I was walking with my 15 year old dog, 3 year old boy (dressed as a dragon), and toddler this morning when I witnessed an australian shepherd dog grab another dog by the scruff of its neck and started yanking the other dog back and forth by its neck. Fortunately the victim (dog) escaped into a pond, albeit yelping the whole time.
This happened to my dog years ago at Tanner Park. A bichon lunged at my 45 pound dog’s neck and wouldn’t let go. $400 dollars later, with drainage tubes coming out of her neck, and stitches, my dog survived. In my case, the dog’s owner just walked off. While you might think I should have done something to stop the woman who owned the dog, the fact is that when it happens to your dog, you are in shock. In the case of this morning, I was in shock (and I was just a bystander). It is violent act and I think it is hard to come to terms with.
If you own a dog, you may want to consider what you would do in that situation, ahead of time. I’ve been thinking about the incident since it happened and my best suggestion is to treat it like a car accident. When you are in an accident, what do you ask the other person for? You ask for their name and insurance information.
In the case of my dog being attacked, I have decided what I would say is this:
“My dog may be hurt but I’m not sure. Can I get your contact information including your name, address, and phone number in case I need to contact you about medical expenses?”
You may think this is forward or are embarrassed to say something like this, but puncture wounds from a dog bite are serious for you OR or your dog. Treating them will not be cheap. It’s imperative the owner of an offending dog take responsibility. They will likely be in shock too… but you shouldn’t just let them walk off.
Having a pet as a companion is a rewarding experience; however, it comes with responsibility. The event I witnessed this morning reminds me that I should be mentally prepared, just in case.