Eva has two young adult Miniature Schnauzers, Ted and Archie. They are good natured dogs, getting on well with people and other animals. For this reason, it was a complete shock when Ted was the victim of a random attack by a dog in the local park.
Eva is kept busy running a well known Pilates studio (www.thesecretpilates.com) so her partner Alan takes the dogs for their regular morning walk while she’s teaching her classes. The dogs know the route well, walking beside him and behind him as they follow the same track every day.
On this occasion, Alan was strolling along a woodland path, quietly enjoying the autumn sunshine, and the dogs were following a couple of yards behind him. Suddenly, Alan heard a squeal, and he turned around to find that Ted had been upended by a large cross-bred dog that had appeared from nowhere. The strong, muscular animal had rushed out of the bushes, and had launched itself at Ted’s neck. He now had Ted pinned to the ground, and was worrying at the smaller dog, shaking him as if he was a rag doll. Poor Ted was less than half his size,and there was nothing he could do to escape.
Alan didn’t have time to think: he could see that Ted’s life was in serious danger. He leapt towards the animals, shouting. The bull terrier ignored him, maintaining his tight grip on Ted’s neck. It was like a wrestler pinning an opponent to the ground in a choke hold, and Alan knew that time was short. He moved in to try to separate the two animals, using his hands, arms and feet to push between the bigger dog and Ted. He finally managed to haul the dog off by the scruff of its neck, tying it up to a nearby tree.
It was just as well that it was Alan, not Eva, out with the dogs that day. It took all of a grown man’s strength and courage to tackle the aggressive animal.
When Alan had tied up the attacking dog, he turned back to Ted to find that he had vanished. The poor little dog had run off in terror, and was nowhere to be seen. Alan called Eva on his mobile phone, and the two of them began a frantic search. Where was Ted? Was he badly injured?
Meanwhile, a lady had rushed up to the scene of the commotion. She was a volunteer for a dog rescue group, and she had been walking the bigger dog, who had recently been rescued from a pound. She was fostering him while he was getting ready for a new home. He was good natured and had been well behaved, but as she had been lifting him into her car at the end of his walk, he had squirmed like a slippery eel, and darted out of her arms. She had chased after him but she had been too late to stop him attacking Ted.
After taking the bigger dog home, she joined the search for Ted: she was the one who eventually found him, half a mile away, still running in fear. She called Eva to let her know, and there was an emotional reunion at my vet clinic.
I checked Ted out carefully: luckily he had been spared serious injuries. He had deep puncture holes on the underside of the neck from where the bigger dog had pinned him to the ground. But Alan had managed to haul the dog off before the skin had been ripped to shreds by repeated biting and shaking.
I sedated Ted to clean his wounds, and treated him with potent pain relief and antibiotics. He has made a steady recovery since, although understandably, he’s was nervous when Eva took him back to the park for a morning stroll.
This frightening and traumatic episode should be a warning to anyone who is caring for big, strong dogs: they have to be securely muzzled, leashed and tightly held at all times. Accidents happen (as in this case), but everyone needs to learn from them. You really cannot be careful enough when dealing with powerful muscular dogs.