Disarranging Mine

June 21, 2002

At approximately 9:00 tonight, the neighbor's dog bit my 76 year old mother on the back of the leg. My mom was wearing shorts. There are visible teeth marks and skin is broken in at least one place.

This neighbor woman has two Australian Shepherds. She got them both as pups. The oldest one is about seven and the youngest one is about four or five. Whenever I drive up in the driveway, and if the dogs are out of their pen, they run over to the fence and bark at me baring all their teeth. The first couple times this happened, in my best sympathetically dog friendly voice, I attempted to greet the dogs. But it didn't change the way they greeted me. So, now I just ignore them. But, they don't ignore me.

The oldest dog, Sarah, prior to the arrival of the second dog (name unknown) was somewhat friendly. That is, you could walk over to the fence and pet her, either over the top of the fence, or through the fence, and she would wag her tail. She was probably responding to kindness that she didn't get from her mistress. That has all changed. The younger dog has taken a very aggressive stance towards anyone on our side of the fence and Sarah seems to be relegated to remain in the shadow of the younger dog. Sometimes I wonder if Sarah remembers being petted by me and my family. And sometimes I wonder if she longs for those days.

The American Kennel Club says:

The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent, active dog with an even disposition; he is good natured, seldom quarrelsome. He may be somewhat reserved in initial meetings.

The part about "even disposition" is completely contradictory to how these neighbor dogs behave. These particular dogs are vicious in disposition.

One time before the arrival of the second dog, my mom was petting Sarah over the top of the fence. The woman yelled (actually barked) at Sarah to "stop that or I'll pull out all your teeth." Sheesh! I think the neighbor woman has treated her dogs in an unkind way, thus making them so vicious. Vicious dogs and a mistress that cannot control them could make for a lethal combination.

In addition, the AKC states:

Any display of shyness, fear or aggression is to be severely penalized.

Just what does that mean, exactly? And, why?

So, anyway, when my mom came home tonight, the woman, who is the dogs' mistress, was on her front porch talking on the phone. Unbeknownst to my mom, the oldest dog was out there with her. My mom parked out front, walked up our driveway, and as she stepped up on our front porch the dog came out of the dark barking at my mom. Before my mom knew what happened, the dog had bitten her on the back of the calf. My mom screamed, and the woman screamed at Sarah. The dog immediately retreated to her own front porch.

The woman asked my mom if she got bit. My mom said she didn't know, but her leg was wet. My mom came in the house and immediately showed me her leg and told me what happened. There was blood dripping down the back of her leg.

After cleaning up the blood with a cotton ball and some peroxide, my mom went back outside and showed the woman. The woman offered that if my mom had to go to the doctor that she would pay for it.

And then the woman, in some kind of affirmative defense, told my mom the dog is usually well-behaved except when taken by surprise. Well, gee, that's no defense in this case. Especially considering that my mom was on her own property.

We cleaned up the wounds, applied some antibiotic lotion, and covered it with a large bandage. I called my brother and told him what happened. The three of us decided that she is going to be fine and we'll just keep an eye on it for a few days and forego going to the doctor unless it becomes necessary.

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L.M. Carnes 2002.

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