Saturday, February 28, 2009

Knock Down, Killed and Eaten!

I make jokes about that all the time. Knock Down, Killed and Eaten! is going to be my obituary. All in fun, until Sunday when I actual thought it was going to happen.

Dogs bite. That is just a fact. They bite other dogs, they bite people. They bite for good reasons, bad reasons, and sometimes no reason at all.

I have been bitten 5 times in 6+ years.
A Rottweiler on the thumb
Something small and fuzzy that I can't remember on the back of my hand.
A Teacup Poodle on my lip, ouch.
A Pomeranian through a work glove and my finger nail, bigger ouch.
And now a Boxer on my forearm.

Statistically speaking, verses the shear number of dogs that stay here, not too bad.

The first and the fourth, I got breaking up a dog fight. Not really unexpected.

The second and third were out of the blue, stroke of lightning kind of bites. The dog is frightened, lunges out. They are fast and over just as fast. The dog was afraid, he made me stop and now it is over. These kinds of bites can come from any dog, no matter how well behaved. Freak a dog out, and he will chomp on you once and be done with it. Most of the time, the chomp is just a snap - no contact. Often, it will be more of a warning shot over the bow. Most dogs will lunge and snap to miss just to warn you off.

The fifth was a dog declaring his territory with the intent to really hurt me. We had trouble with this dog from the moment he arrived on Friday. He and his daughter were just fine when Mom and Dad were still here, but shortly after when my dog sitter went to let them out, he lunged at her hand on the gate. She called me and I told her, 'If you don't feel comfortable, don't let them out."

Maybe I should have taken my own advice.

When I got home on Saturday, I let all the other dogs out for dinnertime play. When I went in, I made a point of feeding these two dogs last. That basically lowers their status in the pack. I found them to be both very submissive when I went in to feed them. And even quite lovey. They were all over my hands, licking my gloves. I thought that their 'time-out' had mellowed them.

So, I went back out and let just those two have some playtime. The female came out, no problem. She came up to me for some petting and went on to explore the play yard. The male would not come out of his run. This is a first for me. He stood in his outside run with the gate wide open and was barking at me, defending his territory. I have never seen any dog be that defensive about the kennel space. Most dogs don't even care if other dogs go into their runs.

I just let him alone. I did my usual with a skittish dog, no eye contact, no direct movement toward them. He did eventually come out, but would always run back in. I was thinking that made them easy to put away. And that night they were.

Sunday breakfast, he is pretty much over the territorial stand in the run and is out with his daughter. He eventually goes back in on his own, but I can't get the female to go in. I am not really up for grabbing a shoving this female in. So, I am trying to get her to approach the kennel by petting the male. This works after awhile and they are both back in. No sign of aggression this time, at all. Just defiance of going in, but that is a pretty typical response to the end of playtime. I was actually thinking that she might be afraid of the male and that is what is holding up her going in.

Sunday lunch, I take my camera down to get a picture of this dog barking out an open gate, but he never does it. Everything is fine until I try to put them away. He is already in and the female is running around anywhere but in. I try to tempt her over with loving on the male, again. This is going well until he gives out one of his 'This is MINE' barks. I pull my hands away before I even finish the thought process. Good thing, he was going for me, big time. He wasn't going for a warning shot over the bow either, he was aiming to maim.

I was backing away and realizing that I had to control him or he would get me, all at the same time. I grabbed for his collar, and landed the grab. Thank, God! I started dragging him back to his run and as I shoved him in, he turned and bit down on my left arm. I just kept shutting the gate and he had to let go as it closed.

My husband heard the commotion and ran down to help me out. We got the female into a different kennel and called it good. We put everyone else away, fed the puppies their lunch, and I called the owners to ask them if someone could pick up their dogs. They said they would come home and get them. I can't tell you how relieved I was to hear that. Most people can't come home early and I would have been stuck with a dog I couldn't let out or dare to even feed or water.

All of this happened before I would even look at my arm. I find that the adrenaline can carry you pretty far, until you see the blood. Don't look, that's my advice, if you need to get something done before you freak out. Turns out that my arm only has a very nasty bruise. I feel that I should write a letter thanking the Lands End company for my winter coat. It saved my arm. Had this been summer, that dog would have taken the meat off the bone.

Once again, never a dull moment at the Ranch


Blend said...

Ha ha nice story dude. sorry nothing personal, you are unfortunate, got dog bite 5 times in six year. But, my story is different, i love dogs and they loves bite ever

yawningdog said...

Hey, even the Dog Whisperer gets bit.

I checked your blog. Looks like you are writing a dog book or have already written a dog book and are blogging it chapter by chapter.

Your blog doesn't say what you do. You might want to put some more info on your site.