If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Not Really A Walk In the Park

Pupzilla and I were psyched for our Saturday afternoon walk, especially since we missed it last week (due to me being ill). It was a warm but overcast day and Pupzilla was jumping at her leash as we readied to leave the house. Stepping outside I noticed the daffodils were now in bloom and it looked like it would be a lovely afternoon excursion.

However, not more than 20 yards from our home, I noticed two dogs bounding across an empty field with no owners in sight. My heart sank. Now my Pupzilla is a marvelous dog in every sense of the word but she is not dog friendly. She rarely as much as snarls unprovoked but she doesn't take any guff and often normal doggie overtures (you know the butt sniffing kind) are interpreted as guffy provocation. She has been in a number of dog fights (some she starts, some she doesn't--all she finishes) and we now do our best to keep her away from other dogs. The worst is on hikes in the wood. We keep her on leash but not everyone does. I'm always amazed when people let their dogs run up to us and then say "Don't worry s/he's friendly." I have to answer back that Pupzilla isn't and then we get the hard stares.

Today I stopped her, made her sit and told the dogs to get back. I do need to clarify here that these were not bad or scary dogs. Quite the contrary they were young, energetic, friendly and out for a good time. They would be the type of dog I'd gush all over if Pupzilla wasn't there. But she was and she was leashed and they were not. They did not heed my words and came running up, sniffing, inviting play and looking for affection. As soon as the butt sniffing started, Pupzilla growled. As you can imagine things escalated quickly and I was trying to keep her down and them away from her but all to no avail.

My neighbor heard the commotion and came across the street to help. She could only keep one dog off at a time. They seemed to think this was some kind of game. Sure enough the game got ugly and one of them latched onto Pupzilla's ear. I slapped at them with her leash (I do know better than to put my hand anyway near dogs in a fight) and commanded them back. Between the two of use we got them off of Pupzilla and I tried to drag her away. She was flat on the ground at this point and refusing to budge. (Keep in mind she's no lightweight at 60+lbs and both these dogs were bigger than her)

The dogs had collars and my neighbor was trying to see a phone number so she could call the owner. I tried to walk down the street with Pupzilla but the other dog kept coming back to "play" some more. Another neighbor came out and between the two of them they managed to contain the dogs and call the owner. I felt it best to remove Pupzilla from the premises while they waited and we went off on our walk.

Dog fights are ugly. I hate them. I can't imagine why anyone would ever want to see one happen. This one wasn't so bad but there was blood on my shoe and Pupzilla has a gashes on her forehead and next to her ear. Once we were safely away I checked her out to make sure there was no real damage. As much as they upset me, she's always her happy self after a fight. I don't think she knows what the fuss is all about. We took our walk but for most of it I was reliving the fight and feeling bad that (a) I had to contain her so she ended up getting the worst of it and (b) had to smack at two very sweet dogs (I know I didn't hurt them - I was just trying to scare them back).

For the rest of the walk we kept running into other dogs (most on leashes) and I felt like I was on red alert.


Hilaire said...

Oh dear, the poor thing! And poor you!

Amanda said...

I completely understand. The Dixie Dog is the same way. Luckily the town we live in has very strict leash laws and we have rarely come across unleashed dogs. Still it's no fun when we do and it usually involves me invoking the "Darth Vadar" voice to try to repel the other dog and me dragging Dixie Dog in the other direction. We've made some progress though, I can get her to follow me now when we run into that problem :-) But I can definitely sympathize. (I also hate the harsh stare. I'm doing my best and I have *my* dog leashed!)