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#46244 - 11/04/04 09:36 PM What would you do?  
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3toos Offline
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Please note that this post is over 3 years old and we have moved forward from this point. Jazz is still here with us and is wonderful. For current postings on this topic click on the last page.

It has not been an easy road taking care of our birds and our twins, but a week and a half ago, our M2 Jazz almost bit my son's finger tip right off.

This is the story:

Jazz has always been in our front room so that she could be part of the chaos that goes on in our house. She was in her house when I went to make the kids some lunch. Little did I know that David was playing with something on the outside of her cage. I saw him standing there, but usually he just talks to her and dances for her. Well, one bite, blood everywhere, and a trip to the emergency room later, he emerges with 8 stitches in his little finger.

Jazz has always been really good with the kids, but now I can't trust her at all. This is so sad to say as it has taken me 2 years to be able to handle her and it was almost another 2 years that she has been really good with the kids.

We put her in the dining room with the other birds and have gated off the room so the kids can't come into contact with them anymore. She can still see what is going on, but she is no longer in the front room. I was going to put her down the next day but Peter talked me out of it.

I am the one that cares for the birds, cleans up after them, and generally has to make sure that they are happy. As much as they are a part of our family, they are only birds. I cannot replace my son or daughter.

What would you have done? I'm just curious...

Signed,
3toos wife


Some days it's chaos around here!
and I would not have it any other way.
#46245 - 11/04/04 09:49 PM Re: What would you do?  
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I am sorry for the bitten finger but someone should have made you very aware that if you poke something at an animal they will react and in this case it was a finger that was bitten. No animal is 100% trustworthy, this includes humans, despite would you may hear or read. I certainly would not have the bird put down simply for doing something natural. Take the appropriate precautions to ensure that children are kept away from danger. I would encourage you to learn much more about the birds and to help the child get over a possible fear due to the bite.
Don't punish the bird for this and don't beat yourself up with guilt either but educate, educate, educate and this will go a long way.

S.G

#46246 - 11/04/04 09:54 PM Re: What would you do?  
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3toos Offline
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Hi there:
He wasn't poking anything at her...he was playing around her cage.
Mrs. 3Toos


Some days it's chaos around here!
and I would not have it any other way.
#46247 - 11/04/04 09:59 PM Re: What would you do?  
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I dont think you can "trust" a bird not to react to any situation by biting. Thats is what they do - however long you have had them and however friendly they may be. While your reaction as a Mom is one of anger - the bird will be bewildered by the change in circumstances/routine. I think the children need to be kept away from the birds for everyones safety. db

#46248 - 11/04/04 10:13 PM Re: What would you do?  
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He had to have at least poked his finger at her, most likely INTO the cage, or how did she manage to reach it, since she was in her cage?

#46249 - 11/04/04 10:18 PM Re: What would you do?  
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3toos Offline
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that's a good point DB. Yes, I was angry, but to be honest with you I was more heartbroken that this happened. I love Jazz and all her little quirks. I had no idea that she would have done this but it just goes to show you what can happen in a second.

The birds have been wonderful with the kids to the point of letting them feed them and pet them (with supervision of course) and we have always been careful with the kids around the birds. The kids loved uncovering them in the morning and saying hello and don't understand why they can't do that anymore. Another couple of years when they can really understand we will go back to doing this again. If I get bit, that's because I did something she didn't like or didn't read her body language correctly. They are still too young to understand..

Hopefully it will be the only incident.(fingers crossed)


Some days it's chaos around here!
and I would not have it any other way.
#46250 - 11/04/04 10:19 PM Re: What would you do?  
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3toos Offline
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I'm sorry, I must not have made it clear in my post. He was playing with the lock on her cage when she bit him. I guess she didn't want him touching it...
Mrs. 3Toos


Some days it's chaos around here!
and I would not have it any other way.
#46251 - 11/04/04 10:22 PM Re: What would you do?  
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I may not be remembering correctly, but I believe you had the birds before you had the twins? Stop reading right here unless you really, honestly are ready for just about any possible answer. Because my answer to your question will most likely make you very angry. Take a few seconds to think about this before you continue reading.

What would I have done? I wouldn't have had kids. You (or someone in your family posting as "3toos") have been a member of this board practically since its inception (based on your member number). I think you should have known better than to try and mix babies, toddlers, or children with large birds. You should have KNOWN that this is the start of the normal breeding season for these birds, and you have at least one adult bird on your hands. If you had read this site and paid attention to both the information and the bird's behavior (they do give clues when the hormone time is approaching) and been responsible, this wouldn't have happened.

You spent at least 4 years with Jazz, with quite a bit of effort expended according to your post. Yet, because YOU were IRRESPONSIBLE AND WERE NOT MONITORING EITHER THE BIRDS OR YOUR CHILDREN , you are ready to "put the bird down."

Who is the adult here? Who is the parent? You can't replace your son or daughter? Then why are you not paying attention to what they are doing? David could have gotten into all kinds of dangerous situations that had nothing whatsoever to do with birds. Fingers in electrical sockets, pulling lamps down onto himself, choking on a toy, swallowing something toxic... Parenting is a full-time job, animals in the wild know this, and do not let their offspring go off unsupervised. Just a bird. Just an animal. But, the oh-so-superior human being can't even offer the same level of parental care as those other lowly, expendable creatures.

It seems you and Peter need to do a whole lot of talking about priorities and responsibility. Somebody here made a selfish decision, and now it's time to deal with the consequences. I'm counting on Peter to have the compassion and common sense to see these birds you supposedly cared for find good homes. And if they are actually "his" birds and your irresponsible act forces him to give them up, then you can probably expect some consequences at some level, from that as well. And I think I would definitely take a pass on your brand of love, thank you very much.

#46252 - 11/04/04 10:53 PM Re: What would you do?  
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Wow, this is a tough one for you. Very sad for the bird for sure. I'm really sad that you're first thought was to have the bird put down. I don't know what the percentage is but I can bet that it's high for the birds given up due to babies being born into a family. Every time I read about a member having a baby, before long they are giving the bird up. I have an M2 for exactly that reason. It always bothers me when a young member gets a too because I know that eventually in just about every situation, this is what happens. Ladyhawk is so right. I myself have a new grandson and I know that someday, he will be bitten and I pray that it doesn't cause a family fued because, while I will always be careful, I refuse to shut the birds away. I hope you can forgive your bird, it wasn't Jazz's fault. Our children must be taught a healthy respect for these creatures, we are the ones that must conform, not them. It's a horrible feeling to see our children injured, I totally understand that. I also know that they are not replaceable, but in my opinion, neither are our feathered charges. I hope that you can come up with a workable solution for your family. I do know that you can make this work if you want to and that your feelings and love for Jazz haven't changed. I am sorry that your son was bitten.

#46253 - 11/04/04 11:16 PM Re: What would you do?  
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I knew that there would be some inflamatory remarks to my post so you'rs doesn't surprise me in the least...
I will respond the best I can to you...

"What would I have done? I wouldn't have had kids. You (or someone in your family posting as "3toos") have been a member of this board practically since its inception (based on your member number). I think you should have known better than to try and mix babies, toddlers, or children with large birds. "

To answer you, we did have the birds before we had our children, and no, we were not planning on having children, but God thought otherwise; so we have done our best to keep the birds and the children in ballance. There are others on this board who would have berated us for giving up the birds when we had children, so where do you win?


You should have KNOWN that this is the start of the normal breeding season for these birds, and you have at least one adult bird on your hands. If you had read this site and paid attention to both the information and the bird's behavior (they do give clues when the hormone time is approaching) and been responsible, this wouldn't have happened.

Yes, Jazz does give us clues to when she is hormonal, and this was not because of that. She is not in her hormonal state until next month (dec)

You spent at least 4 years with Jazz, with quite a bit of effort expended according to your post. Yet, because YOU were IRRESPONSIBLE AND WERE NOT MONITORING EITHER THE BIRDS OR YOUR CHILDREN , you are ready to "put the bird down."

All toxic things, electrical sockets, lamps, stairwells etc., are taken care of in our house. Maybe I was irresponsible in thinking that David would be fine if Jazz was in her house. I would welcome you into our house to see how "easy" it is to take care of 2 toddlers. They have to eat. I was cooking them lunch, and turned my head for one second. I can see the front room from the kitchen as our floor plan is fairly open here in our home. Berate me for not being a foot away from my son when this happened. I did the best I could to ensure that he was safe by having her in her house.

We have always tried to ballance the happiness of the birds and the children and thought that Jazz would be much happier to be in the front room with everything that was going on. Sadly this has happened and we have had to seperate them. Jazz would have never rehomed well as she has had a difficult life and that is why she would have been put down.

There are others on the board that said that birds and children can mix when we posted about our twins a couple of years ago. Were we wrong to listen to them?

I guess if you get pregnant you will give away your bird or abort the baby because you can't see having a home with the both of them together. Try not to judge me so harshly as I have only tried to do what is best for both our birds and our children.


Some days it's chaos around here!
and I would not have it any other way.
#46254 - 11/04/04 11:20 PM Re: What would you do?  
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I'm sorry your son got bitten.

I'd go back to the regular configuration. Your son knows better than to mess around too close to the cage now, although it sounds like they are still very young. Good luck.

In any case, please rehome your Too if you feel the danger is too great for your kids.

#46255 - 11/04/04 11:29 PM Re: What would you do?  
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I dont think having "had a difficult life" should preclude rehoming a healthy bird. All mine had difficult lives previously and are now doing very well. However I think the answer is to understand that the small children cannot be left alone near the birds whether they are in the cages or not. Small fingers can get in between bars or too close and the birds can be very fast. If you are distracted or cooking etc then ensure the kids are not near the birds. Maybe there is a room with a lock that could become the designated "bird room" where the birds can stay while the kids are roaming around the childproofed house. Then maybe you can have the birds out with you after the children are in bed or whatever works. I think it is just a matter of being proactive, creative and adapting your routines to accomodate the changing behavior/mobility of your growing children.... and ensure the safety of all. db

#46256 - 11/04/04 11:34 PM Re: What would you do?  

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I feel this is a tragic situation for all. Tragic that your son was bitten and had to go though the trauma of an emergency room visit, and also tragic for your bird as well. Not only are the children now isolated from the bird, but your bird is also isolated from his family. Birds bite. That is a fact. I have only one child who is 14 years old. She has been bitten, luckily not hard, and even at her older age, she is afraid of the birds. She does not even go near the birds. This is both my choice and hers. But the birds routine has stayed the same. When they are out of their cages with me, she can either stay across the room at a safe distance, or she can go in another room. I feel this is a fair compromise. Personally I do not feel that small children and birds mix well. I have read your posts over the past year and I am amazed this has not happened sooner. You obviously have a great love for your birds, but big birds bite and this was bound to happen. I feel for both you and your children. They are too young to understand and your bird was just being a bird. They cannot be expected to behave a certain way. They are wild animals. My suggestion would be to not have your kids interact with your birds anymore. This is really the only way to keep them safe. As they get older, this could change. Even allowing them to pet your birds with supervision, a tradegy could happen. Birds are very fast. I have had my Blue Front Amazon chase me across a garage, onto an outdoor patio and corner me on a chair. This happened literally within seconds. Luckily my hubs was right behind her. She was so hell bent on attacking me, that he got bit when he went to get her. Living with large birds is really an everyday challenge. They did not choose to come into our homes and become our "pets". We chose this for them, therefore we are responsible for providing for them and adjusting to them, not the other way around. You love your kids and you love your birds. The better choice would have been to wait until the kids were older before bringing large birds into your home. Since that choice was not made, you will need to adjust your lifestyle to make sure that both your children and your birds can live together. I wish you well and I hope your little boy is ok.

#46257 - 11/04/04 11:49 PM Re: What would you do?  
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I think the most enciting thing about your original post was the fact that your first instinct to have the bird put down. Not the most rational thought- of course you were gut reacting in an emotional situation ( but I hope you would react similarly if your child did injury to the bird) but still it was most suprising and rather upsetting to read.

Despite that, I thnk the responses you have received have been rather tolerant of that oversight on your part and understanding at the same time- the plight of a mother with birds in the home attempting to keep the delicate balance.

I do feel that this is another case of placing blame and consequences where it does not belong. My husband and I are involved with and work with a variety of animals and we know if we or others we allow interaction with, supervised or not- IT IS OUR FAULT. The animal is just behaving as it does. Luckily we have been rather fortunate not to have had too many incidents of accidents, but when they do happen- we know it due to some lack of better judement on our part. I also recognize that sometime life is hard to balance and this allows for accidents- it happens even in the most careful of circumstances. We lost one of our animals to another because of a lack of judement on our part (something that will not be repeated) and I wanted to break the culprit in half (I was emotional and mad) but after being consoled and my husband talked some reson into me- I remembered- he was just being an animal- they are not melicous or devious- that is just an inaccurate humanization of thier animal behavior.

My concern for your situation comes from your gut reaction. By putting the bird down for being a bird you are teching your children- nothing more than a ferocious irresponsabilty and abandonment of the plege you make when you welcome any new life into your home of unconditional acceptance and love.

That having been said I think that the measures you have taken to prevent this accident from happening again are commendable and the fact that you have shared your story- so perhaps no one else will follow in your footsteps.

#46258 - 11/05/04 12:02 AM Re: What would you do?  
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Hi 3Toos,

I know you are feeling terrible about this and I hope your son heals without any scars of any kind. When I had my M2, Peaches, I would need a reminder now and again of who she is...a wild animal. Even though I never forgot that for a second I would become lax every so often when she was being her sweetest. She sure enough would give me that reminder in a hard bite. I can't say it was unexpected because I should have known better. It was my fault and my fault alone.

I hope before you make any permanent decisions about what to do now with Jazz that you take enough time to weigh both the pros and cons of keeping her. Its difficult when a loved one gets hurt by the parrot you also love. The relationship you have with Jazz is now altered, maybe forever. You ask what I would do...that's a difficult question. In my case I would blame myself because I should have known better and that means it very well might happen again because I am only human and mistakes happen even though...so my decision would revolve around ME rather than my parrot because the parrot hasn't changed, it always had the ability to bite hard and I knew that. Can I trust ME to keep my family safe...including my parrot???

I feel for your situation.
Marie

#46259 - 11/05/04 12:05 AM Re: What would you do?  
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Hello there 3toos wife,

It has been awhile. I'm sorry to see that there has been an incident. I'm not going to say you should have known better, you already know that. We all make mistakes. As the saying goes no one is perfect. Those whose children have not gotten hurt while under their supervision are simply lucking (to some extent). Accidents happen. Your son is going to be fine. The real tragedy would be if you didn't change things.

As long as we have birds (anything larger than a Cockatiel) in our house there is the potential for being bit. The larger the bird the greater the potential damage.

Luckily for my family we got the birds after the children were beyond the toddler stage. If I recall my daughter was 7 or 8 when we adopted our first Cockatoo. So it was easier for us to explain to them the dangers. We still have to remind them to this day.

As our children grew from the infant state everything breakable and dangerous moved higher and higher as they grew. We kept things out of their reach (as best we could).

I suggest that you line the bottom of the cages with bathroom paneling so that your children can't put their fingers inside the cage. Have a look at the following link to see an example
http://www.acebus.com/ourbirds/coco/dsc01195.jpg

I did this to keep them from climbing down off the cage more than to keep little fingers out. But it should work just fine for that as well. You might want to extent the paneling higher up the side of the cage. Make sure it is high enough so they can't reach over it.

I also suggest that the birds become off limits to the children. Not even allowing petting while your holding the birds. This way your children will not question if it is ok or not. It is never ok.

At any age (especial at 2) you can't expect children to do exactly as they are told. So you remove the decision-making aspect. The birds are always off limits, there is never a question about this.

I would also instruct them that they are not to even play near the cage.

This should provide two levels of protection. The first being that they don't go near the cage. But if they do while your looking the other way you will have the paneling on the cage to provide added protection.

Good luck,
Michael

#46260 - 11/05/04 12:15 AM Re: What would you do?  
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Kids will always be learning life lessons, and I think this is one more for yours. Some of life's lessons can be painful. I understand that you can't protect them from everything, as things with children seem to happen very quickly. Thank goodness it was only the tip of a finger and not his nose or something. You think David will do anything like that again, or will he have learned a valuable lesson?

I practically lost the tip of my finger to a hamster when I was growing up. Now I'm in my 30's and the event never affected my life in some strangely negative way. (The hamster stayed in the family until it died of old age.) What I'm saying is that the wound will heal and the pain will pass. Kids will get into all kinds of trouble. You can only do your very best to watch over them and keep them from harm. You can only do your very best to teach them to make good decisions (such as NOT sticking fingers - or any other appendages - too near the bird's cage).

Jazz cannot be the one blamed and punished for what happened! She acted just as any bird would be expected to react to someone poking their fingers around her cage. Regardless of how your situation came to be, the fact is that you have birds and kids in the same household. With that, there is always going to be the possibility of injuries. Your bird is a valued family member (at least by someone in the household). That is something very important!

What would I do? I would make it work and not punish the bird. I would take ample time to let the child know that was NOT the bird's fault and WHY! I believe that perhaps it's time to take more measures to insure that your kids can't get into that type of situation again. Making physical barriers is important, but I think it's also important to repeat your instructions many times over to the kids about not breeching your birds's territories. I'm sure there are members here who can give you more insight into things like that than I can and I sincerely hope you do everything you can to keep your family together.

Lynne


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to keep it, perhaps you should
reconsider its suitability as a pet.
#46261 - 11/05/04 12:19 AM Re: What would you do?  

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I was going to put her down the next day but Peter talked me out of it. One more incident and that's it.
MY GOD !!!! You need to rehome your bird!!!! angry Janet

#46262 - 11/05/04 12:24 AM Re: What would you do?  
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3toos.

I have to agree with S.G. I completely understand how you feel concerning the welfare of your children but think about the circumstances.This is not a domesticated animal it is a "wild" creature. You yourself said that it took you almost 2 years to handle her and another 2 years that she has been very good with the kids!You say you can not trust her again , I would be very hesitant to trust her with children, she is doing what is only natural .Like SG said no animal is 100% trustworthy ...put particularily a "wild" animal!I can't imagine ,this is not like a dog bite ,one bite and they are gone ,if that were so none of us would have a bird! Education and precautions are what is needed. You have to have the birds in an area that the children can not access in order to keep them both safe. Even good dog rescue organizations will not place a dog with very young children because it is hard on both and they are domesticated .The children move quickly , have difficult body language to read, send the wrong signals and inevitably they get hurt.Children are hard on animals because they don't understand how to handle the animal, and they do not have the experience to change the outcome. They tend to frighten the animals with their quick body movements and in the case of the bird ,if his finger was in the cage or he was too close he can't comprehend the consequences of
his behaviour . Children just don't see the danger.It is up to us to protect both parties from each other.The trust you built up with the bird was with you ,the bird merely accepted the children as long as everything was predictable and probably you were in the room. I know you are angry with her but please try and see it from her perspective. She didn't do it to destroy your trust she did it because she is an unpredictable wild animal and she was either frightened or threatened or over stimulated.She too does not understand the consequences of her actions all she knows is if she bites he goes away.To expect her to never bite again is an unrealistic expectation that leads us to put our guards down and that is when accidents happen. Be prepared for her to bite and take the necessary precautions to aviod the bite and stay on guard. I do pet therapy at the local hospital, and do school visits with my birds I am careful to only let one child interact with the bird and I hold the bird and often it's head while they pet it . I have been doing it for years with no incident but I know that it can happen in the blink of an eye so I take every precaution. Others often say "oh I'll take your bird because I know it does not bite " I correct them and remind them that they are very capable of biting but at this moment they have chosen not to ! I do not let anyone believe they will never bite! I look for changes in the body language and a change in the grip . I see things they don't and I respond quickly so that nothing happens . You said he was playing around her cage in the front room ,you said she was there so that she could be in the caos, he may not have intentionaly signaled her, but he may have overstimulated her just by being close. I am not saying it is anyones fault unfortunately accidents happen . All you can do is take the steps needed to keep everyone safe. If these animals were as predictable as we want to believe, there would be no need for rescues,they would stay in their homes forever but unfortuately they are not that predictable. I agree with SG don't punish yourself or the bird look at your situation and evaluate it based on your and the bird's needs .Then decide if this is the right time to live with a large too. Only you can make that decision . Like SG said you need to reassure you little one and try and regain his trust because I am sure he is terrified and you are right the decision you make is with their best interests at heart.I wish you well.

#46263 - 11/05/04 12:34 AM Re: What would you do?  

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What would you have done? I'm just curious...
I am a mother of 3 children and provide a safe, healthy and happy environment for 4 birds, 4 cats, 1 Great Dane and 1 field mouse. My children's ages range from 20 years old down to 10 years old and have been raised with animals all of their life. Horses, being the largest of animals.

You ask what I would have done, as a member here? I would have started out things a little different than you did. I would have never allowed the small children to interact with the birds what so ever. I would teach them that the birds bite, OUCH, that the cage is a NO... just like I would teach that the stove is HOT and STRANGER DANGER, etc.. You yourself said they are too young to understand the language of a bird. They are children without fear. Parents instill fear, and as long as done properly as they mature, they become educated by US PARENTS to be able to turn FEAR into RESPECT. (My 20 year old now uses a stove, but would not go around it when she was little) As I mentioned above, I would not have had our children grooming our horse or playing with the stall lock when they were little... horses are known (as do birds) to BITE and disfigure faces, not to mention killed by one of their kicks.

In your shoes... once the child was bitten, I would of course be as upset as you are... however, I would not have punished the bird. In my above parenting style, the child would have to understand that what I have told him about birds biting was exactly what happened and that I am sorry that you are hurt and if you dont want to be bitten again or punished by me, then dont play with the cage... NO! What happened to telling children NO?

Now that I have said what I would have done... as you have asked... Here is my questions for you:

What gives you the right to decide to put Jazz down? Is this because you have spent the last 4 years with her after her terrible life before you and you are the only person qualified to continue to provide a good life for her? Is it because you "OWN" her? Is it because you LOVE her so much that you couldn't bear to think she is somewhere else loving someone else? Is she a trophy for you? Do you have a powerful sense of being knowing you can just go have her put down?

I am sorry if you think this is harsh, but for someone who proclaims that you have the bird in your best interest, your solution to the NEXT incident sure doesn't show that to me. I personally am shocked that you would even consider such a thing. THIS WAS NOT JAZZ's FAULT... IT WAS YOUR FAULT LONG BEFORE DAVID WAS BITTEN.

Please consider rehoming Jazz, for her sake, yours and your husband's and the children's.

-Stryker-

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