Scary Incident from Hell and A Plea to Dog Owners

In case I haven’t made a proper introduction, this is my dog:

Happy little thing, isn’t he?

His favorite things are running, wooing, playing with Kevin, Blueberry treats, wooing, getting belly rubs, steak, cheese, sticking his head out of the car window, and wooing. When he’s not wooing, he’s a quiet dog who just wants to love you and be loved.

Yet for some reason, aggressive dogs see this sweet boy as a perfect opportunity to test their dominance skills.

In an occurrence that took place last Thursday, in what can only be described as something akin to what horror stories take place on The Dog Whisperer, we took Lucas out for a stroll since it was such a beautiful evening. We decided to turn down the little alley that runs behind the homes on our street (where cars also drive). We get to the end of the alley, which spits us out on the next street over, and suddenly a large white Pit Bull jumps off the porch of the home he resides in–uncollared, untethered–spies Lucas, and simply attacked.

There was almost no time to react. When this dog appeared, both Kevin and I said, “Uh oh,” and that was it. He was on our dog in an instant. Kevin bravely put himself between the two dogs and began using his foot to forcibly kick this Pit Bull off of our dog (an Alaskan Malamute/Husky mix, one of the breeds of which is notorious for not being a fighting dog). I stood there in shock, my hands over my face, my eyes wide with fear. I was waiting for the dogs to lock jaws on one another’s faces, which thankfully didn’t happen.

Somehow, the Pit Bull got the message and backed off. It was clear that the fault lay at this dog’s owner’s feet. Completely undisciplined, unexercised, and full of territorial dominance, he followed his canine instincts. His owner came out shrieking at that moment, asking us, “What happened?” When we told her that we were walking down the street when her dog attacked, she acted incredulous and said, “He’s never done anything like that before, are you sure?” Um, yes. Not “pretty” sure, definitely sure you are a horrible, irresponsible owner. She made zero apologies at that point and still acted as if she couldn’t believe her precious angel would attack another dog, unprovoked.

At the same time that she’s making small, ineffectual talk with us, she took a few steps towards us. That was all her dog needed to launch into a second attack on Lucas, proving us right.

The horror began all over, at which point Bad Dog Owner begins screaming, “Damn you, Hercules! What are you doing?” as if logic is going to help us in this moment. Great, his name is Hercules. Because he has no collar or tether on him of any kind and he was a mighty brute, she was completely useless at trying to separate the dogs. In the meantime, Kevin went back to kicking the dog as hard as he could (neither of us were happy about that but what is one to do?) to get him to back off, and thankfully, Hercules didn’t turn out to be human aggressive, so Kevin’s leg didn’t end up chewed up and bloody.

However, I can see that Hercules has blood on his face at this point, and I’m panicking, wondering which dog’s it is. Lucas had been bitten through his paw last year by another Pit (a puppy), whose owner was a responsible person but underestimated her energetic puppy at the dog park. It was a scary trip to the vet and there had been a LOT of blood.

The second dog fight got so bad that Kevin fell between the dogs at one point, with Lucas landing on his back. I prayed to the Almighty that Hercules would not tear into Lucas’ belly, because if he did, it would be all over for our dog. For whatever reason, he wasn’t bitten there and Bad Dog Owner managed to grab Hercules by his “armpits,” if that’s what you want to call them, and drag him off, still cursing him as if he’s her naughty 6 year-old.

All of us breathing hard and Lucas not putting weight on one foot already, Kevin loudly stated that he would be calling Animal Control.

Silence.

Kevin then asked the woman if her dog had had his shots. “Oh yes, everything! He’s had everything! He’s never done this before!” Really? Then why do you have a small chain link fence in your front yard with four Beware of Dog signs? You’re really not aware that your dog has an aggression problem?

I said, “Let’s get out of here,” and we started walking briskly back to the house. The woman didn’t ask for our names or contact information, where we lived, if our dog was okay, nor did she apologize for her dog’s behavior (which is really her fault, anyway). Although the dog fight was appalling in and of itself, the owner’s actions were what bothered me the most. We didn’t know if we would have to take Lucas to the vet and what costs we were going to be incurring. We couldn’t even care that her dog might have had a broken rib – and we are animal lovers.

The miracle of the day was that traumatized though Lucas was, he had only surface scratches and bleeding on a few areas that weren’t vital. He slept the rest of the night curled up without moving.

We called Animal Control ASAP, who transferred us to the police, and the officer came out very quickly to gather the information from the incident. After inspecting her home, he came back to inform us that she had received a ticket from the city. I hope it was really, really expensive.

The next day, Lucas played outside in the backyard, running around and wooing, back to his happy self, which is the second miracle. We seriously believed he would retreat and become overly anxious once again, as he was when we lived in New York City and he didn’t know what to make of the noise pollution and tons of smells.

Two days later, we drove past the Bad Dog Owner’s home, where we’d yet to see Hercules out in his chain link fenced in area. She had put up some crappy screens on her full-of-holes front porch where he’d jumped down in the first place but I guarantee that she learned nothing about pet ownership from this and places all the blame on her dog or the breed.

It is an absolute shame that this woman had to be a “stereotypical” Pit Bull owner and not have one that wants to tear apart any other dog that he views as a trespasser. She is the reason that certain breeds have a bad reputation and not working with their dogs so that they have confident command over them. She is the reason we will never walk by that house again with our dog, or even go in that direction on walks anymore.

Folks, if you own a dog, whether tea cup breed or St. Bernard, it is vital that you work with your pet and be a responsible owner. Even if you want to cultivate protectiveness in your dog, there is a way to do so without having your dog on “sic” mode 24/7. Even if you can’t afford discipline classes, YouTube is rife with training videos and there are plenty of articles for free out there. It is your job to take the time out everyday to work with your dog and exercise him or her. Exhausting your dog is the key to preventing aggression from building up. Unnecessary dog bites and fights just lead to completely unnecessary euthanization of a dog that is probably loved, but not well cared for.

I don’t like to preach to persons unknown but it just baffles me that people are okay with treating their pets like this and then having the gall to not take responsibility when the dog attacks another.

I am thankful that the incident wasn’t worse. Kevin had post dog fight nightmares, Lucas managed to shake it off within 24 hours, but we’re still processing it all because the bottom line is, it was scary as all hell. Our neighborhood is full of dogs and I hate thinking that just down the street is one who wants to rip into any that come near his home, where he paces behind a chain linked fence (or on an open porch).

I don’t have much in the way of a conclusion to this; I really just wanted to write it to get it out of my system. All I can say is how much I love my dog, how proud I am of Kevin (my hero!), and hope this is an isolated incident.

I’m happy to receive feedback from any fellow dog owners out there, especially if you own one that you have found difficult to discipline, or if you’ve had any encounters such as this.

When I get home, Lucas is getting a big ole belly rub and some Blueberry treats, just for being awesome.

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All in the Details

As I get more and more into photography, I am finding so many ways to network with other photographers/bloggers (photograbloggers?).

It’s tough not to go into information overload, what with Facebook updates, Twitter throwing link after link after link at you, and your RSS reader filling up each day.

However, it was tough to ignore this sweet photography contest over at Love That Shot. This Link-Up contest’s theme is “All in the Details” and I thought my Glossy Coffee Beans photo might be a good fit.

 

Glossy Coffee Beans

If you’re interested in winning a $100 gift certificate over at MCP or just want to share a photo with other photographers, you can head on over there and do so. The contest doesn’t end for five more days or so.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Mixing It Up With Friends…Giveaway | She’s Becoming DoughMessTic

Mixing It Up With Friends…Giveaway | She’s Becoming DoughMessTic.

This is for a good cause. I have been trying to win a KitchenAid mixer for my BFF Helen for quite some time. She won’t easily find out about this because she doesn’t have Internet (she’s old-fashioned like that). So if any of you decide to enter because you see this post, just say “Zoe Says sent me!” And you can also enter for yourself, as well. Although the contest ends in about 45 minutes so the likelihood is slim but hey, a girl can dream.

Hells needs a mixer so I’m doing what I can to win one for her.

Drumming up new mixer karma!

 

 

The Art of Interwebs Conversation

I’m all for the internet, in case this has escaped anyone’s attention. I’ve dated from online, I’ve met friends online, I pay bills online, I read online. You get the point. Me and Internet are BFFs.

What I don’t get is how the online users – that is, people just like you and me – can be so clueless about how to conduct a conversation. I’m not talking about the chat room stuff or even really poor use of grammar, sentence structure, and “LOLspeak,” whatever the hell that is. I’m just referring to two people holding a conversation keyboard to keyboard; regular folks who know one another.

Having an online conversation through some kind of instant messenger client is not really all that different from conducting one in person. The only difference is you have to be up front about when you’re not at the keyboard. The same rules apply from a real life conversation where you try not to interrupt and you reply accordingly, and most importantly, you reciprocate and ask questions. I’m going to repeat that: reciprocate and ask questions.

This isn’t a woman thing. This is just “how it is.” In order to keep conversation going, one must have the ability to take what someone has said, make a reference point, and either ask a follow-up question or ask a question that s/he doesn’t know about the other person. Even if it’s as simple as, “How was your weekend?” If you don’t know the answer to the question, it has merit and should be asked. And if you run out of questions, cite anecdotes.

If you ran into a friend in a coffee shop or someplace, you wouldn’t run up to that person and start yammering on about your woes and your life and then not ask that person what’s going on with him or her. It’s rude! (And if you do do this, I would not be your friend.) The exact same thing that is rude in real life is rude on the Internet. Yes, it’s easier to blow someone off when you’re online. But the kind of etiquette I’m talking about here is only relevant to people who converse regularly, in case I’m not making this clear. Hearing from an ex or chatting with someone who only contacted you because s/he’s bored doesn’t count. We know these conversations aren’t going to adhere to any kind of guidelines.

So, if conversation stalls, ask a question. The key here is that each person must actively participate. It cannot be one-sided. Conversation is not meant to be one-sided. I could talk to a wall if I wanted no response.

I have several friends with whom I chat online daily. We have a routine. It’s comfortable. And for all I know, this is a “birds of a feather” situation. Like attracts like. Conversation flows easily with no awkwardness. But there are times when I chat with a person and I am reminded that not everyone is up to speed with Conversation Etiquette 101.

At least from my perspective, silence/no response on the Internet is just as egregious as a non-response face-to-face. I’m not talking about if a person is at work and has to dash away from the computer. But if you’re actively talking and a person just drops the conversation altogether, or leaves the computer and comes back with no reply to what you’ve said 30-40 minutes prior, that makes no sense to me whatsoever. What has just been said is still lingering and you can see it on the screen. If I want to type and get zero response, I’ll write in my journal.

I can’t stress this enough. Reciprocity, my friends. Word of the day, week, year, life. Ask questions. Respond accordingly. Engage with your fellow wo/man, preferably who also knows and uses The Rules. Guaranteed satisfying conversation will ensue. I know I don’t enjoy breaking out my “WTF” face because yet again, I’ve conducted a conversation that has turned out to be meaningless.

The back and forth, give and take nature that I speak of is applicable to “IRL” conversations. Most of the time when people say a date went horribly bad, it’s because conversation totally blew chunks. See faces of the two people below, enduring awkwardness, especially the guy on the right.

It’s about courtesy, respect, and an enjoyment of the dialogue occurring between two people. Some people might call that synergy. There’s a reason there is an art to this. It’s not arbitrary.

Go forth and have meaningful conversations.

Merci pour votre attention.

$1.29 Well Spent

I don’t think I’ve written about my loyalty to watching American Idol. I have loved it since the first season — ten years ago — when I began watching at the young age of 20.

If iTunes had been recording performances ten years ago, I would have loved to get an official version of Kelly Clarkson’s “Natural Woman,” because girlfriend belted that ish out. She is still my favorite Idol but I have few other close favorites, as well. (If David Cook could release more music, that’d be terrif.)

Annnnnyway. This year, with it being New Judges Year and no Simon, I didn’t think I’d watch much past auditions. Although, J-Lo is infinitely better than Kara and I didn’t supremely dislike her, either. But my continuing to stay tuned is a testament to the talent they procured this year, because these kids are really, really, really good.

I really want a woman to win this year because they have talented enough ones in the bunch for sure (Pia, Lauren Alaina) but I think there is a dark horse that could sneak in – and his name is James Durbin.

At first I thought, okay this guy has a great back story but we’ve seen him before in the likes of Adam Lambert. But after hearing him for a couple of weeks now, he not only has a different character and flavor, but his voice is much more Axl Rose-ish and he has started to exude control over those huge pipes.

Case in point: “Maybe I’m Amazed,” the song he sang this past week, which really blew me away. I wanted to keep rewinding it and hearing it so I knew I’d check it out when iTunes finally released the singles for the week.

I sampled all the people’s songs I liked, including Casey’s, Pia’s, Scotty’s, and even Lauren’s (sorry Lauren, need something better from you) but when I had to pick where I was going to throw my $1.29, it came down to James Durbin.

As I write this, this song is on repeat. It is SO. GOOD.

Whether or not you agree with my selection, I highly encourage you to check out this week’s songs on iTunes because at least one of these kids is going to be a huge star, but it wouldn’t be surprising if there were at least two.

Unless something goes terribly, tragically wrong, I think it’s safe to say that this year’s winner won’t fall into obscurity like others have. (Taylor Hicks? Bueller?)

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to play this song a few hundred more times while I clean my house.

Update: I no longer watch American Idol. It ran its course for me. I endured the season with Randy, Jennifer Lopez (whom I actually liked as a judge), and Steven Tyler, but once they moved on to the new Loathsome Foursome, I was done. It was a great run!

Nature Walk

I work in a corner of town that is relatively newly developed. There is a large residential development behind our office building and there is easy footpath access. They wind all over the place and there are man-made ponds, bridges, etc. I took advantage of some lovely weather we had the other day and took my camera out with me on part of my lunch break.

I shot over 100 photos but I have only tweaked six thus far. I can get really caught up in the nuances of photo editing.

To find out the “stories” behind each one, including actions I may have used, you can go to my Flickr account where they’re all located (also displayed in the sidebar). Otherwise, I will just post them here and let you ponder and enjoy what you will about them.