Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Grandpa and Pup...or pilot and plane.

Grandpa and Pup…or pilot and plane.

When I was four, my father was nearly decapitated by a flying dog.

Pup was an Eskimo Spitz and as far as I know that was the only time he ever flew. Seconds before take-off, he was crouched on the driveway next to me, his bloody chin inches from mine. Then he was airborne, launched by Grandpa over his shoulder, on a collision course with my unsuspecting father’s head. Dad threw up his arms, awkwardly catching the 30-pound furry missile and setting him on the ground. After which Pup ran to his doghouse and hid.

It wasn’t the dog’s fault. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, really, just a natural reaction by Grandpa to what he saw. Crying child + bloody dog = animal attack.

Except that’s not what it was. I’d fallen on the gravel and cut my lip open, the kind of wound that bleeds like a son-of-a-bitch, and I was crying because it hurt and Pup was bloody because he was licking my face to comfort me. I knew that, he knew that. The only ones not up to speed were the adults. When the truth finally came out, Pup was coaxed from his doghouse and I spent the rest of the day looking at my fat lip in the mirror.
Pup didn’t attack me. He would never attack me because family pets don’t do that.

Apparently, some of them do. Just over a week ago on our end of town, three pit bulls mauled another dog that was in his own yard. All four were family pets; the three attackers belonged to one family, the victim to another. According to the reports, the little boy whose family owns the pit bulls saw it happen but couldn’t stop it. The owner of the other dog heard the commotion and did.

What followed was an impressive outpouring of support for Badger, the wounded dog, and an interesting discussion over who was at fault: the pit bulls which attacked him or the owners who didn’t train them not to. Pit bulls are a violent, dangerous breed and should be banned, said one camp. It’s the responsibility of the owners to train their dogs correctly, regardless of their breed, said the other.

It’s ironic that this incident happened just weeks after South Dakota passed a law prohibiting local governments from enacting ordinances discriminating against specific breeds and just over a month after some friends of ours officially adopted Ray, one of the abused pit bulls from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, after the dog underwent extensive training and therapy.

What happened to Badger was horrific enough but what happened next may be even worse. Because nothing happened. The pitbulls who attacked him were still running around the neighborhood a week later and if Facebook posts and police scanner reports are to be believed, this past weekend one of them bit a child.

My two dogs are not the best trained animals in the world but we’ve taken what steps we can to ensure that they don’t harm others. That’s our responsibility as pet owners as surely as it’s our commitment to our dogs to protect them from other animals and people who might do them harm. It doesn’t matter what breed they are; when you bring that animal home, you become responsible for them. Period. And if you can’t handle that, you don’t deserve one.

I’ll teach you to ignore me, Buddy thought. Grasping the rolled-up newspaper, he smacked Chuck smartly on the leg, causing him to yelp and jump.

Buddy glanced towards the kitchen and Chuck trotted obediently through the doorway, returning a moment later with a shiny metal food bowl which he laid on the floor at Buddy’s feet. His master murmured approvingly, once and then again, when Chuck returned a second time with the fraying rope toy they used to play tug-of-war.

Buddy dropped the newspaper on the rug and rolled over on his back. Rubbing the old dog’s belly, Chuck said, “Sorry, buddy, didn’t mean to forget you. Won’t happen again.”

You bet it won’t, Buddy said to himself. Because I’m top dog in this house.