CLICK ON THIS FOR PAST SHANA POSTS
NOTE1: WE KEEP TRACK OF INCIDENTS HERE OF ALL SORTS. WE HAVE ONCE EVER HAD DOG SERIOUSLY HAVE AN INTENT TO KILL, AS I CONSIDER THIS. APPROPRIATE STEPS WERE PUT IN PLACE IMMEDIATELY AFTER THAT PREVIOUS INTERACTION.
Now the band-Aid is ripping off. Trigger warnings may abound if you have ever been in a dire emergency situation.
NOTE2: THIS IS NOT HOW TO GO ABOUT A DIRE EMERGENCY DOG FIGHT SITUATION. DO NOT USE THIS AS A HOW TO. THIS IS NOT A HOW TOO, BUT A MOMENT IN TIME OF DESPERATION.
Wednesday September 8th 2021: The day started out (7:30 am) normal though there have been some things going on here as in everyday life. Nothing too abnormal though...
Robert usually starts the day for me, as I work pretty focused for many hours in a row. Unlike corporate desk work, professional dog training usually takes very focused work (which does not mean you do it perfectly through out the day). You can walk away from a desk and have a moment, you can't walk away from a living being that is learning and get the job done on a time table. So a time in the mornings and if the day goes well the evenings are the only time I get a little down time besides sleeping. Robert gets my breakfast and coffee, feeds the dogs, intakes the dogs, pooper scoops, and fills the water bowls all as I am trying to relax to news or my favorite tv program from the night before. That routine had started that day. I thought Robert was annoyed by Shana's barking and my refusal to just let Shana go down stairs while she was ramped up. I wanted to get Shana to a point of being calm, so I was ignoring what I thought was going on and ignoring Robert as I do. I try to block everything out in the morning before 9 am, except those things I absolutely have to do. So attending to Shana was a "have to" at this point, because she was making it clear she woke up insecure.
Now Shana's brothers, Boris and Tommy, had both passed on as old dogs in April 2021 and June 2021. Normally they would have been there with us in the bedroom. Shana has been experiencing signs that she is aware that they have gone and not been back. She has been a little insecure and anxious since, especially, Boris died. He died in bed right beside us in May 2021. So when Shana starts acting anxious that morning, I am assuming the reason is that her trusted brothers have suddenly not been with us. I am not picking anything apart that morning, and I just start working Shana as I usually do when she is anxious. Baby is down stairs (a friend of hers) as she is not allow up stairs. There are only four dogs that have upstairs privilege (Reggie, Cujo, Fatty and our own Ziggy) Cujo has been Shana's best buddy since 2015 (although Reggie seems to have a higher status now). Fatty has been Shana's best girl friend since 2017. Reggie is Shana's BFF now since 2018 or 2019. Just now I realized Baby has only been Shana's friend for one year not two years (like it feels like and I originally thought).
Anyway, so the day's started and I am upstairs with Shana, later Cujo (8:30 am) comes and we are both upstairs in the bedroom. Baby is downstairs. I have Shana on the place, and I am treating her for being quiet and staying on her place. She is still upset though, and not staying so quiet. She does this sometimes, and I am not particularly worried at all. Shana probably wants more one on one attention, and she likes to be involved during the day. So I am just going through the normal routine of the day with Shana being barky, which is not super weird. It happens sometimes not every day or every week, but it happens every now and again.
At the end of quiet on place, Shana and I do training with tug (9:00 am) in the bedroom with Cujo. When I do this long and focused enough, Shana is in a really good mood and not feeling insecure (that day and in the past, though I would say I had not broken through every single bit of insecurity that morning).
So once our place command is done, and I take Shana downstairs for her to go to the bathroom again. Baby is in the crate now, and Cujo is walking around. Baby is in the crate, because Shana has just gotten used to Baby being in the house since May 2021, so I like for her to be calm before she goes outside with Baby. She does best outside with Baby. Cujo has been a house guest for years, so he just comes with us in the house as we get ready for the day.
When Shana comes back in (9:30 am), she paws at the door to the other side of the house, Here is where we have our dogs in training, and some other dogs that Shana sort of likes, but have not gotten to friend status yet (click on Shana's history if you want to know her socialization history). I think "okay, she is not done with training today and wants to be involved with the other pack. Plus she is still seeming insecure." So Baby and Fatty stay on the "human/our dogs" side of the house, while we start the below protocols with the training dogs on the "dog side of the house" (10:00 am).
Here is the protocol for if Shana comes to the other side to train.
- Conditioning muzzle just in case. on Shana
- Electronic collar on that day (there are days it is not on but not usually when she is just getting used to a new dog, and it has a very limited use when it is on)
- Any non off leash trained dog (Oscar, Judy, Moose 2) on the other side gets a leash on, and then on place or in a crate.
- Any off leash trained dog (Maggie) goes on their place.
- Any long time friend that comes over (Cujo) can just hang out.
So those dogs can now go into the penned area so I can watch them outside (11:00 am), and have a separation barrier from Shana. I go to spend some time with Shana and Cujo. Robert is on the porch with Baby and Fatty. I have a little table sett up in back where Shana likes to critter "hunt" ( we are able to recall her from creatures with no problem, but she likes to sniff the critter holes and stuff and start at critter sounds). Shana and Cujo are enjoying that, or rolling in the grass, or sniffing stuff together.
Robert then shouts from the porch that he wants to join with Baby and Fatty, who are both Mastiffs with different owners. Baby has an problem calming down. She has a little of what we call "fear of missing out" This before this point has been drooling, taking awhile to settle in her crate, wanting to chase the ball all the time (or needing to be put in a place or down to stop it), anxiety when not engaged, and so on. She has been having symptoms of this for a bit now, and we had notified the owners. As will later be obvious, we are not thinking anything in particular may be going on with Baby. Baby did have surgery for her ACL last year, and when she came back to the group, her FOMO (fear of missing out) has been quite pronounced. Baby has also attended our Pack Learning program way before all of this, and was a good student for that program. Baby's owners have not been keeping up on the training, and they missed a protocol change when we stopped having dogs come here when owner's are not following through formally. I just wanted to give a little history. Robert has been mostly responsible for Baby when she is on the other side of the house with or without Shana. We do not trust Baby's impulse control with green (largely untrained but in training) dogs, and she would need to be muzzled on the other side like Shana. So she has gotten some, perhaps, unearned freedoms here, as well as being allowed to come back here after her surgery. Also when I amended the protocols, Baby was one of dogs that I grandfathered in (with Cujo, Fatty, and Reggie) to be on the other side of the house and supervised by Robert, my partner in life and work.
Another piece of history on Baby/Shana relationship is that on 6/11/2021 Shana gave a small snark to Baby, and Baby did give her a puncture before we split them up. We split them up quickly and then I had Robert in charge of doing relationship things with them until they seemed on the right foot again. It was busy from 6/11/2021 to 9/8/2021, so I was not often involved with this other than seeing them through the window or passing them when they were on the porch. The week before (I had forgotten this until recently), Robert told me Baby had accidentally (I don't know whether it was or not), bumped Shana when they were in the yard. We normally throw balls to dogs separately, and put one in a sit when the ball is thrown. Robert had forgotten about that protocol that day. Robert said Shana gave a couple barks towards her friend, Baby, and that it was no big deal. He was just telling me about it, and it sounded like no big deal to me. I had completely forgotten about it until after this incident as I played it over and over in my head again.
So at about (11am), Cujo and Shana are having a good time together in the yard. Robert asks if it is okay if Baby, Fatty and himself join Shana and Cujo in shady area (our fence has doors on it so the dogs can't just go in and out when not being supervised on the "human/our dogs') side of the house. We have been having a hard time spending time together, because I always have dogs around me and am in a focused mode. I figure why not and say to Roberty, Baby, and Fatty "sure". This is the roughly two minutes (after 1:15 am or so) went, as I recall it:
I said sure to Robert to come down. Robert was still kicking the ball to Baby, which can ramp her and Shana up, so I asked him to stop this. Shana went to sniff Baby's bum but then looked stiff. I told Shana to knock it off and go lie down. Shortly Baby (had the ball in between her feet) and Fatty were lying by Robert and Shana broke her command and snarked Baby, and it was game on from there. Baby had Shana by the neck. I should also mention Cujo and Fatty tried to jump in, so Robert was busy addressing those two first which is why I felt the need to act immediately, possibly not in the best way. I thought if I could pin Shana that Baby would let go and would back off. So I pinned my dog down not realizing Baby had gotten ahold of Shana's chest during this move and was most likely shaking it. I thought Shana was trying to get up to get at Baby, and I leaned even firmer on Shana. Robert saw blood on me, so he instinctively ripped Baby off me because he thought Baby was biting me. (NOTE: RIPPING A DOG OFF IS NOT A GOOD IDEA, THOUGH THIS MAY HAVE SAVED SHANA'S LIFE AND ME FROM BEING IN THE SAME SITUATION).
The above paragraph probably happened in 30 seconds or less. The result after a vet and surgery is the picture above. I am not going to address Baby in these posts, other than obviously Baby's owners are aware and feel awful, and due to the reaction, Baby is not only not trusted anymore but not coming here. Baby may also have a possible undiagnosed medical condition, which her owners are looking into. I am not saying anymore about Baby in any other blogs except below actions, and just going forward on how Shana and I are addressing this going forward.
Immediate action on that day (roughly 11:20 am or so to 1:30 pm or so):
- I instruct Robert to get Baby away and in a crate before getting up and assessing damage.
- I then instruct Robert to get Fatty and Cujo in the house.
- I get up, as Robert comes back up and says I am bleeding. I am not.
- I see a big gaping hole in Shana's chest as I get up (at this point, I did not know Baby still had part of Shana's body in her mouth). It looked like in a horror movie where the Mummy or some other monster rips out the heart of their victim. It was truly horrific, and I am saying to myself "keep your shit togetherer", as I am sure Robert is.
- I tell Robert "emergency right now". He gets stuff together to go to the vet and puts a call in so they know we are coming. I get Shana in the car and talk soothing to her. I can't go, because I have responsibilities here and two of us do not need to be there. We also only have one car or I would have gone just for the beginning.
- Robert drives off, vet intakes, and Robert says there for hours until surgery complete. In the meantime, Robert texts me that the vet says she will most likely make it but that the wounds are serious. Stitches, drains, and medicine should do the trick, and she will be home with us after surgery.
- Robert texts Baby's people to come get her, as I am texting them what happened (this is the way we usually speak to each other, so I did not want to go searching for the phone number, it was quickest).
- Baby stays in the crate and away from all dogs, until I am expecting owners and I take her alone outside with me.
- I do what I need to for the rest of the day. I honestly don't remember, but things are logged into my calendar that I needed to do. There is some crying and some down time on my part. There is shaking and quite a bit of tears of relief when Robert lets me know that Shana is expected to make it.
5pm, the rest of the dogs go home except one Board and Train Dog that is staying here (except our other dog Ziggy, Chihuahua, and Shana's brother her whole life).
5:15 pm, Shana gets fed and eats normally. 8:30 pm, after just sitting with her while she is in and out of sleep, we go to sleep. Shana prefers her dog bed this evening to sleeping on the mattress with me (which is usual, although sometimes she will get off to go to her favorite dog bed). I am sure she is arm distance away, so I can be sure that she does not worry her stitches or drains. Thankfully, I am a light sleeper, so I wake up four or five times when she does to let her out or be sure she is not up and wanting to worry her things. Because of the location of all the wounds, a cone is not going to work on her the first evening.
More later as we go forward...
PS: As I final note, I see the places things could have gone differently. I could have said no to Robert on coming down to hang with us. I so wish this did not happen, but we did inadvertently have a ticking time bomb in the house. Unless, I just said Baby can not come anymore, which in hindsight I should have, then this was going to happen a human or a dog. Luckily, it would not happened to any of the new dogs who come in for training, as I did not trust Baby there. I did not trust her for any good reason other than she has been so wired, and I should have taken my dog into consideration in that formula. I risked her and our lives, unintentionally. That is the bottom line in this.