I am PISSED right now!!! Pissed off at idiot douche bags who don't do a damn thing with their dogs and let them get out of control and nasty. And pissed that one of my dogs got stuck in an awful situation.
I took Heffner out for one of his walks and we were enjoying a nice evening walking around the soccer/baseball field of a middle school near our house. There were no other dogs or people around and we were enjoying just being out in the really nice weather that we're having. Then these two guys pull up in a pick up truck with a dog. With Heffner, I try to be hyper aware of any dogs in the vicinity to avoid and/or manage any negative reactions he may have. We've worked really hard and he's come a LONG way. They have the dog on leash, so I'm not quite as concerned. Heffner notices the dog and picks his head up more, but is otherwise not posturing or showing other signs of aggravation. Then the dog starts lunging and pulling on the leash. And the douche bag LETS GO OF THE LEASH!!! OMFG!!! WTF???? Who in the hell does that???
The dog comes tearing towards us and I'm waving my arms and screaming as loud as I can that my dog isn't friendly and they need to get their dog. Over and over and over. The two guys say absolutely nothing but start running after their dog. By this time the dog has gotten to us and I'm trying to keep myself in between the other dog and Heffner, but the f*****g dog jumps Heffner and is growling and carrying on. I'm trying to keep Heffner from turning it into a two sided fight (whether you agree or not, trying to disengage two fully locked dogs from a fight is NOT something that I want to engage in), while also trying to kick the damn dog off my dog. The owner finally reaches us and starts pulling on the leash to finally get his dog off Heffner and struggles to get some distance from us.
The douche doesn't say a single word the ENTIRE time this has happened. I realize that it was only a matter of maybe a few minutes, but he did not utter a single word. No yelling at the dog. No calling the dog by name, telling him to leave it, or anything of the sort. We didn't even get a simple apology after the dogs were separated. Not a damn word!
Getting Heffner calmed down took some serious doing for obvious reasons. The guys and dog eventually left the area. I hung out for a little while longer to walk Heffner around to hopefully cool him down physically and mentally.
This situation just totally sickens me. If you have a dog that is quite obviously nasty off leash, do NOT let it off leash around other dogs. Especially if you obviously have no control over the animal what so ever. I fully understand that unpleasant dogs need off leash running time too. Hell, I've got a reactive dog and I fully understand this. The difference is that I go out of my way and bend over backwards to find safe places to do so. If there's a hint of another dog around, I do NOT let Heffner off leash. Period.
I freely admit that my dog has his own set of issues. We've been working on them and will continue to work on them for the rest of his life. I go out of my way to not set him up for failure. I want him to have as many positive experiences as he can. If I know that a situation might be stressful for him, I come prepared to work through it. The more things we work through, the more solid he gets. However, there is only so much that I can do, only so much that I can prepare for, and only so much that I can go out of my way to avoid. I hate that this happened to Heffner not just because of the physical harm that this could have potentially done to him, but because of the harm that it does psychologically. As we were walking home, we passed by several houses who either had dogs in their back yard or in the house near the front window. We pass by these houses several times a week on our various walking routes through the neighborhood. Heffner has moved past the point of needing to posture and react to every single noise that any of these dogs make. He may lift his head or cock an ear, but his normal response is to otherwise ignore it and move on. It killed me to then walk past all of these things and see him revert back to a need to defend and protect. Not only did he lift his head up, but there was a lot of the defensive posturing, prancing, hackles raised, and rapid searching for where this potential attacker was. Do you know how much that hurts to see your dog go from being able to handle these instances for the very minor things that they are, to reacting to them as though they are of imminent danger? It's awful. And all thanks to a thoughtless person who couldn't seem to hang on to a damn leash.
And just in case anyone is wondering, the dog in question was not even remotely a bully breed. A point which also leads me to a sad train of thought. If I had reported this attack, the situation may very well have been handled differently if the dog in question were a bully breed. People tend to brush off instances of the more popular non-bully breeds misbehaving as isolated instances or something that was out of character and had a good reason behind it. If it's a bully breed, then people are crying for it to be euthanized because it would be considered yet another instance of "typical" breed behavior. I know this from past experience of getting bitten by a very common "family" breed dog, and having people in the ER doubt my report of what breed bit me. While the details of the bite were written down and I described what breed the dog was, I received a confused look and got asked SEVERAL times if I was absolutely sure that the dog that bit me wasn't a pit bull. I know the difference, and yes, I'm absolutely sure and so are the other people who witnessed it. It's incredibly sad that this is the state of things.
Heffner otherwise appears to physically be fine. I'm going to go over him again tonight and probably use the heating pad on him to massage of the muscles along his back and rear. He's obviously not in the same kind of physical condition that I would normally have him in and I'm really hoping that he didn't tweak anything. Freaking A!! I hate idiots!!