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Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Dog was Almost Killed Today by People Too Good to Follow the Rules

It was absolutely gorgeous today.  Seventy degrees.  Sunny.  Light, cool breeze.

Before I met my husband I spent nearly every weekend hiking, usually with my friend Jon.  I would take my dogs out- Rocky who passed away a year and a half ago, and Charlie my bichon who despite his size, held his own.  I ALWAYS had them on a leash.  I won't lie- I often dropped the leash, but I learned early on that it was smart to have it drag behind so I could grab it if necessary, or step on it.  Rocky never went more than 20 feet ahead of us.  One time, Jon and I hid behind a tree just to freak him out as he came running past us, looking for us.  Rocky was a great trail dog.  Charlie rarely, if ever left my side.  The leash was fairly funny with him.  My dogs were under my control.  Always responded to me.  I never had one incident with either dog.

When my son was young-- as in 2-3 years old we would go hiking on Friday mornings.  The kid could put in 2 miles.  It was impressive.  When my daughter was born, I'd throw her in the back pack.  We stuck to the public trails.  Once I had the kids, I didn't bring the dogs because there was no way I could control them and the kids.  The dogs were not pleased.

I don't get out to hike much these days.  It bothers me.  Hiking makes me put things in perspective-- being outdoors reminds me how insignificant my problems are.  I am part of something bigger and grander.  If you're not an outdoorsy person, this probably sounds crazy to you.  If you are, you totally get it.  It's my sanity.

So today was perfect- no activities, great weather-- all week it's been windy and miserable (I can only imagine what the canyons were like).  I also wanted to see how Dixie would do on a trail. She seems like a perfect hiking buddy.  She rarely leaves my side at the dog park.  She always comes when called.

We loaded up the car, headed out and as I feared, Red Rock Canyon was packed- tourists, locals for the Saturday-- it's a zoo out there now.  I'm glad so many people have discovered the great outdoors, but honestly, they are sorta ruining it for those of us that don't just want photo ops for their "My Trip to Vegas" scrapbooks.  But whatever...

We went all the way over the Pine Creek Canyon.  There's a great little creek. It's an easy hike.  And it's far enough around the loop that not as many people go to it.  Even with that, it was fairly busy.

We did the descent and I dropped Dixie's leash so she wouldn't pull me down the rocky trail.  She stayed right by me, under my control at all times.  In fact, a few times, I had to pull her leash to get her to move on from an excellent smell!

We made it down to the creek, on a side trail -the kids splashed, the dog loved it.  She had her leash on.  It was within my reach at all times while she was in the water.  We decided to go back to the main trail (and I think it's hilarious that very few people even see the creek....), I grabbed her leash which was covered in dusty red mud, she jumped on me, I was covered and as we were laughing, I handed her leash to my husband so I could brush off.  He was in front and said "Hang on, there's a group coming- let's let them pass."  Our side trail was merging onto the main trail.
Please note the leash in my hand. This was about ten minutes before the attack. 

With 2 kids and a dog, we tend to let pretty much everyone pass.

Then their pit bull came barreling ahead- they were 20-30 feet away and sunk its jaws into my sweet, sweet dog's neck.

Now this is where the pit bull people will start saying how the dog must have been provoked.

Shut up.

We were simply standing there, with our dog on a leash and this dog viciously attacked us.  This dog that had no leash on.  The owners clearly did not have her under control whatsoever.

As our daughter screamed and the dog squealed, the owners came running up.  The man punched the dog repeatedly in the face until after what seemed like hours (it was probably 2 minutes), let go.  Our dog ran directly to me, shaking.  The kids were screaming and sobbing.  And we lost it.


And my husband let go with the "YOU HAVE A GODDAMN PIT BULL!  PUT IT ON THE LEASH."

The younger woman clearly was upset and kept asking if our dog was okay.

We repeatedly said while trying to console the kids, check on the dog, "Please, just get your dog and get out of here."

Our dog wasn't hurt severely- we just really needed them to leave.  We had nothing nice to say to them.

Instead we got an earful on how pit bulls are great dogs and we had no right to talk to them that way.

They weren't following the rules.

Their dog, not ours was off the leash.

Their dog attacked our dog who was simply standing there.

They could not get their dog off our dog.


And to make it worse- rather than leave the park- THEY STAYED.

The fact that their dog was a pit bull is somewhat irrelevant except for the fact that it nearly killed our dog.  She might have gotten more torn up from another dog, but this dog instinctly went for her neck, tried to shake her down and would not let go.  And again, she was just standing there, happy, wagging her tail.  No growls.  No nothing.  I still can't shake the image.

We took our dog to the vet. She has a small puncture wound.  Her neck is bruised.  After they shaved her coat down to make sure she was okay, the vet came in, clearly exasperated and with tears in her eyes told us Dixie's coat saved her life- she could have died.  The puncture was at her jugular vein. If we had shaved her back, like we normally do, she would be dead.  Dead.

What nice dog they have-- that's my dog's neck- her trachea. to be precise.
All because some jackass couldn't follow one simple rule- keep your dog on a leash. Period.  There are signs everywhere.  There is a law.

It's not a suggestion.  It's not just a recommendation.  It prevents exactly what happened from happening.

But it requires that everyone follows the rules.  Because clearly common sense does not prevail any longer.

And the pit bull thing--- I know so many people that have pit bulls.  There are great pit bulls at the dog park.  The owners have them under control.  They usually have them on harnesses.  At the first sign of aggression, they leave.  They understand that unlike most dogs, their jaws don't release.  Any of these people would have their dogs on a leash on a crowded day at a state park.  Because they are responsible.

The rules apparently don't apply for the people we met today.  They are the same folks that probably think they can text and drive.  Who cares if people are killed because of it?  They are the same people that park illegally.  My guess- they don't put back the shopping cart either.

Their bumper sticker "I'm a fighter, not a lover."

Well, asshole, I hope you love the $250 citation you received because if you decide to fight it, I will be there testifying with my sobbing kids.

Our dog almost died today because people are too cool to follow the rules.  I only wish we could euthanize the owners when these things happen instead of the dogs.

All I wanted was to share something that I love with my children and my dog.  And yet these people- these stupid, stupid white trash ignorant morons ruined it.  What was supposed to be a wonderful day with my family nearly turned into the horror of them screaming while watching their beloved pet torn to shreds by people who clearly only cared about being right.

If everyone followed the rules and actually cared about one another, instead of this new found "It's all about me" mentality that people have, maybe the world would be a better place.  Instead of worrying about pointing fingers, maybe we should all just try to do the right thing.

Maybe we should all try to be lovers instead of fighters.

Or maybe, just maybe, if you hike in a public place you should keep your dog on a leash.
My sweet dog.


Kimberly Coats said...

Lori...I am so sorry! Already posted a response/comment on Facebook. You are absolutely right about people. Wikipedia says the South African Boerboel, my Zulu,

"Prospective owners must recognize that owning a boerboel requires a significant commitment in time and energy as they must be well-trained and socialized. They are quite charming when not being lazy, and will not hesitate to defend you to the death. This dog is the most protective dog breed that is not aggressive. The potential for aggression if not properly trained and socialized, combined with their intelligence, protective instincts, large size, physical strength, and sheer stubbornness, make the boerboel breed unsuitable for first-time or inexperienced dog owners."

I take that VERY seriously. Zulu doesn't run off the leash. When I'm here in Rwanda by myself I do not let people come up to him and try to pet him. I have a guard dog for a reason, I live 30 miles from one of the most dangerous places on the continent, a place my friends were just evacuated from...AGAIN, last week. Zulu is sweet, with me, and people he knows and is good with kids, who have been introduced by me to him. Boerboels do the same thing as pit bulls, they go for the neck. I will NOT let Zulu get near Rwandans in hoodies, small dogs, sheep, or people who think he's "cute" and want to stick their face in his face. These are TRIGGERS. I KNOW THIS and respond accordingly.

Those people need to have their dog taken from them immediately, for their dog's sake and the people around them. They are too self involved and too irresponsible to own a breed such as a Pit Bull. It will happen again because the dog knows HE is alpha dog. BAD MOVE on their part. Zulu weighs almost as much as I do, however, he knows I am alpha.

It makes me angry to hear about people such as these, it does make it more difficult for owners such as myself to have a guard dog we need. Let's face it, I never would have bought a Boerboel in Las Vegas. There is no need for that type of guard dog in a town such as that. Pit bulls are guard dogs, aggressive ones at that. It's sad that really, at this point, the damage by moronic owners has been done, and frankly the breed should be banned for THEIR safety and the safety of others. Or perhaps we should BAN the owners!

Emily said...

I'm so glad that Dixie is OK. I HATE irresponsible dog owners. Even if your dog isn't a pit bull, it should be on a leash in public. Period.

Also, are you sure that last picture is of your dog? Because man, that looks like my Murray! I have to meet Dixie!

Mama Bean said...

I told you-- they were separated at birth. Her coat is coming in after her accidentally shaving and she's starting to look more Aussie-- which again, saved her life. The pit got a mouthful of fur. She is the mellowest, goofiest dog I've ever had. We adore her. The thought of her being killed, in front of my children, still bothers me. BUT she is fine and I am grateful. Still pissed, but grateful.

Mama Bean said...

If I lived alone in a small Rwandan village, I would definitely have a guard dog! Dixie's such a goofball. I hate that I never want to take her hiking again-- she was so happy out there, too. I just don't understand why anyone would leave their dog- especially an aggressive breed-- off a leash on a busy Saturday. They clearly did not have the dog under ANY control. We had Dixie leashed and the worst she would do is lick someone. Still makes me sick to my stomach.