I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a dog. Tramping through fields and forests with Granger is always one of the highlights of my day, not just because it’s so beneficial for my mental and physical health, but seeing how happy it makes Granger to run, racing against the wind, ears flapping, brings me immeasurable joy.
We’ve both loved our daily adventures, exploring off the beaten track as well as treading well-worn paths. It’s where I untangle plot points, come up with my best ideas.
Granger often brings me his lead when I’ve sat at my desk for hours, nudging me gently with his nose. Rain, snow, ice, rain, there’s nothing (except when it’s too warm for him) that has stopped me going out.
Now fear, fear stops me from taking him out.
Early this month Granger was savagely attacked by another dog. We were in a family area. A place where leads are supposed to be compulsory. Granger was on a lead, walking to heel, the other dog was not. He rocketed towards Granger and while my husband and I both tried to block his path we were both knocked over.
Time bent, stretched, slowed down, speeded up. I’m a writer but cannot describe the utter terror I felt as the huge dog sunk his jaws into Granger, hearing Granger’s cries of pain, seeing the blood. After several bites to both Granger and my husband, the dog clamped his jaws into Granger, millimetres from his throat and wouldn’t let go.
Immediately, my husband and I both tried to free Granger but we couldn’t. I have never felt so helpless, so hopeless. So scared. So guilty. My darling, gentle, boy who trusts us to keep him safe, devastatingly we couldn’t.
Soon, the dog’s owner joined us but he could not get the dog to release Granger either. It felt like hours, my throat raw from screaming, certain that my beloved boy was going to be killed as we all grappled with the dog. Eventually it slackened its jaws slightly to move its grip and in that split second my husband managed to whisk Granger out of the way.
Quickly we ran Granger to the car, my husband drove while I googled the nearest emergency vet, called the police. Granger went straight into surgery. Thankfully he pulled through and it was only once we knew this that we were able to seek medical help for ourselves.
Physically, Granger is recovering well, due to have his stitches out soon. Mentally though, I have no idea how this will affect him moving forward. I am traumatised. Having nightmares. He must be too. Sometimes he walks to fetch his lead and looks at it, but rather than bringing it to me, he sadly walks away.
I’ve been left with an immense fear of dogs, with an intense reaction if I see one.
I’ve tried to take Granger out a couple of times since for a short walks but we’ve both been incredibly afraid when loose dogs have run up to us. I’ve asked the owners, politely to please call them away, or put them on a lead. Each time the reply is a cheery ‘it’s okay, they’re friendly’.
This isn’t the point.
My message to other dog owners is PLEASE if you see a dog on a lead, especially if it has an ‘anxious’ or nervous’ harness as Granger now has, is to be aware that the dog (and the owner) would really appreciate it if you could keep your dog to heel until they pass. We all love our pets and while I’m sure most dog owners would be horrified if they knew what had happened to us, it isn’t always possible to explain quickly enough.
Dogs are naturally curious and playful I know, and I really hope that one day Granger will regain his trust. He’s due to see a dog behaviourist, I’m seeking help myself. I feel so broken right now but I’m going to do everything I can to fix us.
Wish us luck.
This is awful and I’m so sorry Louise. I hope you can both get your confidence back. I see many requests like this locally, some owners are just so irresponsible when they must know their dogs are dangerous.
Oh, no, that is horrific! I truly hope you all (including Granger) get over this awful attack.
Really sorry to hear this, I hope you all manage to get over it enough to be walking again.
I’m so, so sorry, Louise. As the mother of a child who once ran out into the middle of the road to get away from a “friendly” dog (thank God no one was hurt), I totally get your message. I’ll continue to relay it. All the very best. *hugs to you and Granger*
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Did the police find the other dog? If so, was he put down? I had this happen to a friend of mine and her little dog, on a leash, was killed by a larger unleashed dog whose owner neither apologized nor paid for the vet bills for my friend’s little dog. So so sad. May I suggest that you continue your walks but get a stun gun so if it were to happen again, you could protect both yourself and your dog??? So sorry this happened to you. Heartbreaking.
I am so, so very sorry to read this. As the owner of a German Shepherd of 18 months, since we had her (from 13 weeks) we have been aware that the majority of dogs around us are tiny shih tzus, miniature chihuahuas, toy poodles, or similar. Maya wants to play with everything with four legs and a waggy bit. She is still a puppy just BIG so we appreciate how smaller dogs would see her and fear her, no matter how gentle she is. The owner was at fault here for not having his dog under control and hopefully in time, Granger will get some confidence back.
My experience of dogs though is that they don’t forget and it will take a lot of love, patience and reassurance to achieve this. I wish you all the luck in the world. I hate to see dogs frightened or nervous for any reason. I am no expert, just someone who loves dogs of all breeds and try to see things from their perspective. It annoys me so much when people say ‘It’s OK, he’s friendly’ when the other dog is nervous or anxious. We have been asked if Maya’s friendly and say yes, just bouncy and excitable as she wants to play. We encourage ‘introductions’ to other dogs and people, but it is always on our terms and she is on her lead. Maya is easily distracted, so we are extra vigilant when there are other dogs about, especially those we don’t know. I hope you can all get through this, but getting ‘over it’ is another matter entirely ❤
That’s awful! Love and good vibes to Grainger
My pup was attacked last November. Three giant pit bulls who live next door. They busted through their screen door. They almost chewed his leg off. He is my service dog and so very sweet but he will never be the same again. I remember after it happened it was a couple of weeks before we went for a walk and there was a guy behind up with a big mixed breed. I asked him if I could just get a bit of a head start in front of him because Brody and I were nervous as he had gotten attacked. Well the guy swore at me and told me it was my f—king problem, not his, and that his dog was on a leash. I can’t even make something like this up!
I’m so sorry! I know how you feel. It reminds me of when I was walking my angel Cinnamon a few years ago. I was walking her down the street like usual and suddenly a Boxer came running out of its yard from out of nowhere and jumped on Cinnamon. It was bigger than her (a miniature poodle) and was on top of her and had its mouth on her neck. She went down, crying out and squirming. I was stunned and cried out, and then instinct took over and I started smacking the Boxer, my only thought to get it off her and I didn’t care if it hurt me as long as it didn’t kill her. It did let go after a few moments and I quickly scooped Cinnamon up a ran home checking her over. Luckily there was no blood but she was scared. Her neck was sore after that and she sometimes had trouble turning her head for a while. But after that she was afraid to go on walks for a good while, and refused to walk down the street in the that direction again.
I am sorry that this happened, Louise. I don’t understand dog owners who defy the law in these matters. Ive run onto many of them, and our dog always had difficulty with the other dogs. I hope the police were able to locate the other dog.
I don’t have a dog, Louise, but I’m always on edge with loose ones if I’m out with Ess. She looks fine but, as you know, she’s quite fragile and a dog jumping up at her even playfully could leave her in severe pain for days. As you say, you don’t have time to explain all this to another dog owner, but the consequences can be awful. So sorry you’ve had to go through this – and still are.
So sorry for you, and Granger. Hopefully, time will lessen the memory…