Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Venice Beach Dog Drama

I told myself when I started this blog that I would include both good experiences and bad. While it can be easy to gloss over the negative, this would not be an accurate account of my life with animals if I did not include everything...both good and bad.

We spent this past weekend with Fritz's family in a modern condo nestled between Venice and Marina Del Rey, California.  Fritz's sister (Amy) lives a little east of there and we were fortunate enough to spend a long weekend enjoying the beach and all the crazy people on Venice Boardwalk (I think I will post later in the week about the homeless population and their dogs).  Amy has an adorable 25-ish pound Cavapoo (poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix), named Gibson who is a total sweetheart.

We were walking along the Venice Canals Sunday morning.  It is an amazing place and very dog-friendly.  We must have walked by 20 dogs within our hour-long stroll.  We turned off of the canal sidewalks and onto a side street.  I was walking towards the front when I heard snarling, barking, growling - it is hard to describe the noises a dog makes when it goes after something, but my stomach dropped as I instantly recognized the sounds of a dog fight.  A boxer had run out from some shadowy bushes and latched onto Gibson.  The ensuing noises that came from the little dog made his terror and pain pretty clear.

I have been around quite a few stressful and chaotic situations involving animals before, and for whatever reason something clicks in my brain.  I realize what needs to be done and try to do it.  The boxer had a pretty firm grip on Gibson, and what was probably seconds seemed like minutes as I looked for a break to separate the two.  I barely noticed a woman in the background screaming and crying for help.  Luckily Fritz and his Dad were able to muscle the boxer off as I grabbed one of Gibson's tiny legs and hauled him away.  

This was when I realized that the lady who was screaming was really a small girl, with tears streaming down her face and a haunted look on her face.    We soon realized that Gibson was OK, at least at first glance and that this little girl did not live at the house she was playing next to.  She was so upset that she couldn't even remember where she was or how to get home.  We tried calling her house phone but no one answered, and resorted to putting her address into one of our IPhones and following the directions until she recognized where she was and how to get home.  We split up our group, a few of us going a separate direction with Gibson, and Fritz, his Dad and I walking the girl back to her house to speak with her parents.  They paced ahead, and I walked behind with the girl, and walked the boxer.  I tried to calm her down telling her it wasn't her fault, and that her dog isn't a mean dog but that it was scared.  It soon surfaced that they had only rescued it two weeks earlier and they had a pretty good idea that it wasn't friendly toward other dogs.  She was clearly the most upset over the fact that "her" dog had been mean.  I told her that sometimes we don't know what happened to dogs before we bring them home, and that you have to be careful, but not to think of her dog as a mean dog.  

The parents were shocked, and sorry to say the least.  They had already begun classes with her to work on her reactions to other dogs.  The boxer turned out to be a very sweet dog, and put its head in my lap when we were inside.  As I looked into her eyes I saw sadness and realized that she too could have been spared from this situation if her owners had used a little more common sense.

Gibson will be ok, but had to have several stitches and draining tubes from a puncture wound on the top of his neck.  We are all thankful that it did not turn out much worse.  The saddest part is that the situation could have been so easily avoided. No 10 year old girl should be walking a big dog on her own, much less one that is known to have adverse reactions to other dogs.  


  1. Wow. What a traumatic experience for everyone...can't believe how it all unfolded! My love to Gibson!! Amy must be upset too!

  2. It was all very upsetting, but lucky that it did not turn out worse. Poor Gibson!