Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cadie Under Attack

Cadie and I have not had a great couple of days. We were at the park yesterday, when poor Cadie was clotheslined. It freaked me out, so I ran after her trying to track her down so that I could look her over, and make sure that she was okay. She was; more stunned than anything else. She played on my sympathies long enough to get me to carry her a block or two on the way home. But on the whole she was fine. I also had a good day with the unpacking. I stayed up late and motored through the remainder of my boxes, I was so keen to get everything out of here, and restore some order. The last thing that I had to do when I went to bed last night was take my storage stuff down to the locker.

I woke up this morning and realized that I have no idea where the key to my storage locker has gone. So that pile is still sitting in the middle of my office. Disappointing, it’s true, but it’s the best I can do until my supper cuts my lock off the locker.

More troubling than the lost key situation is what happened to Cadie this morning. We got there a little earlier than normal, and were happily playing with our ball when I made the mistake of throwing it too close to a strange dog, who first kicked it under her hind legs, then sprang into action, grabbing Cadie by the throat, throwing her on her back and pinning her to the ground. Probably most upsetting in all of this is that the owner allowed his dog to get to the point of pinning my dog before he decided that he needed to intervene. Meanwhile, I’m shrieking and flying across the park. We finally got them separated; I was looking my shrieking girl over to see if we needed a vet, when the other owner told me that I shouldn’t “baby” her, because it would make her more afraid. But come on, I have to give her a good once over to make sure that she’s okay. This is not Cadie’s first attack; she was attacked by a crazy chocolate lab back in October. My fear is that she will develop and long, and lasting fear of other, larger dogs. My other fear is the cost of vet bills, the first attack cost me nearly $400.00, and I simply can’t afford that right now, particularly as the incident could have been avoided.

Earlier this week I wrote about a couple of women who scared the carp out of everyone when their two labs jumped all over each other in front of a young family. I would like to pick up this thread.

Immediately after the attack this morning my thought was that good dogs have bad days, and this was simply a bad day. I later learned that this dog has attacked at least 2 other dogs. This dog should not have been off leash, for that matter, this dog should be wearing a muzzle.

Strong words? Perhaps, but seriously, I think we need to talk about leashes. I’m no angel, and I will admit that I don’t always adhere to the strict letter of the law, but, I think we need to clarify something. Being off leash, be it in designated off-leash areas, or in community parks, is a privilege that a dog earns, and not a right that they have. If your dog cannot be trusted to behave off leash then they should remain on the leash. How do I define behave? If your dog is not under control, i.e. it’s running away from you, it’s attacking other dogs or people; it is not under control, this isn’t brain surgery. It is, however, terrifying to see your loved one at the bottom of a heap and not know if they are going to make it out in one piece. This dog, the one that attacked my little girl, has no business being off leash, it has no business being at a dog park, it should be in obedience school, and doing intensive work with its owner when it’s not in class. At the end of the day, I’m afraid. I’m afraid that this dog will hurt or kill another dog, and I’m afraid that this dog, which is probably quite a nice little creature, will suffer because its owner didn’t train the dog to have appropriate dog park behaviour.

The longer I live in the city the more annoyed I get with the people around me. My dad warned me this would happen, but I didn’t really believe him until this morning. As stated I believe that well-behaved dogs are a credit to their owners and to their breed, and I will defend their being off leash, even in non-designated areas. I just wish that people would think about the qualities that their dogs should have before thy head out to the dog park. If your dog is jealous about toys you should disclose this to your fellow dog-park goers, and you should be working with your dog to eliminate this behviour. If your dog is nervous and can’t cope with loud noise and fast movement, you should accept that dog park is going to upset them, and find another enjoyable activity to do with them. Dogs are living creatures, who want so badly to make us happy and proud of them, the least we can do in return is give them the skills to cope with their environment, and to be aware of their personalities and temperaments and gear your social activities to something that is enjoyable to you both. Dogs, like people have their limitations, but also, like people, they have to be accountable for their actions as their owners we have to be accountable for the kinds of dogs that we raise and take with us into the world everyday.

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