Mutts or shepherds, mastiffs or terriers, I’ve never been afraid of dogs. I’ve always been a hands-on, roll-around-in-the-grass-with-the-puppies kind of girl. While friends of mine were getting bitten by dogs who’d been teased or were wired wrong, I’d lay in the grass reading after school, my head resting on those same dogs.
While I’ve been known to pet hyperactive dogs into a coma-like slumber and cats flock to me in droves (they only want the kibble), I’m not an animal whisperer. I have only a modicum of the gift with animals with which La Princessa (my daughter, aka Snow White) is blessed.
I also never thought I’d be a chew toy for one. I have a donation taken out of each paycheck for the Humane Society, for crying out loud. I carry dog biscuits in my pockets when I go on walks and dole them out to the woofers along my routes. I forgot them on Sunday (September 27). Perhaps I’d forgotten them–or run out of them–on another walk before I got to the house of Fritz the Chocolate Labrador’s home and he was pissed about it. Perhaps he’s always left out–never gets chosen for chase-the-ball, catch-the-Frisbee, or lick-the-butt games by the other little fluffy dogs inhabiting his yard. We’ll never know because Fritz ain’t talking.
That’s part of the problem: Fritz’s verbal reticence. Add to it his dun-colored fur that blends perfectly with his dead-grass-and-dirt kingdom and a hapless passerby who is just trying to keep her heart in condition and her ass from expanding to the size of Texas, the sun in her eyes, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Fritz was laying in wait. He did not bark; he did not growl. He simply launched himself at the top of the fence. I caught a blur of motion and flinched, which saved my face. I’m vain enough to admit thinking “Thank God!” I also had the presence of mind, even through my shock and pain, to think “Thank God it was me and not a child.” Next thing I know there are fangs and chain link in my flesh. I much preferred the chain link for a couple of reasons:
- My biggest worry with chain link breaking the skin is tetanus, and there’s a shot for that. Never heard of anyone getting rabies from a chain link fence.
- Fritz will ultimately be blamed for his owner’s negligence in his care & training if his behavior is not changed.
I don’t blame him for biting me; labrador retrievers are notoriously protective. We had a black lab who used to stand guard over our daughter when she was small, and I often joked that if we could train him to make her a grilled cheese sandwich, he’d be the perfect babysitter. Fritz has a bevy of fluffy little woofers swarming his yard, and he probably saw me as a threat to the little yapper pacing us along the fence.
But the owner knew there were problems with him; she said her son or grandson was supposed to help her raise the height of the fence. She also said kids have been teasing him, but she’s done nothing to shield him from it. Her neighbor said the dog lunges at people all the time, and almost got him once when he was jogging with his wife. It’s heart-wrenching to me that someday Fritz may pay for his owner’s negligence with his life, when all he’s doing is being the only kind of dog he knows how to be.
We finally caught up with the animal control office and filed our report and charges against the owner, which will put her under the scrutiny of animal control for a while and will, perhaps, prompt her to put some time and effort into Fritz’s behavior modification.
Perhaps, with my settlement from her homeowner’s for my pain & suffering, I’ll pay for Fritz’s doggie reprogramming because, despite him trying to take his pound of flesh from my hide, I’m in Fritz’s corner.