Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dogs bite

On my questionnaire for pet sitting and dog boarding, I include two questions: 1) Has your dog ever bitten? 2) Has your dog ever been in a dog fight?

On a recent new Siberian Husky’s form, I had written “no” answers to both questions. I found out the hard way that the dog had been in a fight before, and severely bitten her owner. 

The owner was picking up her dog. I put all of the other dogs outside except for one, a dominant Lab who didn’t want to go out, so I just let her stay in. The Siberian and the Lab had gotten along fine all week. But when the Sib’s owner was added into the mix, things subtly changed… so subtly that I didn’t see it coming.

In retrospect, the Sib was annoyed at the Lab, who was pestering the owner for some attention. The Sib was jealous and protective of her owner, and the Lab didn’t read the signals, or ignored them, and all of a sudden it was WWIII at our feet.

In the heat of the moment, I did everything wrong. I dove right in and grabbed collars and pulled. A dog–and I don’t actually know which one–turned around and NAILED me on the inside of my thigh. I have never felt such burning pain. The owner got scraped skin but no puncture wound when her dog bit her hand.

We finally got them apart, and threw the Sib in a crate and the Lab outside, then turned to assess the damage. I had four puncture wounds on my leg, but minimal bleeding. The pain was spectacular. The dogs were uninjured.

I went to the doctor and got antibiotics, because any kind of dog bite ALWAYS gets infected. That visit triggered a report to Animal Control, and the officer showed up on my doorstep the next morning. I was in mortal fear that I would be out of business.

The good news
Both dogs were licensed and I had their shot records, showing they were current on all vaccines. The dogs both had to be quarantined for 10 days in their homes or at my house, since we weren’t sure who the culprit was. The Animal Control officer was very cooperative and understood that a dog will unknowingly bite a person when grabbed from behind while fighting. For all the dog knows, another dog is grabbing his neck, where most dogs attack.

The bad news
The fact that this was a “redirected bite” isn’t much comfort to me, since the dog had no bite inhibition whatsoever. She clearly meant to do some serious damage.

The Siberian’s owner told me after the fact that the dog had gotten in a fight a few months ago and had broken her finger…biting her when she tried to break it up. Since then, I’ve been trying to remain neutral, but I can’t help but think the Sib is the one who bit me, since she has a bite history.

More important, I hope this owner doesn’t delude herself into thinking it won’t happen again. She is an inexperienced dog owner, and I believe the dog is on a disastrous course.

Two weeks later, I have a lump on my thigh the size of half a baseball, and the bruise goes from my crotch to well below my knee, and almost entirely around my leg. The color is finally fading, but the memory hasn’t. 

Bookmark and Share
© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

Kimberly Santini said...

Oh no - so sorry to hear about this! sending healing thoughts your way..... and hoping you are able to come to terms with your circumstances and figure out your feelings about the Sib.....