Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category
Beci managed nearly four weeks after her stray dog attack. she was improving daily, but for the last few days, her breathing became more laboured. She had various tests and medication changes to try and help her through but she was so uncomfortable, she couldn’t even lie down to sleep and looked exhausted.
Yesterday evening she collapsed right in front of me and slowly passed away. I’m so glad she was at home and that we could have been there, my biggest fear was that she would slip away during the night and have to go through it alone. As hard as it was for us, we comforted her in her last minutes.
She was due a CT scan today, our vet suspected the Rottweiler attack had a big impact on her heart accelerating her existing condition MVD.
We’ve given up hope of ever finding his owner.
Beci was leading my pet therapy team, she made a lot of people happy several times a week. She had all her favourite residents, going from room to room for biscuits and cuddles. She adopted one resident and usually slept in with her when she was tired. The news is being given and tears shed. She will be sorely missed by so many.
A little dedication:
I always stress that a dog’s breed and their aggression is not linked. Saying a dog breed is more likely to attack than any other is like singling out human races and skin colours as more prone to attack. The size of the dog however is linked to the amount of damage it can inflict. This is not what Rottweilers usually do unless trained to or mistreated and anyone considering buying one, look at the individual, NOT the breed.
I was attending a dog training client in Bristol 90 miles away when I received a hysterical phone call from my wife.
Yovina was walking Jake and Beci on leash from our local park. They met other people and dogs on route without a problem. As she was crossing a road, a Rottweiler approached and pounced on Beci. Due to her upbringing with a very responsible elderly owner, Beci is the calmest most accepting dog I have ever met so had no chance.
The Rottweiler picked Beci up and shook her, he threw her around and pounced again. Beci at this point was like a stuffed toy. Yovina panicked and did what any owner would do in that situation (but would never admit to pre-planning it). She tried to kick the beast off our little fluffball but he was relentless. A landscape gardener named Gerwyn (D.G. Walters) had already spotted and been following the Rottweiler as his nephew was walking their own dog at the time. Gerwyn also wrestled with the dog and eventually Yovina was able to get Beci and Jake into his van for safety.
Gerwyn managed to join them to call police and check the damage. The rottweiler circled the van and eventually gave up and went after another couple. They tried to pick their dog up to throw it into someone’s garden for safety but in the process, the dog’s collar came loose and the dog bolted. (Later recovered on their doorstep.
The police recovered the Rottweiler and are trying to trace the owner. There was no collar so it could be difficult.
Beci initially didn’t move, Yovina thought she was dead, but eventually a little flicker came across her face. This is when she called me so you can imagine her state. She managed to check Beci in to an emergency vet in Carmarthen last night and I arrived to see them both shortly after.
Beci hardly responded to me at all, her front leg was completely limp, she had blood spots throughout her fur, though thankfully no major external bleeding. The vet said she has a possible puncture in her lung and they hadn’t had a chance to check her leg as Beci wasn’t letting her get too close to it.
This morning I received a phone call from the vet saying there’s a definite gas build up which is often indicative of a collapsing lung but she’s heading for X-ray to confirm, they will check her leg at the same time as they’re still unable to get at it. Beci’s heart is already fading so she doesn’t rate her chances if she needs to go under general anaesthetic.
Fingers crossed all the way here, after lots of begging, Yovina has managed to convince the nurse to allow a visit depending on what else is going on at the surgery at that moment. (as an emergency vet, we could end up being in the way)
The care home where Beci started her first pet therapy sessions is performing a whip round to help towards Beci’s vet care. Since mentioning that, other people are interested so donations are more than welcome by clicking here and going to paypal. If you run a small business locally, add a link and short description into the description box and I will feature it as best as I can. Any surplus funds (of which I’m expecting none) will go straight to South Wales Animal Rescue who deal with cases like this on a daily basis and also need the help.
Many many thanks to Gerwyn at D.G Walters Groundwork and Landscape gardening based in Cockett, Swansea: 01792 207770
While many others stopped their cars and pulled their own dogs out of the way but just stood and watched, Gerwyn jumped out and actually helped someone in need. Without him Beci would almost certainly be dead, Jake would have probably been next and maybe even Yovina herself could have been attacked and killed. For Beci alone, I owe him a lot, for the unthinkable damage this dog could have caused, it’s uncountable.
Update 03/02/2011 – Beci passed away yesterday evening, nearly four weeks after the attack. Her heart was also damaged by being shaken so violently, and her ribs prevented her from breathing deep enough to get enough oxygen. She was unable to lie down in her final days as it was even more restricting, our vet altered her medication, tried various ideas and gave her half hour in an oxygen tent which helped temporarily but hours later she collapsed in exhaustion and gave up. Full story here
So why did this Rottweiler attack?
There are four main reasons this type of attack happens.
1) Training – the dog may be trained specifically as a fighting dog and got loose. In this case unlikely as he would have killed Beci in a heartbeat, instead he was tossing her round like a plaything.
2) Medical – It’s rare, but a tumour or other brain injury/condition could cause a dog to lose control and become aggressive.
3) Mistreatment – If the dog is himself beaten or abused, this is unlikely as there was no reaction to a human presence, he wasn’t afraid of Yovina and Gerwyn, but likewise didn’t bite either.
4) Frustration – If the dog isn’t walked enough, he will build up energy and frustration, if he’s locked in-doors and not socialised correctly, he will develop fears and aggression. If he’s not trained or looked after properly, his dominance would build and the owners control would weaken and diminish. This is something I (and other dog trainers/behaviourists) see all too often. Usually not to this extent thankfully, despite frequenting the news, dog attacks like this on people or dogs aren’t as common as they seem.
It usually starts with an energetic dog who isn’t getting enough exercise, big dogs are prone to this as it’s often because they pull and make walking unpleasant for his owners. Eventually the dog gets frustrated and starts to bark or snap at people, the owner either continues complacency or can even become afraid of this dog locking it outside or away from the family. The dog’s frustration, lack of physical and mental exercise build and build to create a monster.
If you’re taking on a dog, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Small dogs can become just as aggressive an despite their size, can cause a lot of damage. If your dog is beginning to show signs of frustration, escaping, excessive barking, running laps around the house or snapping at family etc, find out why and fix it before he becomes a problem dog. If you’re taking on a big dog, be ever more aware of the damage it can cause with just one bite.
Puppies should start walking and socialise before you even pick them up, the first thing you do before anything else, is develop a pattern of walking with people and other dogs in a number of places. If they meet a friendly dog and look scared, do nothing, don’t pick up or pet your dog as this will nurture a fear. Chances are the bum on the floor and low tail at this point is more a sign of respect than fear and you should let them interact naturally. Avoid places in these crucial months that are known for aggressive dogs or people as this will have the reverse effect. Puppy socialisation classes are also a good idea and will usually start you off with some basic training.