That Horrifying Moment When Your Dog Attacks
I had this wonderful plan all worked up about how my day would go yesterday. I met another lady online who homeschools and lives very close to me. Her son and my oldest son are the same age, and I have been pining for an adult who lives nearby that will come and have a cup of coffee with me and chat on a lonely morning. We planned to get together for a play date and a visit to see if we hit it off. Little did I know, my day was going to take a horrifying turn for the worse. My day came to a screaching half when our dog attacked.
I haven't had the best experiences with dog ownership. When my son was just one, he was bitten by my 5 year old dog who was my "baby" before my huband and I had a baby of our own. We also had another dog that started to get very aggressive with me that we just couldn't keep anymore. Because of this, it has been six years since we have had a dog in our lives. My husband has been wanting another one for probably six years.
We had an agreement: once we bought a house, we could own a dog again. We just bought a house, so we decided it was time to get a dog. We would try again. We went down to the animal shelter because I love the idea of saving a life. We picked out the cutest foxhound ever. My husband sat and pulled on her legs, touched her ears, messed with her treats, and we introduced her to my aunt's dog who we visit with frequently. She passed all the tests. The shelter also tests dogs to see if they are a good candidate for adoption. She passed those as well. We brought her home.
She had been rolling around in feces at the shelter, so we gave her a bath right away, treated her for fleas and ticks (and removed a super huge nasty tick from her ear), took her to the vet to have her stiff hips looked at, and bought the best food for her we could find. We could see her ribs through her coat that was falling out in clumps everytime you touched her. She had sad eyes but I knew she just needed to be loved and taken care of. Everyday I swept up mountains of hair, I cleaned up accidents, and we started training her. My kids would walk around, so proud that we saved her life. "That was the best day of her life," Turbo would say, "The day she got adopted!"
About a month later, her training was finally starting to pay off, you couldn't see her ribs anymore, and she was turning out to be a great playmate for the kids. She could run now, and her hair stopped falling out and developed a wonderful sheen to it. I was always watching her like a hawk around the kids; even when our one year old would pull her ears or grab her skin with both hands and yank, she never even growled at him. We all started falling in love with her.
Fast forward to yesterday. I spent the morning running around my house anxiously awaiting our visitors. I made coffee, made sure we had cold water in the fridge, swept, wiped all the sand off the couch (it accumulates everywhere in our house!), and tidied up. We even had fresh muffins ready so we could have a snack together if they stayed long enough. I was nervous, but ready.
Our new friends came over, let's call them June and Peter. June was so warm and talkative. We had a great chat about schools, homeschooling, our backgrounds (we both lived in NV for a time), and life in general. I genuinely enjoyed talking to her. Even our kids (and whose kids don't fight?) seemed to be getting along really well. Peter realized our boys like legos and superheroes, and he seemed sold. They played together really loudly, but were having a good time. I was so glad I had invited her over even though I usually don't invite complete strangers into my home.
The kids went outside to play, and that's where our dog was. Now, she likes to jump up and she also barks when people come over, so I had her in a fenced off area outside. I figured it was just best to not worry about what she was doing and whether she was knocking someone over. If she was put up for the time, I could focus on our visitors. The kids were told she had to be there while our friends visited. However, my oldest got it into his head that he wanted to take her out. I happened to catch a glimpse of him out the window opening the gate, and I walked outside to tell him that was not allowed. What happened over the next 3-4 minutes was sheer insanity.
As soon as she got out of her area, she bolted across the yard to where the kids were playing. Turbo had her on a leash, but she weighs as much as he does and he was just no match for her determination. She drug him behind her as he yelled for her to stop. She pulled him so suddenly and so hard the leash gave him a "rug burn" on his hand. Our dog jumped up and tried to get into the window of the playhouse where the other kids were. They all shrunk back against the far wall. By this time, I was next to Turbo, grabbed the leash, and consoled Peter, saying, "It's okay; she is jumpy but that's all." June was right behind me at this point. She wasn't worried at all, but was great the whole visit about making sure her son was behaving and that everything was okay. I wouldn't have expected anything else.
Then she bent to tell our dog hello, and our dog lept up and clamped her jaw down right around June's neck. She slipped right out of her collar, even though I held her leash tight. She just lost it. June stood up, screaming, and our dog was still on her neck, paws extended onto her chest, and standing on her back legs. She reached the full height of June like this and I could hear her snarling like some viscious attack dog from a movie. I was standing there, holding my baby on my hip, screaming, "No! Stop! Go lay down!" like some idiot. In an instant, June pushed our dog off of her, and I pinned her to the ground. She sat beneath me, tense, and I held her as tight as I could. I told everyone to get inside. Baby Z didn't even seem phased at this point, but Peter was frantic, and my older kids just all looked confused like they couldn't believe what had just happened.
Once everyone was safely inside, I put the collar and leash back on our dog, our sweet rescued new member of the family, and put her back in her fenced off area. I went inside to assess the situation, shocked at what I'd just seen. Peter was on our couch, and he was seriously upset. June was in the bathroom, and I asked her through the door if she was okay. She was crying and near hysterical, but she said she was okay and she knew what to do about an animal bite. When she came out, her shirt was soaked in blood, and she had a towel pressed to her neck. She said she knew she needed stitches because pressure wasn't helping. I started shaking and I felt like I was going to throw up. I asked her if I could do anything at all for her, drive her to the hospital or get her anything and she said no. That they'd be leaving and that she'd had a really great time up until...well...this happened.
She said she would text me to let me know she was okay and we said good bye. I walked back through my house and saw a trail of blood from my back door to my bathroom and I kind of lost it. Once my son realized what had happened, and that we couldn't keep our dog anymore because she had bitten someone, he started screaming at the top of his lungs "NO!" over and over and over again while he threw himself on the couch. The baby cried because I had to put him in his high chair while I cleaned up blood so he wouldn't walk through it. The toolman sat with his hands over his ears while he shook and huge tears rolled down his sweet little cheeks. It was chaos.
The whole situation is heart breaking. I never, ever want someone to be injured at my house, and expecially in such a horrible way. I also feel like I lost a potential new friend and our family pet all in one day. Such a promising day turned to garbage. I don't know what dog I will ever trust again. I wish I had some amazing words to say that would explain how there is a rainbow at the end of this, but I just don't have them. Maybe someday I will. Until then, I praise God that it wasn't a child that got hurt, and that June is okay after getting stitches and a round of antibiotics. Our dog, Zoey, will be missed.