I’ve always told people that dog fights rarely involve serious injury – most of them are just noise and posturing and some wrestling.
I had to remind myself of that the other day when a dog, who looked like a cross between the Mastiff from The Sandlot and Cthulu, picked up my Beloved Dog and dangled him in the air by his neck.
There’s a shut-down school near where I live, and all the dog owners in the area use the old field by the playground as an informal off-leash park.
I like to take Beloved Dog and little Owl out there after work, it if isn’t dark by the time we get home.
There’s often another dog or two around, but it’s a big field so there usually isn’t a lot of interaction. Some bum-sniffing, posturing, and that’s it.
This massive dog was retrieving a ball the size of a beach ball for its owner, and the dogs mostly ignored each other until a toss of the huge ball took the dog near Beloved Dog.
Now, Beloved Dog has a bit of a small man complex around big male dogs, but he’s usually quite good with girls, and this dog, while humongous, was female. So all he did was walk up to her daintily, tail in the air, and politely stick his nose in her taint.
The dog, who was probably named Cerberus or something, whirled around, grabbed him by the neck, and hoisted him up in the air while he screamed bloody murder. For once, he was involved in a fight that wasn’t his fault.
I was a good thirty feet away and I didn’t react immediately. I was partially surprised because big dogs are usually less aggressive, not more, because when you weigh over 100 pounds, how threatened can you be by… well, anything?
Besides, like I said, most dog fights are a whole lot of nothing and getting excited just makes things worse. But Cerberus didn’t let go, and the owner began to panic and try to pry her jaws open and she wouldn’t let go.
I started to think about the exceptions to my dog-fights-don’t-cause-damage claim, like someone I know whose small puppy was killed at a dog park. From all accounts it sounded more like a mistaken-prey situation than a real dog fight; the killer dog treated the poor puppy like a squirrel or rabbit.
I also know an ex-service dog who tried to RETRIEVE someone’s sheltie, with disastrous results.
My sheltie was still dangling. Still screaming.
I started to run.