Oh, I'm sooooo very sorry that Griz isn't able to stay with you.
Such a sweetie, like Leos are. *wistful sigh* But there must be something systemic that he just isn't putting on the weight, even after settling into your home and getting over the stress of his previous situation. Anything could be going on, "anything" from a straightforward (well, it's not, really; I've had a cat with this diagnosis) hyperthyroid to...well...cachexia secondary to undiscovered, systemic cancer.
You feel, and rightly so, devastated. You put a lot of time and effort into this boy, and he was happy with you. But my rescue dogs, as much as I love them, have all cost me $$$ so far beyond their adoption fees that--no joke--I doubt I'll ever be able to retire. Perhaps not the best financial move, but we don't have children whose educations were being put at risk, and my chronic pain makes travel *very* difficult.
Although there have been treatments we have declined, there have been times when we've pushed the envelope in hopes of learning something of benefit to future Bernese Mtn. Dogs or related breeds. We know it's a privilege, but there were some times during Vergil's treatment when I was ready to transfer ownership to the medical team directing his treatment program because I was in almost over my head technically as well as emotionally. We'll be digging out from his treatment for another two years, I think.
So I understand why you needed to transfer his ownership to someone who could guarantee (and she did
, didn't she?) that she would provide every medical treatment Griz needs. If that isn't the case, then I don't know what to say to you. But in rescue--and this is the hardest part of it, for true--the dog's
best interest must come first.
"RescueGrrl" (RG) came to live with us on Christmas Eve 2010. I saw her as a companion for Vesta, who had stopped eating because she had lost Vergil's companionship on walks, rides in the car, and other simple daily activities, even though he was here in the house and alert. Vesta & Vergil had been a pair ever since he came to live with us in September 2004, after Myles died (August 28, 2004). So Vesta very much needed a friend and companion.
She and RG walked pleasantly together, slept next to each other, ate in the kitchen at the same time (although at the same 8-foot distance Vesta and Vergil had), etc., for four months. Two months before Vergil's death and two months afterwards.
Then, in late April, RG jumped Vesta, drawing blood. Vesta was completely surprised. I had gone downstairs to return to work on a deadline document, and DH had left the kitchen (the girls were eating dinner)
so they were momentarily unsupervised. RG took her opportunity. That was on a Thursday night. After that came the week of the three major injuries to ME due to RG: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. My physical therapist (post-knee surgery) was concerned about me. I was concerned about Vesta and RG. DH left it in my lap. I watched Vesta very closely, to ascertain her feelings. She gave me mixed signals.
Then, one evening when DH drove home and the girls heard his car, they crowded each other in the doorway to the carport. RG jumped Vesta and--this time--I could NOT separate them due to a bad angle vis-a-vis RG's back legs. (My heretofore successful maneuver of lifting RG off the ground by her back legs had been absolutely guaranteed 100% for her to let go with her teeth and regain her balance with her front feet.) I couldn't get to her back legs, and I couldn't lift her off of Vesta; RG wouldn't let go with her teeth. And, this time, Vesta fought back. She was *furious.* She was *heroic.* She was NOT going to be denied her revenge.
It was positively scary.
DH heard me through the door, screaming at the girls to STOP, LET GO, OFF, etc. He let himself in and grabbed RG's back legs, lifting her off the ground and stopping the whole spectacle. I asked him to put RG into the crate so that I could look at Vesta for injuries and then look at RG for injuries.
They both had ear lacerations; Vesta had a neck laceration. Both were "wearing" saliva of the other. Later I found a chest scrape on Vesta, but it was surficial, thank God. I cleaned them both up with liberal applications of peroxide and cotton balls, massaged their legs against stiffness (Vesta is 11+ y.o., RG 5+ y.o.), and instituted a policy of strict separation.
I also wrote a long report to the Rescue Committee, tears pouring down my face, that we would have to rehome RG. Again.
Animals come to my home to live out the rest of their lives. I have *never* willingly let one go prematurely, but RG needed a different placement for Vesta's safety and, after that last incident, for her own. It was clear that neither girl was going to back down. Vesta had been dominant her whole life, even when we had a older, second female from 2001 to 2006, and she was in place already. RG was evidently used to ruling the roost, too, and *she* wanted to be Top Dog here as well. I had no wish for either girl to kill or badly injure the other.
I had to let RG go.
She is now the center of a man's life, a man whose life was turned upside down and inside out from November 2010 through May 2011. Each month, a new disaster beset him: lost one of his dogs. lost best friend. lost job when firm where he had worked went under. lost of teenaged son tragically via accident. wife became unstable due to loss of son, their only child. marriage disintegrated. lost second dog suddenly one morning. all this time, was recovering from his own long-term medical situation. He desperately *needed* an active, emotionally needy dog like RG, who in turn needed to be the queen of the household, the only dog, the only pet.
Tears still run down my face writing paragraphs like that one. I still miss her; I probably always will. She was a smart, beautiful, sweet, fast dog. The BEST learning dog--one repetition and she knew the behavior--I've ever seen, whether in a class, my old pet-sitting business, my dog club, or anywhere. I'd put her up against a Border Collie any day; she'd have a good shot!
But that won't happen, because she won't behave herself around Vesta. She's living with someone who needs her. I tell myself this mantra several times--well, it *was* several times a day. I'm getting it down to several times a week....
So I know very much what you're going through.
RG lived with us from 24 December 2010 until 18 June 2011.