Trigger warning: Hestia was attacked. She appears to be OK, but the adrenaline hasn’t worn off yet I’m sure.
This morning we went to Cherry Park for our normal morning walk. When we returned to our car, there was an empty space on the driver’s side of our car, and a truck parked next to that empty space.
Hestia was standing next to me as I got my keys out to unlock the car when suddenly an Australian Shepherd wearing a service dog vest streaked around from the other side of the truck and attacked Hestia.
The dog picked Hestia up in its mouth and shook her. Hestia was screaming, I was screaming and trying to grab her from the other dog, it was a nightmare. After probably 5-8 seconds, an owner appeared from the other side of the truck to grab her dog.
She put her dog in her truck, and I thought she was going to drive away, so I quickly went around behind her truck to take a picture of her license plate. She came over and was a very nice, very apologetic woman.
She explained that her dog was on a flexi leash (boy do I HATE those leashes, and even more now!) and she didn’t realize the dog was going around to the other side of the truck. The dog is apparently her husband’s service dog, and he is in the hospital, so she’s not used to handling the dog.
I gave her the contact information for a local trainer I like, and the information for Fiesty Fido by Patricia McConnell. Though I stressed at this point she really needed a professional’s help.
By this point, Hestia had stopped screaming, but was still very scared. I put her in the van, and now we’re at home. I appear to have a grazed finger from the other dog’s teeth, but nothing serious. Hestia is walking normally I think, though she may be favoring one of her hind legs just a smidge. I got the contact information of the owner, and she said she’d pay for anything that was wrong with Hestia, so that’s good.
I am so upset. This is the first time Hestia’s been attacked with contact. There’ve been a few close calls where I’ve been able to scoop her up in my arms in time. I just did not think there was any way a dog would be able to make it around a truck and across an empty parking space to us! I didn’t even know there was a dog there!
I am a mess, but trying to hold it together so it doesn’t seem like such a big deal to Hestia. I plan to try to schedule some time with other safe dogs soon. Tomorrow we are supposed to meet the new puppies, and I might see if next week we can meet up with some people from our service dogs on the town class to show Hestia that other dogs are OK.
UPDATE: We are back from the vet, finally! Long wait!
Hestia has a small limp, but they think it is due to soreness and not some other injury. She is very sore in her hind end and pelvis where the dog held her.
They gave her anti-inflammatories and pain meds, and the other woman already paid for it all!
The woman has been in contact with my trainer, and has been checking in on us as the day has passed.
The backstory is that they live in Alaska and came here for vacation. Her husband (handler of the SD) has been in the hospital here for the past three months. I was able to talk with her about the dog’s service dog status, and she agreed that the dog wouldn’t be working as a SD anymore. They are going to send her back to Alaska this month to live with their son until they get back there.
She is also throwing away the Flexi leash and has already gone to a pet store and bought a regular leash.
All in all, it seems to have ended OK. Hestia seems to be in good spirits, though a little sore. She is now conked out in her crate.
Thank you to everyone who has sent us support, it has really helped us make it through the day.