Red Fang

I did not have much more on my mind this morning than whether to take a Paracetamol or Ibuprofen to calm my knee down. After a number of months where it has felt that my knee was getting better, either the change in the weather or a change in my knee has caused it to swell slightly and become more painful again.

The dogs were keen to get going, so after watching the sky turn from violet to grey as I sipped my tea, I clipped on their harnesses and set off down the road to the park.

There was plenty of dew on the grass when we got there and around 20 yards in, I spotted the familiar figure of one of the park regulars and her dog. Let’s call the dog Jemima.  I was surprised to see them as she normally heads down south with the dog and as many of her three children that want to go to the family farm, about three hours away. She is a woman of infinite patience, though and so has been known to travel all the way back so that one of the kids can make an appointment and then hop back in the car for the return journey.

Jemima has always been a bit of a problem, but my dogs have known her since she was a puppy and she is normally not too bad with them. There are a number of issues: she is a Border Collie/Husky cross and needs a lot of exercise which she does not get here in town. The reason is that despite being smart, she has never been trained properly and her owner dealt with her bad behavior towards other dogs by keeping her away from them, so she was never properly socialized. On the farm, she is allowed to run wild and free but in town, she is kept permanently on a lead and restricted to short walks on a long lead in the park.

She ran towards me when she saw me because she knows she can get a treat from me if she sits, which she did. Then something weird happened, and she decided she was not having any of Lucy and attacked her.

Dog attacks are very fast, very noisy and very scary and this one was no exception. Jemima had her teeth bared and was doing her best to sink them into Lucy, who was trying to get away. I was heading for both of them yelling at the owner to pull the leash to get her off, but the leash was very long and it took her a few seconds to pull it short enough, which felt like half an hour.

After we got Lucy away, the owner stood, horrified at what her dog had done. I had a look at Lucy, who seemed unharmed and basically tried to reassure the owner that Lucy was OK and her skin not broken, all the same I got my two dogs on their way as soon as possible. 

Lucy seemed OK but when I got her home I realised that she was bleeding. She had two puncture wounds, one on her neck and the other on her flank. I took off her collar and harness, washed the bite marks with warm water and put some antibiotic cream on them. Then I rang the vet. They advised me to bring her in for a check up to be on the safe side and that is why, an hour later I was booked in to the first appointment and was talking to a lovely vet, who examined Lucy gently and told me he was going to take her and wash the wound properly.

Archie looked on nervously while all this was going on. Every time he is at the vets, he gets his anal glands cleared, so he was watching all fingers very carefully to ensure one of them did not try to sneak up his back passage. 

Lucy returned a few minutes later with two shaved patches. The vet told me he had pumped saline down the wounds, one of which was quite deep, given her anti-inflamatories and antibiotics. She seemed to have not a care in the world but I was glad that I had erred on the side of caution and got her checked out. One of the biggest dangers with ‘small’ wounds like this is that the  top layer of skin has been pulled away from the next during the fight (usually if they get shaken) and that can be fatal.

So not the best start to the day, and one that cost me $200.00, but Lucy is easily worth every cent. Lucy and I may have had a little stress, but Archie was relieved that he had avoided ‘the finger’. 

And now I am going to have to contact Jemima’s owner and update her with the impact her dog’s behaviour has had on mine and suggest that she is going to have to think about getting a muzzle for her when she is out in the park, because this time it was Lucy, but next time it might be a child.

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