Yesterday our large very sweet and mild mannered foster dog who was on psychiatric meds for anxiety and whose background was a void bigger and blacker than she was attacked my senior smaller dog and tried to kill her.
I intervened every single way I knew how. Over and over. The sweet lovable foster dog was unstoppable. She lunged under and around my body as I tried to form a human shield, when all else failed.
I have stopped many dog fights. This was nothing like that. I’ve never seen anything like it. A switch had flipped and she could not hear me, see me, or stop.
I screamed and screamed – as loud as I could, not caring who I woke – for help. Nobody came.
Eventually I threw myself over my senior dog, leaving only enough space to avoid crushing her and elbowing the big dog in the face. My old girl bit me, not knowing it was me, fighting as she was for her life.
I got off easy. I have a number of wounds (a foot, a hand) but no stitches and a prescription for antibiotics that should prevent any further physical harm befalling me.
My senior dog needed emergency surgery we cannot afford. I charged and borrowed to do it anyway as the vets had stabilized her and things looked promising if only she could have and recover from the surgery. Then she didn’t. She’s now on life support. I don’t know if she will live.
Other volunteers with the rescue have chipped in, their kindness precipitating more tears.
I’m having trouble living. Breathing. Eating. Sleeping. The lump in my throat is hard and sharp, my nerves jagged and jarred into action every time my phone rings.
Please don’t let it be the vet. Please don’t let it be more bad news.
Everything I thought I knew is in question. I am in question.
The grief is undulating though never softer in pitch than the roar of a stormy sea. I feel… I don’t even know anymore.
I feel at fault.
And here’s the thing. I did – nay, we did (the rescue, professional trainers, vets, vet techs) – everything, literally everything, to avoid this, never anticipating it could happen, this attack, unprovoked, nonsensical. Not by this dog. Unthinkable.
The day before this happened these two dogs were chumming on the couch together. I took a picture as the big dog gave up room so the senior could be comfortable.
I never saw this coming.
And I could not – despite it all – make her stop.
It is hard to keep breathing.