National Pet Day and Responsibility

I was so excited today that it was National Pet Day.  And in honor of that I wanted to take Zoe for a lengthy walk on this balmy Spring day in Los Angeles.  However, this pleasant walk would soon turn into horror after she was attacked by another dog. It’s taken me all day to think about what happened and go through many emotions before I decided to write about it.

As we were walking down the sidewalk I could see an elderly man ahead bringing out trash bags to the curb ahead of our trash pickup day on Wednesday.  He said hello as I approached and mentioned that he had a dog as well, that he referred to as baby (which is most of us tend to do with female dogs).  I smiled and said hello as we passed through the trash bags blocking the sidewalk.  His dog, who seemed to be older than Zoe, was in his backyard and began walking toward the open gate.  While the man did try to keep her inside she was determined to come meet Zoe.   At this time there were no red flags to me indicating aggressive behavior, so I thought a meet and greet could be fun as Zoe is always friendly with other dogs.  But once she got close to Zoe, that’s when all hell broke loose.

The dog became very aggressive and lunged at Zoe with mouth wide open.  Zoe is not a small dog at 60-65 pounds but this dog was at least 20 pounds heavier than her.  My heart began racing as I tried to pull Zoe away (and she wears a harness), yet the dog kept lunging and grabbing her by the neck.  I yelled to the man to “grab your dog and pull her away” as I lifted my foot up to push the dog back from Zoe.  I wasn’t about to put my hand in the middle otherwise I would have been seriously injured.  Finally the man wrestled his dog to the ground, when I noticed Zoe was now locking that dog’s neck/ear in her mouth in self defense.  I then had to get Zoe to release, which she did, and I walked away quickly leaving them both on the ground.  I asked him if his dog was okay as I walked away and he said “yes” so I quickly turned the corner to get out of the line of sight of his dog.  We ran for at least a block, because I knew if his dog got loose and saw us she would run after us.  Needless to say this was extremely stressful for both Zoe and me.  Once we were to safety, I did a quick body check of Zoe to see if there were any bite marks or bleeding.  Fortunately there wasn’t.  My heart was racing for the rest of the morning, constantly checking her for any signs of injury.

I understand these things can happen and before you know it, the situation can be completely out of control.  This happened all in less than 3 seconds.  While I don’t blame the man for anything, I do hope he now realizes that he should keep his gate closed when his dog is in his backyard.  I often take Zoe out to my front yard to play off leash, HOWEVER I also have a leash with me at all times.  I constantly look down the street left and right to see if there is another dog and owner walking toward my house.  If there is I either leash her or grab her harness and tell her to Stay.  Not because Zoe is aggressive, but because she loves to meet other dogs.  However, that owner doesn’t know that she is playful with other dogs and would be scared as hell if another dog approached off leash.  It’s all about responsibility with your dog.

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