February 16, 2012

Your Pooch

There’s been a dog theme in my life for the past few days, so I’m going with it as I’m sick of my other nonsense about how my life as a single parent sucks.  Plus I’m drinking the rest of the champagne from Valentine’s Day and I need a distraction to avoid a low-down crying debacle.

Yesterday, I saw a lady walking down the street that I haven’t seen in 11 years.  Floppy hat, stone washed mom jeans, big bag.  I can’t believe she still lives in this neighborhood and that it’s taken me 11 years to either notice her or see her again.  The sight of this bag lady brought back a FLOOD of memories.  Just….wow.  Almost exactly 11 years ago, I was attacked, and so was this lady, by a pack of dogs.  It was a beautiful Friday, and I had decided I didn’t feel like working because the sun was shining.  So I was playing around in the yard, probably pulling weeds or planting flowers, when I noticed I hadn’t seen my cat in a while.  This was before I had kids, so I actually knew I had a cat, even.  When I stood up to look around, I noticed three dogs standing in a yard across the street, a few doors down from mine.  I realized they belonged to a neighbor two houses down from me.  As I walked down the sidewalk, I clapped my hands and called out to them.  I had never prior to this moment been scared of any animal in my life.  I figured they would run to me, I would put them back inside their fence, and I would forget about the whole event in five seconds.  A weird thing happened though.  When I clapped for them and got their attention, they noticed me.  And in that moment, I noticed that something was terribly wrong.  Because in that moment, I was scared to death of them.  It’s hard to describe what made me afraid.  I could see the hair standing up on their backs…could see it from clear across the street.  I could see the very way they stood, the way they looked at me, the way they held their tails….something was wrong.  WTF?  I simply turned around and started walking back to my house.  I put forth effort to just act super cool.  I didn’t run, I just walked like I hadn’t noticed anything.  And that’s when I heard them.  It was a pit bull, a German shepherd and a Chow.  I could hear them running towards me.  I didn’t even have time to think.  Almost as soon as I heard them come up behind me, I felt the first bite on my calf.  It felt like a razor blade going into my skin.  Son-of-a-bitch it hurt.  I wasted no time.  I screamed bloody murder and ran like hell.  It was ON.  I was two doors down from my house, and they just started biting me all over, wherever they could get me.  I will never ever forget the sound. The growling was so fucking ferocious; I’ve never heard anything like it since.  Loud snapping sounds….the sounds of their gnashing teeth….all you could see was teeth, and saliva, like their mouths were foaming.  I was running as fast as I could, screaming HELP! HELP! at the top of my lungs, just hysterically screaming and just praying that any neighbor would run outside and get these fucking animals off of me.  As I neared my front yard, I started to get tripped up.  There were so many of them, and they were circling me.  That’s when the pit bull got right in front of me.  I thought I might fall, but I knew I couldn’t.  I knew if I did, I would die.  The word MAUL flashed through my mind.  It’s weird that I’m so literal.  I knew he would get my neck, I knew that’s what he wanted. I could not fall.  Dear God don’t let me fall.  I don’t want to die. Especially not like this.  In that split second, of my almost tripping and him sensing it, he bit the only horizontal part of my body.  My crotch.  Again, a razor blade.  Dear God I’m so close to my front door.  I never stopped moving, I never stopped screaming.  I was wearing jeans and I ran up 7 stairs to my front door with this dog attached to the side of my jeans.  He had locked his jaws up, and I carried him right to the front door.  In a split second, I opened the door only a sliver, and squeezed just my body through, not his.  His jaws stayed locked, it was my jeans that tore and allowed me to close his face in the door.  I was shaking so badly, I had to convince myself not to faint.  Never ever have I been so scared in my life.  Not even when Dave died.  It was a different feeling then.  When he died I wasn’t scared for my own life.  I wasn’t dying or in danger of death.  I ran straight to the bathroom and started tearing off my jeans.  I was horrified at what I might see.  I had no idea if I would see just bite marks or my skin literally falling off of me.  I couldn’t feel a thing.  I’ve never been so completely overtaken by pure adrenaline.  There were puncture wounds and wounds that looked almost like brush burns, and the bruising and swelling was already present.  Once I realized I wasn’t going to die, I called 911, then called Dave.  I went to the front door.  It was about 2:15 and the bus would be dropping off kids on my street.  Oh my God.  No kid would survive this.  About then the mailman drove up.  I could see the dogs still down the street.  He yelled to me from his truck that he had called 911.  They had also attacked him.  He had pepper sprayed them, and they’d torn up his leather mailbag.  When the police arrived and I lost sight of the dogs, I didn’t know it, but they were attacking the bag lady.  Days later, the pit bull attacked another man who was pulling up into his driveway from the hospital.  He had just been released from having open heart surgery, and they bit him on the leg where he’d had a vein removed and relocated to his heart.  The sad thing about this is that you all expect me to say all the dogs were euthanized.  Immediately.  But it wasn’t so.  The bag lady and the open heart surgery guy didn’t report their incidents right away, and the mailman wasn’t bitten on his body…he had the pepper spray and they only got his bag.  I learned there was a law on the books.  You had to bite twice to be put to sleep.  Are you fucking kidding me? I was LIVID.  I started calling people incessantly.  I knew everyone at the SPCA by name.  They thought I was crazy.  I was relentless.  I called the news.  They interviewed me.  I was on the news.  I told the story over and over.  I sat in my council person’s office.  I asked him if I leapt across the desk and bit his fucking cheek off if I’d have to do that just once, or twice, to be thrown in jail.  His face turned red.  You would think the owners would willingly euthanize the dog.  Not so.  We were dealing with freaks.  Stupid freaks.  I kept screaming….I am a person! These animals…they weren’t like pets.  You don’t understand.  Finally the pit bull did attack again, he attacked the heart guy who did report it, and about the same time the bag lady saw the piece on the news.  The pit bull was put down.  The German shepherd and the Chow were just put back into the yard two doors down from me. My neighbor promised to feed them poison hot dogs.  The funny thing is that I don’t even remember what happened to them.  Because a few months later I found out I was pregnant for Bret.  But my life was changed.  I was scared of dogs now.  I’ve been scared of dogs since then.  Over the years it has lessened.  Little dogs don’t frighten me as much.  Big dogs I don’t trust at all.  Ever.  I never forget that they are animals.  They aren’t people.  And I see so many people, it gets worse and worse with every passing year, people treat their animals as human.  This is a huge mistake.  If you would have seen those animals that day…if you would have heard those animals that day…you would never think of your pet in the same way again.


7 comments:

  1. I don't think it is fair to single out dogs as a whole. It would be like saying that all black people are robbers and you don't trust any of them and they shouldn't have the same rights as whites because you were robbed by one.

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  2. I'm not saying at all what those dogs did is right or good in any sense, but do you see what people do? what about 9/11. Who the hell would think those people are good? there are good ones and bad ones in ever patch. Good people. Fucked up people. Good dogs. Fucked up dogs

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  3. Oh my gosh! What a horrible experience! I completely understand your fear of dogs. I have 2 big beautiful sweet dogs but I respect anyone's fear when I have visitors.

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  4. OMG, every time I read your story I am mortified. How much can happen to you?

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  5. I was attacked by a German Sheppard at 10 years old & still to this day, 24 years later, I am terrified of big dogs. To the point if there is a big dog anywhere near me, I will even hide behind my kids.. I refuse to visit anyone with a large dog! I totally understand! :'-(

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  6. I found your blog the other day and have been reading it oldest to newest. I have to say first that my heart breaks for you. I pray I never have a similar story to tell. God bless you and especially your children.
    I have to say that I am married and have three kids. When my daughter was 14 months, we took in a stray. Our first pet. My boys were 2 & 3 at the time. This dog did fine for 2 weeks, then one night she jumped off the couch and lunged at my baby girl, and bit her below the eye. She was ok, but could have been worse. Our approach was to not let it affect them. We went later that week and bought a pure bred 6 week old lab puppy. A year later, we got another, a female this time. I think you have to be very cautious around dogs, but getting our dogs so young, we let our kids torture them. Sit on them, pull their hair, pull their tails.....the dogs needed to know that the kids could do anything they wanted to them bc it is how life works. They are here to keep us company, and they owe us for that. I hope your babies do not share your fear of dogs, bc one day it may work as a coping mechanism for them. Another "shoulder" to lean on and be able to have some sort of unconditional love from. Just my thoughts.
    BTW, the dog that bit my baby was immediately taken out back and shot. People come first always.
    Thank you for reading, Michelle Smith

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  7. Well I am the 'newest' reader... while this story is a horrible one, and I understand the fear of dogs, and I understand the different kinds of pain - I have to say that that way you wrote it ... made me laugh to tears... I am a trippy kind of person, who too has this gene that requires me to over share. I think you are so more normal than you think. I hope you don't mind that I laughed - I am not sure why. I laugh at the worst times, and then cry most of the other time. Any way. Glad you survived it ... when I read the pooch title I was expecting something completely different. HAHA!

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