So....Tyson still lives. When it came right down to it, the boy just couldn't do it. We got the name of another behaviorist, and the boy will see if this guy has any new tricks up his sleeve that we can try with Tyson.
Thanks so much for all of your suggestions and commiserations. Interestingly, the vet that we go to doesn't much like to prescribe medication for behavioral issues (and this is very in line with our point of view as well) but he seemed to like the suggestion given by the vet tech for a medicine that can be administered to Tyson before any scheduled changes to the normal routine. (Like, say, a dinner date, or weekend at the parent's house...) I saw this suggestion from commenters and I was impressed. I had never even considered such an idea. That's why I'm glad we had people who weren't so close to the situation who could think outside the box, per se.
I also saw suggestions to re-home Tyson, and if you don't know Tyson personally, I can completely understand that this would be the first thought to pop into your head. I am a strong proponent of rehoming your animal before giving them up to a shelter or taking the "easy" way out. However, I also got this suggestion from the behaviorist that we used to work with, and I found it completely irresponsible. She knows Tyson and his issues intimately.
Tyson has severe separation anxiety and the boy is his one and only (to put it lightly.) It's not as though the boy and I are novices with pit bulls, or with dealing with Tyson's issues. I just can't imagine how guilty I would feel dropping this dog and all of his issues on someone new, even if they say they're ready to handle it - it will be SO MUCH worse in the beginning because Tyson will not only be in an entirely new situation, but he will also not be with the boy. I thought about this one for a long long time, and the list of criteria for a potential new owner for Tyson would have to be:
Young (Tyson is STRONG and needs exercise)
Stay at home (or work from home)
Experience with pit bulls
Willing to exercise Tyson regularly (or have a lot of land to let him roam on walks)
Willing to take on the expense of a dog who may require medication his entire life
Have no other dogs (unless very very submissive.)
Have no cats
Most people who have the experience to work with Tyson are regulars in rescue or animal behavior. Most of them don't only have one animal.... (I guess I'm a case in point...) I just feel like the boy really IS Tyson's last chance.
(Tyson was actually slated to be put down by the rescue I work for because he couldn't be fostered (due to the crating/dominance issue) but I opened my big mouth and said, "Oh! My boyfriend lives in a house and he could probably foster him!" So basically, this is all my fault. I think that what got to me back then was the fact that even though Tyson was big, goofy, and couldn't be crated, his tail was bleeding from the tip when we got him. Why? Because even though he had been in a crate at the shelter and when he was being transported to us, his damn tail never stopped wagging, and he banged it up so much it was bleeding. I need to get over this soft-hearted thing. It only gets me into trouble.)
Given that difficult and traumatic decision yesterday and the fact that I've been trying to be there for the boy as much as possible, I am SO ready for the weekend. Not that it will be relaxing. My parents are coming into town, and my dad almost made me cry when he offered to help me clean out my spider and large insect (seriously - you have no idea. I originally thought this one brown thing was a mouse...nope - large brown bug. I almost fainted. The only thing that kept me holding on to consciousness was the fact that if I fainted, I would be on the ground where all the spiders and insects were living. ewwwww) infested garage so that I can park my car in it. Apparently the garage hasn't been used for years. Stupid Curvy. (My dad didn't even laugh when I told him I didn't know whether or not the electricity in the garage worked because the socket for the lighbulb was well inside the garage and beyond where the sunlight entered when I opened the door, so there was no way in HELL I was going in there to test it out. He just understood that I can handle a lot, but bugs just aren't my forte... He said we'll figure it out when he gets here (which I translate to mean that he'll handle it and I'll help as much as I can...) Why oh why can't I meet a guy like my dad??) I set off a bug bomb last night, but I'm afraid to open the door and see what happened. The boy asked me what I was afraid of. Well, basically, I'm (irrationally, I know) afraid that the bug bomb had no effect, and that it just made the spiders and large unidentified insects angry...so if I open the door, well, they'll attack me.
Shut it. You all have phobias too.
So, facing the prospect of large bugs, and certain lawn care (my dad is bringing me an edger. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know what that was when he originally mentioned it. I planned to mow. And now apparently I have to edge. Great. Just one more thing to keep in the garage.) this weekend doesn't seem all that appealing, though it will be fabulous to see my folks. Today started off quietly, and I was just pushing through a Friday at work, when I heard this song on the radio:
It makes me so happy! I swear I've had it on repeat for the last hour. Added to that, a friend sent me a random email basically saying that they were proud of me for the cohabitation hiatus, and he knows how difficult that must have been for me, but I did the right thing.
That, my friends, is why I ALWAYS give compliments when I think of them. You never know when a little word of kindness that crosses your mind and is expressed can make someone else's day.
So with Tyson alive and kicking, and facing certain trauma from the garage this weekend, I'm in a remarkably good mood! I'm even happy enough to drop $139.99 on this window a/c unit and then try to install it myself. Wish me luck! (I'm not even going to read the email response from the old behaviorist after I called her suggestion irresponsible. It will just mess up my chi. :-)