Friday, August 7, 2009

Attack of the Gray Ghost

It is a pleasant evening for a walk as Gus and I step out the front door with our little dog, Blossom. A few clouds have rolled in and the wind has picked up, dropping the temperature from 106 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit. We walk casually up our street towards the new neighborhood that is going in. I want to see the new house they are building that I first noticed when I took a walk in the wash last week. As we draw near the neighborhood I notice the gate is closed. A couple around our age and a little girl are coming towards us with two large dogs. They must skirt the gate to get back out to where we are. We check to see if their dogs are on a leash, because poor little Blossom has been attacked by larger dogs before. All is well and we keep on walking, but we keep our distance. As they pass the stone monuments that support the metal gate I am looking off into the desert for birds, but Gus is focused on them. Suddenly I turn and see a gray ghost coming straight towards us dragging his leash, head low and silent.

Gus tries to grab Blossom but she panics and bolts to the end of her leash. Gus slips as he grabs for her and lands on his butt. I interject my body between Gus, who now has Blossom, and this large 85 pound dog. I have no weapon to use of any kind. I tell the dog “NO” loud and firm and it crouches slightly and looks at me out of the corner of its eye, then it darts around me and clamps onto Blossom’s rump with a vice-like grip. I turn to see the dark muzzle wrapped around Blossom’s butt. All the upper teeth are exposed as they dig into her flesh. Gus is holding onto Blossom for all he is worth. If Gus lets go I am sure the dog will run away with Blossom in his jaws, shaking her until she is dead. The owner comes running and grabs his dog by the rump and sits down. Me? I am screaming for all I am worth. I am screaming like I have never screamed before in my life!

Meanwhile, Gus has his right arm wrapped around Blossom keeping her from being carried off by the much larger dog. At only 15 pounds, the other dog grossly outweighs her. Gus is punching the dog with all his might with his left hand, the hand that he just had surgery on. He is punching and punching and punching. Blow after blow falls unheeded on the gray monster. Still the dog grips tight. My mind is racing wilding now. When will this nightmare end? Why won’t someone come to help us? Why won’t this dog let go. I am afraid that Blossom is dying as her eyes bulge out of her head. I am afraid Gus is going to die in his attempts to rescue her. And all I can do is stand there and scream.

Suddenly Gus switches from pounding on the dog’s ribs to punching it in the face. The new attack works and the dog finally releases Blossom. The male owner of the dog scurries to his feet and takes his dogs home. The little girl goes with him and we are left with the woman owner. She immediately volunteers to pay the vet bill for our dog. Amazingly, Blossom appears to be unscathed in that we can see no blood and she is walking. The woman gives us her phone number and address and we walk home shaking and near tears. Already Gus’s hand is starting to swell. It isn’t until we are home that we discover the full extent of his injuries. As he washes his hands he wisely removes his wedding ring. His hand is bleeding and swelling and turning black and blue. Both his elbows are scraped, as are both his knees. Meanwhile Blossom is hiding under the bed.

We try to coax her out with food but she is not interested. Gus just wants her to act normal again, but she cannot. She is not normal. I decide to give her a bath to wash off the fecal matter from when the dog first attacked her and she evacuated her bowels. But it hurts her too much and I quickly give that up as a bad idea. It takes us all quite awhile to unwind and go to bed. It is after 1:00 a.m. when we finally fall asleep. Gus sleeps through the night, but I can hear Blossom's pitiful whimpers from underneath the bed. I get up at 3:30 to try to comfort her but she crawls back up onto her pillow. I fall asleep and dream of mutant humans with partial metallic faces and silverware growing out of their upper jaw pointing straight out. At 5:30 Blossom starts whimpering again and scratching on the bed. It is her way of communicating with us. I think she wants to go out. Gus and I both get up and I have to drag her from beneath the bed. We carry her outside to the garden and set her down. It is now that we discover that she can’t raise her tail to relieve herself. I come inside and find the vet’s phone number and soon discover his office does not open until 8:30. It is a long wait. It becomes an even longer wait when I find out the doctor is in surgery all morning and the soonest he can see Blossom is 2:30 PM. Later on I get a call that someone has cancelled and we bring her in at 1:00. After x-rays and an exam, we have our verdict.

Apparently the dog did puncture Blossom’s muscles as I can see the teeth marks on the x-rays. In an area above her colon a golf-sized pocket of blood and interstitial fluid has collected. But worst of all is that 3 vertebra in her tail are broken and 1 is fractured. These are not the vertebrae that hang down off her butt, but rather they are the vertebrae that connect the tail to the pelvis area. One of the dog’s teeth pierced in this area right near the artery that supplies blood to the tail. If that artery is severed, her tail will die. If it dies, she will need surgery to remove it and any dead tissue surrounding it in her lower back.

For now the doc has given her a shot of doggie morphine along with steroids for the inflammation and an antibiotic. He also gave her a rabies shot, which she was due for. Then he sent me home with more drugs for the dog and a hefty bill which we will be taking to the other dog’s owner this evening. Yes, we did call the police and animal control and we are waiting to hear from them still.

Meanwhile, all we can do is wait and see if the tail will live or die. It’s going to be a long two weeks.

Update 8-7-09: This incident happened on Monday, August 3. Animal control was called and they are involved in the situation. The owners of the other dog felt just awful and they have stepped up to pay Blossom’s vet bills. Today Blossom went back to the vet for a recheck and some laser therapy. She is eating well and starting to act more like herself, but her fever is still up and she still can’t raise her tail over her back. However, she did attempt to wag it for the first time today. The vet says her tail still feels soft, so that is a good sign. We go back for more laser treatments next week.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Oh, my Lord Kathie.
I am so sorry that this horrible nightmare came to you and Gus and Blossom. I hope Blossom heals but what about Gus? Should he be seeing his doctor? I'm worried that he might have damaged his still healing hand. I really think he should see his surgeon.
Again, I am so very sorry for you all. I wish I could hug you and tell you face to face that I'm sorry. Please let me know if there is anything I can do from here. You're all in my prayers tonight.

Mary said...


I read this with a feeling dread and fear - a fear I've had for many years. When I walk alone or when I walk my dogs, my eyes are scanning for what you encountered. Oh, I was just dying for Gus, you, and poor little Blossom.

Please take good care... It sounds as if she will heal well. I am wondering what breed attacked her. I guess it doesn't matter, really.

Thanks for alerting me via e-mail. I'm such a blogging failure lately.


Kathie Brown said...

Lynne and Mary,

Thank you both for your love and concern.

Blossom and Gus are both healing up, though Gus has not been to the doctor he is doing okay. His hand is all cut up from where he punched the dog in the mouth. We tried to get him in yesterday but they were booked solid. When he tired to go to the walk-in clicnic it was 2 1/2 hour wait, so he gave up and came home. We are icing his hand and keeping it clean. We are much better now than we were on Tuesday.

Gaelyn said...

Poor Bloosom, and Gus. Hope his hand is OK. If not the other dog owners should pay his vet bills too. What is up with people. I always had trouble when folks walked their dogs with no leash and mine was on one. Hope all is OK.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Oh my,
what a nightmare an after dinner walk can turn into.
I'm sure it must have been excruciating to watch--feeling so helpless while those you love are, literally, in the grips of a terrible thing.

I hope Blossom continues to mend--poor little thing.
And that you and Gus spend a quiet evening at home.

Doug Taron said...

God, Kathie, that's horrible. I feel especially connected since I saw You, Gus, and Blossom just a couple of days before this happened. I'm thinking of you all. Please say hi to Gus and tell him I hope he's feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Oh, kathie, how horrible! I am so, so sorry for Blossom, and brave Gus, and you, having to deal with this. Nina nailed it - the feeling of helplessness in these situations is overpowering.

So glad that things are looking promising for the little one. Take care of her, and of Gus, and let us know how you're all doing.

Anonymous said...

Wishing you all the very best - It sounds like the stuff of nightmares. So thankful it wasn't worse and that you have the best of care. Hugs.

Pickett said...

Gus / Kathy - That is awful! We are sure sorry to hear about that! Best wishes to you guys and Blossom!

Kevin and Jamie

Anonymous said...

wishing best of luck to everyone in your family.


TR Ryan said...

Oh what a nightmare!!! I am so sorry for you all. Poor Blossom, my heart breaks. I have a 20 lb with a Napolean complex and so many people in my neighborhood think its ok to walk their "sweet" dog without a leash. Fortunately i have an 80 lb which keeps everything right with the doggie world. Thank goodness for Gus' and your bravery!

Julie Zickefoose said...

I think any dog lover can put herself in your shoes right now...thank goodness the Weimeraner's owner took the high road. That's a huge, powerful animal with a hunting instinct that obviously has gone awry. Give Blossom and Gus a hug from us here at Indigo Hill--and you too!

bobbie said...

What a terrible experience. I too am so glad to hear that the other dog's owners are cooperating.
How is Gus? Will his hand be OK?

DeniseinVA said...

Oh Kathie, how absolutely horrifying. Poor Blossom, poor you and poor Gus. We had a similar experience in the neighborhood years ago but fortunately our dog was much bigger than Blossom and faired better. I was bitten and so was my son trying to protect her, it was awful. I'm so very sorry you have had such an ordeal. It is a true nightmare.

Celeste said...

Kathie what an awful experience for you all. I do hope that Gus and Blossom make a full recovery. I would carry a stick on your dog walks from now on! My thoughts are with you.

Unknown said...

I'm so glad Gus was able to fend of that dog and that greater harm wasn't done to Blossom or him. I'm glad the owners are cooperating. How traumatic for you all! I'll be praying that God brings comfort and healing to each of you.

Love, Ruth

Bernie said...

Hello, I have just popped by your blog and was so sorry to read your post about Blossom, you and your husband. Was glad to read your update and hope your husband's hand heals quickly....You are all in my prayers....:-) Bernie

Arija said...

Goodness Kathie, how gruesome. I am glad Blossom is mending, but how is Gus, I really worry about his hand, the fall and general shock.

Deborah Godin said...

What a nightmarish thing to go through! I'm glad the ghost's owners are doing the right thing. (I think they should pay for anything not covered that Gus needs, too!!) Hope both recover readily! People forget that dogs are still pack animals at heart, and territorial, competitive. I'm even starting to wonder if large breeds that cannot be physically controlled (when animal instinct takes over in them and human voice commands fail) need to be mussled in public.

Dawn Fine said...

Oh Kathie..

How terrible! just plan awful! I sure hope your pup is going to be ok.
I hope Gus hand will mend.
I read this post hoping for a good outcome..
Now we all wait and see.
So sorry u had to go thru that awful experience!

Texas Travelers said...

This is so sad. I hope Gus and Blossom are doing better.

I pray that everything will turn out OK.


Larry said...

Kathie-I am sorry you had to go through such an awful ordeal.I can only imagine how I'd feel if that happened to my pet.I've had many intense conversations with dog owners about keeping their dogs on a leash. I hope everything works out.

Dawn Fine said...

Here I am back again..How is your pup and your husband?
Ok I hope!

Kathie Brown said...

Dear everyone,

Thank you all for your kind comments, prayers, and support. Blossom and Gus both continue to improve. Blossom is starting to wag her tail, though she cannot yet raise it over her back. She is also starting to want to go outside and has taken an interest once again in going for walks. Gus' hand, elbows and knees continue to heal, but sometimes he needs to take advil for the pain. I will do a blogpost about them in a day or two. For now I am taking Blossom for lasar therapy 3 times this week and 2 times next week. It really seems to be helping.

As for the owner's of the offending dog, they feel just awful and have totally stepped up to the plate. They did not want this to happen any more than we did and we have no malice towards them. However, we're not real fond of that particular breed of dog at the moment. And NO, it was not a pitbull.

Catbird said...

Kathie - I found you through Julie's blog. I'm so sorry for what you, Gus, and Blossom went through, and I'm glad everyone is one the mend -- at least physically. Please know I'm thinking of you all, and wishing you a full physical and emotional recovery.

Kathie Brown said...

Catbird, how thoughtful of you! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will come back.

abb said...

Darn! I'm so glad this had a happy ending for Blossom - need to read the update - it's all awful, but I'm so glad the owners stepped up. That doesn't seem to happen very often.