When we arrived at the beach, it was relatively empty – which we love, but there were a handful of other dogs and their humans. We arrived almost at the same time as another family; two sweet older ladies, their three labs and their 10 year-old piebald female dachshund. We said hello on the way in and then we went on to find our own patch of sand for day.
As we just got settled, setting up the umbrella, chair and towel, the same family met us again. This time we took a few minutes to chat and interact and initially all appeared to be going well WHEN ALL OF SUDDEN (like it always happens) it went horribly wrong in a matter of seconds. For some unknown reason to us, one of the labs attacked Rufus. The other dog is significantly bigger than Rufus, and from what I could tell Rufus was taken by complete surprise (as we all were) by this dog’s reaction. I quickly got that dog off of Rufus, but not quick enough. Rufus received a puncture to this nose and a nasty gash under his front left leg (the equivalent to the armpit area for a human). The vet just stitched him up and reportedly Rufus had to have 10 sutures. The nose puncture didn’t require one. I can pick him up today at 3 pm, and the countdown begins.
So, what did we learn today!??
First of all, for me, I learned that dog profiling benefits no one. I always know a dog attack is a possibility when visiting a public park or beach. I’m guilty of exercising greater caution and concern around specific breeds (like Pits and Rottweilers). I never ever imagined Rufus was be the victim of an attack by a Lab, and today Rufus paid that price for my ignorance. I should always act with caution and be methodical when meeting new dogs – whatever the breed.
Second, the Lab’s owners were very supportive and understanding throughout this traumatic episode, and in a text message exchange, I asked that they not be too hard on their dog. In my world, it’s not the dog’s fault but ours. As their humans, it’s up to us protect them and I should have been a better dad. The Lab was just being a dog – perhaps behaving slightly uncharacteristically for a Lab in my opinion, but we can’t hold a grudge against her. So as tough as it is in the minutes and hours immediately afterwards, I have to forgive that Lab. I don’t imagine we’ll be doing any play dates together in the near future, but I can forgive her.
Third and final, it’s so important to have a vet you know, love and trust. I called my vet from the beach and said we were rushing Rufus in after being attacked. When I arrived they ushered me in right away and saw to Rufus immediately. Please be certain to establish that relationship with your vet before you truly need them. After two years of fostering good relations, today I really needed them and they delivered. Their delivery of quality customer care helped in a very bad situation and made it a little better.
Okay friends. After 11 years of life together, I never thought Rufus would be attacked – especially by a Lab, but it happened. Under the circumstances, it could have been much worse so we’re choosing to be optimistic. Hopefully after some days of rest, relaxation and lots of pampering and attention Rufus will be back to his normal self. It’s heartbreaking to see our dogs suffer or be hurt, and I’m probably more upset by it than our sweet, happy, go-lucky Rufus but… I’m hoping the experience makes me a better, well-rounded parent.
UPDATE 3:30 pm: Rufus is home. He actually had two bites under his front leg (not one). He can’t really walk and is under strict crate rest for the next 14 days. Sigh. My heart aches for my sweet boy. I can tell he is in pain and discomfort; it’s just an awfully awkward placement for a wond. On a positive note, the lab’s humans paid for the vet expenses without hesitation which was very magnanimous of them. Thank you! More updates to follow in the days ahead. Thank in advance for all the support and well wishes.