All this happened in the span of about 30 seconds, because as soon as I realized he was not in the back I came to the front go get him. We have a glass front door so I saw him coming home and saw him snap at the man. It was not the guy's fault. He was just, you know, walking his kid to school. And Nebo was scared because he couldn't figure out how to get home.
Because of Nebo's history, there are four options at this point, as I see it:
1) Pay thousands of dollars for a privacy fence between us and our neighbors;
2) Take Nebo out in the backyard on a leash to use the bathroom several times a day;
3) Return him to the no-kill shelter where we adopted him;
4) Have him put down (last resort, obvs.)
We don't have the money for a new fence. And that's more a long term solution anyways. We have to go through our town council and get approval; get approval from our neighbors; get a building permit; hire a contractor; wait a million years to get the effing thing built. Months, even if we did have the cash.
Taking him out on a leash ever time he uses the bathroom is an option, but not a very good one. I can't really leave my kids unattended for several minutes while Nebo does his business. And I can't very well have preschoolers and a toddler out in the yard while I'm waiting for Nebo to take a crap because you know the kids will be all up in that business. Also, he won't be able to play with Valentine and that sucks for both of them.
Returning him to the no-kill shelter is a real option. When we adopted him, as part of the contract they said they would take Nebo back if we could not keep him for any reason, and it even stipulates that he should be returned to them and not given to another owner or another shelter. But I just keep thinking that he's never going to get a new home, you know? Because who is going to adopt a biter? No one wants a dog with a history of biting.
The thought of putting him down is just too awful. Nebo is only eight years old, so he still has another 2-4 years left on his life (on average, larger dogs live 10-12 years) and he is otherwise healthy. But, he has a history of biting. Yes, I trust him around my kids but I don't trust him around strangers, or even my neighbors. That's just not okay.
So, I'll be taking him out in the yard on his leash until we make a decision. Maybe that will not be as inconvenient as I think? It still doesn't seem like a real solution, though, because what if Nebo gets out again? What if he jumps the fence while my neighbors are out in their yard and bites someone? Then we will have to put Nebo down for sure and I'll feel guilty about not returning him to the shelter when I had the chance. But, the shelter? I mean, it is a nice shelter, but to have to live the rest of his life there, away from Valentine who he worships and adores? How awful for him. Possibly a fate worse than death.
Nelson gets back from Texas tonight and we're going to think about it this weekend. This is not a decision either of us want to make. We love Nebo. He is a part of this family.
Nebo, when he's not biting.