The Survivor

The Survivor
Valentine’s Day – the one day each year devoted to peace and harmony, where love flourishes and is raised to a higher level.   The evening began with such promise.  My wife Bridget and I would take our dog Maisy for the tranquil mile walk around the neighborhood, as we have done each night since adopting her in September.

Maisy is a sweetheart who is transitioning to a better life.  Her past, though, has not been easy.  She and her brother were found abandoned in a house in Terre Haute, Indiana, unbelievably left behind by the owners.  Both dogs were rescued and Maisy joined our family as a beautiful but timid two-year old Aussie Shepherd mix, always offering love and slowly learning to trust and to accept love.

The walk began uneventfully as we traversed the familiar neighborhood sidewalks, the February cold stimulating the senses.  Approximately one-quarter into the journey, though, I caught a peripheral flash of a charging dog perhaps fifteen to twenty yards away, and making a direct beeline for Maisy.  This was no ordinary dog.  Even though it was dark outside, I could tell that this was a Pit Bull.

My first inclination was to scoop up Maisy as quickly as I could.  As I began to lift the perplexed Maisy, the charging Pit hit my back and I fell to the ground.  I grabbed Maisy, lay on top of her, and covered her as best I could.   The Pit was snarling to get at Maisy, and Maisy was squirming to get free and flee this entire menacing situation.  Bridget was screaming at the top of her lungs for help while repeatedly activating a small air horn she kept in case we encountered a coyote (how we would have gladly traded places with that scenario).

Maisy got free of my grasp and ran, leash attached, down the street.  The determined Pit Bull followed.  Three houses down, and before the Pit could attack Maisy, the owner called off the dog, and it returned to the house.  We were lucky.  Upon closer examination when we got home – shaken up – we found that Maisy was bleeding and had indeed sustained a bite above her leg.  We went to the Emergency Vet where we received our Valentine’s Day present – the bite wasn’t deep enough to require sutures.  Maisy was cleaned up and put on antibiotics.  This incident was reported to the police, and the owner of the Pit Bull did make contact, apologizing and offering to pay the vet bills.  The offer was declined.

The real request is for a return of the stolen peace of mind, the carefree feeling of being able to walk around your own neighborhood without fear.  The real request is to return Maisy to the place where she had been – a place of escalating trust, joy, and outdoor anticipation.

We were extremely fortunate to escape this ordeal with minor scrapes and cuts.  Many have fared much worse.  St. Valentine (et. al.) bestowed a tremendous gift that night.  When will we realize, however, that dogs genetically engineered to inflict maximum pain and punishment, and who are aggressive by nature, are a menace to society?  I am a dog lover but cannot tolerate these breeds, and will not accept anecdotal rubbish about how kind and docile these dogs are.  The Pit Bull, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier (whatever name one wishes to euphemistically employ to soften their nature) is genetically bred to be a killer, plain and simple.  I have experienced the sheer terror they inflict, and unequivocally state that they have no place in any community, responsible dog owner or not.


18 thoughts on “The Survivor

  1. I’m so glad Maisie’s ok. I’m a die hard dog lover but I tend to agree with you, it’s not ok if any dog is unable to socialise with other dogs and other humans, no matter the breed.

  2. I am so glad maisie is okay, I am a firm believer in blame the deed not the breed though and I have had lots of different breeds of dogs and the most aggressive I have ever owned was a yorkshire terrier the difference being that in theory he could do less damage but then again if he had got face to face with a child he could have done enough, as a responsible pet owner I ensured we never found out, the real problem is not and never has been the dogs them selves it is the people who breed them for profit, those who use them as a weapon, and those who do not take their ownership of a dog seriously. The dog that attacked you could have easily been a doberman, a rottie, a ridgeback, a GSD all breeds whose nature have been corrupted by humans, I know you are upset and I fully understand that but can you honestly put your hand on your heart and say if we took it upon ourselves to play god and make a species of dog extinct that another would not be abused the same way tomorrow then vilified the same way. The real problem as with so many walks of life rests upon the two legged animals not those on four

  3. I’m so sorry that happened to all of you. I had almost that exact same thing happen when taking my own dog for a walk in our own neighborhood…and that changed things for us forever. My dog fears other dogs and when they sense that, they attack. I’m not sure what breed the dog was that tried to attack in my experience, but it was a big muscular pit bull type dog. The owner had it in the front yard unleashed, which was stupid. It came running down the road after my dog, a beagle. We never went freely for a walk in our own neighborhood again.

  4. You came out of this with “minor scrapes and cuts” this time. What about your neighbors or even yourself taking another walk in the same neighborhood. I can’t tolerate dog or man being terrorized by another dog.. The owner of the dog that attacked you has not learned a lesson here and that dog will attack again. Trust me. He will never be a good dog just by shaking a finger at him and yelling “NO”.
    I do like this portrait of Maisy, though and I hope she recovers both physically and psychologically from this attack.

  5. Poor Maisy, I do hope the incident hasn’t disturbed her too much and she is able to continue to build her trust and move forward with her loving family. I also hope the horror of that night doesn’t prevent you both from enjoying future walks together.
    I do have to add though, I agree with paulaacton’s comment, I too am a firm believer in blame the deed not the breed.

  6. I “liked” this post because I love the picture of Maisy and that you and your wife are committed to giving her a better life. I don’t like what happened to the three of you, though. After all that the other dog owner’s irresponsibility put you through, I would definitely have taken them up on the offer to pay the vet bills and demanded proof of vaccinations. Hopefully they had to provide that information to the police to avoid confiscation of their dog. I have had similar encounters with large dogs in my neighborhood (although not with any pit bulls) and refuse to walk mine anywhere but the local Metroparks and other well-populated leash required places. I am thankful that the three of you made it though this without any serious physical injuries. A little time and a lot of love will take care of the rest. May the peace be with you and yours, Brian.

  7. So glad you all made it relatively ok. I witnessed this kind of thing, the dog that attacked a neighbor’s poodle was a chocolate lab. The lab had slipped out the front door as the owner opened it to let someone in; a couple walking their poodle across the street was bitten rather badly. I will not take our children’s dog for a walk when I dog sit. It is craziness that we can’t feel safe.

  8. I’m so glad that you and Maisy escaped more serious physical injury. I can understand what this kind of incident would do to one’s peace of mind though. Maisy is a beautiful girl. I’m happy that she found a loving home.

  9. This was so very sad to read, Brian. Charges should have been filed against the owner, and he must be required to muzzle the pit bull at all times, because they ARE killers…not only of other dogs, but helpless humans also.

  10. So sorry this happened to you and poor little Maisy. I am a dog lover too and I agree. There is no place in our neighbourhoods for dogs like this doesn’t matter what breed. Pitbulls are banned in Queensland (Australia) and restricted in other states and I’m glad they are. I hope Maisy overcomes this terrible experience quickly.

  11. So sorry to hear about your ordeal.
    This post – more specifically, your love and concern for Maisy – is so heart-warming. Glad to know that not much worse happened. Hope the pit bull’s owner learns a lesson and does something about it. One can’t have such killer breeds in urban neighbourhoods.

  12. You liked one of my posts so I hesitate to do this but………………….. it’s posts like this and opinions like yours (ill informed) that causes a lot of these problems. You have probably stopped reading by now but I will go as though you would actually like to learn something. The most dangerous creature in the story you told (nicely written by the way) was you and your missus. Only humans kill for fun, only humans (and cats) torture. The most number of bites recorded in this country, by breed, is the Jack Russell terrier. Dogs have owners and owners decide how their animal will behave. In case you were wondering, I’m not completely simple I do understand that some dogs are friendlier than others etc. When I was little greyhounds were the dog that the media picked on, as I grew older it was the German Shepherd, now it’s the Pit Bull. The other two breeds didn’t suddenly improve their behaviour but the type of people who like to breed and train aggressive dogs did move on to the next fashionable ‘tough’ dog. I know you got a fright, we have all been there but don’t let this experience shut down your ability to think. Good luck and keep enjoying those walks.

  13. Thankyou for liking my post on The Wallaroo Photo Journal. I don’t know what I would have done faced with that terrible situation. Like you, I think my gut instinct would have been to protect my dog. I am so glad none of you were seriously (physically) hurt and hope Maisie recovers fully from her emotional trauma (and you too!). The good thing is to know that Maisie is in such gentle, loving hands.

  14. Let me start by saying that I am really sorry about the terrible ordeal Maisy, your wife and you went through because of an irresponsible pet parent, but I’d also like to say that pit bulls are not bred to be killers. I have a lot of experience with different dogs such as rotties, pit bulls, Australian Shepherds, Pomeranians, etc., and what I’ve realized is that the blame is always put on the dog, rather than the pet parent. My current dog, Alex, is a pit bull/Dogo Argentine mix, and the reason why I can do what I do, I am a pet sitter, is because she has an amazing temperament. But because I did not want people to right away assume that she is a bad dog because of her breed, I took an Obedience Class with a trainer before she turned 1 year old. She just turned 11 this month, and not once has she even attempted to bite another dog or person. I have had dogs, while walking with Alex, charge at us and she stops, sits and not move a muscle until the dog leaves. One came straight at her, a yellow lab, growling and peeling her teeth. She sat next to me without moving and avoiding the other dog’s eyes. I stayed still as well. The other dog walked away. One dog did bite her, but she did not retaliate, but rather walked away. When I do a meet and greet to see if the dog that the pet parent brings is not aggressive the first thing I look at is the dog’s body language and not the breed. You are entitle to your opinion, as the rest of us are, and again, I am sorry for what happened to your family, but if I were you, since you declined help with the vet bills, I would have asked the pet parent to spend that money on some obedience classes and a better fence. The best dogs, to this day, I’ve had the opportunity to pet sit for was a rottie, Maggie, she passed away last year, an 11 year old Doberman mix that passed away this month, and a 2 year old pit bull. These breeds, for many people, including pet sitters are the ones that they turn down. I look at the body language and temperament of the dog not the breed. I hope Maisy recovers and starts to trust again. I wish you and your family the best.

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