Welcome and goodbye, Tyson

Two weeks ago, I got my dream dog. One week ago, I got rid of my dream dog. Yeah, you could call it a disappointment.

As I dropped Tyson off at his new home, I found myself pondering how quickly things had changed. Just a few days ago, I was driving across Missouri, eagerly awaiting my first meeting with a beautiful fawn-colored boxer. I saw him online in an Indiana shelter’s list of adoptable pets. He was perfect, and I knew right away that I wanted him.

My wife and I had been looking for another dog for quite some time. Our Pomeranian, Phoebe, needed a friend. And truth be told, so did I—there’s only so much roughhousing you can do with a 10-pound dog. We discussed it for weeks, wondering if it was the right time. But is there ever really a right time?

Just a few days after I saw Tyson’s listing, we were in a car on the way to Indiana. Luckily, Phoebe has pretty much overcome her carsickness, and found it sufficient to gaze out the window while dousing the car’s interior with drool. Our friends in St. Louis were more than willing to house us for a couple of nights, meaning we wouldn’t have to drive 14 hours at once. We settled in Friday night with them, their chocolate Lab, Vito, and their cats, Hanz and Walter.

We awoke Saturday morning, and, after a quick breakfast, made the two-and-a-half hour drive to Terra Haute. The shelter representatives had been keeping Tyson in a kennel off to the side in anticipation of our arrival. I don’t know if it’s possible for a human being to fall in love with a dog, but if it is, it took me approximately 2.3 seconds.

We took Phoebe and Tyson for a walk, and they did great together. After filling out the required paperwork, we hopped back in the car and drove back to St. Louis. Tyson did great in the car. He was calm, but seemed excited for the prospect of joining a new family. Or maybe that was just my interpretation.

It wasn’t long before we got him to the apartment that we knew something wasn’t right. Though he got along with dogs of all sizes at the shelter, he almost instantly picked a fight with Vito. Then he began chasing the cats with the intensity of a lion stalking a zebra. He growled and barked at Phoebe while she was eating dinner and minding her own business. He snapped at me when I gently grabbed his collar to move him off of the couch. These incidents continued throughout the night. Somehow, he was nothing like the sweet dog we initially met.

In a panicked state, we drove home Sunday morning, wondering if we had made a major mistake. “It'll just take time,” I told myself. I’ve had plenty of experience working with dogs, and was confident I could socialize him. It would just be a couple of days before he and Phoebe were best buds, I figured. Tyson

Imagine my surprise when my wife called me at work Monday afternoon to tell me Tyson had attacked Phoebe in the yard. Amanda happened to be off work that day, and was watching them in the yard when Tyson suddenly hunched down with an intense look in his eyes and began stalking her. Amanda immediately noticed the problem, but by the time she got to the dogs, Tyson had his mouth around Phoebe’s neck. She wasn’t hurt, but what if Amanda hadn’t been outside?

Sadly, similar incidents happened twice more that night. I was devastated. I hated to give up on Tyson so soon, but didn’t I have a duty to protect Phoebe? And don’t we deserve a dog that doesn’t terrify Amanda?

After sleeping on it for a few days, we decided to find Tyson a new home. Had we owned a large dog, I’d have been more comfortable taking the time to work with Tyson and stifle his aggressive tendencies. But he could potentially kill Phoebe in the blink of an eye, and we just couldn’t take that chance.

Phoebe went to stay with my parents while we worked on finding Tyson a home. I called the shelter to ask for advice. The head of the shelter offered to take him back, but said he’d be classified as “unadoptable” and would likely be euthanized. I lost it. A 9-month-old dog put to sleep? I couldn’t even imagine it. So I went to the Internet looking for answers. Thankfully, it took just a few days to find a family interested in adopting Tyson. They own no other dogs, have worked with boxers before, and live in our neighborhood! What luck! Maybe we’ll see them in the park this summer.

But when it came time to drop him off, I almost couldn’t bear to leave him. It had only been a week or so, but I’d gotten pretty attached. I gave him one last pat on the head and left him with his excited new owners. I felt like I should apologize. I wish it had worked out, Tyson.

The past week has been awfully quiet around the house.


  • I understand your situation. Mine was alittle different. I adopted a white boxer puppy from a backyard breeder. For the first 10 months everything was good, then one day he attacked my Bischon. He did alot of damage to the Bischon mentally and physically. The attack was also unprevoked. I made the difficult decsion to put him in an area Boxer rescue. He was eventually adopted to a home that was best suited for him. I questioned my decsion for a long time, but i know in my heart it was for the best for all considered
    boxernut57, 5 years ago | Flag
Uploaded By: SteveO
5 years ago

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