A five-month-old Leonberger puppy

Puppy was Attacked Four Times

My dog trainer teaches dog obedience and owner etiquette.  I have learned the following three tips:

 

  • Dogs on a leash are on the defensive, therefore it is not a good idea for leashed dogs to mingle.

 

  • Retractable leashes can confuse a dog because jerking the dog back is a correction and without training, they don’t understand the correction, so it’s not fair.

 

  • You should try to protect your puppy from bad experiences because it could affect its life.

 

I failed my puppy on this last point because he was attacked four times, though he was leashed. From these attacks, I had learned that some dog owners don’t understand or practice dog etiquette. Since I have a large dog, this concerns me.

 

When our puppy was five months old, our daughter was walking him through a wooded park and an unleashed husky tore around the corner and ripped puppy’s face causing him to yelp and wine. The couple with the husky watched while my daughter pulled the dog off puppy. They didn’t apologize and seemed to find it humorous.

 

The second time, I was walking our eighteen-month-old puppy on a semi-crowded street. I stopped to talk to a friend while my dog sat at my side. I assumed that puppy was safe sitting close to me. However, a guy with a pit bull released his retractable leash and his dog charged. The dogs were face to face growling, biting and screaming. When we separated the animals, the guy said, “Sorry,” and walked away.

 

A few months later, I was walking puppy, who was about 110 pounds but still impressionable, when a dog bolted off a neighbor’s deck and attacked him. I believe that the dog had probably escaped because the owner had run over to grab his dog and apologized profusely. Sometimes, things are unavoidable.

 

A few weeks later, a tiny dog dashed off its property and grabbed my dog’s neck. The owners watched until I yelled at them to get their dog, and I was surprised that they didn’t react immediately especially because of the difference in the dogs’ sizes.

 

As a result of these attacks, I have had my dog neutered, and when I walk him I try to avoid other dogs. If I see someone with a dog near us, I walk him to the far side of the street and keep him close to me. Invariably, the person across the street releases their retractable leash and their dog approaches us. Ironically, the owner usually pretends that it is the dog releasing the leash. In addition, these are probably the people who allow their dogs to stretch their leash across the street making it a hazard to pedestrians, runners, and bikers.

 

Sometimes, I head down a side street to avoid other dogs, and the owner and dog will stand by that side street waiting for my return. I don’t understand why they insist on their dog meeting mine.

 

My favorite story is when I had been avoiding a couple and their dog for days. When they saw puppy and I walk, they would approach us while releasing their dog’s retractable leash, and I would pivot and walk in the opposite direction. I suspect that they were elated when they spotted our son walking our dog. They brought their dog over to him and the leashes entangled. Can you imagine what could have happened if one of the dogs become aggressive?

 

These encounters have made me tense and watchful when I walk my dog, and he probably senses it. I believe that if more dog owners learned dog etiquette, dogs and people would be safer. Therefore, if a dog walker avoids you and your dog, please don’t take it personally.

 

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Dog Bite Report

My husband had to file a mandatory dog bite report for our Leonberger puppy when he was 8-weeks-and-one-day old, and these photos clearly show his mean streak. The top one is his mug shot.  Puppy had only spent one night at our house, when he scampered down the front lawn with my husband to get the newspaper.
After my husband picked up the paper, he saw puppy in the middle of the yard joyfully chewing on an unknown object. He hurried over to him and tried to pry his mouth open to remove the object, but puppy was determined not to reveal the prize in his mouth, and he kept his jaws clamped shut like he thought that he was a snapping turtle. With a little maneuvering, my husband finally opened his mouth and nicked his finger on his needle teeth in the process. Can you imagine his glee when he discovered that the coveted treasure was a possum skull? No wonder puppy didn’t want to give up this gem because he probably never had his own skull before.
A few days later, my husband’s finger became infected and he had to go to the medical center to have it treated. Because of a new law, that is more applicable to vicious dogs, he had to file a report indicating that his dog bit him before they would see him.  He tried to explain that the puppy was 8 weeks old, but they wouldn’t hear it. He filed the report, and it took two rounds of antibiotics to treat him.
The result of this incident is that the dog must be on his best behavior for the rest of his life because he has a record.

 

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We Weren’t Alone With Passport Trouble

I awoke abruptly around 1 a.m. on December 24, 2013, not thinking about Christmas Eve, but worried that I hadn’t checked the expiration date on my son’s passport for our impending trip on December 27. I knew that his child’s passport expired after five years of the issue date, not 10 like an adult’s.

I quietly slid out of bed and checked the box where I had stored the passports. When I opened my son’s passport, my heart raced, because it had expired.

Since I couldn’t sleep,  I checked the U.S. Passports and International Travel website that indicated that some countries will not accept a passport with an expiration date within 60 days of departure. I also learned that processing time for an expedited passport could take days to weeks.

We needed an appointment, and I exhaled loudly when I thought about the improbability of getting one on short notice the day after Christmas. I learned that we could walk-in without an appointment, but if they were busy, there was no guarantee.

The next morning, my worries were validated. I called the Washington office, and they said that they didn’t have any appointments and suggested that I call the Philadelphia office. I called the Philadelphia office, and thankfully they gave us an appointment at 9:00 a.m. on December 26. The representative said that we needed to fill out an application and bring his expired passport with proof of international travel reservations, and they would issue a replacement passport that day.

After checking the documents needed for the passport, I woke my son on December 26 at 6:30 a.m., and we began our drive to Philadelphia.

“Why do we have to leave so early?” he asked.

“Because if there is an accident, or we have a flat tire, or run into Christmas Eve traffic, and miss our appointment, we miss our trip,” I said.

We arrived at the Philadelphia Passport Agency, and I noticed that several people had luggage, and I assumed that they had been turned away at the airport. As we stood in the first line, I sweated thinking about the consequences, if I had not checked his passport expiration date. Also, I worried that somehow I missed a relevant document needed for the renewal.

The agent confirmed our appointment and sent us to the second line. While we waited about 40 minutes, I shifted my weight like a pendulum. Finally, we approached the desk, and that agent accepted our documents and sent us to have my son’s photo taken, where they told us to return at 2 p.m. to collect the passport. We left to explore Philadelphia.

“How lucky are you to tour Philadelphia with your mother on Christmas Eve?” I asked.

“Funny mom,” he said with a slight smile.

We traversed Philadelphia and ate lunch at the historic City Tavern. I loved this unplanned time with my son. Who needed to pack anyway?

When we returned to the U.S. Custom House to pick up his passport, a lady ladened with luggage stood in front of us in line. I heard her tell the custom’s agent that when she checked in at the airport with her family, she learned that her passport had expired. She said that her family had continued their trip, and she was planning to get her passport and meet them that night if she could get a flight.
I thought, what a terrible way to start a vacation, knowing that could have been us.

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Goat Shot on Virgin Gorda

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Shots fired from the dirt road on Virgin Gorda. (Photo by dorothyadele)

Goats bleating and roosters crowing, some clueless about dawn’s arrival, awakened us each morning in Virgin Gorda. Skittering anoles, singing frogs and dancing butterflies made us feel like we were in a sanctuary safe for all. Unfortunately, that changed today.

I was sitting on the porch sipping coffee when I spotted a pickup truck driving down the dirt trail adjacent to our rental. It stopped. Someone perched a rifle, or similar firearm, out the passenger’s window. Lights flashed as four shots blasted from the gun muzzle through the thick brush, just yards from our residence. Goats bleated, and one screamed louder than the rest for longer than I wanted to hear.

As the whimpering subsided, the truck crept haltingly down the mountain, made a full stop, then proceeded to the bottom of the hill and turned around. As it ascended, I saw what I believed was a goat carcass in the back of the truck.

Though the slaughter disturbed me, someone was making their living on Virgin Gorda.

 

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