Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Jamison has always loved our pets, especially Tulip. And since he is a hugger, Tulip received a lot of affection from him...probably more than she wanted.

But all of that affection turned on him last Thursday. I was upstairs getting ready for the day while the kids were downstairs eating breakfast and watching tv. Before I really got started I hear Jamison crying. At first I'm not sure what kind of cry it is - is he just whining or is it serious? By the time I make it to the staircase he is halfway up the stairs and the right side of his face has blood streaking down in. So yeah, it was serious. Luckily, my tendency to pass out was overcome by my adrenaline.

I carried him into the kitchen and started to try to clean him up but he wouldn't let me touch his face. The whole time I'm asking him and Lily what happened. Lily was coloring so didn't see anything and Jamie kept saying that "Tulip bit me". I look at Tulip and she is doing the guilty cry and is obviously upset about something. So something happened between Tulip and Jamie. Most likely, he tried to pull her off the couch by her front paws and so she did what any reasonable dog would do to defend itself.

Since it's only 8:40 in the morning I call our family physician to see if there is an appointment NOW for Jamison. They tell me if I get there in 15 minutes I can have one. I think I got there in 7 minutes. Brian met us at the doctor's so that he could focus on Lily.

By the time I had gotten the kids buckled in the car Jamison was completely fine. He was still bleeding (a lot) and wouldn't let me clean him up but he was singing his songs the entire time in the car - ABC's, BINGO, Jesus Loves Me, & God Is So Good. So I knew whatever damage was done to him at least he wasn't in a lot of pain.

When the nurses come into the room I held him down while one nurse tried to hold his head so the other could clean him up. It became apparent that Tulip had gotten him on his eyelid, on his temple, and under his eye. The doctor came in and gave us some great news - they were just superficial wounds, there would be no stitches or glue (been there, done that), and there was no damage to his eye. She gave us an antibiotic and we were out the door.

I really didn't want to take pictures of his cuts because (I think) they are scary. But keep in mind that he was perfectly fine and actually tried to hug on Tulip again the minute we got home. This didn't slow him down or change his opinion about dogs whatsoever. Is that just testosterone? Or stupidity?

I took the next two pictures with my cell phone so they aren't very clear.

See? He's happy. I wouldn't be, but he was.

When I went into his room Friday morning to get him I gasped. His eye was completely swollen shut and it had bled during the night so there was dried blood all over the eye. It freaked Lily out. "Why is Jamie only looking at me with one eye? Wake up your other eye Jamison! Make him open it Mama!" Then she tried to pry the eye open with her fingers but luckily I was fast enough to stop her. See, he's happy again:

(notice Tulip in the background. She was very ashamed)

And now the problem. This wasn't the first time Tulip had bit Jamie. The first time he was sitting on my lap on the couch and she jumped up next to me. He lunged at her for a hug and she nipped him on his jaw. It scared her just as much as it scared him (and me). We got it to stop bleeding and put a band aid on it. No big deal, it was just one of those things. But then there were those few times that we separated them just in time. And then a few more.
And then this happened. So two instances within six months, a few close calls, and no telling when it could possibly happen again. Both of the times she bit Jamison he was the instigator and she never would have bitten him if he wasn't so rough. Imagine if you were 50lbs of a lazy basset and a 30lb boy came running at you full speed. I'd do whatever I needed to do as well.
But even the doctor said that if Tulip had meant to hurt him she could easily have blinded him if she had bitten a little harder. So do we risk our child's eye because we love our dog so much? Do we risk another child's safety because we love our dog so much? What if next time she got his lip? or his finger?
So we decided that since we couldn't give Jamison up we would have to give up Tulip. Jamie is a rough boy and despite our warnings to always be careful around the dog, we know without uncertainty, that he would still be rough with her.
Brian made all the arrangements because I couldn't handle it. Her foster mother picked her up today at 1:00. She stayed for about 45 minutes and at the end of the time said that if no one adopted her she would keep her since she seemed to be a sweet dog. And she is a sweet dog! Especially if there are no crazy two year old boys flinging their bodies on top of her in the middle of her nap.

So 9 years and one month after we adopted Tulip from a random dog shelter in Paragould, AR we had to give her up. Brian and I were married on June 24 and three weeks later we adopted Tulip. She has always been with us.
I took some pictures last night and this morning. I have tons of pictures of Tulip from when we were living in Arkansas, but none on digital. So these will have to do.
If I knew anyone would be interested I'd write all the crazy stories about her jumping in strangers cars, jumping out of ours at a drive through, jumping into the mailman's truck and freaking him out, etc... but I won't go on like I'm at a funeral. (too late?)

Her usual post in the mornings - waiting for the kids to drop some of their breakfast on the ground or just leave it unguarded.

We told the kids that Tulip went to go live with some doggie friends since she was old and lonely. There are two other bassets in the foster house, one named Rose. I was waiting for Lily to ask if Grrrmam would go live with some friends since she's old too but she never made the connection.
Jamie is looking at Tulip sadly in this picture because he didn't want to take the picture. He's been asking for her every 30 minutes so I'm hoping that within a month it will only be once a day. If you enlarge it you'll see how nicely he's healing.

And now she's gone. And I'd like to pretend that we never had a dog named Tulip and I was never in love with her.


Reagan said...

I am so unbelievably sorry. I have no idea what Nate and I would do if this happened to us. I'm so sad for you and the fam--especially Jamie!

coolhandandrew said...

That is a very sad story. I know I would cry if we had to give up Murphy.

Cary/Ashley said...

sooooo sorry Katie.:( I am tearing up right now.
Sorry that you and Brian had to make such a hard decision.

Thank God that Jamie's eye is ok.
Cary's older brother lost an eye as a child due to an accident and it was devastating to the entire family.

GradStudent said...

I'm sorry you had to give Tulip away.

Some people forget that their pets are animals, not people (I'm not saying that's what you did. I mean the people who put clothes on their dogs and feed them cooked chicken and rice). They don't realize that their friendly 120lbs lab could really, really hurt someone if it came down to it. A friend of mine did exactly what Jamison did as a toddler - hugged the family dog. She still has the scars of it all over her face (she's 28 now). Her family decided it was a one-time thing and kept the dog. 6 years later or so, the exact same thing happened to her sister. That same dog bit her in the face, and she had to have some pretty extensive surgery to repair one eye and her mouth.

Pets are nice, and they really add a new dimension to a household, but, in my eyes, any sign of aggression is a reason to get rid of the animal as long as there are small people around.


PS: I'm glad Jamison's eye is OK and that he's not scared of dogs now.

Allison said...

Oh Katie, I'm so sorry. I can't imagine you and Brian without Tulip! Seems like only yesterday we were hauling (literally) her off of the bleachers at the Delta Chi softball games. :) Thinking of you all!