I noticed a woman walking a Bull Mastiff that was not muzzled and was wearing a small collar. As they got closer, the large dog took three leaps towards Texas. She did not bark or growl. There was no indication that she was about to attack. She was no match for the woman who was walking her and pulled away easily causing her owner to fall. Molly, the large dog, grabbed Texas so quickly I did not have a moment to pick him up out of harm’s way. He was in the mouth of this dog who violently shook him for a full five minutes. Molly’s head was the size of my Texas. I did everything humanly possible to release her hold. I screamed so loudly that I damaged lung tissue and was feeling ill. I kicked her several times but she would not release little Texas. Finally, I gave her a hard kick to the groin and she dropped him.
Within moments, my husband approached us in the truck and I yelled at him to open the tailgate as Texas had been attacked. I picked up my mangled little buddy and didn’t know if he would live or die.
We assessed very quickly what happened and realized the woman with the Bull Mastiff was swiftly walking away. I ran after her and confronted her about the dog. The woman claimed the dog was not hers. She was walking it for her uncle who was in Hawaii. I knew that we had an emergency on our hands but had the presence of mind to ask the woman to call my cell phone so that I would have a record of the phone number. The woman was reluctant but I can be very convincing. She did not even offer an apology and was trying to move swiftly away.
We were about five miles from the closest veterinary hospital and drove as fast as possible, blowing the horn and flashing our lights. I called a friend to alert the hospital we would be arriving.
Two compassionate gentle nurses attended to Texas. They were amazed at how calm he was but alarmed at his condition.
It took about an hour to assess the damage and we had to make a decision. It appeared that no organs were affected which was a determining factor in our decision. The doctor said the only thing that saved his life was his fat.
This is a dog that spent the first 12 years of his life as a stud (27 litters) and he also had a full time job running the horses out to pasture each morning and bringing them home at night. He had been kicked many times by the horses but always knew he was in charge.
I looked my husband in the eye and asked if we should say good-bye. My mother-in-law had died three weeks earlier and Texas was my husband’s best friend. We could not say good-bye yet.
The tears on his back extended the width of his body and his skin was ripped away causing extensive damage. His leg and shoulder were severely torn open and one of his teeth was broken off. We determined that he got one good bite into his attacker.
Texas was our little buddy and I was heartbroken. He just stared at me, obviously in shock and certainly confused and scared.
Prior to doing the surgery, the vet told us that Texas would probably not handle more than one and a half hours of surgery due to his age, so he couldn’t make any promises. Surgery lasted three and one half hours. The doc said that his blood pressure or heart rate never elevated and he could not believe how healthy he was for a 15 year old dog. He said Tex had more stitches than any animal he had worked on. Instead of using staples, he individually tied each of the 150 stitches to help avoid infection. The hospital stayed in close contact with me through the evening.
When I picked him up the next morning, there were no guarantees if he would make it. For the next three weeks, my husband slept with him on the sofa, changing his bandages every hour as there was so much drainage. He was on strong pain killers and I was glad he was not in pain.
When he went in for his check-up we were told that they would have to do another surgery as most of the skin on his back had died from the damage and they would have to cut it away and restitch him. This surgery lasted close to two hours. Another three weeks of sleeping with him and nursing him 24/7.
We sent kudos to the hospital in the local paper and five people came forward whose dogs were attacked by the same dog and each time the owner ran away. No one had been able to get any contact information previously. I was determined these people would pay for the vet bills and they did, to the tune of $7,000. I gave each of the other people, whose dogs had been attacked by this same dog, the owner’s contact information.
The newspaper in our town had a photo contest of the best kiss on Valentine’s Day. I just couldn’t resist and submitted the attached photo and won second prize. Within a few months, Texas was back to running and enjoying life. He seems to understand the importance of living life to it’s fullest. In some ways, he seems younger than ever. That was almost 2 years ago and he is still as active.
We know the time is approaching that we will have to say good-bye to our little buddy as he is 17 now, but I am so glad we made the decision to give him these extra years. I also know that his incredible state of health from being on a raw food diet helped saved his life. (see my post on “Number 1 Reason not to Feed your Best Friend Commercial Pet Food”)