Sunday was a beautiful day—it started with an easy-breezy morning run, a little lounging in the sun, and followed up with a trip to my favorite coffee shop in Minnesota, Kopplin’s for a latte and great conversation with my Mom.
After our busy morning, we decided to break for the afternoon—she drove up to visit my Grandma and I decided to take my dog, Frankie for a walk and just hang. Mom and I concluded to meet up around 6 p.m. for dinner and strawberry shortcake (yum!). I couldn’t wait to continue our day together.
Sunday’s walk with Frank was totally bland, albiet the 90° heat—we took off on our usual 2-mile route through Dakota Park, and circled back down our block. About four homes away from ours, an off-leash bull terrier (think: the Target dog) with no owner in sight, t-boned us.
With no time to react to the ambush, the bull terrier was at the back of Frank’s neck, shaking him like a toy (my heart is still racing just writing this). To say I was in shock would be an understatement. I only remember seeing flashes of butterscotch and brindle fur, hearing yelps from Frankie, and feeling like I was completely out. of. my. body.
About twenty seconds into the attack, Frank was scraped by tree and dragged into the street. Here, the bull terrier grabbed ahold of Frank’s tender skin near his neck and the corner of his mouth. This is when I started screaming “help!” over, and over at the top of my lungs.
Being Memorial Day weekend, I imagined that not many people may be home. I saw no one out, and my heart started sinking. After what seemed like ages, three people came over from a house toward the end of my block. The first woman, tried to help get the dog off, and I saw the fear in her eyes—he had such a strong grip on Frank, she couldn’t do much.
Meanwhile, I was trying to pry Frank out of his hold without hurting him more. Then I noticed some blood shining on my hands. I was terrified. What was I going to see when this was over? Frank’s face flopping with an open gash? How many puncture wounds would there be? Would he come out of this OK?
Out of nowhere, a fourth person came to the scene. The man started working to control the strong bull terrier, telling him to “DROP!” It took a lot of effort, but the beast finally let go.
Naturally, my first response was to check my pup—and what I saw, I couldn’t believe. The only battle wounds he sustained was a nickel sized scrape coupled with a few bruises near the corner of his mouth. How could this be!? It is a true miracle. Three minutes of thrashing and biting and absolutely nothing serious happened.
Three days later, I am still shaken. I feel scared. I feel scarred, and I can’t stop replaying the scene in my mind—especially the unprovoked attack, how a lovely day can change in, literally, an instant, and yelling for “help.” It’s such a crazy, out of body experience to be screaming that four letter word. I can still feel the panicked word leaving my body in true desperation. I was in a genuine emergency and I needed someone…anyone to help. I don’t know how Frank would fare if those kind people didn’t come to help me. I am so grateful they responded to my call.
To the lay person, this may not seem like a huge deal—dogs get in fights all the time, but in this circumstance, it has truly affected me. Emotionally, my little Frankie means the world to me, so I’m grappling with how I could have let this happen. Physically, I have the scars to prove it—bruises and scrapes up and down my left forearm and shoulder.
Can anyone help with my puppy PTSD? How do I feel confident taking him on walks again? What steps should I take to not be scared to see another dog around him? If I come in contact with the bull terrier (who lives three houses down, by the way) again, how do I handle the situation?
If anyone has any guidance, or has experienced this before, I would love your advice!