Saturday, July 11, 2009

Canine Assault and Battery

Once you have kids in your home, pets take backseat. It's unfortunate, but it just happens. But I had an experience yesterday that brought our beloved dog Murphy firmly back to the front seat.

We were taking our evening walk, and were almost back home, when we saw that two neighborhood dogs had gotten out (again) and were running free. They ran up to us to say "Hi". The Rottweiler came up to nicely and I remember thinking, "I'll just grab his collar and walk him back home."

Then looked over and saw my dog on the ground with the other dog's jaws wrapped around the scruff of her neck, shaking her back and forth. Murphy started yelping. My Mama Bear instinct kicked in and I dropped to my knees and started trying to pry them apart. I remember thinking, "Okay, this is exactly what you are NOT supposed to do when two dogs are fighting," especially because I was literally grabbing this dog's mouth and trying to pry it off Murphy!*

But Murph was in trouble and this lab was unrelenting. I popped the lab on the snout a few times. I grabbed his collar and tried to pull him off Murphy. His collar came over his head and in the process, made him release his hold. Then he decided he was done, because he popped up and ran away. Murphy got up slowly and gingerly walked down the sidewalk, giving a few yelps as she walked. I didn't want to run her home, for fear she was really hurt and running would make it worse, so I tried to calmly walk down the street.

I had this neighbor dog's collar still in my hand and didn't want it there, so we walked towards our neighbor's house. At that point, I realized then that my hand was bleeding. Somewhere in the middle of the tussle, I had gotten bitten. Wonderful. My neighbor was out in front of his house and I bluntly told him that one of his dogs had attacked my dog and bitten me. He reacted like it had happened before but was apologetic.

I brought Murphy in and checked her up and down. She had a lot of dog spit on her left shoulder, but no blood that I could see. I called the vet at and a kind staffer told me to keep an eye on her for strange behavior, lethargy or vomiting, but unless we saw that, just pamper her.

Later that evening, I decided to go wipe her face and mouth down, because it had gotten dirty during the tussle. I hadn't done this immediately because she was very freaked out and didn't want to be touched. Um yeah, I was too. I used my hands to put some pressure on her shoulders and neck to see if she was sore. Then I saw it....a red blossom of blood on her neck, closer to her chest than where I had seen the dog chomped down on her. Damn! She had gotten bitten. I investigated further and actually found a puncture hole. I grabbed my hubbie and we simultaneously soothed, disinfected and antibiotic'ed the wound. We had to cut quite a bit of fur away to see what we were doing.

I think she got about four biscuits during the course of the night. We all felt sorry for her and for dogs, food = comfort. She took them willingly, which (per the vet staffer) was a good sign.

I'm leaning towards taking her the vet today, just to get some reassurance that she doesn't need a stitch or two.

It's unfortunate that it takes a traumatic event like this for us to re-focus our attention on our family pet of 10+ years. If you have a family pet, give them a special hug and some attention today, and be glad that they had a boring day.

* Later that night, my husband reminded me what you are supposed to do: Get behind one of the dogs and pull them away by the tail. This was the last thing that would have come to my mind.
UPDATE 7/12/09: We ended up taking Murph to the Emergency Clinic on Saturday. Not because we thought she had an emergency, but because our vet and the two other vets close by were booked solid! $200 later, Murph has a shaved neck (very odd-looking on a husky), a disinfected bite wound, and 3 prescriptions (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and pain killers). She has to have food with each of her prescriptions, so she is very happy about having all the snacks. And we are sure that she's okay, and that's well worth the cost.