Monday, January 19, 2009

Round 2

For those of you who have missed the background story, I will try to relay it as briefly and succinctly as possible (for me).
We adopted Pepsi, our beagle /Jack Russell mix, when she was about 8 weeks old. When she was approximately thirteen weeks of age, my daughter Alaina (who was 9 at the time), was walking her (on a leash), when a neighbor's Shepherd mix got loose, ran across the street, and attacked Pepsi - injuring her badly enough to require surgery. The day before the stitches were due to come out,we finally gave Alaina the all clear to take her for a SHORT walk- (say down to the corner and back), when the SAME dog got loose and attacked Pepsi again. (the result of the second attack was only a few torn exterior stitches).
Now, Alaina was not harmed in either attack, and the neighbor did pay all the vet bills. (We reported the attacks to animal control anyway, because while no action was ever taken, we thought that they should at least have the attacks on record). The offending neighbors (and their dog) moved away soon after. The problem is that both Alaina and Pepsi were permanently "scarred" by the attacks. Alaina has been much better at overcoming her fear of other dogs than Pepsi. Whom we have spent untold time and money trying to rehabilitate- to no avail.
So why this rehashing of ancient history?
Today, Alaina (now 14) was out walking Hero, when another neighbor's dog, a boxer this time, charged right through their electric "fence" and attacked Hero. Once again, Alaina was not harmed, and to be truthful I think it was a more even fight this time (Hero was not muzzled) and he seems to have come away with only one small tooth mark (it hardly bled at all- and seems more like a scrape/bruise- than a puncture) on his chest near his front leg. We will be watching it carefully for infection/ additional tearing, but it seems fine. The owner did come out to pull the dog away and apologise, (and to make sure that everyone was "O.K.")-, NO actually, it is NOT OK!!
Alaina spent most of the afternoon in tears. More trauma- more drama.
I don't even know how to end this post.
Why does this keep happening? Is this corner of Virginia especially backwards when it comes to it's canines or does this sort of thing really happen everywhere? How do I keep Alaina from being permanently traumatized? Should I really never let her walk her dogs again?
How do I keep Hero from being traumatized and ending up as psychotic and anti-social as the rest of these dogs (my beautiful Pepsi included)? How long can my luck hold out before one of these Cujos actually attacks Alaina? I am sure one or more of you kind and wise bloggers, have some sage advice for me.....(help)


Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I hate loose untrained, unsupervised dogs. That is why I never walk in my neighborhood. Not only are there loose dogs, but the most popular breed seems to be the pit bull and they are not owned by people who show up for the local obedience classes.

Maybe you guys should stick to walking in parks with paths and trails. It does not guarantee no loose dogs, but hopefully they are better socialized than neighborhood escapees. Maybe walk in pairs... one person holding a stick and don't be afraid to use it.

If you can find a clicker training class, or a class that uses positive reinforcement, or has some greyhound experience.. that would be a good way for everyone in the family to have good experiences with other dogs. Your daughter especially could really hang onto this fear and almost cause it to repeat itself with every dog she ever has. I would talk with the trainer and lett him or her know that your primary goal is for your daughter to have a positive experience due to what has already happened. The trainer might even have some creative ideas for setting up some good experiences in some private lessons or a group setting.


Addie said...

That's terrible! I hate that Alaina, Pepsi, and Hero have been victimized this way. I'm glad that Hero wasn't hurt badly, but I would worry about future attacks.

If the neighborhood walks are something the dogs really like and there's not a nearby park or trail, I agree with Jen that a stick is a great idea.


Zan said...

Situations like this are why I, like Jen, almost never walk in my neighborhood. There are too many loose dogs or dogs behind invisible fences that run barking like lunatics to the edge of their "fence" and continue their assault until we're past their yard. At best, my Rosie explodes, and no one has any fun. We've had much better luck walking in the park.

Problem is, even in the park you have idiots with flexi-leashes that let their dogs run up to yours. Maybe their dogs are friendly (won't bite) but they certainly have no control over them, and it causes Rosie to melt down. I'm guessing that it might me scary for Alaina too at this point so the pairs idea is a very good one.

Sorry, I didn't mean for this to turn into a rant about idiots and their dogs, but shesh! My blood pressure went up when I read your post. I guess I didn't add anything new in the advice department, but I am very, very sympathetic to your plight.

I'm very glad no one was hurt badly physically, but I know these experiences leave invisible scars.

IHateToast said...

the news in australia is about dogs attacking people in homes. people having more dogs than they can control AND not separating them from kids. v. sad. usually staffies or pig dogs.
electric fences aren't popular here, so we don't have a lot of yard lunges. i have seen bad stuff at parks. we have parks in every n'hood. some people let their dogs in and then return to their car to socialise.
as a runner, i've seen people walking dogs without a lead and have had a few nips.
i don't understand how people are sorry. if you know your dog at all, you take preventative measures. omo is never off the lead at parks. i can't trust him. he's too cranky. if we're alone, fine, but i will park it by the gate and watch for new arrivals. i'd be ashamed of my own behavior if one of my dogs hurt anyone.
poor alaina. that must have been terrifying.

gyeong said...

That really sucks since you are being the responsible one. Living in Spotsy not too far from you, I think we still live in an area where for a lot of people, dogs are left loose during the day. My wife does not walk the kids in the neighborhood very often. With at least 4 on the leash, don't want to think of what could happen if a loose dog attacked. I just chase my kids around the back yard most days. Watch out for the poo! A real fence makes me feel safer that a loose dog won't come in the yard.

BrittBeah said...

That is terrible. Invisible fences are a joke. Glad everyone is ok.

alex said...

Thank you for all the sympathy!!
We do have a SMALL park 10 minutes by car from our house.- (it's pretty much just a one mile bike path, kid's playground, and a football field). The closest "dog" park (fenced and allowing off-leash) is 45 minutes away.
We have done the "dog" park a couple times with Hero, and we all REALLY enjoyed it, but it ends up being as much driving as exercising, so it is not a practical long term solution.
We like to give the dogs 3 short walks a day, in addition to the yard "zoomies", so even the nearby park is not ideal.
BUT we do love the stick suggestion.
Thanks again for the support.

Elayne said...

I would get Alaina some pepper spray for her walks. It is legal in most places. Check with your local police or sheriff.
I usually carry some in my pocket when walking with the dogs.

Angela said...

There is also a dog park in Bealeton. Here's the link:
I've never taken my dogs there because I worry too much about them running with other dogs (especially ones I don't know) and we have about an acre fenced in our back yard so there's really no need to. It is run by a husband/wife team who own a farm and turned it into a dog playground. They have dog play dates, swimming, training, etc. Anyway, I can't say if this place is any good or not, but just thought I'd pass it along. Of course that still doesn't solve the problem of walking! :)

Annoying Koala said...

My greyhounds were attacked by loose dogs 5 times within 10 months of adopting them. They do not like out-of-control dogs because of what happened. We reported to AC and ask them to check if the dog has rabies/ fairfax county license. I know one of the owners got a $200 fine because he didnt have a dog license for his dog. Guess what? He learned his lesson even the fine was not for the attack!

My dog trainer has recommended liberty pet resort. Maybe you can take hero swimming too..! Last time I called up the owner and requested to set up a greyhound only playgroup. She was very nice..

BTW, there is a greyhound playgroup for MD/VA area in Poolsville, MD. Let me know if you are interested...