Saturday, May 23, 2009

Savaged

I feel very sad and very angry at the same time.
On Monday, while out for a walk with my neighbour, a Beauceron (French Doberman) ran up the road out of its house, where it was unattached, and tried to attack my dog. My neighbour had one of those pointy walking sticks with her, and managed to fight it off before it could get its teeth into Porridge. Being a retreiver, Porridge just whimpered pathetically and did nothing! I am petrified of dogs with snarly voices and snappy teeth, so I joined Porridge doing nothing with my mouth open in shock, but at least not whimpering. My neighbour took us further along the road to a beautiful pathway across a long forgotten valley which wound through trees beside a fast running stream. After two hours we arrived back home, my feet hurting but I was delighted with the new path and determined to find it again.
On Wednesday, I set off alone with Porridge. 
Remembering the nasty dog I made some effort to approach the path from the other direction.
You can imagine my horror when the same dog charged out at us, and I realised that its house was at a crossroads and I was on the other road.
It went for Porridge like there was no time to waste, and I screamed blue murder. An elderly man arrived and pulled it off, saying that it belonged to his son. He said he didnt like tying up dogs, and they were thinking of having it put down anyway...
I was upset at this and pointed out very nicely that it was possible to buy fencing to keep it on their property...or even a muzzle. I told him that if he paid my vet's bill and promised to keep it under control in future, I would take it no further and not make an official complaint. (Twice in one week was a bit too much!)
On Friday I called back with the vet's bill (Porridge had to have stitches on her shaved neck, course of antibiotics etc, etc)
Man, son, and grandson were in the garden. No sign of the dog.
Son was very hostile, saying that he didnt like being threatened, and that I could have gone about things in a nicer way. Grandson had been crying for hours he said.
Because he had taken the dog to the vets ...
and had it killed ...
and it was all my fault...

I am ashamed to say that I lost my temper, and explained in vehement French about fences and muzzles. I suppose he wanted someone to blame, an excuse for doing something that he already wanted to do and was ashamed of.

They stared at me in that hostile way and I could hear them thinking "These foreigners come over here walking along our roads as if they own them!"
And with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach I grieved for England in a way I havent done for years.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, how awful.

Hi, I'm a British lurker and just wanted to say that the same thing could have and does happen here.

I'm so sorry about your dog and your experience with your neighbour.

I wouldn't feel bad about the other dog though. Better his grandson was crying over his loss than crying over having his face ripped off by an aggressive doberman eh?

Frankofile said...

Oh Rosie, I'm sure Anon is right. But there do seem to be a lot of neglected/abused dogs in French countryside. Bless Porridge. I hope for both of you the episode can soon be put behind you.

Zhoen said...

I'm so sorry. I feel sorry both for the dog, and the little boy, to have such people supposedly "responsible" for them. They should be ashamed, but they never will be.


I'm sorry Porridge was hurt, especially. But at least she has you.

Owen said...

Gillian, hello, I'm sort of new here, hope you don't mind strangers dropping in. Yours is the second dog horror story I've seen on a blog very recently, the first was by Steve at Bloggertropolis, just a few posts back now. The comments in response to his story were also very pertinent.

http://www.pocketropolis.co.uk/blog/blogger.html

I really can't understand how society in France, England, and Amererica can be so lax about dangerous, vicious dogs. I am a dog lover, but I only love dogs that are well trained, well behaved, and that love people. So I guess my love is conditional. Badly behaved, mean-spirited dogs should be kept on heavy chains behind high fences. And if they get out in public where they can savage children or other animals, in my humble opinion, there is no excuse for that whatsoever... and such beasts should be caught and put down quickly before they harm someone like you or your well behaved dog. Too many of these stories end up in the press after someone ends up mauled or worse. So, it sounds like it is a good thing that your hell-hound is no more.

Just for background, to help explain why your blog caught my eye, I'm originally American, but my wife is from Brittany, and we spend alot of time out there when we can, around Morlaix... the rest of the time we live near Paris.

Rosie said...

anon, the owner said that the dog "protected" his child...
Frankofile, these dogs are a constant menace when you go for a walk in my area. They are never walked, and are very territorial...and usually run free. That is bad enough when they are a small terrier but when they are big and bitey it is a lot worse.
welcome Owen...There is an inference that I am in the wrong for walking over "their" territory that makes me angry.

amy said...

It sounds like you handled it as well as anyone could - you had every right to be angry, just as you have every right to walk your dog without worrying about her (or yourself) being attacked.

Mike said...

Sounds like the (ex-) doberman owner was looking to pass the blame on to someone. It's pretty lame when they can't or won't accept responsibility for their pet's actions. Chances are yours was not the only dog attacked. It's the owner in the wrong, not you or the dogs.

Mrs. Chili said...

Oh, Honey. I'm sorry that had to happen to you (and to Porridge!).

Let me say this loud and clear; NONE of this was YOUR fault. NONE of it. Don't waste another moment of your energy feeling that you had anything to do with this dog's fate; it was doomed the moment that family chose to bring it into their household.

Lucy said...

Bastards bastards bastards.

But what everyone else said is right.

Lucy said...

Just thinking; if we'd been with you, and it had gone for Mol, she could very easily have been killed, since she doesn't have the sense to back off like Porridge. Then that would have been two dead dogs. The bloke wouldn't have abided by your conditions anyway, they never do, so it would only have happened again. He might resort to the 'bloody English coming over here' line, but you can bet he's known to be an unreasonable bastard anyway.

France should be bloody asahamed of how too many of their citizens treat their animals.

Lesley said...

I can't help imagining what would have happened if I had been walking down that road with one of my children.

Rosie said...

amy- that is the sad part. Porridge is ready for a walk but I feel a bit uneasy about going out. These farms are in such lonely places that people think it is alright to let their dogs run wild cos no one ever goes past...
except me
Mike I'm sure he wanted to blame me in front of his little boy.
Mrs Chili I dont exactly blame myself, but it is taking up headspace and frankly I cant see what else I could have done. Change where I walk?
Zhoen missed you before..I am lucky to have Porridge
Lucy I think we had better maintain our walks by the deserted estuary..the fish and birds seem less aggressive
Lesley
Maybe I saved grandson from a grisly fate

jacquiboydalden said...

Hi Rosie, a similar thing happened to our dog about 2 yrs ago. See my post:
http://jacquiboydalden.wordpress.com/2007/03/01/what-a-horrendous-night/, so it doesn't just happen on lonely farm roads.

We eventually found out it was own by a couple with 3 young kids, just 2 doors down from us but they denied it was theirs. Even now after 2 yrs we are wary of any dog that is loose.

Glad that Porridge and yourself were OK abet a bit dented but your should never feel guilty about a rogue dog. For society sake they are best put down. Also the owners should be tagged or something to stop them ever owning an animal again because they are more responsible for the behavior than the dogs.

Suzy said...

Watch out for retribution from the grandson or son. They should have had a choke chain on the dog. I once had to sit on a german Shorthair, pull on his choke (his owner was at least smart)and get him off my Yorkie.

Mouse said...

I could tell countless tales of vicious dogs in France but the worst was the one belonging to former neighbours who terrorised the whole commune and eventually killed the retired and beautiful pony living in the field by my house. That these dogs lived next door to the school filled me with terror!

Rosie said...

Jacqui, what a terrible experience. there seem to be more and more people keeping these sorts of dogs, and they dont train them or care for them properly
Well thanks for that Suzie...I am already scared to go out for a walk...now I am scared to stay at home!
Mouse, I am not going out again till I find my pointy walking stick

Dick said...

I'm late here and it's all been said and then some so I'll just ride along with Lucy's first comment.

I'm no dog lover (and Reuben is phobic!), but I'm looking forward to meeting a repaired Porridge and attached family in July.

Dingo said...

Awww, poor Porridge! I hope she has made a speedy recovery form her injuries.

I'm also feeling so sorry for the dog that was put down due to your lazy neighbors who took no time to train it or exercise it properly. A dog living in a family like that can not have known love and affection. I can't stand dog owners like that. It's always the poor dogs that suffer. I hope that jerk of an owner cannot sleep at night.

A friend of mine living out in the woods of New Hampshire said that their trainer told them not to let their dogs run free in the woods, they can get territorial and protective of the land they roam.

This was not your fault. All the responsibility rests on the owner.

Rosie said...

Dick, noone could remain dog phobic after meeting Porridge. When the vet examined her he said he thought he had found all the wounds, but retreivers are such nice polite dogs, they dont complain if it hurts somewhere!
Dingo, the trainer is right.Dogs shouldnt be allowed to run free or they consider the territory their own, and they should know where they fit into the pack heirarchy...at the bottom!

hexe said...

I am so sorry that you had such an awful experience. Karma has a way of making its way round eventually.

Stuart and Gabrielle said...

Hi, Sorry to hear this news. Before I left Brighton my mum and stepfather came to stay bringing their adorable black lab. On the golf course behind the house for his first walk a large Japanese fighting dog sprinted towards them, his owner a distant figure. It pinned Billy to the floor and tore at this throat. Terry who loved the dog more than anyone kicked the aggressor in the nuts as hard as he could (in his ex fire service steel toe capped wellies!) and it hardly flinched. Darling Billy needed stitches and a £400 later returned from the vets. The owner was nowhere to be found and the dog warden was scandalously uninterested. It's not just in France. Best wishes to you all. G

Mike said...

So sorry to read about this (even though I came to it late).

My wife loves walking and is always worried about run ins with dogs. She has had several encounters with irate owners who somehow seem to think it is her fault that their dogs are unruly.

I think as pet owners, we have to be responsible for our animals. If they are not well-behaved, we need to keep them on a strong leash or behind a sturdy fence and we ALWAYS have to be resonsible for them.

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