he would mellow with proper guidance, more attention, and age.
Then yesterday the unthinkable happened. Terry was in the kitchen, cleaning up lunch dishes (nice hubby huh?) and Max was watching him. Terry threw something in the trash and Max thought he saw a piece of food fall on the floor by the trash can. Just at that moment Pickle walked in to the kitchen near Max and he thought she was going after the morsel of food that he thought was on the floor, so he attacked her. Viciously too. Pickle did not run away, she stood her ground to defend herself. Terry yelled at them to break it up and for a split second they parted, then within another split second Max jumped Pickle again. Within no more than 5 second she was bloody and her eye ball was out of it's socket, the socket was spraying blood. It was horrible.
Terry got them separated. We were both in total shock by what just happened right here in front of us in the middle of the kitchen. He ran for a bath towel and I grabbed my cell and called our vet. She was out so her assistant, Liz, told us to take Pickle to the on-call Vet (the vets have an emergency co-op agreement). Liz called the emergency vet for us and we scooped Pickle up in the towel and ran for the truck. Terry raced us the 2.5 miles to the Vet. She was ready for us thanks to Liz calling on our behalf. Unfortunately, she was not able to save Pickle's eye. She had lots of bruising and swelling from the trauma, and one of her little teeth had been broken and loosened in the altercation so it had to be removed as well.
Pickle spent the night in the hospital after her surgery. What a horrible night, we stayed up most of the night worrying about her, feeling so guilty, feeling that somehow we should have prevented this from happening. Pickle is such a happy-go-lucky girl, never causing any problems. If she thinks there is a conflict over attention, she will just go away and allow the other dog to get the attention at that moment. She is a peace-keeper, so that is what makes this especially hard. If she had known Max was after a piece of food, she would have let him have it. She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So, today Pickle is home and doing well. Below is her picture that I took today, 24 hours post-surgery. I wish I had her spirit for just picking up the pieces and moving on. She is like, "Oh well, I still have one eye." However she seems to be having a little problem with depth perception, so she has a little trouble going up or down the stairs, or getting too close to something she walks towards or near. She also sways a little while walking straight forward. But she acts like nothing big has happened.
|Pickle, 24 hours post-surgery. You can't see in this picture but she has bright blue stitches where the eye use to be...it looks sort of like blue eyelashes on a winking eye.|
We on the other hand are not doing so well. I am totally paranoid for Max to be near her. I am afraid he will injure her other eye, or her new wound. What if he attacks her again over a piece of food that isn't really there? What do we do with Max now? I cannot trust him anymore so I cannot leave them alone together like we use to. I keep thinking, "What if this had happened while we were away from home?" That thought just horrifies me. I feel that Max has to go live somewhere else. But where? He cannot live with someone who has other pets. He is so skiddish of little kids that I am afraid he may bite a child if he feels threatened. I do love him, so I don't want him to go to just any home...I want it to be a good home where he will be loved and cared for. But he cannot stay here, that is obvious.
Does anyone have any advice for us? I don't know if behavioral training would be of any benefit since he does not get aggressive with us. I can take food right out of his mouth and he wont attack me, he is only that way with the girls. I don't want to put them in harms way in order try to train him not to attack them. I am just emotionally drained from this event. I welcome any suggestions from anyone who has experience with a similar situation.