I’m still angry at myself because I did exactly the wrong thing. Without even thinking, I stepped in front of Quinny and grabbed the other dog’s collar and held him away from her. Just 2 months ago, I spoke about how this is exactly the *wrong* thing to do to the Pet Sitters International Group.
Never get between two dogs in a dog fight and never get your hands anywhere near their heads. You can’t help your pet if you get seriously hurt.
Simply put, I got lucky. The dog could have whipped their head around and bit my hand, but he didn’t. He kept snapping at Quinny’s legs but wasn’t trying very hard so I was able to keep him from doing any damage. If a dog wants to bite, they’ll bite. He was a big dog, if he had really gone after her, there wouldn’t have been anything I could have done, plus *I* would have been hurt in the process.
My heart broke as Quinny cowered in fear, while this dog nipped as close as he could to her hind end.
I managed to stay composed in the face of my anger and fear. Even if my instincts were off, I’d like to think preparing for this situation at least helped me keep my cool.
My husband told me later that he barely kept himself from yelling at the dog’s owner, but since we had talked about what to do in case of dog fight, he realized that might only make the dog more dangerous.
What made me really angry was that these dogs have done this before, multiple times, chasing after dogs, and sometimes running across the street in front of cars. Our neighbors, my husband, and I have spoken with her about this.
After what seemed like eons she finally pulled her dog away. I told her that if I ever saw the dogs off leash again, I would call the police.
She is a neighbor, a friend of friends, and I’ve had conversations with her. She’s very nice. She’s not a bad person. This dog that charged Quinny was literally abandoned on her doorstep and she’s given him a good home.
But letting those dogs off leash was wrong. After so many people have spoken with her about this, if nothing has changed, it’s a fair point to get the law involved.
I hate that this happened. I don’t want it to happen to anybody else . I could easily have gotten hurt, Quinny could have been hurt.
Should I post an angry, ranting blog condemning people who irresponsibly let their pets off leash?
That might make me feel better, but would it change anything or help anyone? Plus, I suspect people who don’t understand the danger of letting their pet off leash aren’t going to be the type to read my blog.
How do we change other people’s behavior?
In some cases a threat may be effective and fair, as I think mine was in this case. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that lady won’t be eager to strike up a friendly conversation with me in the future.
I think sharing stories works better. In practice I find that stories pet owners share with each other have enormous power. While I prefer you not change your pet’s insulin dose on a friend’s recommendation, the fact that things like that happen, shows the power pet parents have to affect others.
A story can bring to life facts that are hard to dismiss otherwise and help us understand each other. So that will be my next project, to bring to life the importance of leashing your pet.
Please become a part of this project. Do you have a story about something similar happening to you? What did you do, how did it turn out? Anyone brave enough to admit they thought their dog was okay off leash, only to have something unexpected happen?
Through this blog and perhaps an instructional video we’ll explain why leashing your pets is so important and what to do if you find yourself approached by an off-leash dog.
I’d love to have you help me change the world, please join me.