Thursday, February 10, 2022


This afternoon, I became aware of quite a bit of screaming in front of our house. As I rushed to a window out front, I realized part of the screaming was a dog kiyi-ing. I looked an saw the woman across the street laying in the the snow trying to get up and screaming hysterically. 

By the time that I got my shoes on and was out the door, a small group had gathered. One fellow was driving down the street in his work truck and stopped immediately. Two of my neighbors were there, along with another neighbor I didn't recognize, The woman who had been knocked into the snow was still screaming hysterically, although by this time, she was at her bloody front door. 

Listening to all the hubbub, I managed to sort it out. The woman had been walking her little dog and met a man walking his. Both dogs were on leashes. Without warning, the man's dog attacked the small dog, ripping open its side. The horrified woman tried to intervene, but fell. She has a serious health issue that affects her balance. Once on the ground, she was unable to get herself back up and was face level with a dog fight. 

The owner of the dog stood there as if he weren't sure what to do next. When people began to arrive, he turned and began to walk away. My neighbor Connie went after him. "You can't just go," she said. "Your dog has just attacked and caused injury. You need to stay here." 

The man said, "Well, there is nothing I can do about it," and began to walk off once again. 

Thinking quickly, Connie asked him his name, which he gave to her without hesitation. Then he left.

In the meantime, I offered to run back to the house for a blanket to wrap the poor dog in, but someone else had already gone for a towel. Neighbor Mark was on the phone with the vet. "Yes. I'll drive her. We're on our way right now. (pause) I understand. I've got a credit card in my wallet." He said to me, gesturing, "Help her on the stairs, will you? She falls."

He went for his car as another woman and I guided her down the stairs, one of us under each arm. She was still crying hard and holding her dog (who appeared to be in shock). We led her down the snowy sidewalk and tucked her in the car. 

After they were gone, we all kind of stood looking at each other. I have never felt so useless in my life, really. The woman next to me said, "My God, that was awful." The man said, "Unless we're going to call 9-1-1, I'm going to head off then."  Connie said, "Well, I'm going to find him," and off she headed in the no-nonsense stride of a former ER nurse.

The man headed for his work truck. The other woman headed for her house. I headed for my own...when it occurred to me that I had sent my friend off to confront an uncaring man with an aggressive dog ALONE. I was horrified. I shot back down my driveway, but I didn't see her. 

I felt like such a horse's ass. 

I called her 20 minutes later and she answered in her unflappable way. I told her how badly I felt when I realized what I had done. I said, "I wanted to make sure you were okay," 

She was. It turned out that the man walking his dog has dementia issues. His wife was shocked speechless to hear what had happened. Their dog had never been aggressive before. Level-headed Connie gave her the name and number of the other dog owner. The woman called her without hesitation, apologized profusely and authorized any treatment the little dog might need. She told them to give her the bills. 

When she disconnected from the call, the rattled woman said, "I guess I didn't realize how bad he had become. I mean, when you live with someone every day, you don't notice." 

She wasn't talking about the dog. 

Connie soothed her, but said, "No. You don't see it, but really, he should not be out alone. I tried to talk to him. He didn't understand. He has no idea of what to do in an emergency. 

I knew that Connie was exactly the right person to be with the woman as the scales fell from her eyes. I know that her soothing tone and practical nursing advice was exactly what the poor thing needed to hear at that moment. 

But I also had a sneaking hunch that if 'knowing what to do in an emergency' was the criteria for whether you should wander around unsupervised, I probably would not have passed that test this afternoon either. 


  1. How horrible.. for all involved.

  2. What a terrible experience all around. I sincerely hope everyone is okay.

  3. Not quite "Nightmare on Elm Street" but getting there. Hurrah for Connie! She was the heroine of this tale.

  4. That happened to me also. I came home from work on my lunch break to walk my dog and a neighbor's dog jumped their fence and attacked my dog. They paid the vet bill also.

  5. Connie seems very sensible. I doubt I would have thought of that either.

  6. That is not the kind of occurrence for which most of us are prepared. I think your little community did very well.

  7. What a range of emotions reading this post. It is a good reminder that there are always TWO sides to a story no matter how slam dunk solid the first side you hear sounds.

  8. All of you, (except dementia man,) did the right things and the best you could do for the moment. It's hard to think straight when emergency things happen. Glad dementia man wasn't just an arrogant jerk, and that his wife is planning to pay for injuries. Whew! Next step would have been a police report if the guy had been an uncaring jerk. Hope everyone recovers. Linda in Kansas

  9. I think you did pass Debbie. Connie might have got higher marks, that's all.

  10. Wow -- what a story. I hope the little dog survives. I think the biggest question is what's going to happen to the larger dog. It sounds dangerous and the owner clearly doesn't have it under adequate control. At the very, very least it needs a muzzle. I wonder if animal control or the police need to have it on their radar?

    It's one thing for a couple of dogs to get into a skirmish, but for one to be so badly injured -- well, that's another matter entirely. That's a sign of dangerous aggression.

  11. This is a terrifying occurrence on several levels. It seems to have been worked out the best it could. Hope the little dog will be OK.

  12. What a sad story. Will the little dog survive? I hope the owner didn't suffer any injuries in the fall. I guess the bright spot is that the man will now (hopefully) have the supervision he needs.

  13. I also want to say that snap judgements shouldn't be made about the larger dog. Just like people, animals can be unpredictable and we don't necessarily know all the circumstances. (this coming from someone who loves dogs and who's had to make some devastating decisions in the past)

  14. Connie is a dog lover too. She has an idea that what happened is that it was a narrow side walk made even narrower by the piled snow. The two met. Instead of the man stopping and waiting (he was in a cleared driveway), he continued on attempting to squeeze around the woman and her dog. It clearly made the dogs uneasy, and perhaps the little dog made a noise that was interpreted as aggressive and the big dog responded. The big dog has no history of aggression, at least according to the owner who was gobsmacked that it had even happened. The man displayed poor judgement in crowding through, but I feel a bit sorry for him.

  15. Lucky that an experienced ER nurse was there to help with the situation.


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