Sunday, January 17, 2010

Say it ain't so, I will not go, turn the lights off, carry me home

The past week or so has been filled with more than the usual amount of angst. Last Friday I was walking both dogs in the morning, and we got attacked by a pair of bigger dogs which got out of their yard. Elvis and Mia are small terriers and Elvis is the smaller of the two. One of the escaped dogs raced up to Elvis and immediately grabbed him in her jaws and shook him in the air. It was one of the most traumatic situations I've ever been in.

I've always worried this could happen. Sometimes Elvis seems not to know how small he is and he occasionally he will growl or snap at a bigger dog (we definitely discourage this and pull him away). I really hate it when someone shouts out "don't worry, he's harmless!" as their large dog bounds towards you, miles ahead of them. Sure, he might be generally harmless but who knows what he'll do if a little white piece of fluff decides to snap and growl at him.

But, as it turned out, Elvis (and I) didn't have time to even know what was happening - there was no prelude at all, she just ran up and grabbed him. Meanwhile her companion chased Mia - at some point, probably while picking up the wounded shrieking Elvis, I lost her lead. There were some people around who wanted to help, and eventually the owners of the escaped dogs came and controlled them, including the one that had chased Mia. I couldn't really stop and talk, I just had to walk home straight away and try to find Mia. I was terrified that if I couldn't find her quickly, I might have to delay getting Elvis to the vet. I was massively relieved to find her unhurt on our doorstep, shaking and desperate to get inside. A very kind friend who lives nearby had heard the commotion and come to help look for Mia, and she drove us to the vet in my car. She normally drives an automatic, and we laughed about how this was that 'emergency situation' where it's good to be able to drive a manual. She did fine.

Elvis was very lucky really, he has some wounds on both sides of his body which required stitches, but no major internal damage. I've been feeling really strange about it because I failed to protect my dogs (even though I know there wasn't really anything I could do) and I can't properly remember all details of the incident. I don't remember the dog dropping Elvis, but she must have. I know I picked up Elvis and then she started jumping up at us, wanting to get him again. As well as Elvis, I felt so sad for Mia having to run home by herself, feeling abandoned and terrified.

I have since gone back to talk to one of the owners, who was very sympathetic, and also shocked when I told her what her dog did, and how it was unprovoked, as they didn't see the whole incident. She offered to pay the vet bills and I was glad not to have to ask. I might not have. They are expecting a baby soon and might not be able to keep the dogs. In spite of everything, I do find that sad, as they've had the dogs since they were puppies, and they are now 11 and 9. Some may be wondering the breed - they are a border collie cross - nothing too scary but, I think, an energetic breed that love to chase. Any dog can be violent - you should never leave any dog unattended with small children - but an incident like this (and I didn't ask if there had been others) surely increases the risk.

Elvis had a few very sad, slow moving days but is now feeling more like himself. Unfortunately he's had to have more work done on his wounds, so he'll be wearing a bucket on his head for a while. Undignified. But he should make a full recovery. It could have been worse.


Rose Red said...

Oh geez, how absolutely awful. I'm glad you went to see the owners and they offered to pay for the vet bills etc. It's good to know there are people who will do the right thing. Hopefully if they decide not to keep the dogs they can find a good home for them. And hope bucket-head Elvis recovers well. It sounds like there really was nothing you could have done to prevent the attack so I hope you won't feel too guilty about it.

2paw said...

We are so glad that Elvis and Mia are fine and also that the other owners are being very responsible.
It is ever so scary and I know what you mean, I ahve stood infront of my dogs and shouted at a dog- stupid, but I couldn't help myself. Not that I would have been any use.
The shock makes you forget, it's a good thing. Even though The Labradors are eminently sensible, when we are walking in the bush we pop their leads back on if we see someone coming who we don't know. Two lolloping dogs can scare the willies out of strangers.
The Labradors send licks and wiggly tail wags and Gilly says that bucket collar is the best fun!!

amy said...

Oh, Olivia, how traumatic! I'm glad Elvis is expected to recover. I also hate when people tell me their dog is harmless or friendly or "good with children." That all may be true, but that doesn't mean I want it bounding up to my child--suppose it's not good with MY children, who it doesn't know? (Not to mention, how frightening to a small child to see an animal three or four times its size running up to it!!)

Karen said...

Oh, I'm so sorry that happened to you! And I'm glad your dogs are all right.

I don't have dogs, but I've heard about this sort of thing from the other side. Two large dogs belonging to a friend of mine got loose because a teenage visitor left the front door open too long. My friend's teenage son ran out in his pyjamas and kicked one of his own dogs to get her to let go of the small dog she was attacking. (The big dogs were chocolate labs.)

I realize it's worse for you, as it was your dogs being attacked, but these events are traumatic all around.

When dogs get out accidentally, it's bad enough, but what really bothers me is when people ignore leash laws. I used to walk my son to school when he was younger, on a woodland path that ran behind our subdivision. There were signs posted all along the path that dogs must be leashed. The number of people walking large dogs without leashes before and after school made me cringe. After confronting someone about their dog, they actually said, "He's not bothering anyone." (This, after the dog in question had run up behind me and stuck its nose between my legs. Not bothering anyone indeed!)

Sorry for the rant. Touched a nerve I guess.

twitchy fingers said...

Glad everything worked out ok - but what an awful experience.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Elvis is going to be ok after he heals.

You see this is the stuff of my nightmares. It's probably the one thing that stops me from pursuing getting a dog. When I'm out walking, I'm always scared of dogs. If I had a dog with me, I'd be terrified of fights breaking out. I think I just can't go there.

It sounds like it all happened in such a rush!

Michelle said...

Oh no! That is so terrible for you and the dogs! Hope Elvis is on the mend, and that all your future walks are incident free.

DrK said...

what a terrible situation and i am so glad your two are ok. im also glad you were able to relatively sort it out with the other owners as well. i hope they are looking at their fencing situation. and some training if they keep the dogs.... but poor little elvis...

Donna Lee said...

I would have been scared too and felt guilty for not protecting my own. I know that's not reasonable but I totally understand how you feel. I'm glad Elvis is ok. Little dogs are certainly spunky aren't they?