Dear dog owner…Posted: October 8, 2012
2 weeks ago our greyhound was attacked in the Washington Park dog park…I’ve been debating a “dear dog owner” letter ever since, but decided to throw up a post about it instead.
It was one of those events that occasionally crosses your mind as in “wonder what would happen if a couple dogs got into a fight here at the park?”, but you immediately push it from your brain because what is the likelihood that something like that would happen, and honestly…what is the likelihood that our dog would be involved? I like to think that we were pretty vigilant dog owners in the park as we dutifully wandered after her to pick up her poop piles, watched her closely to make sure that she didn’t accidentally mistake any Chihuahuas for the bunnies on the track, and reined her in when she got a little over exuberant with the racing games, but I’m also sure that there were times when Letty annoyed other dogs and/or owners and we were closer to an altercation then we realized.
I wasn’t there for the event, but we’ve been told (my husband had turned his head) it involved a toy, Letty showing interest by sniffing the toy, and a dog that clearly didn’t want any interest paid to his toy. The aftermath was impressive with a large, gaping hole to her right front leg, blood scattered throughout the dog park and a hysterical 7 year old who was quite traumatized…as well as a decent vet bill incurred at the emergency animal hospital as well as Plum Street Pet Clinic. I can’t say that the park staff was overly helpful to us (though they did offer to call the police) and in reality…I do believe that the main reason that Letty survived was because of the quick thinking of another dog owner in the park who helped Chad tie the leash around her leg as a tourniquet and instructed us on where the emergency vet hospital was. He also took the time to call ahead to let them know we were on our way. We really cannot thank him enough…
The other dog owner left the premises without a word.
Lessons learned from this experience:
1. Keep the local emergency animal hospital contact information in your phone, as well as your local veterinarian, as well as your local greyhound guru, etc.
2. Though some people just suck (i.e., leaving the premises after your dog was involved in a dog fight), there is always going to be someone on the opposite end of the spectrum to balance out the suckiness (i.e. a random stranger caring for our dog who was drenching his clothes in blood). We also are quite thankful for the neighbors who came over to get Soph to bed while Chad and I tried to get our dog out of the clutches of the emergency animal hospital when we turned down their quote and said we wanted to take her home, the neighbors who brought Letty treats and fawned over her, the policemen who stopped Soph and Letty at Midpoint Music Festival to learn about Letty’s story and greyhounds in general, etc.. I believe Soph learned a valuable lesson from this event.
3. That our local vet truly has a heart of gold as well as sensitivity/intelligence as to what makes the most sense for the care of the animal/family…not necessarily what will bring in the most dollar bills to his establishment. After receiving a rather astronomical quote from the emergency animal hospital to put her under general anesthesia with a debridement/suturing of the wound…we decided to take Letty home and meet with Dr. Bob the next morning. He examined her and the wound and told us that unfortunately he couldn’t suture the wound that day (Saturday) because of other unforeseen circumstances. He gave us options of rebandaging and bring her back Monday for him to care for her, or the name/number of another vet in town that he would recommend. We returned to him Monday, primarily because he was honest enough to give us thoughtful options and considerate enough to send business elsewhere if it was determined to be the right thing by us.
4. That we really do love this damn dog. We have now had Letty since February and we’ve had some rockiness along the way. We required a dog that didn’t bark or have separation anxiety and after a few false starts with dogs from the shelter, we decided to look at greyhounds. We had a fantastic experience with Queen City Greyhounds and chose Letty to be the new member of the family, though to say that greyhounds can be reserved is an understatement. We were warned that bonding may take awhile and we’ve worked with the adoption coordinator on tricks to help her clue into the fact that yes, we are her new family…but it was a slow, slow process. Early on we also had some issues with our daughter where Letty tried her best to climb over Sophie on the good ole’ Garrett family priority ladder, but that had also been worked out after a couple well timed wonks to the nose by Soph (“oh, OK…I guess that little red-headed kid really is in charge of me.”)
The following happened after this event in the dog park:
a: Chad rode in the back of our car with her cradled on his lap whispering to her the whole way to the emergency animal hospital that “it’s OK, Letty. We’re almost there. It’s OK…”
b: That Sophie cried and cried that she was “so worried about Letty. I just really don’t want her to die.”
c: I was completely fine with my fingers almost being bitten off twice a day, as long as she got her meds.
d: Chad and I both developed our biceps by carrying her to the elevator and outside so she could pee a few times/day.
e: We all realized that this damn dog…with the sad brown eyes and quiet presence had really become a member of the family…a member that we didn’t want to lose.
5. That we probably won’t return to the dog park at that time of day (dinnertime) for a long, long, time. Honestly, after this experience I’m not sure I want Letty, or Soph, in the dog park with any other dogs running around. I’ve played the what if game a lot since that Friday night…”What if Soph had been the one to pick up the toy?” Yeah, we’ll be taking a break from the dog park for awhile and will just enjoy wandering around the neighborhood…on a leash.
So I guess my bottom line here is that I certainly wouldn’t say this was a good thing to happen to Letty and to us, we have seen a lot of goodness as well and are thankful for our neighbors and neighborhood who helped us in this time of need. We heart OTR.