I’ve had to go away a couple of times, and since Hector is nearly always sick in the car, I don’t like to take him far to be looked after.
As the two dogs can keep each other company, and two dogs are quite an imposition on someone else’s home, I put them in the local SPA for boarding (pension).
It’s not something I’d do for a long period though.
I’m hoping that soon we’ll have got on with our renovations enough so that we if we need to go away for several days, we can offer the place to family and friends to take a holiday and look after the dogs at the same time.
Hope they take us up, as each time the dogs stay at the pension they come back with fleas.
I then have to spend hours each following day cleaning the dogs and the house.
I prefer to use natural flea control where possible, which around the house is hoovering, sometimes putting salt on the floor, mopping, essential oils, and on the dogs it’s combing and spraying with watered down essential oils. And it works.
But next time I think I’ll have to give the dogs tablets so that any flea alighting on them dies soon after. Not my ideal, but neither is bringing fleas back home on two dogs’ bodies.
The first time we took them to board, there was also a minor incident.
One of the volunteers inadvertently let a dog out of one of the enclosures as ours were being shown to theirs, whilst dogs in cages barked all around – so not a stress free environment. The freed dog came storming up to Hector and he, thinking he was under attack, sunk his teeth into the dog and held it for a few seconds (which always seems like a much long time).
Now, ours didn’t attack, nor did he shake his head or try to rip. He stood still, just wanting to make sure that he wasn’t going to be attacked then released.
There was a little blood, though.
There seemed to be a vet there at the same time and she and the woman running the place both said it was nothing.
As Hector is an adult rescue dog, we don’t know what his normal reactions are, but as he is perfectly fine with us and patient and gentle with the indefatigable puppy, I feel that an incident that happened shortly after we got him is mostly to blame.
I was walking Hector on his own (taking them both at the same time isn’t easy), and all was fine until we came across another dog and walker at a corner of the dirt road – the trees having obscured each of us up to that point.
The owner came up to me to tell me that his dog often aggresses other dogs – all the time whilst his dog was not on a lead and was going up to Hector who was standing still – and as he was telling me this, his dog did exactly that.
It was mercifully brief, but only because Hector quickly sunk his teeth into the ear of the dog and wouldn’t let go.
And he really wouldn’t let go for a while. Quite rightly, as the other dog would probably have aggressed him again.
There was a little blood.
The other owner became upset, but I reminded him that it was his dog who started it and mine was only defending himself.
After a little while (seemed long but was actually quite quick) and some flapping around of hands by the other owner, (who also slapped me in the process), the ear was released.
The owner then changed his stance, saying that it may be good for his dog to realise that this can happen to him and that my dog just wouldn’t accept the behaviour.
We left it at that, but I feel that this incident caused the one at the kennels.
OK, they’re not major incidents, but now I’m worried about what Hector might do when we next come across a dog.
Hector had previously met a neighbour’s dogs in passing and there was not the slightest indication of a problem, but if Hector is now wary about being attacked, that may not be the case next time he sees them – and they often come out of their drive on to the road barking.
Sometimes the owner’s worry can be picked up by the dog, however much you try to suppress it, which could make the dog nervous – and knowing that possibility makes me nervous… and so it goes round.
And that worry is down to this man and his stupid behaviour.
He knew his dog was aggressive, so he should, at the minimum, have tried to put it back on the lead instead of let it go up to my dog,
I’m all for letting dogs have a good run and sniff around, so if he doesn’t want to keep his on the lead the whole time, then he should walk him with a muzzle on him.
Perhaps the owner’s behaviour is why he has an aggressive dog (although I find the breed of spaniel he has to be quite bad tempered generally) – I’ll explain…
…we came across the duo again today.
This time the man’s dog was at least on a lead (although no muzzle).
However, since we are in a spot in the countryside where hardly anyone goes and away from roads, mine was off the lead. I tried calling Hector back but he, unusually as he’s normally quite responsive, wasn’t taking any notice. He saw or smelt the dog and ran along the dirt track to where they were approaching. Hector then stopped, waiting for them, in a slightly stooped position – I would say this was not a relaxed stance although not an aggressive one either, but it was one where anything could happen,
This stupid man kept approaching Hector with his dog.
I called out to him to stop so that I could get mine back on the lead, but he didn’t.
He was also holding a large branch in one hand!
Well, I managed to get to Hector just as they passed by. In retrospect, I think Hector would not have attacked or tried to warn off the other dog, but at the time I didn’t know and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
As he passed, the man said sometimes dogs fight when they don’t know each other.
Really? When they fought last time, you think they’re going to be instant friends the second time they meet? And you want to chance that without the other owner’s permission and without the other owner being next to their dog?
I told the man the first time that my dog was recently adopted from a refuge and we didn’t know his history, so the man was taking a particularly cavalier attitude.
What was the man intending to do? Let his dog get close and if his dog attacked again, then beat mine with the branch for defending himself?
Well, if this man ever hits my dog, he will have to fend me off with the branch afterwards!
He wasn’t even holding his dog on a short lead. That is, with a long lead in one hand and branch in other hand, he was not in control of his aggressive dog, nor of the situation.
Thank heaven I was only out walking the one dog.
What made it worse to me was that this man then walked off to his car – which means he doesn’t even live in the immediate vicinity, it’s necessary to make a car drive to get here! Well, if he’s taking a car, there are many, many other and better places for him to go. It’s not like this is the only stretch of countryside – all the villages here are surrounded by it. We’re not even on the way to somewhere. The walk is one where you go down a dirt road by some fields and then have to double-back on yourself.
Yes, this is a rant.
But I do despair about dog owners sometimes.
None of us get everything right all the time, so some understanding or latitude can be appropriate. But some owners seem particularly dense or inconsiderate, and worse, unwilling to learn.
Because of the kennel incident, I’ve warned the dog owning neighbours that if Hector thinks he’s under attack by another dog he will bite, and they seem to be closing their gates a little more often now.
I didn’t like having to say that. It makes it sound like Hector is aggressive when I don’t believe he is. He just defended himself in a frightening confrontation with a bad tempered dog, owned by a stupid man (who perhaps is aggressive to dogs himself), and that gave him his reaction at the kennels.
It’s a shame, because I used to love going for walks (I’ve never come across this man before with Jakez, who I walked every day), I found walks peaceful and almost meditative. Now each time I go there’s always a little worry I’m going to come across this man and dog again and the incident has made me wary of what my dog might do to other dogs.
It will hopefully all settle down in due course and more hopefully the man will drive to one of the many other places he could walk his dog and leave us to our peaceful walks again.