Hi efuryone it’s me Harry,
Now time and time again I hear on Twitter and Facebook about pals that has been attacked by other dogs whilst out minding their own business. This can have devastating consequences for not only the dog attacked but its owner too. But what if the dog attacked was a working dog? A guide dog, a hearing dog a support dog for the disabled? Well in this three part series I will explore with a hoomin and a guide dog who have been through that experience and the utter devastation the incident has left behind.
Hi Kay, most people on Twitter will know you as @fuzzier1 and will have heard a little about Fergus and that dreadful day. Thank you for taking de time to speak wiv me in more detail. So, run me through what happened.
Saturday May the 18th 2013 was a lovely sunny day so my husband and I decided we would walk the short distance to the supermarket (5 mins from our house) as we didn’t need much. I put Fergus in his harness which he always got excited about, he loved to work, put his soft lead on and we set off.
What happened next?
We had gotten about 200 yards up the road when two girls who know Fergus from his school visits (in his work as a schools ambassador)stopped to say hello to him. We stopped to allow them to say hello then just as we were setting off again a door to a house opened and the next thing I knew was this dog was attacking Fergus at the throat, Fergus let out this blood curdling ‘scream’. I dropped the harness handle but kept hold of the soft lead. I was horrified and petrified too that this dog was going to kill Fergus and maybe even turn on my husband or myself. I am an animal lover so I’m ashamed to say I did kick out at the black shape that I could make out and tried to protect Fergus as best I could.
Did kicking the attacking dog work?
The attacking dog let go of Fergus’ neck and then grabbed Fergus’ ankle and shook it like a rag doll, I kicked the attacking dog again and it let go of Fergus’ ankle but managed to get a hold of his thigh so I kicked out again but this time harder and the dog was kicked away from Fergus at which point my husband grabbed the attacking dog from behind around its middle and picked it up, it was trying to turn back and bite my husband when the owner of the dog finally grabbed the dogs head and pointed it forward they carried the dog back to the house and put it indoors and shut it in.
How was Fergus at this point?
Fergus was screaming and yelping all the way through the attack and being a guide dog he didn’t once look to fight back as they are chosen for their non aggressive behaviour, if they show any aggression during training they fail to become a guide dog.
As an owner what are you trained to do in dis kind of pawful situation?
As a guide dog owner we are told to let go of the harness and lead so the dog can run off but if I had done this the attacking dog would have chased Fergus and I’m in no doubt whatsoever that it would have killed Fergus.
What did you do next?
We took Fergus to the V E T who cleaned Fergus’ wounds and gave him and injection for pain relief and some antibiotics we came home with a weeks worth of antibiotics and painkillers for Fergus which he happily took as being a lab it was all food to him. His main wound took 10 hours to stop bleeding. We had to go back to the V E T the next day (Sunday) so they could check Fergus and then again at the end to the week (Friday)
What about you were you injured?
The attack left me with injuries too. I suffered whiplash type injuries to my left side as that is the side the harness is held and when Fergus turned it twisted and jolted my neck and shoulder, I also suffered a sprained hip and knee again from being twisted.
What happened to you in the weeks after the attack?
In the first weeks after the attack I suffered flashbacks and nightmares, I was having 4-5 nightmares a night. I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing the attacking dog at Fergus’ throat and I could still hear Fergus’ screaming and yelping.
How was Fergus after the ordeal?
Fergus wasn’t allowed to work after the attack due to his injuries and he would need to have an assessment to see if he would work again. 10 days after the attack the decision was made for Fergus to be withdrawn from service for a month or two and then have a full assessment and for him to go and stay with his boarders during this time, though if he passed his assessments he would not come back to work in this area. So that was it I lost my guide dog which meant I lost my independence and the freedom to go out on my own (without human assistance) when I wanted to. I can’t take my son to school on my own, I can’t pop to the shops or go to vital appointments on my own I have to rely on someone to take me.
How has this affected yoo life?
I have become depressed and losing my confidence, I’m also having panic attacks. If my husband leaves me at home whilst he goes out I have to be locked in as I don’t feel safe anymore.
I am back on the waiting list for another guide dog and hoping that I won’t have to wait too long for a replacement.
Thank you Kay for your honesty. So pals there you have it the effects and utter devastation left by an out of control dog and the knock on effect it can have. Next week I will be intervooing Fergus and exploring how this has affected him. Fur now be safe and THINK.
Lots of wuv