Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
Dorothy Harris

This is the pits


Published:

During our evening walk, I was going on about the peacefulness of our neighborhood. That should have been my clue life was about to reach out and bite me, or rather, our dog, Sadie Girl.

Two large pit bulls came tearing across the street and the larger one, despite three of us screaming our heads off, grabbed Sadie in its jaws. As our shouting reached a fever pitch, the dogs' owner rushed in to stop the attack. He desperately tried to pry open the dog's jaws, while Mr. Harris began punching the dog with his free hand.

My focus was preventing the second dog from joining the melee, and ensuring it didn't come after one of us. When Sadie Girl went from howling to a horrid squealing, my daughter began screeching, "It's going to kill her." It seemed we were watching the final moments of our dog's life. Everyone became crazed at this point and the owner, holding his dog in a bear hug, began punching it in the face with all his might. Finally, with both men punching, the dog let go.

Sadie Girl drunkenly bolted away, almost triggering dog number two. Wrapping her leash around a mailbox post, she became trapped. Mr. Harris tried to free her, as this second dog circled back around. Crazy with adrenalin, screaming like banshees, we gals tried to chase it away, terrified it would attack next. Mr. Harris saw it coming and in a deep voice, full of venom, roared at the dog, stopping it in its tracks. The man screamed at his wife to grab dog two as he struggled to carry the first dog away. Apparently shocked, she just stood there. Rushing back after penning up the first dog, he grabbed dog two, and my child and I, shaking like leaves, dropped to the ground by Sadie Girl.

When the rattled owner returned, he apologized over and over. Mr. Harris, God love him, held his tongue, focused only on whether his girls - canine included - were okay. Neighbors, having just seen us walk by, drove up, exclaiming, "We heard the commotion and thought someone's child had been attacked." Thanks for the ride guys - sorry if we neglected to say so.

Once home, Mr. Harris' shoulder and hand hurt almost as much as our hearts as we watched Sadie Girl lick her wounds. I cleaned her up and opted to follow up with our vet in the morning, rather than head to Dundee that night. I am incredibly thankful to report Sadie's got a sore shoulder, a couple of punctures and a broken toe nail, but antibiotics and pain medicine are working wonders.

I'm sure it was a sleepless night for all. We adore our dog and assume the pit owners adore theirs. Sadly, the attack was unprovoked; we were just walking by. I shudder to think the outcome if it had been just me and my daughter walking or if she had gone by herself. Neither of us girls could have fought for Sadie like Mr. Harris did; we simply don't have that much strength.

I am also on-my-knees-thankful this dog didn't latch onto one of us. Dogs require annual vaccinations and all owners should ensure their pets are up to date.

Seeing the owner's panic as he repeatedly punched his dog to no avail shifted my paradigm too. I always believed breeding or training determined the aggression of pit bulls. That if properly raised; with precautions around small children and prey-sized animals, pits could be a suitable family pet. After our experience, I no longer believe this.

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