Friday, July 31, 2009

Here There Be Monsters

It's been over a month since I've walked with Duncan through the winding nameless stretch of grass directly in front of our apartment. That's where Gil roams and I haven't wanted to expose Dunc to that lunatic, red-eyed German Wirehaired Pointer since their last encounter. But the other night, after leaving Brady's, we cut through the yard, which seemed quiet and empty when we first stepped foot into it. And then all hell broke loose.

Gil appeared from nowhere. Pete, his companion, wasn't paying attention while he talked with Sarah and her yellow lab, Ross. Gil charged around the building, stopped short when he saw us and stiffened up. I saw the hackles raise on his shoulders and a moment before he jumped forward he seemed to smile. And then he was running across the yard at us, his head low, the force of his body in his shoulders, his mouth open and ears back. I could only watch while I pulled Duncan behind me and used myself to block Gil. I called out to Pete, bent my knees and braced for the attack. It felt like that scene in "Jaws" when Roy Scheider is the sole survivor from the ship and he's perched on its sinking mast with a rifle watching as the shark approaches for the kill.

I said very loudly, for Pete more than Gil, "I swear to God, if you touch my dog I will kick you in the head."

And then Gil was on us. He swerved around me, grabbed Duncan's flank in his teeth and yanked, growling as he pulled and ripped. Duncan hopped back but Gil followed, lunging for his ears, missing and getting his cheek. They circled around me, Duncan on his leash, Gil free and wild. Ruth had told me only the day before that you should grab a dog's hind legs to pull him from a fight, but I couldn't reach for Gil and didn't want to let go of Duncan's leash. They kept pulling me in circles, Duncan defending himself, Gil attacking, and I wondered where Pete was, why he wasn't doing something. It didn't matter because when Gil lunged at Duncan's throat I swung my foot back and kicked his head as hard as I could.

He sat back a moment, dazed, picked himself up and lunged again. I finally saw Pete, who was frantically trying to grab his collarless dog. Gil was moving so quickly, however, snarling so ferociously, that Pete couldn't get a grip on him. His fingers couldn't catch on that wiry coat and kept slipping off.

So I kicked him again, yelling Gil's name, demanding he sit. He snapped at my shoe, leapt at us again and wound up with my foot in his rib cage. Hard.

That got him. Gil fell over, which gave Pete time to throw himself on top of him and pull him away. Sarah was standing helplessly nearby holding Ross. I handed her Duncan's leash and stepped up to Pete, who held Gil but kept his head down.

"Put a goddamn leash on your goddamn dog!" I yelled. Pete didn't say anything, wouldn't even look up. "This is the fourth time your dog has attacked us. I'm sick of it! If I see him without a leash again I'll report you to the leasing office and the police."

Pete nodded but wouldn't meet my eyes. "I'm sorry," he said.

Sarah released Ross, who hurriedly sniffed Duncan to make sure he was okay. Sarah smiled a sad smile as I thanked her, took Duncan's leash and walked him home to inspect him. He was frothy with Gil spit but there wasn't any blood. I dried him off, we cuddled on the floor and all was well.

The next morning I actually felt bad for kicking Gil. I'm a dog lover and I kept replaying the scene in my head looking for some other way it could have been handled. Brady and Ruth both assured me I'd done the right thing, that the fault was with Pete for not leashing his dog. I agreed, but I kept wondering how I'd feel if I watched a stranger kick Duncan in the head and ribs. I finally decided that the next time I saw Pete I was going to talk with him, apologize for kicking Gil and work to reach a peaceful agreement.

And then came last night. We'd strolled down the Run, played in The Glen and were on our way home, skirting the edge of the winding yard where Gil roams, the once nameless grounds where Duncan and I used to watch bunnies in the morning, where he plays with Sophie, where we stood down a coyote. After two years of not knowing what to call it, I now call it The Lair.

Again, Gil appeared with Pete right behind him. I stopped and watched to see if Gil was finally wearing a collar or leash, neither of which he was. I stood dumbfounded as he trotted back and forth, head high, chasing a ball Pete was throwing. Then he stopped, turned and stared at us. I took a step back but Pete whistled and Gil sat down.

"Is he on a leash?" I asked.

Pete held up a leash, coiled around his hand but not attached to Gil. He dropped a bag of Gil shit in the garbage can, turned away and snarled at me over his shoulder, "Get fucked."

Apparently Pete doesn't play nice either and I no longer feel like apologizing.


Traci said...

That is un-fucking-believeable!!!

I was very lucky that the woman who owned the dog that attacked Murphy a few weeks ago was very cooperative. She paid all my vet bills and is taking proactive steps to try and solve the aggression issue with her dog. She also hasn't been back to the off-leash beach since.

The incident was terrifying. There's nothing so horrible as watching your dog get attacked. But having to deal with a reckless and irresponsible owner on top it makes the situation worse than it needs to be. Infuriating.

I'm glad that Duncan is okay. Definitely do not hesitate to call the police on this asshole.

Anonymous said...

What a DISGUSTING human being. What a disgusting owner.

Only yesterday did an off leash dog come tearing out of the bushes at my innocent, LEASHED puppy teeth showing, anger in its eyes. I completely understand the urge to protect first, process later.

Seriously. Call the cops.

NodakJack said...

Call the cops. Sorry, Dunc'.

Miguel said...

Yup. I also think it's time to report this guy. Experience hasn't taught him anything. He also doesn't seem to care.

A couple of years ago I was walking my guys and an unleashed dog came running off a porch, rolled my Tristan and started biting at Tris' throat. I yelled to the owner to call off her dog and she just stood on the porch watching. I was able to get the other dog off and fortunately Tris was not injured but that is now a block we avoid on our walks.

David said...

This is SO horrifying! I have met Duncan, and he is the sweetest, most docile dog imaginable. His first greeting to me was to take my wrist gently in his mouth so he could guide me into his home. He welcomed me early the next morning with a big smile and a wagging tail. The image of him being attacked by this dog - and indirectly by his owner - is really appalling. Call the cops!

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog since last summer and now I do need to comment.
You need to make contact with the police and the leasing office.
Sarah is your witness.
You or Duncan will get hurt more if don't start taking the steps.
I've become more vocal and proactive later in my life and my dog and cats mean so much to me -- that if they're ever hurt, someone will pay.
Actually, one of our cats was attacked by two German Shepherds about 4 years ago -- and we put a lean on the other person's house because they never fully paid all the vet's bills.
You need to call the police each time now so it's documented. Good luck!

Marty said...


I commented on Facebook, but I'm not sure you got it yet. You have got to call the police and get help. Duncan could have been hurt badly, you could have been hurt badly and how are you going to feel if the next victim is a child. Call the police and get help.

The dog (Gil?) is not the problem. I'm convinced there are no bad dogs. There are bad owners and he has a very bad owner who not only does not care about you or Duncan. He doesn't care about his own dog. You must call the police and do everything you can to protect yourself, Duncan and(to be honest) even Gil. Gil does not deserve to have to live with an owner like that.

Miley said...

OMD, are you kidding me????!!!! The nerve of that guy, report him before something awful happens to you, Duncan or some other innocent person. That SOB!!! I understand you felt sorry for kicking that dog, but you were defending YOUR dog and yourself!!! Like my humans always say to me when I see a squirrel, "Take No Shit"!!!!

lotsa licks,

Lori said...

He asked for it. Give it to him. I would call the rental office every single time I saw that dog without a leash. And if he comes anywhere near Dunc, call the police. You have witnesses. Most dog fights are more fuss and snarl and drool than actual harm, but it takes ONE lucky chomp, even accidental, in the wrong place and the Great Yarn Crisis will look like a case of the sniffles. He is WRONG (and an asshole), and you are RIGHT (and totally not an asshole).

Lori said...

And one more thought (at least... you knew I'd have one), you'll not only be protecting Duncan (and oddly, maybe even Gil) by reporting him. What if he came running up to a LITTLE dog? He could break its neck or back in an instant. You may be saving another small dog and its owner from tragedy. Do you know if he's attacked anyone else? The more complaints the rental office gets, the better.

Sue said...

That is horrible! You've GOT to do something. It isn't like this hasn't happened before, and it's going to happen again. I agree with the other comments - you've got to call the police to not only protect you and Duncan, but also the other people who may encounter this pair.

caboval said...

OMG! Thats horrible and I would say call the rental office NOW! And call the police! That guy can get kicked out of you apt complex! He is being totally irresponsible! I cant belive what he did to Dunc! Sending you hugs and kisses, Joey and Kealani

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm with everyone else, call the police or tell the leasing company OR both. BUT...I can say this, Gil's dad has shown some responsibility, he picks up his dog's shit! :)~

Seriously though, this is terrible. I would have felt bad kicking that dog too but you tried to get his attention but you HAVE to protect Duncan. Gil's dad needs his ass handed to him!

Greg said...

This guy's picture should be in the dictionary next to the entry for "asshole." Poor Gil having a parent like that. No wonder.

Good luck. Be safe.

Nik said...

Oh Honey,

I have no words to express the anger I'm feeling. I saw in a later post that you contacted the leasing office. Good for you. And I'm SO glad you and Duncan weren't hurt.

I want to kick Pete in HIS fucking ribs.

Saw said...

Hey Bro -

All I need is an address, and I promise you, Pete will play nicer! :)

betty road said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.