Monday, August 06, 2012

Other people's dogs

This is a post I never thought I'd be writing, a post that I would rather not be writing but that through the inaction of a bad dog owner, I must write. If you're a dog owner, own your dog. That doesn't mean just feed it and love on it, it means own it and take the responsibility to train it and teach it how to mix with normal society. If you don't, bad things can happen.

Remy. Can't believe how much I still miss this little dog.
Steve and I don't have our own dogs. Not because we don't like dogs, mostly just because we have enough on our plates with the horses. We both love dogs as a whole and most dogs as individuals. Ever since Remy, I have been a vocal supporter and defender of the bully breeds because my experiences had always been positive. 

Right up until last week, and honestly, it's not the dog leaving a bad taste in my mouth--it's the owner.

So here is what happened and why I'm writing this post I don't want to write. 

Steve walks our neighbor Jennifer's shepherd/catahoula mix Kyle every day. Kyle is not an aggressive dog at all. He is curious, but he is easy to work with and has never once been confrontational with another dog. Steve is the dog whisperer. Dogs love him. Even dogs that can't be approached by most people love him. It's uncanny. Steve and Kyle make a good pair. 

Kyle is lucky Steve was there the other day.

They were going down our hill like they always do when a black and white Pit or Pit mix came charging up from one of the houses. Apparently, the owner had left the dog with friends and neglected to tell them not to let it loose. 

Steve says there was absolutely no stopping it as it tore up the hill and latched onto Kyle's nose. Steve fought  off the Pit and got it to let go of Kyle, who wisely took off at a dead run with the Pit following behind. Luckily, Kyle was faster and on the way back by, Steve and the owner's friends were able to capture the Pit. Steve was okay, albeit scraped and bruised from rolling around on the cement protecting Kyle, but he was not bitten. 

The owner was called and agreed to cover the vet costs and also agreed to call Steve later that day to let him know what she planned to do with the dog. The friends indicated there may have been problems with the dog prior to this and Steve says the dog was absolutely single-minded in it's pursuit of Kyle. This is a man who walks up to dogs that scare most people and has never had a problem--well, except having them follow him around and drool in his lap--and I absolutely trust his judgement in this assessment.

The owner finally called Jennifer and--after he made two calls to her--eventually called Steve back as well. Jennifer felt like there was no remorse and Steve is convinced this will happen again because there was no real commitment to do anything. Theoretically, the vet bill will be handled directly as the hospital would not take Jennifer's money once they found out it had been an attack. We'll see.

This is not the dog's fault. This is complete and utter failure on the owner's part to do what the dog needed before it got to this point. And I honestly don't see how the dog can be salvaged, which is the real tragedy. I hope I'm wrong, but with the owner the dog has it seems unlikely.

As cute as Remy was when Katie brought him home, his potential to be aggressive was obvious and had to be curbed, sometimes very firmly. He was going to be a big dog and we knew he needed to be socialized with cats and horses and other dogs from day one to become a dog we could trust. Sadly, he never got to be a big dog and we all still miss him, but that was the responsibility we took on when we welcomed a Pit mix into our home, and we took it very seriously. The reward was a funny, smart, self-confident puppy who was loyal and happy, could go to the barn and out on walks without eating evil Pomeranians even when they deserved it.

The dog that attacked Kyle and Steve has an owner who doesn't care or assumes she will always be there to control the dog. Guess what? She won't be, and that dog will hurt or kill someone else's dog.

It's absolutely NOT about the breed of the dog in question. I LIKE the bully breeds--A LOT! I met a lovely Red Pit on my walk today who was calm and respectful and--even though she was nervous--never once did anything that worried me. I wouldn't care if the dog that attacked Kyle and Steve was a Pomeranian or a Golden Retriever--the actions and behavior are the problem.

It is very much about an owner who chose a dog they can't or don't choose to handle correctly. What sucks is it is always the dog that pays. I just hope this one doesn't take any more with it.

1 comment:

lmel said...

So true, and so sad. I've owned 2 Rotties and know the stigma attached to them. It takes a responsible owner to have these breeds and to know how to deal with their potential aggressive behavior. And I just met a pit/Rottie mix today who will hopefully stay with her new foster parents, because her former owners were clueless!