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I need some help..... Cusco rehoming

heeler's rock!
January 8th, 2005, 10:32 AM
Hi everyone. I posted on here a while ago about my husband's family's malamute. Well, the time has come for Cusco to find a new home, as soon as possible. My mother-in-law and father-in-law have decided to have Cusco put to sleep because of his dangerous behaviour.

Here's some background on Cusco......
-He is going to be 4 years old in April, and is a purebred, registered Mal.
-He knows his basics in obedience; sit, stay, lie down, etc.
-He is good with people, as long as they're not disciplining him too much. If they do, he growls, and will sometimes snap as a warning.
-He is possesive of his things and doesn't like to be disturbed if he is sleeping.
-He is NOT GOOD with other dogs. He is very dominant and will be fine with a dog after he establishes himself, but he can also be unpredictable, so best to have him as an only dog.
-He obviously cannot be trusted at an offleash park.
-He has a very strong prey drive, as most mals do, and therefore cannot be in a home with small animals, especially cats. He will kill them.

The reason the in-laws are ready to put him down is because he escaped from the yard on Thursday. While out, he attacked a little dog, and when the man was trying to pull the two dogs apart, Cusco bit him on the foot. Luckily, the dog is fine and has a cut on his neck, and the man is also fine as Cusco wasn't trying to hurt him, just get him out of the way. Carlos and I have worked VERY hard with Cusco in the past, and got him to the point where he was understanding that we are Alpha, and he is not. But since we got married and moved away, Cusco has reverted to his old ways, and they're scared of what he is capable of.

I honestly believe that if he goes to the right home, one where he is the only dog and has owners that understand malamutes and are willing to work very hard with him, that he can be an excellent dog again. He is very smart and highly trainable, he's just not very motivated to work for people. Mals are the type of dog that will hang around with you, but they won't live for you. They aren't very eager to please.

Please, any help or advice anyone can pass my way, would be GREATLY appreciated as Cusco's time is running out........

heeler's rock!
January 8th, 2005, 10:53 AM
He is neutered. :o

Lucky Rescue
January 8th, 2005, 11:44 AM
If this dog's owners, who supposedly love him, don't want him because of his "dangerous" behavior, they must realize a stranger certainly won't want him. I sure wouldn't! Who wants to adopt a huge dog who bites?

Not to mention that your in-laws could be set up for a very serious liability if this dog attacks someone.

Maybe someone who is into sledding might take him, but he could end up very badly this way - abused or dead.

LL1
January 8th, 2005, 12:00 PM
Did you contact Malamute rescue for advice - they're wonderful and are Canada wide - http://www.malamuterescue.com/intro.html

LavenderRott
January 8th, 2005, 12:09 PM
I must agree with LR on this. While your inlaws may find the "perfect home" for him, what happens when that home gets tired of being bullied by a very large dog? What if this dog somehow, someday, ends up with a home with children?

While having the dog put to sleep may sound harsh, it would probably be the best thing. I imagine that the dog is not spending much time with his family, due to his issues, and is probably as miserable as they are.

LL1
January 8th, 2005, 12:18 PM
He doesn't sound too bad to me many of the things are typically Mal - the only two issues that concern me and sound like they are workable are the resource guarding, being bothered when asleep (and I would want to know they know this and what he does and where he is sleeping) and how he reacts to being disciplined. She said they worked on it in the past and the dog was fine and now the parents sound like they have slacked off and the dog has backslid -NILIF would be a start, a Mal savvy foster and trainer would also help. A bite to a person in the middle of a dog fight does not count as a bite in my eyes.

I am not a Malamute expert tho I would contact the rescue and ask for advice - they would be your best resource.

heeler's rock!
January 8th, 2005, 01:31 PM
Thanks LL1. That's exactly how I feel. Cusco is very much a part of the family still, and that's why they've asked for my help. He is very loved and spoiled. That's the problem. They weren't firm enough with him, so now he's walking all over them, and the parents aren't willing to put up with anymore from Cusco. I also agree that a bite, a minor bite, to a persom in the middle of a dog fight, isn't much of a bite at all. The man was also fine and wasn't even angry about it, just concerned for the family and Cusco. Cusco is a very happy dog. The family is just strained and they have admitted that they just don't have the time he needs to become a better member of the family. Also, because of his size, noone has the strength it requires to be firm with him, now that he's become so Alpha.

When I say Cusco is possesive, I mean if he has a toy, he'll growl if you try to take it. He used to be really bad with that, like to the point where if you came near the toy he'd growl. Then, after a lot of work by Carlos, he stopped that, and only growled if he really wanted to just chew on it, not play. When he's sleeping, he doesn't like people coming up and petting him or lying down with him. Most dogs don't like that, he's just more verbal about it.

I totally agree with what you said about a famliy not wanting an agressive dog LR. I don't expect just anyone to adopt Cusco, but I firmly believe he is workable, because we've done it before. The family also has a younger child, and Cusco's been fine with him. Jason was 6 or 7 when they got him, and he's been around my sister since she was 8. As long as the children are knowledgeable with dogs and know that he's not a horse for riding, he should be fine, but older children are always preferable with larger dogs.

He wouldn't be a good sled dog as he's not good with other dogs, especially other males.

LL1, I've told my sister-in-law to contact the malamute help legue, and she's awaiting their response. I really don't believe the only option for Cusco is to be PTS. If someone who knows mals and knows how to properly train them works with him, he is highly capable of being an excellent companion.

I just have a question about the liability issues. If someone chooses to adopt Cusco, knowing his temperment and everything, could the in-law's still be held accountable if he bites someone? I would just think that if they informed the adoptee about the work he requires and such, that they would be solely liable for the dog's actions. I'm probably wrong, so clarification would be great so I can pass the info on to them.

Thanks everyone so far. I really appreciate your input and advice. Hopefully we'll be able to decide what is best for Cusco..... :o

Lucky Rescue
January 8th, 2005, 02:28 PM
I just have a question about the liability issues. If someone chooses to adopt Cusco, knowing his temperment and everything, could the in-law's still be held accountable if he bites someone?

Well, I would consult a lawyer, but anyone who adopts this dog should sign a contract stating something like "I am adopting this dog (dog name and breed) with full knowledge that this dog has bitten and may bite again, and I will not hold the formers owners responsible for any future damages or injuries done to anyone by this dog."

But that won't stop the new owners from suing your in-laws if they desire. They might not win, but it's their right to do so. Also, if the dog bites anyone else NOT named on the contract, they could certainly sue the new owners and WILL win. The new owners may then come after your in-laws.

As I said, check with a lawyer.

LL1
January 8th, 2005, 03:25 PM
Lucky's right - I would definitely contact a lawyer. If the dog goes into rescue the rescue would accept all liability.

BMDLuver
January 8th, 2005, 03:58 PM
depending on the wording of a contract, the rescue accepts no liability and the original owner can be sued for damages...

We have a dog in our care right now that has gone through extensive training and socialisation however, has now bitten another dog leaving puncture wounds. We ask ourselves, if a child were in the way, would this child have been the victim? Honestly, it is not possible to foresee the future and to risk someone being seriously injured by one small error in judgement. It could have been a lot more serious in each instance. Where do you draw the line between risking a life and keeping an animal alive that may or may not in the future harm someone? It's a tough call and one that may result in euthanasia. No one wants to make that decision but sometimes it has to be made when considering the future possibilities. It's definitely one we are not taking lightly.

LL1
January 8th, 2005, 04:16 PM
I've never seen a contract like that - most contracts when a rescue takes in a dog that I have seen, insist on taking all responsibility for the dog and the rescue becomes the owner. Do you know any rescues who don't do this? I am curious. I don't doubt it could happen, I'm sure you're right, I've just never seen or heard of it. Every animal has the potential to harm someone.


depending on the wording of a contract, the rescue accepts no liability and the original owner can be sued for damages...

BMDLuver
January 8th, 2005, 04:36 PM
Our lawyer drew up our surrender contract in this manner in order to protect us should a person hand over a dog that they know has bitten and choose not to disclose it.

LL1
January 8th, 2005, 05:26 PM
That is interesting,can you post the wording? It would be a tough one to prove, unless the bite was actually reported and you have reports from animal control and the owner who signed your contract was the same one that dealt with animal control about the bites. I find it hard to imagine people agreeing to be liable for a dog not in their care.

Heeler, BMD made a great point, if they send the dog to rescue make sure they read the papers they sign carefully.

BMDLuver
January 8th, 2005, 05:52 PM
THAT I am the owner of THE ANIMAL and I hereby declare that to the best of my knowledge, THE ANIMALíS temperament and health condition are as described above and hereby absolve (Rescue's name) from any liability for damages or injuries, present or future, which may be caused by THE ANIMAL

Lucky Rescue
January 8th, 2005, 06:27 PM
Yes we have a contract similiar to that concerning dogs, but that won't stop someone from suing in the case of the animal causing an injury.

Those contracts are self-serving and won't stop someone from suing if they feel like it, or if THEY are being sued by another party who the animal has injured or whose property (including other dogs) that the dog may damage, injure or kill - especially if the dog is already known to have actually bitten someone.

LL1
January 8th, 2005, 07:14 PM
Mine says the same, I guess I thought what you were referring to was more specific on biting,has the dog bitten is also a part of my form. To be honest I never trust that part of the owner dump form, or most of it, as I think most dumpers lie.I always assume I am still liable. And again it would be really hard to prove the dog bit if they say no,and there was no report that you could access.

BMDLuver
January 8th, 2005, 07:15 PM
we clearly define to the surrenderer that they can be sued if the dog injures someone, two dogs they refused to sign so we did not take the dogs. We found out later in the one case, that the dog had bitten someone and they were trying to save the dog from being euthanised by hiding it through a rescue.

badger
January 8th, 2005, 07:44 PM
Would you have taken the biter, had you known? My sister rescued a BC cross, a biter, she went to the ends of the earth for him, but put him to sleep in the end because he could not be trusted. He was an amazing dog who had been through alot, probably including some bad early training. I guess you always wonder what if.

BMDLuver
January 8th, 2005, 08:10 PM
then we agree to take the dog on a two week evaluation to see if he/she can be turned around safely. Sometimes they can and sometimes they can't. At the end, we discuss the options with the owner. The final outcome is the safety of an adoptee and anyone who comes in contact, human or animal. So far we have not had to euthanise but that may change with one shortly and she was not reported to have bitten.

lil_kirk
January 8th, 2005, 08:29 PM
I have to agree with the others on this one. It's going to be very hard to find someone to take him. Automatically families with children or any other pets are out of the question! If this dog is also almost 4 years old--will he change?

Perhaps it's a less selfish deed to put him down---I understand you want to save him, but with the risk he poses is it really right to pass that responsibility on to someone else?

If he was purchased from a breeder can he not go back there?

heeler's rock!
January 8th, 2005, 08:57 PM
That's a good point lil kirk, but the breeder has already said they won't take him back, so that's not an option.

I know where you're all coming from, but since I have known Cusco his whole life, I know he is capable of being a good dog, with the right leadership.

I just came back from meeting with the man I took my dog training through, who has also worked closely with Cusco, and he agrees that there is still hope for him. You all must understand that Cusco has never bitten someone out of pure malice. He bit this man on the the foot, most likely because the man was trying to keep the two dogs apart with his feet. I wouldn't wanna put my hands in there! The other thing about this, is that the man said after he got the dogs apart, his dog ran, and Cusco ran after him. When the man caught up with them, they were sitting side by side. I believe that Cusco was merely expressing his Alpha status with the dog, and once they worked it out, they were fine.

Cusco has never EVER bitten someone, and this is his first technical "bite".

As for rescues, the malamute help leagues website states that if the dog is registered, that the owners must change registered ownership over to them, and then they transfer it to the new adopters. Cusco is also fine with children, as I stated before. He's just not good with other dogs or small animals, as most mals are not.

You have to be able to understand malamutes before sentencing him to death. All of his characteristics are typical of mals, but his family is not capable of working properly with him, so he therefore needs a home with an experienced mal owner.

I need more help that the usual euthanasia angle. I know that's not the point this is at, and he can be helped, as we've done it before.

If anyone has better advice than euthanasia, please let me know.

BMDLuver
January 8th, 2005, 09:18 PM
it works out for you and him.

Lucky Rescue
January 8th, 2005, 09:21 PM
I certainly agree that these people should never have gotten this dog.

People who sled with Mals wouldn't want a 4 year old dog. It may take a long time to get this dog a home, as you need to find someone experienced with the breed and their dominant nature.

I suggest you print up flyers with his pic and details and put it up at pet stores, vets, etc. Make it very clear he is for experienced owners ONLY.

I'll try and find a message board or group exclusively for Mals. You may have luck finding him a home there.

Copper'sMom
January 8th, 2005, 09:21 PM
I just want to share a short story that sounds similar to my boyfriend's dog.

Sargent is a husky/akita mix. My BF got him when he was 2 years old. He felt sorry for the dog as he was locked up in a tiny cage in the yard and never given any attention or thought by the owner. Sarge is about 100lbs or more and is as strong as an ox! My BF had a heck of a time showing this dog who was alpha male. After many wrestling matches, 2 years later, the dog finally accepted my BF as alpha male. He has never bitten a person but will kill anything that comes in his territory on four legs unannounced.

The dog needs an owner who can commit to the dog. It's not always easy for an animal when they are bounced from home to home as everyone lives their lives differently. I would agree that the dog needs to be with a single person or a couple who has no children or other animals. The owner MUST also be an experienced dog owner. I think with the right trainer/owner the dog would do just fine.


As for Cusco escaping out of the yard, who is to blame - the owners or the dog?

The background of Cusco does not sound that bad. Most of what you described are their characteristics.

"He is good with people, as long as they're not disciplining him too much. If they do, he growls, and will sometimes snap as a warning. " I'm sorry but exactly how is the dog being disciplined??? When is he being disciplined(after the fact)???

Lucky Rescue
January 8th, 2005, 09:27 PM
Here is the Alaskan Malamute Help League (http://www.malamuterescue.com/services.html) , they may be able to offer help, or list this dog for adoption.

LL1
January 8th, 2005, 09:57 PM
Thanks Lucky - That's the rescue I posted that I have dealt with and they are awesome - they are canada wide and have several for adoption in your province Heelers. I am also on their mailing list. He is not old and alot of the behavior are typical for a Malamute - he shouldn't be too hard to place. Are they the ones you contacted? If you don't get a reponse PM me and I can give you a phone number of an Ontario rep for them - she's fabulous. No other dogs is pretty common for Mals if you look on their website, and he sounds fine with kids, I'd say no toddlers, but most rescues for large breeds say that anyway. He needs an experienced Malamute home. Definitely not a death sentence.

lil_kirk
January 9th, 2005, 08:23 AM
Sorry about the mistake about being good with children---I missed that part. :sorry:

If I were you I'd start posting his pic and info everywhere--just like Lucky said. The internet can help you get his name out as well, to a much wider audience--and being that you know dogs so well you'll be able to ask the right questions and weed out the bad shoppers!

poodletalk
January 9th, 2005, 09:49 AM
We had a pup, a husky mix that was a fear bitter.She would bite and snap at anyones hands or feet that went too close to her. (Obviously she was badly neglected before we got her) We didn't know what to do with her, so we spoke with our vet and asked for some advice. We had to get her to socialize and prove to her that our hands wouldn't hurt her. It took time,patientence LOTS of understanding,especially when she snapped at us and made contact! She turned around, and became a loyal family member. She died last year at the age of 15.5 years old. My point is, why don't you speak to your veternairne about this dog, if you have a good vet they should tell you honestly what to do and how to proceed. Your vet may have a client who has the same breed as yours,and may be able to help you. Or your vet may know someone who's looking for a dog like yours and is experienced dog owner. My vet has a big heart, and she doesn't want to euthanise healthy animals, so she's always looking for homes for dogs and cats.(One time, even a rabbit) She also has a list of people looking to adopt certain breeds of dogs and cats. My advice is speak to the dogs vet.

heeler's rock!
January 9th, 2005, 09:57 AM
Thanks so much everyone. I really appreciate your help and input.

Lucky, I 100% agree with you about them not getting Cusco in the first place. I begged them to not get him, but they did anyways. The whole time they've had him, I've seen them not be able to handle him, so I knoew this was coming. At least now they've learned from their mistakes, I hope!

I'm sorry but exactly how is the dog being disciplined??? When is he being disciplined(after the fact)???

Well, when I say discipline, I mean even by grabbing him by the scruff, or smacking his nose. He's fine at first, but if you push it, he'll bite. He snapped at Carlos years ago when he was being disciplined, and his thumb got in the way, so he ended up with a torn nail. That was before we knew how to handle this dog, so even though Carlos was in the wrong by pushing him to hard, that's still what I assume he'd do if someone kept disciplining him without relenting. Needless to say, Carlos only disciplined him once, and let it be after that. That worked much better with Cusco. And no, we'd discipline him when the bad deed had taken place, not after the fact.

LL1 and Lucky, it is the Alaskan Malamute Help League I am having my sis-in-law contact. I REALLY hope they can help place Cusco. I will let them know that if the League can't help, that they might have Cusco for a while still while trying to find a suitable home.

Thanks again everyone. I will pass this information on. :o

Lucky Rescue
January 9th, 2005, 10:10 AM
when I say discipline, I mean even by grabbing him by the scruff, or smacking his nose.

Not many dominant dogs would tolerate this treatment, and Carlos is lucky he didn't get seriously injured.

He's fine at first, but if you push it, he'll bite.

You mean the smacking and scruffing would continue? OF course he would bite.

This is not discipline or training, this is abuse and the dog rightly feels the need to defend himself against it.

The Rescue needs to be told about the "discipline" this dog has received so they can understand his behavior.

twinmommy
January 9th, 2005, 11:29 AM
I believe that discipline really has to be individual to each dog and each problem. I would not discipline Gypsy and Jake the same way, for different reasons. Most of Gypsy's problems stem from lack of socialization and early seperation from her mother.(I fostered her at 3 weeks :sad: from spca) Therefore alot of the time I'll wrap my hand firmly around her snout with the 4 fingers crossing her nose, thumb underneath and firmly push her away, as a mother dog would do with her own mouth, and usually add a firm, deep, "no".

That's what works for her, but if I try that with Jake, it's not too effective because he just doesn't need the same reprimand, he's very skittish (collie x) and when I'd let go of him he'd bolt of somewhere and hide.

Many dogs wouldn't be aggressive if they were disciplined properly and accurately. Have you read any of Stanley Coren's books?? My fav--How To Speak Dog.

Good luck

heeler's rock!
January 9th, 2005, 01:16 PM
"You mean the smacking and scruffing would continue? OF course he would bite.

This is not discipline or training, this is abuse and the dog rightly feels the need to defend himself against it.

The Rescue needs to be told about the "discipline" this dog has received so they can understand his behavior."

Lucky, I appreciate your feelings on this, and I do not condone this kind of "discipline", but you have to understand that Carlos was a first time dog owner as well, and Cusco had just finished killing our baby rabbit at the time. Carlos was freaking out and took it too far, and no one blames Cusco or Carlos for that one incident. As I said, this was YEARS ago, when Cusco was about 1 1/2 or 2, and Cusco has since been trained properly, and responded quite well. His behaviours do not stem from this one incident. His behaviour stems from a lack of leadership from his current owners. He is not now, nor has he ever been abused, and I don't really appreciate such strong accusations. Animal abuse is a horrible thing and neither Carlos nor I would ever hurt our animals in any way.

I hope this doesn't turn into a thread questioning mine and Carlos's animal experience. I don't want to be beaten up for one mistake that Carlos made years ago, as it's really not relevent to the situation at hand.

heeler's rock!
January 9th, 2005, 01:25 PM
Many dogs wouldn't be aggressive if they were disciplined properly and accurately. Have you read any of Stanley Coren's books?? My fav--How To Speak Dog.

Thanks for the book suggestion Twinmommy, but I don't really like Dr. Coren. I don't believe in treat training, so that book wouldn't help much. I'm glad it's helped you though! :)

As I said, the man I took my dog training through also worked with Cusco, and he's also an excellent animal behaviourist. He's already assesed Cusco's situation and the results are that Cusco needs steady leadership to keep him stimulated and motivated. All of his problems are fixable and manageable.

I thank everyone for their help, but I think we know the best answer for Cusco. He needs to find an experienced owner, with the time and dedication to train him.

I really hope that none of you think we abuse Cusco, or any of our pets in any way, as that's where this seems to be going now :( . Thanks everyone for your time and input. I appreciate it.....

lil_kirk
January 9th, 2005, 01:50 PM
I don't think anyone will beat up on you Heeler's Rock. I don't believe that we all have a natural instinct on how to handle a dog after it kills the family bunny. Carlos got upset--as many people would--and as a new owner he likely thought that was the right thing to do--to show the dog that he was the boss and that it was wrong. Since dogs can't talk back to us, often humans think they need to overcompensate in the discipline to ensure the dog gets the point. It's a natural learning process!

CyberKitten
January 9th, 2005, 02:09 PM
Re: Yes we have a contract similiar to that concerning dogs, but that won't stop someone from suing in the case of the animal causing an injury.

In medicine, we have an old saying - "you can't sign away your responsibility."

Patients and representatives of hospitals sign "contracts" all the time - when you are admitted for example or agree to surgery - but one is still liable for mistakes or problems and obviously, there are many lawsuits. I've never been sued personally for medical malpractice - one of the reasons fewer docs now go into obgyn is because that is the big area for malpratice suits (not because more mistakes are made but because people expect more in that area).

So, you can have a plethora of contracts signed and witnesses and still be sued. You will likley win the lawsuit but it is still costly and that is where you loose. At least docs can purchase malpartice insurance!

Lucky Rescue
January 9th, 2005, 02:10 PM
Heelers, please don't think I'm beating up on you!! :( I am not, but from what you originally wrote, I thought this ''discipline" was an ongoing thing since you are talking about it in the present tense...?:

Well, when I say discipline, I mean even by grabbing him by the scruff, or smacking his nose. He's fine at first, but if you push it, he'll bite.

"He is good with people, as long as they're not disciplining him too much. If they do, he growls, and will sometimes snap as a warning

So what kind of discipline are you talking about, that too much of it makes him snap or growl?

I"m asking because I also had an extremely dominant dog.

heeler's rock!
January 9th, 2005, 02:22 PM
Thanks for clarifying Lucky, and I should have been more clear too. :o

Obviously, no one has ever gone too far with discipline with Cusco after that incident, but we're assuming he'd still be the same way if anyone ever tried that again. Compared to how he used to be with any form of control, he is an angel now! :) We've worked so hard with him, and this is sooooo upsetting to watch. He was doing so good, but now, he's gotten bad again, but still not as bad as he was in the beginning, so best to rehome him now, while there's still hope of rehabilitation......

heeler's rock!
January 9th, 2005, 02:28 PM
I don't think anyone will beat up on you Heeler's Rock. I don't believe that we all have a natural instinct on how to handle a dog after it kills the family bunny. Carlos got upset--as many people would--and as a new owner he likely thought that was the right thing to do--to show the dog that he was the boss and that it was wrong. Since dogs can't talk back to us, often humans think they need to overcompensate in the discipline to ensure the dog gets the point. It's a natural learning process!

Thanks lil_kirk. It was a very upsetting day for all of us, and emotions were running extremely high. He really wanted Cusco to know that he was Alpha, and that killing little animals was unacceptable, but didn't know how to do it properly, and neither did I. It was sad to have to bury our baby bunny, that didn't even have a name yet, the day after we got her, but we got another one from the same litter, Kiwi, and she's still with us! There's a silver lining to every cloud I guess. :o

They also didn't fully understand mals and their strong prey drives, as much as they do now. We are very careful when it comes to discipline now with our dogs. They know when they do wrong, so the "disciplining" is usually a firm no, or a collar correction. We've learned sooooo much about dogs, yet there's still so much we don't know.....:)

Copper'sMom
January 9th, 2005, 05:12 PM
heeler's rock,

:sorry: I do not mean in any way to come down hard on you. It's not your dog so why would I?? I would be hard on your in-laws if it were them on this board. It is sad that they are inexperienced dog owners, but the sad reality is that most people who own a dog are!

I strongly believe that a dog is only as good as it's owner. Where else would dogs learn their behaviour?

If they truly cared about their dog, they would seek help from professionals and try to learn why the dog acts the way it does. Maybe it is best the dog gets a new owner. :sorry:

heeler's rock!
January 11th, 2005, 10:32 AM
Thank you again for everyone's help with Cusco. Carlos and I went to the in-law's last night to talk about their options with Cusco. After much debate over what's best for him, my sister-in-law has decided to try for 1 month with the training we have in place for him, to see if she can re-organize her schedule to be able to follow through with this. In the mean time, she's still contacting the malamute help league, incase she finds that she just does not have the time to devote to him. She is very willing to try, and this at least buys him some more time to find a better home, if she can't take care of him. Thanks again everyone!