Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I am sorry that my dog ate your dog.

Today I am guilt-ridden, ashamed and saddened.

My dog attacked a neighbour’s dog last night. It was unprovoked and sickening. It wasn’t a normal dog reaction, where there is mutual barking and no actual contact. My dog tore into this little dog and clamped down. I had to physically pry him off.

It was terrible during the attack, and worse when it was over.
The poor little thing limped away. Its nose bloodied. And although I am sure I am anthropomorphizing, I saw a bewildered look upon his face. He had no idea why he was just bitten.

I tied my dog to a tree and tried to get close to the little guy to see how he was doing. He was walking well, and panting heavily, but looked like he would be ok. Then I had to address the owner. He was in shock. Sheer shock. Of course I spouted all manner of apologies – all heartfelt and sincere. It was very difficult. I gave him my cell number and asked that he call as soon as he heard from the after-hours veterinarian.

Then I had to turn and face my dog. He seemed to understand that something happened to make me very mad. But it just didn’t seem like he got that trying to kill a little dog was wrong. I pulled his leash tight, making him heel very close and I quickly walked home.

When we got back it became apparent that the small dog had been so scared it defecated on my dog. Which meant he needed a bath. The whole process was strained because my anger continually bubbling to the surface as I washed and verbally chastised the dog. I knew he didn’t understand what I was saying, but I felt better getting it out.

K was just as livid about the whole thing as I was. We tried to figure out where we went wrong. What we could do. We both agreed that the dog is now a wild card and that freedoms must be taken away. He’ll require heightened monitoring, additional training, and can never be afforded another opportunity to make the same mistake. The muzzle will be back out.

When we went to bed, all we could think about was the other dog. My guilt had a firm grip on my mind. Though I had fancied myself to be a ‘good dog owner’ and an authoritative leader, I now had significant doubts. Have the tug-of-war sessions and wrestling all given the dog the impression that his behaviour is acceptable? Am I to blame for this aggressive attitude? Have I reinforced this behaviour? I am awash with the guilt of this catastrophe.

I talked to the owner today. His dog will be fine. He has puncture wounds and bruising - and in my opinion is very lucky. Now I need to work to make things right. Both with the owner of the little dog, my wife, and my own dog. I hope I can make this right.

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