Sasuke was my younger, Navy son's German Shepherd dog, acquired by him from a breeder in Bahrain, when he was deployed there. I think what my son was hoping for was partly a companion and partly a guard. I don't think he clearly understood what he was in for, or what it would take to make that intelligent, dominant male dog able to live successfully with humans. Which is too bad, because that basically sweet, lovable, funny critter deserved a better life and death than he ended up having.
Sasuke had not done well in a previous kennel boarding short-term situation; he had lost weight and been unhappy, so Brendan was reluctant to go that route, and much against my better judgement and inclination, I was prevailed upon to take Sasuke again. The situation was complicated by the fact that we also had Andy's last remaining cat, Fluffy, living with us, and Sasuke had only seen cats as something to chase. Because of my cat allergy, however, Fluffy was already living a fairly constrained existence in our house, and my husband being a big animal lover, though he'd never owned a dog himself, (he had dog allergies, among many others) was nevertheless willing to give it a go.
Andy, who was also soft-hearted, fell in love with Sasuke. That dog was a real challenge to control, but he also was extremely smart, had his own puckish sense of humor, and would defend “his” people to the death. My son had told me about how Sasuke had chewed up everything in the Bahrain rental house that he and his Japanese girlfriend, Junko, had been living in, when he was a puppy, and I was prepared to have to hassle with that behavior, but I caught the dog with a shoe, and I took that one away and found another old, cast-off one that I told him he could chew, and he never chewed any other shoe but the one I told him he could, ever again, at least, with me. With time and patience, Andy did manage to achieve a limited friendship between the dog and the cat, though we never left them alone together unsupervised, of course. They would actually hang out in close proximity and the cat would even bat playfully at Sasuke when he would poke his nose near her.
Sadly, his lack of adequate training, and his over-zealous drive to “defend” his territory led to a very unhappy situation. I was running late for work, and Andy was going to drop me off, so I wouldn’t have to deal with parking, and he would have the pickup to use if he needed it. (His SAAB turbo was having issues.) Sasuke decided he was NOT going to be left behind, so he escaped out the front door as we were trying to leave. Fortunately, there was no one else on the street, and he went straight to the pickup, so there was no real problem at that point. The trouble came when Andy returned home and was taking Sasuke back into the house. He THOUGHT he had a good grip on Sasuke’s collar, but the dog got away from him, and this time, a group of teenage girls was coming by, on their way to the high school at the end of my street. Sasuke attacked one of them, and gave her a serious bite on the leg, which ultimately required some reconstructive treatment to address scarring. Amazingly, the animal control people did not confiscate the dog; we were allowed to quarantine him at home, but were required to post a “dangerous dog” sign on the property and make sure the dog was contained so he could not gain free access to outside. From that point, until the time came that I was able to return him to my son, I lived in mortal terror of losing Sasuke and of what he might do to somebody if he got loose again.
After much discussion, when the year (and a half) was up, (it took that much more time to get to a point where Brendan was ready to receive the dog, and in my case, finishing school freed my schedule so I could leave) Andy and I decided that his elderly cat would not do well traveling, nor did we want to try to board her with anyone, so he would stay home with her, and I would take Sasuke in the pickup to Brendan in Florida. That poor dog had flown from Bahrain to the U.S., from the U.S. to Italy, and then back again from Italy to the U.S. I was not about to put him on a plane again, if I could help it. I’m convinced that those horrible plane trips, along with some abuse Sasuke had suffered at the hands of a neighbor while Brendan was away at work, during the Italy deployment, (Brendan did not tell me about that until after I had returned Sasuke to him the second time) contributed to Sasuke’s separation anxiety issues and aggression. Andy and I had been together so much, since he had lost his job, and then, his house to foreclosure, that I was actually looking forward to a little time away. I didn’t plan on being away as long as it ended up becoming, due to Brendan’s deployment out of the country for a month, a week after I arrived in Florida, and I certainly had no idea that my husband was going to die, shortly before I was about to head home! But at least, I got the dog settled in with his original owner and the family Brendan had acquired along with his “new” girlfriend.