Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dog park injury

I've been taking Sally to the same dog park since she was about 4 months old, so that's about 3 1/2 years. We know a lot of the dogs and owners there, and she usually stays close to me, unless she's chasing the ball. She's never been one to start any skirmishes, but she doesn't roll over and be submissive either. If the going gets tough, she goes to a human, and will thread herself between the person's legs and stay there.

Today, we had just gotten to the dog park when another dog, a smaller dog, came up to her and started "playing" kind of aggressively. "She's just playing" her owner called, yet she kept going at Sally's face, and Sal would turn away, and try to move away from this dog. It was clear to me she did not want to play with this dog. The dog didn't back down so I started tapping it with the chuck-it (the thing that launches the tennis ball), and yelling at it to knock it off. Finally the owner came over, and said, "She's just playing. I don't want you to hurt my dog". OK, fine.

A minute or two later, I look at Sally, and see this:

The other dog has somehow chewed/abraded/scraped off the skin of my dog's snout, and left this raw, oozing bumpy skin behind.

Wait, it gets better. I start to get a little bent out of shape at this, and walk toward the owner of the dog that did this, saying, "my dog is bleeding now". He says something to the effect of if my dog can't handle herself at the dog park, I shouldn't bring her there. What?! I sputter something ineffectual, and turn to see another dog owner coming up to me. I've seen this guy before, know the names of his dogs, and he lays into me about how he "saw everything" and that he agreed that if my dog can't defend herself, I've got no business bringing her there. Instead of telling him to f*** off (like I really wanted to), I didn't say much of anything useful, and walked away.

I'm still incensed over this. Is this really how people think? That she deserved it because she wouldn't defend herself? That thought is so ridiculous, but there it is.

If my dog was a jerk and got into little fights or challenged other dogs occasionally, I could see this happening every now and then. However, my dog doesn't really interact that much with other dogs. She wants to run after the ball, visit with people, sniff a few dog butts, and she's good. I hate thinking that this is human nature. Instead of shifting the blame, I really wish the person would have just said, I'm sorry my dog hurt your dog. That's it.


  1. That really sucks! I don't want to have my kids play on the same playground with those people's kids! It's like saying that it is fine for kids to be bullies. Ugh. I'm all worked up and I didn't even experience it--sorry they were such jerks. I don't agree with anything those people said. Bottom line: THEY need to be in control of their dogs at the dog park and not let them harass other dogs! In my book, you and Sally are in the right. (I just read your post to Mark and he agrees too.)

    P.S. I got a watermelon from Grant Family Farms and the woman there said that the seeds should germinate if I plant them next year and that it's OK to do that with this variety. The melon is amazing and I was planning on saving some seeds for you if you want them. Just let me know.

  2. It's funny (in an unfunny way) how the owner didn't want his dog to be hurt but didn't have a problem with your dog being hurt. I wonder if other dog owners at the park have had a problem with this dog (and it's owner).

    I've been thinking a lot lately about how most of us try to live our lives with a minimum of confrontation, and how it leaves us unprepared when one (a confrontation) presents itself.

  3. Linda, I hear what you are saying. I took my German shepherd to a dog park for the first time when he was four. He was raised to be a guide dog and while he is not working as one now, he is very gentle. His first time there, he hated it. He walked to me, and when I didn't move, he walked to the gate to tell me it was time to leave. His second time, he and another dog played and clearly enjoyed each other. I decided to stop going because it was obviously hit or miss, depending on the mix that was there.

  4. So you should teach Sally to be aggressive?? Good grief. I am so sorry you and Sally had to experience this lack of responsibility (on the part of the other dog owners) that seems to be so prevalent these days. Just plain stupid, ignorant, twisted lack of proper behavior.

    Do you have a choice as to somewhere else to exercise Sally? I'd sure hesitate going back to the same place populated by those morons . . . human and canine.

  5. I hate the fact that you will now have some trepedation about going back to the dog park. The St. Paul group that organized and maintained the park(s) we took Aggie to was called ROMP (responsible owners of mannerly pets) and had specific guidelines for expected dog and human behavior. Any chance there is such a thing for this park? Could you post them at the park, especially if they bolster your position. SO SORRY SAL!

  6. Thanks, all. There are regulations posted that don't allow aggressive dogs, but I guess the definition is a little fuzzy, and the owner clearly didn't believe he had an aggressive dog.

    I'm just about calmed down over this, and talking about it has let me see that a lot of people see things the way I saw them, and that makes me feel better.

    Sally's fine, although the wound looks about the same. I will take her in to the vet if it doesn't start looking better soon.

  7. We have a dog in the neighborhood that is TOO agressive. The owners don't think so. My friend saw the dog pull the owner over a guardrail one day when it wanted to go a different way and she couldn't stop the dog. She has yelled at my friend, who lives very close, that she is taunting the dog by walking by...on the road...with her dog on a leash, like it's SUPPOSED to be... We're not the only one with the problem with this dog.


Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.