Every Wound’s a Lesson

Posted By on June 9, 2012


6 Responses to “Every Wound’s a Lesson”

  1. Silvia Jay says:

    I was waiting for you to write about this – and professionally working with dogs myself many thoughts popped in my mind when it happened.
    My two cents: I am glad the pooch let go when he realized it was a human, but I’d still be concerned about the lack of bite inhibition – not so much about the rip that needed stitches, but the punctures on the other side.
    Keeping in mind that I wasn’t there – the location where it happened (upper arm) – and keep in mind that I wasn’t there – could indicate height seeking? Or was your arm located right at the dog’s mouth?
    From a purely professional interest and without judging the dog, sometimes what is labeled “displaced” aggression is actually deliberate, as in: “stop stopping me from doing this dog in.”
    I reiterate – just speaking from a purely professional interest point of view (bites are an interesting topic for dog behavior experts).

    • Randy says:

      Thank you for your query Silvia. The dog that delivered the wounds was behind me on a staircase while I was at floor level, slightly crouched, and so he was elevated relative to me. He was attempting to get around me because another dog had joined the fray so I used my right arm to shove him back with the intention of blocking him with my body if my commands to stay didn’t get through the ambient excitement. At that point, my arm actually went into his mouth – as it so happened, that part of him was perfectly situated instead of his chest which I was trying to engage.

      The dog involved has never before, nor has he since, exhibited any form of aggressive response to either of us, and he displayed over the top remorse afterwards, even though I showed him no negative attitude of any kind. Neither is he prone to initiating fights with other dogs. If I had to hazard a guess on his insistence at trying to be a part of the fray, I would suggest he was attempting to help out. And well, thanks for all that help my boy, but in future …

  2. Silvia Jay says:

    Cool, Randy. Thanks for your response. Bites are – so – interesting (especially when they happen to other people, lol).
    I had a Rottie client once – not a nice dog and I am not breed prejudice – where the client thought the dog re-directed, when in fact he was very deliberate with his message, albeit thankfully also very inhibited.

    • Randy says:

      My last really “good” bite was about 15 years ago, and was likewise a matter of a part of me being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a rainy day and I was exercising three of my dogs in a field. When we were done, I called them to my van, opened the rear hatch, and called them to enter – a thing I did one dog at a time beginning with Cinders who was then my only working dog. She put her front paws on the rear bumper, her hind paws joined them as she levered herself in, and then she started screaming. I immediately saw that her right front paw, probably lubricated by all the wetness, had slid forward to become trapped between the bumper and the van deck, and that as she had continued to move forward, her right leg was now awkwardly (and obviously painfully) twisted in a way that made me certain it was either broken or about to be.

      I immediately wrapped my left arm around her chest to immobilize her so she couldn’t twist the leg any worse than she already had, and began to gently rotate her against the direction of the twist while I gently took hold of the trapped foot with my right hand to guide it free.

      From the position she was in, Cinders couldn’t see what had her by the leg, and when she felt my touch she abruptly turned toward it and put her right upper and lower canines completely through the web of my right hand, Just in the thickest meaty part ahead of the thumb joint. She was obviously in a lot of pain and acting in certainty that she was defending herself, but as soon as she tasted blood – and that time there was a lot – she let go and became limp. Completely docile and compliant. The other two dogs were standing there looking at us both with eyes like dinner plates.

      I checked her leg – no harm done – did a bit of first aid on myself, and took the gang home before heading off to the ER. For the next week and a half at least, Cinders followed me around, sniffed my dressings with concern, never let me out of her sight, and constantly brought me toys.

      I had no lasting effects from that incident, never got a scar as such, but I now sport what appears to be a faint mole that marks the site of the wound on the back of my hand.

  3. Gary Carbone says:

    Ouch those bites do not look like fun. It takes a special person to take on the job of dog rehabilitation, so I commend you, Randy and Diana. Thanks for sharing your stories and carrying the torch for our canine friends.

    • Randy says:

      Thanks Gary. Three weeks as of yesterday and the healing has gone splendidly. Speedy and trouble free healing is a legacy from my ancestors.

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