Dogs Have Been Special to Me

Dogs are special to me

My entire life, dogs have been special to me. Do you find their pure energy  attractive too? Or are you frightened by them?

I’ve Had Scary Encounters Too

When I was young, there were a pair of German Shepherds on the corner of our street. It was possible to avoid them walking home from school, but not always easy. Their snarling, barking and rushing to the fence made my heart race. Consequently, I was always extra affectionate to our family dog, a one-eyed Pekingese named Mitzi, when I got home.

Once, I was even bitten by a police dog, though not a German Shepherd. Rather, he was a docile looking bloodhound named Beau. At that time, the comedic variety show, Hee Haw was popular. I thought the bloodhound on the credits looked sleepy and harmless.

My neighbor’s husband was an Orange County Deputy Sheriff who kept Beau in a kennel on their property. I volunteered to water the plants on their back patio while they went away a few days. Someone else was taking care of Beau, but I didn’t know who. My son was not yet two and I had him secured in my backpack. As we strolled into the enclosed patio, guess who was laying in the middle of the bromeliads? Yep, there was Beau, lounging amongst the plants, copious amounts of saliva dripping off his large head.

I didn’t want to accidentally spray Beau with the hose, so I bent down, grabbed his collar and put him back in his kennel. After I finished watering some hanging plants, I returned to the patio. There he was again.. in the same place. Once again, I went to retrieve him in the exact same manner. Only this time, he wrapped his mouth around my upper arm and clamped down enough to get my attention. Then he let go. Still not getting the message, I started, once again, to grab his collar when he emitted a low growl that stopped me cold. I kept my gaze on the ground and slowly backed away, willing my fear to drop beneath his radar.

The Aftermath

As I walked the two blocks home, I lifted my sleeve to get a look at the damage. There were small bruises forming in each place a tooth had pressed into my flesh. Thankfully there was no blood.

Once inside the house, I called 911. Who else would know how to get a police dog back in his cage? The dispatcher asked all the questions about my safety and my condition, advising me to get a tetanus shot and that an officer would be over to take my statement.

Behind the scenes, they contacted a Deputy Sheriff dog handler named Jeff, who was familiar with Beau. He knew that once Beau got riled, he was uncontrollable. Jeff arrived and suited up in full attack dog training fashion. Beau almost completely ripped up Jeff’s arm protection, before he successfully returned him to his kennel. Then Jeff secured the gate so Beau couldn’t get out again.

Lessons Learned

First and foremost, I learned you can’t forget the power that resides inside any animal that feels cornered or intimidated.

Second, I realized I could handle a potentially dangerous situation with calmness, protecting myself and my son.

Third, my instinct took over and everything I’ve ever read about dog behavior kept us free from serious harm.

Some Parting Sweetness

Dogs have been special to me regardless of my difficult encounter. Here are a few of my favorite photos of my three-year-old Brittany, Sugar. Click on a picture to view full-size in a gallery.

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Sugar’s Human Mom,
Dawn