Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tribulations in Texas

P1060490We've had a pleasant trip to Texas so far this week. I had a misadventure pretty early on. When we were visiting a friend's lake house on Lake LBJ, I was bitten by his dog. It certainly wasn't an attack, and the puncture wounds were pretty minor as these things go. But the situation gave me a lot of uneasy thoughts.

First off, it dispelled any illusions I had about being a beastmaster. In the time since we got Pappy I felt I had a handle on how to approach dogs, and had the calm and confidence to which dogs respond. Evidentally not so. I greeted the dog in the house, let him sniff me, and he gave every appearance of having no issue with me. A little later he bit me after he got agitated when some people were out on the deck, and he seemed to continue targeting me afterwards. Despite conventional wisdom, I spend a lot of time at the dog park helping to break up minor disputes between dogs and even ventured to break up one between different dogs that day at the lake house. But suddenly I'm not feeling so invincible

The second thing that runs through my mind is the question of how much I really trust Pappy. Around the house I always assume he is absolutely no threat, and would do little to restrain him from guests. The dog that bit me was a well-socialized pet that meets new people at the lake house constantly. When first rescued he was a fearful dog, but seemed to have overcome this over the years and was no problem with any of the other people with us last weekend. The main change the owner was concerned about was the addition of a foster dog to the household, and whether this somehow triggered the situation.

This dog barely even tried to hurt me, and withdrew immediately after the bite. It gives me the willies to think what happens when a dog is trying to hurt you. And does Pappy have a trigger? It doesn't seem like it, but how would I know?

14 comments:

Gus said...

Wow! Breaking up dog fights at the dog park. That is something muzzer won't do, and why she carries her water pistol. But with rescue dogs like me and Pappy, that little bit of uncertainty is one of the challenges. Sometimes you know the trigger, with Nigel it was a man in a hat. With others, it may be something not evident to you but important to the dog, like your soap or shaving cream.

We hope you recover from the bite with no infection problems or other traumas.

Pappy's Fella said...

Gus,
Well, I've always had enough wariness of dogs not to wade right into snapping jaws. But I probably get more involved in dog-on-dog situations than is entirely healthy. I need to examine this with clearer eyes.

On the recovery front, the punctures look great today, so I anticipate no problems. We're in Dallas today, and back to Austin tomorrow.

Dachsies Rule said...

Welocme to our neck of the woods (so to speak since we are in Houston)! Gus is right that sometimes the trigger is something only the dog has a connection with. Sammy gets very upset if Mom is sitting down and anyone else stands up. We think that must have been the beginning of the beatings at his first home so it is entirely understandable ... even though no one gets beaten here.

Glad to hear you are healing with no ill effects.

Roxie, Sammy & Andy

Pappy's Fella said...

Dachsies,
When you are in the Southwest, everything is right next door. When I lived in Albuquerque, we thought nothing of the eight hour round trip to Juarez for the day.

It's pretty hard to get past incidents of fear agression-- Poor old sleepy Uncle Fred, who we are visiting here in Dallas, at thirteen years still shows his teeth at the words "Bad Dog".

Ferndoggle said...

That's very interesting. Hard to tell exactly what happened by what you describe and it may not have been something you were even aware of.

We have to put Sherman away when kids are around because I simply don't trust him. He growls a lot at kids & has no patience for any of their antics. He's never even attempted to bite a person, but I feel it's better to be safe than sorry.

Hope your wound heals quickly!! And you enjoy the rest of your trip.

Ferndoggle

Flirt the Squirt said...

He probably smelled Pappy all over you....

/amy

Frasypoo said...

Thats a scary thought!Agree with Gus about rescued dogs and not knowing what the triggers are.Frasier goes nuts around people who smoke even crazier when he smells a druggie,also over mug shots shown on tv!

Becky said...

aw, pappy's fella, i'm sure that dog was just confused about all the people and feels really bad about taking it out on you.

i grew up in west texas, but every summer my parents would take off work for two weeks and we would go to lbj with the rest of my extended family for an extended vacation/reunion. we did it every year from the time i was 6 or so until i was in the eleventh grade. i learned to slalom on that lake. it is truly one of the most beautiful places i've ever been. but i might be biased by all the great memories.

Brody the Bulldog said...

hum... my neighbor Linus is a recent rescue. Somehow every time he sees someone walking by with a bag of trash he starts barking and getting aggitated....other wise, he is the biggest goober I know and he loves peoples and kids. He just has this odd thing against trash bags! maybe he's trying to tell people to recycle more... ;)

Stella and Annie said...

Hey Pappy's Fella:
I can certainly relate to being bitten by a dog. I've was bit three times by my previous dog and even hospitalized once. I think he bit me when I was upset, so I learned to lock myself in the bathroom if I needed a good cry.

As for fighting dogs, Annie and Stella tried to kill each other this week. I tried spraying them with the hose to break it up, but eventually had to risk injury and physically pull them apart. Stella is pretty banged up, so I give this round to Annie. (Everyone told me not to have two female dogs, but I didn't listen!) I am taking them to a dog trainer Saturday for evaluation and help on what to do now.

Licking our wounds in Michigan...
Stella & Annie & Me

FleasGang said...

When I was a kid, my friend down the street had a cocker spaniel (believe it or not) named Max. If he was tied in the yard all he wanted to do was bite me. And he was successful a few times. But in the house he loved me. I was scared to death of him.

So, maybe it just had to do with all the new people milling around and you just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.

Just wondering, but what did your friend do after he bit you? A lot can be told about a dog by their owner.

The FleasGang

Murphey said...

Hope you are enjoying your stay in Texas, other than the dog bite situation.....It's true, we forget sometimes that they still are animals (although never ever say that about my Murph) and they do have things that can set them off. Still haven't found Murph's and I hope I never do (although Boxer's do seem to set him off).

Murph's Lady

Pappy's Fella said...

Stella and Annie,
Sorry to hear about the Battle Royale in your household. The fight at the lake house was especially unfortunate, because it was between the foster dog and the dog belonging to the (soon to be married) couple enthusiastically considering taking in the dog. You initially wonder if it will work itself out, but then a second more aggressive fight broke out. And both of them were very sweet dogs.

Pappy's Fella said...

Ferndoggle, Frasier, Flirt, Murphy, Fleasgang,
It's a puzzler. I hope I learn a little caution and awareness out of this. I still don't think Pappy has a real trigger, but there are always suprises.

Becky,
It's still pretty nice on LBJ, but I'll tell you-- every square inch of shoreline is getting subdivided and built up. We were on the Llano stretch, and there weren't too many seconds where a jetski or power boat wasn't shooting by. But my wife still wants to move there.