The original title of this post was Marshal's Recovery Diary, and it was going to be a hopeful post about how much TTouch seemed to be helping Marshal.
It was helping him, I could see how the little circles in his muzzle made him finally relax some of the tension and tightness he always carried around.
Then yesterday, Marshal and Fozzie got into a terrible fight--redirected aggression again, when they both saw something outside my yard, got excited about it, and lay into each other. I tried to pull them apart, and Marshal just nailed my arm. All the way through the subcutaneous fatty tissue, into the muscle. I called 911, and animal control and an ambulance came. I went to the ER and got 5 stitches, and Marshal went to animal control.
I have never given up on an animal. Lars bit Florian and was tense with Lamar for many months before he found a fantastic forever family. Star figured out how to open my gate and beat the hell out of a neighbors dog; she is now winning trophies in obedience class with her beloved adopter.
I truly have never believed that any dog couldn't be rehabilitated. I was incredibly stubborn in that belief, and it was the reason why I could never work in a shelter. So I was going to keep Marshal here and work with him, train and TTouch and desensitize, keep him separate from Fozzie and hopefully defuse the anxiety that has seemed to only get worse and worse since I've known him. Even though I could no longer walk him with my dogs, and the anxiety was definitely worse than it was at first, I thought he could still get better.
At first it went so well that I thought I could just keep him. He was such a sweetie and Dahlia and he got along so well.
Then one fence fight with Fozzie happened, and it was like something switched in him. The fights became more frequent. I still thought he was a good dog who just needed the right place, so I posted him every place I could think of.
But as you might imagine, no rescue groups would take him and no adopters came forward.
It was an impossible situation and I literally didn't know what I would do. I still couldn't conceive of giving up on him, because that is not something I do.
Only when I saw Marshal's teeth sink into my arm, and watched Fozzie trying to get away from him, and knew at that moment that it would be impossible and irresponsible to adopt him to another person did that stubborn part of me die.
I suppose it was an evolution that needed to happen, for me to fully understand and embrace the full spectrum of what it means to be a rescuer.
It sucks though that Marshal didn't have a chance. It sucks that I couldn't set him up for success, and it sucks how mysteriously, things shifted for him somewhere along the way and it just became too difficult.
We had some really good times and I hope Marshal will bring those memories with him wherever he goes now. It will be a while before I foster again but I have to remember all the animals I did set up for success, all the ones I did save.
Bless your little heart Marshal, I wish I could have saved you.