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December 04, 2005

Diary entry: Today I was attacked by a dog.

I am fine.

Stacy and I were at the Alameda dog park, and wandered over to a clutch of dogs and their people. Among them was a German shepherd with a tennis ball in his mouth. He came over with it, so I bent down and held my hand out. He backed away, a little nervous, and then, well, got aggressive. He decided he didn't like me, so, um, started attacking, tearing through my sweatshirt. I tried to stand stock still, in hopes that he would just back off, but this dog was quite insistent. So I kept turning my back to him -- I know how claw marks on my back. He then came around my front, and I ended up putting my arm in his way -- so I got a bite on my wrist.

It was a little like this, though I didn't have a big puffy thing on my arm:

Public domain photo from here. (Get yourself a real job, Gary.)

During this ordeal, I kept shouting at the dog's owner, "Control your fucking dog!" But she was at a total loss. It's clear she is simply unable to control this dog. Thankfully, the other people around were able to get the dog under control.

The wrist bite is a small bite -- no puncture, no real bleeding. Just some bruising and swelling.

Stacy talked to the dog's owner afterward, and found out that a) this dog has had problems and b) the dog's owner is clearly out of her league with this hound. German's are bred as attack dogs, and this one performed that service well. Funny, I've been licked and loved by plenty of pit bulls at dog parks and on walks... This, my first attack, came from a German.

A brief trip to the "urgent care" ward at Kaiser lead to a prescription of antibiotics (just in case) and a tetanus shot.

What I learned: be respectful of Germans, and, hey, don't look them in the eye. Also, with Germans, it is good to put something in their mouths. If you don't have a stick, it does turn out that your arm is the next best thing. You just don't want them on your face and neck.

Posted by peterme at December 4, 2005 06:01 PM

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Two things have prevented me from any serious damage from dogs of this temper: I do my best to keep something big between me and the dog (last time it was a bicyle), and I learned from an old karate teacher how to get a dog to let go of your arm, so I'm not as fearful of the possibility as I would be if I had no idea what to do.

Of course, what I 'know' could be wrong, but the confidence seems to have a smell just as fear does, and dogs respect the confidence smell a little bit. Sometimes.

I'm glad you weren't seriously hurt. The dog's owner needs to get some help, and probably a different dog.

Posted by: kurt at December 4, 2005 09:21 PM

Peter, glad to read that you're alright!

In the light of recent postings by Steve Portigal and Niti Bhan about search keywords which led people to their blogs I'm wondering which kind of "link neighbourhood" your posting creates regarding the Google search "German" in general ;-) Gute Besserung!

Posted by: Ralf Beuker at December 5, 2005 02:54 AM

That had to be a terrifying ordeal. In order to prevent that, or something worse happening again, the dog and his owner must be reported to the police. You should also sue for damages, expenses and whatever disruptions you experienced as a result of the attack.

To not take these actions is to invite the owner to continue allowing her dog to attack unaware persons, including children and elderly, with impunity. If you let this slide, the next victim is on your head.

Posted by: BJMe at December 5, 2005 09:37 AM

You should demand that the owner take training lessons for both HER and her DOG or press charges. Next time it could be a kid that could be killed. Seriously, large dogs with agression problems... she's just asking to be charged with manslaughter by doing nothing. In the end, she needs to do the training so that SHE is more confident with her animal, otherwise the dog should NEVER be left off a leash for everyone's safety, and that's not much of a life.

Posted by: sloanNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 5, 2005 10:57 AM

"you can't know what dog is danger and what's not"
She had problems with the dog before. Any dog you do not know, do not approach. My point is that SHE is responsible, a muzzle is an easy thing to buy. There's no excuse.

Posted by: sloanNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 7, 2005 01:37 PM

Jeez, Peter. I'm just sorry it happened, and I'm glad you're okay. You and Stacy are so empathetic about dogs. (I'm thinking of the conversations I had with her about Skylab the dog.)

Posted by: molly [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 7, 2005 08:02 PM

The dog - before the law does not carry the responsibility. And the owner of a dog carries that is all fault falls on him! Of what it thought, when walked with a sentry dog in crowded a place and without a muzzle. Probably there is nothing did not think.

Posted by: Texcel at December 9, 2005 11:21 AM

Hey Peter, So glad you are okay! That dog owner is an idiot and a danger to others.

Posted by: Elise at December 9, 2005 08:35 PM

Man that makes me angry!

Its the same owners who say - "oh dont worry, he is just playing". Yeah right!

In Melbourne, Australia my understanding is that dogs now have to wear a leash in parks - a good idea indeed.

Hope all is well Peter.

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