As I mentioned awhile back, we got a puppy. Poppy is six months old now, getting the hang of all her training, and turning out to be just a sweet, goofy family dog. We love taking her for walks, and that’s what we were doing when we walked by some shrubs, heard a man yelling, and an unleashed pitbull lunged through the bushes, knocked M into the road, picked up our Poppy and commenced trying to tear off her leg.
I won’t go into gory details, but my husband kicked the pitbull off before Poppy’s leg was destroyed, and we spent the rest of the day getting her stitched up. To his credit, the neighbor took full repsonisibilty, and animal control was very helpful. M was distressed but has recovered (Little A just ran and doesn’t seem to remember much, thankfully) We walk with mace now, and Poppy has physically recovered, though her mental recovery is much slower. She’s afraid of both men and other dogs now, so we’re gradually retraining her to be comfortable again.
I have a lot of violent dreams now about dogs. I didn’t like pitbulls before, and I really don’t like them now. (And to the “not-all-pitbulls” crowd, feel free to like them all you want. I don’t.)
The thing that scares me most is how easily the dog could have grabbed our preschooler, who is roughly the same height and was standing right there. It could have been so much worse. Poppy or our child could have been dead or maimed. what sticks out most in my mind is the guy kept saying, “But he wouldn’t hurt anybody!”
Well, clearly, that’s wrong, because it did. One of our friends compared having a potentially destructive dog to owning a gun. Can it be done safely, with the correct training and vigilance? Of course. But without that vigilance, the potential for damage is catastrophic, and so easily avoidable. If you have such an animal, contain it. any animal is still an animal, and proper precautions are easy enough to take.
The other thing that stunned me was how many people told me that they had been severely attacked by a dog or their dog had, and how many of them still had trauma from it. There was even one whose friend had been killed by a pitbull. Far more than I’d ever imagined. Unleashed dogs of all types cause tremendous damage. (I know I’m calling out pitbulls here, but pretty much all of the stories I heard were also about them, and dobermans. Incidentally, chihuahuas bite the most, but you just don’t hear about it. As I dog groomer I got bitten my chihuahuas repeatedly, and only chihuahuas.)
Please, please take time to leash and secure your animals.