The last 2 weeks have been insanely dog filled and challenging. (And that excludes how insane and odd work has been!!)
One evening I was sitting at home when a neighbor needed help finding 2 dogs that had gotten out of her neighbor's property. Another neighbor and I responded and we got the dogs back in their yard. It turns out that this lady had gone to check on her neighbor's dogs as she had not seen her neighbor since the previous week. When entering the garden, I found 5 dogs without food or water and a disgusting site as to how he dogs were living. I fed them and the others got them water. We were busy until quite late with these poor dogs and the SPCA were notified.
By the weekend not much had changed (other than the owner of the dogs returning) so I went to the SPCA to speak to them and show a picture of the situation. On the Monday an inspector went and looked into it but sadly the measures we had all put in place masked the whole situation so the dogs stayed on the property. Fortunately for the dogs, the issue was resolved on the Thursday (after much pressure from the trustees and also the owner of the unit) when the tenant gave up rights to he dogs and handed them in at the SPCA. The really happy ending was that the one dog was adopted by the lady who had alerted us all to the problem. The other 4 are at the SPCA ready for adoption.
In between dealing with this crisis, I had my own issue to deal with. Whilst on my regular walk last Friday, Hayley ran up to greet a bunch of dogs and ended up being pinned down by 2 Great Danes. At first I was not aware she was injured until someone pointed out hat she was bleeding not. A human doctor took a quick look and said she needed medical attention. I waited for the owner of the Danes to come out of the yard he had gone into and confronted him. I then took Hayley to the vet where it was found that she was a lucky pup!! A tooth had gone through all 3 layers of skin and had bruised her muscle. She was given painkillers, anti-inflammatories, an antibiotic jab and take home antibiotics. No stitches as the vet was nervous of infection developing under the stitch. Strict instructions that she can't swim until the wound has healed totally not can she have a collar until it's healed. And worst off: limited activity for a few days!!
I have had a miserable little girl!!! The meds left her groggy for nearly a week and the wound was bruised and she wouldn't let me near it for days. On Wednesday night K and her were playing and K got a bit enthusiastic with the game and Hayley had a small freak out. She ended up curling up into my arms and was a bit freaked. I had not realized that she was edgy until then.
On Saturday I took her for her first long walk since the attack (have been doing shorter walks in the week with no socializing). This was her first time out in public and she loved it!! In the afternoon I took the dogs for a short walk to the river and then a stroll around the complex. We ran into a few of the dogs in the complex. She was a bit of a baby. But settled down nicely and both her and K made friends with dogs they had previously not liked. Unfortunately I think she had over done things and the wound bled a bit. I hadn't realized that it was still sensitive.
Today I took the pups to the Spruit. Both dogs were in their element as they love the spruit. Hayley was edgy with other dogs and K was protective. Fortunately we bumped into friends walking with their dogs and it was awesome for Hayley. Being knowledgable dog owners, they assisted in letting H calmly meet their dogs so she could settle. I asked if we could join them for their walk so Hayley could be around other dogs. It was good for her as she could make new friends and settle with other pups.
The walk was good for me as I could see how badly the attack had really affected Hayley. I had thought she was kind of ok. I now know that I have quite a bit of rehab work to do with her. Tomorrow I start her therapy work and am going to base it on a program by Patricia McConnell for nervous dogs. The idea is to help Hayley realize that she can trust me and not be so edgy.
A lesson that I have learnt from this experience is that off leash parks are dangerous places and that we are risking our dogs by going into such environments. This is because people have no control over their dogs and dogs that have a tendency towards aggression can take out their aggression without restraint. There is also the pack mentality that dogs can get into where a bunch of dogs who regularly walk together can go for newbies. Will I return to the park? Maybe but if I do, my dogs will be on lead. Some of you may take this as controversial but: it's safer.
The bonus of all this is that we will now be doing longer, more stimulating walks in different areas. This means that the pups will be more stimulated mentally and will get more exercise which means we can all get a bit thinner! They will still get socialized because we will still go to parks and training. It also means I get to spend more time training my dogs.
It's funny how 7 years of walking at a park can be changed in one day. I always half expected K to be the one to get nailed as he is cheeky but it was my submissive, friendly and playful dog who got attacked.
This means new adventures so watch this space for the new chapter.
Below are a few pics including pics of Hayley's injury and a few happy ones.
My best friend totally chilled after an amazing weekend of bonding!