Tuesday, March 23, 2010


A Long Walk, Shortened...

Just time for a quick and somewhat sobering update.

It’s been a trying couple of weeks. Some kind of flu bug has swept through the house, striking first the Brownie (who never gets sick), then the Éclair. Thomas is now in the on-deck circle here at the Vomiting All-Star Game. I can only thank God that Her Lovely Self and I have thus far remained immune to the ravages of this inelegant and (I must say) rather explosive virus.

But that’s the least of my worries. Yesterday, I was walking Blaze on the grounds near where we’re staying. With everyone sick, I haven’t had time to give him a good long walk, so I thought I’d make it up to him. But then the two aging German shepherds who patrol the grounds came running over, barking their fool heads off. This happens nearly every time I go out. Usually, it’s enough for them to see me, and then they back off. If they don’t, I shout their names in a declarative voice and they usually turn away.

Not this time. This time they kept charging.

I don’t know what the deal was, whether they were all amped up from chasing squirrels all morning or canine Alzheimer’s kicked in, but these two dogs were on a mission. I dragged Blaze and myself over to the walking path where I was told the Invisible Fence was laid. If it was, it wasn’t working, or the dogs were past caring. They kept coming.

They’re big, too, half a head taller than Blaze, and scary when the pair of them are coming for you at speed. The more aggressive one, referred to as Adolf in the post in which they were introduced, got there first and was crouching to jump on me. But Blaze got between us and they skirmished for a second. In that second, the other dog, Eva, who has to date been sweet and retiring, came around from the side and, snarling, went for my leg.

(Thank God the kids weren’t with us.)

Blaze should have looked after himself. He would have been fine. But when he saw Eva go behind me, he turned and went after her. To protect me. And when he did, Adolf clamped his jaws onto Blaze’s exposed flank and almost tore my dog’s leg off.

I’m a real bleeding heart when it comes to animals, but I’m embarrassed to say, I flipped out. Thanks to Blaze, Eva only got my pant-leg, so my foot was free, and I pushed my boot-heel into her face as hard as I could. She wasn’t injured, but she let go. Then I brought my leg around in wide arc and stepped right down on Adolf’s head. That probably didn’t help matters—he still had Blaze’s leg in his jaws—but he let go quick enough (you would too if I was standing on your head). I’m ashamed to admit it, gentle reader, but I was this close to putting everything I had into driving that dog’s head into the ground, but I let him up and he took off yelping (he was also not injured). I threw Blaze over my shoulder like he was a sack of potatoes and rushed him into the house.

The bite went through to the bone on both sides and by the time we got Blaze to the vet, an infection was already setting in. The vet isn’t too concerned about his ability to repair the damage and save Blaze’s leg (it could have been much worse if Adolf had started shaking him). But, well, Blaze isn’t the dog he used to be—he’s at least nine years old, and almost 20 pounds overweight. The vet’s concerned about how well he’ll do under anesthesia. He’s worried my dog’s heart will give out.

Which, as a pro tip for all you vets-in-training out there, is not the sort of thing I would say in front of children, especially my children, who love Blaze more than anything, including popsicles and chocolate pudding. They’re stricken right now, and who can blame them?

We’ll know more this afternoon, but meanwhile, sitting here at my desk at work, I feel like I’m in the grip of an explosive virus, ready to throw up or feel my heart give out. Blaze and I have been through worse than this—far worse--but I can’t help but worry.

So what do I do? I worry all of you along with me. Sorry.

But I’m a big believer in the power of positive thinking and am convinced your good thoughts and well wishes have helped us before, so please have a thought for Blaze today. How I wish he had just let that dog bite my leg instead.

More as soon as I know it.

But right now, I'm taking a late lunch and going to talk with someone about keeping Adolf and Eva behind something a little stronger than an imaginary fence.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

oh dear. We will keep you all in our thoughts. The world needs Blaze...
OMG! That's awful! And I think if it had been me, I would not have been nearly as charitible!

Am sending Blaze lots of healing vibes and good doggie mojo!
Blaze never ceases to amaze ~ what a wonderful, faithful dog! I'm almost in tears that he's in such sad shape right now. I will be praying for him & your family...please keep us updated.

p.s. Those other dogs need to be put down. I'm an animal lover, but dogs attacking people for no reason is just completely unacceptable. I shudder to think what would have happened if your kids had been there. :(
oh wow.
Keeping blaze in my thoughts. That was very courageous of him, but from past stories, I'm not surprised.
Yes, those dogs need to be penned up! Imagine if they'd gone after the kids. It doesn't bear thinking about.
Good luck, Blaze!!! You and your family will again be in my thoughts and prayers.
Oh, no! Tears are already welling up. Saying a prayer to St. Francis for good ole Blaze. And an extra for your family.
Good health to you, your family and your doggie, MM. I had a small dog live to 18. So Blaze could still have some years of good health in him. Those German shepherds are just lucky that Blaze was outnumbered and had someone besides himself to protect.

Hope everything turns out OK.
My heart aches for you. Sending good thoughts for all of you!
I said a prayer for Blaze (and you, and your family) as soon as I finished reading this. May God protect your good and faithful companion!
I'll be praying for Blaze and your family. Those dogs are lucky to be alive. I wouldn't have blamed you one bit if you had stomped both of their heads into the ground.
i agre with anonymous. those dogs should be put down, or at least kept behind a real fence. Ask your vet if they need to be quarantined or killed for rabies testing.laws vary on that.

in some places if you report the attack it will count as their first chance and guarantee actionif they do it again.

somethign unrelated to you got them riled up enough to attack but that's no excuse.

Do they belong to your boss? that could make things complicated but i hope the owner's decent enough to pay the vet bill.

When Blaze is better please make more of an effort to lower his weight(I know, easy for me to say) he'll be lame for a long time and if he has less wieght to carry it will help. IT sure helps with my 11 year old Dixie who luckily is naturally lean and goes skeletal if i dont watch out (she's under vet care for it, dont worry that im neglecting anything.) she has bad arthritis in one shoulder where a kick broke her shoulder in a former life.

but mosyly I wish Blaze quick recovery and many more years.
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Thank goodness you weren't hurt, but I am very worried about Blaze! I hope he pulls through okay, and I'm thinking of you and your family. Fingers crossed!
- Aquilegia
Positive thoughts are going out to your brave Blaze.
I'm so sorry. I'll be praying for you and your family and sending all my positive thoughts your way.
mr gator is the world's biggest softie about animals. but he gave a dog some vicious kicks in the ribs when it was attacking our dog. and then apologised to the attacker's owners, who didnt care.

no one was hurt. all the attacker did was growl and bodyslam, but was twioce our dogs size.
I'm so sorry to hear this news, MM. Unfortunately, it sounds like many of my dog encounters, except that I had no canine backup. Your response to Adolf and Eva's attacks is totally understandable.

All my best to Blaze. Sincerely.
oh no!

i'm glad you're okay. sending all the healthy recovery thoughts i can to blazey.

definitely do report those two dogs - what if you've got the kids with you next time? and the owner should definitely pay any and all vet bills for blaze - it's probably much less than the lawsuit could have gotten had they nailed you instead.
Holy crap that sounds terrifying- sendings lots of positive thoughts to you and Blaze. I absolutely LOVE dogs, but that owner is responsible for making sure their dogs are *good* dogs.

Again, lots of healing vibes your way...
One other quick comment: I don't necessarily think these dogs should be put down. I think they should be assessed and the owner should be charged/required to build a fence asap/go through some kind of dog ownership training (I don't know if that actually exists for these situations, but I think it would be a good idea). If the dogs were exercized properly & trained it is less likely something like this would have happened (if the dogs are red zone/untrainable, that would be a different situation- but this isn't the dogs fault, it's the owners' fault). Plus the whole fence thing stands to reason.

I don't have kids so I could be crucified for this comment, but it's what I think.

So glad your kids weren't there.

Again, healing vibes your way...
The dogs need to be put down. In most countries dogs that attack people are put down as a rule as once a dog shows that it is a threat to humans it has forfeited its place.

Next time it could be your kids, the neighbours kids or the sweet little old lady down the street.

A fence isn't an answer, these dogs are feral and they will kill at the next opportunity.
Oh my, it seems like by the time I've read this you probably already know more. All my best to Blaze, and I hope the kiddos will be relieved of their worry soon. (The rest of us, too.)
Man, that is a bummer. Sending positive healing thoughts Blaze's way from Texas!
Oh MY! I am such a softie when it comes to animals -especially dogs -and knowing too how much your children adore Blaze and Blaze, in turn, obviously adores the entire family, this post had me in tears.
I have read Blaze's post though and it does seem he's kind of perking up a bit but still, it's a really traumatic event for all concerned. I'm really gonna send up some special prayers for Blaze for the fastest recovery possible.
I'm terrified just reading this- must have been awful for you both.
Those dogs do need to be put down- how many attacks have we read about that were preceded by warning signs? And that was a clear warning.
Hope you're both making some recovery- sending you both lots of positive energy.
I would have gladly taken no post than this post. I pray it isn't Blazey's time yet.
Praying while I work here on my laptop. This was yesterday, so I am hoping that today brought better news. Still, more prayers can never hurt.

I love Blaze, more than any other dog that I have never met.
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