Something Happened

Since starting this blog, I’ve worked hard to keep it honest.  Living with 12, excuse me, 13, dogs has its ups and downs, and we have been blessed that most of what is reported are ups, and our downs really aren’t that far down.

I considered the possibility of saying nothing about what happened last week, but if I didn’t that would make this entire blog a lie.  So here goes:

We had a serious dog fight.  Not a tussle as happens in any home with multiple dogs, easily stopped with a “Knock it off!”,  but one so serious the vet said had I not broken it up, Willy may have been killed.

Here’s the thing:  I didn’t break it up.  I was making a salad in the kitchen, and when I was done, I let the kids in.  Willy came in bloody.  I heard no fight.  I heard no screams.

I’ve written and re-written this entry so many times since last week, but I couldn’t get it below 2000 words, and, well, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t sit through that much reading with no pictures, so here’s the cliff notes:

We are lousy parents to a Hoard of great kids.

It was our fault that we never insisted the kids ‘go outside’ in an orderly fashion, especially when Vito the Wolf, Slugger the Stupid, Angus the Flirtatious and Sweet William the Moody had shown in the past a propensity to try to instigate a rumble if the humidity, temperature and wind speed/direction were just so.

A new dog next door, running along the fence + a large Hoard of wild misfits running at top speed + a physical bottleneck at the far end of the property apparently ended up in a may lay.  What started as separate “Get off me!” scuffles turned into a several against one (Willy).  Nothing displeasing happens in Willy world that doesn’t have him shrieking like a little girl, the shrieking in this instance caused the others to go “pack” on him since they were all already agitated.

The incident occurred far enough away from the house that I heard nothing.  I wasn’t there, as the vet assumed, to break it up.  No, for whatever reason, the kids, despite an initial “pack”  reaction, simply stopped and let Willy up.   That my kids are the best is clearly evident in the fact they realized they took it too far, and on their own, where according to the vet any other dog(s) wouldn’t have, stopped it.

Back to the bad parenting part.  I don’t care how good my kids are, how they leave the house is incredibly important.  To have always let them barrel out, no pun intended, Willy Nilly, in obvious retrospect, was completely and totally irresponsible on our part.

To me, their actions leaving the house that day was ‘normal’ so I thought nothing of it.  The wildcard new dog was not normal.  Of course our kids are going to want to see what’s up with the new kid on the block.  That they did it as a very large pack caused the newbie to flee along the fence.  The Hoard took chase, and eventually ended up in the one spot in our yard where space is limited causing a pile up.  Thus, the fight.

Had the kids been disciplined to leave the house in an orderly fashion,  there would have been no stampede.  Indeed, I would have noticed the ‘lead dogs’ going toward the new one, and would have had the intelligence to have observed rather than simply shut the door and go about making a salad, oblivious to the disaster occurring outside.

Willy is OK.  He got messed up pretty bad though.  We immediately went to the most wonderful vet in the world (ding! ding!) Dr. Kirsten Young at Daisy Mountain Animal Hospital, Anthem, AZ, where Willy received a necessarily bad haircut to expose his injuries, the worst of which needed staples.   That first night was sleepless for both of us, but Willy’s recovery was much faster and easier than I was warned to expect.  On Monday, he will return to the vet to have his staples removed.

Angus, Slugger, Emmi and Morty all had marks from the incident, the little ones, Gracie, Sarah, Maude and Marcy, thankfully, were all unscathed.

The following is a video posted as my penance, forever on the Internet, to remind me that it doesn’t matter how much I love my kids or that I would walk through fire repeatedly for any one of them, laziness on my part almost cost me the boy who loves me the most.

There is a second purpose to the video as well.  I want everyone to see what can happen over something as simple as undisciplined exiting of the house.  Such a little thing that can have devastating results.  Don’t let this happen to you.

Please forgive the blips into dog porn in this video taken the day after the fight.  Part of the time I was recording I wasn’t actually looking at the screen.  I really should have edited in a fig leaf at a couple of spots.


23 thoughts on “Something Happened

  1. Thank you for a truly honest reflection . . .you inspire me. With my four, I need to be better about entering/exiting. Writing this took courage, grace and honesty . . .thank you.

    1. There were 2 ways of looking at it:

      1. I could have said nothing and lead people to believe events like this never happen. This could cause someone else to go a little irrational on number of dogs believing it’s always butterflies and rainbows. If a serious incident resulted, it would be as much my fault as the supervising human’s because I knew it could happen, but said nothing.


      2. After reflecting on cause and effect, and clearly identifying the cause, perhaps my epiphany (overly excited dogs stampeding out the door continue to act as a stampede at least for a few minutes) will make others go “hmmm…” and prevent this from happening to them.

      Better to come clean than gloss reality.

  2. Not a perfect world! Dogs fight sometimes – it does not all come down to you. These two should not be “alone” together, but you know that. It is tough to manage so many animals. They are beautiful, healthy and very dear in the video. Best good wishes to you and these beauties!

    1. It wasn’t 2, it was the group acting as a pack. If the pack was controlled exiting the house, the excitement level would not have been as high when they saw the new dog, and it certainly wouldn’t have resulted in 13 moving rapidly in the same direction into the bottle neck. Point being, the calamity wasn’t an isolated event, but a series of events that started due to our not controlling how the kids exit the house.

      Since we have put down some pretty rigid rules, and despite the same new dog running the same path along the fence, we have not had the stampede, and no problems. We just can’t get lazy in the future, lest one or more of the kids suffer because of our stupidity.

  3. Poor Wiley. What a brave soul. No matter how we see them, dogs are dogs. And if we forget, we are reminded – sometimes painfully. You are very good parents who had a bad day. And to deal with it so honesty may save someone else from the same. Hugs to Wiley…and to you too.

    1. Well said. I call them kids, but they are still dogs. We are truly blessed that they pulled back on their own rather than taking it to a very tragic end.

      Hindsight is always better than 20/20. That Willy was only hurt and not worse gives me leeway to live and learn. If it happens again, it would be unforgiveable.

  4. I am so glad that William is recovered – What a scary things to happen. I think bad parenting would have meant that they would not have stopped and not realised that perhaps they have gone too far and William could have suffered really serious damage – or worse. Things happen and where 12 (sorry , 13) dogs are concerned “things” will happen, but now that you have are aware of another trigger, this one is unlikely to happen again. Yes what happened was serious, but, truthfully, I think you are beating yourself up too much.

    1. Angus snake bite, Hector’s attack by a coyote (that resulted in a coyote being attacked by Hector and his 2 chi brothers) and now this. IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK that I have better foresight than hindsight? Nay I say!

      House Exiting Procedures are currently being drilled with the kids. This particular blunder should not happen again. Indeed, we are much better already when the new dog on the neighbor property tries to get the kids going from the other side of the fence. Truth be known, I would like the neighbor to get a few more dogs, really rowdy ones, so we can drill our kids to learn to gently greet or ignore them altogether.

  5. Awww, poor Willy. Hope his injuries are all better soon. But I agree with edgar62 that you’re being too hard on yourself. It took me over a year to get my one little Schnauzer to leave the house without hurling himself 2 feet up at my glass front door (!), so lord knows how you’d go about training 12 (sorry, 13!) dogs to exit the house nicely. And you can’t watch them 24/7. It must have been terrifying for you though to see him covered in blood 😦 . Bertie sends him some gentle licks and I send get well soon cuddles x

    1. Human stupidity is human stupidity. To recognize that is to make corrections for the future. Denial keeps the door open for more disasters.
      Not being hard on myself at all. It is what it is. Human stupidity. Keep the reminders close so I don’t revert to the same stupidity in the future.

      The vet gave me a lot of fire and brimstone on what to expect during Willy’s recovery. Aside from the first night, he has acted completely normal, as if he doesn’t hurt at all. I thank Willy a lot for that.

      In my newest and ramped up level of over protective paranoia, I have asked Crabby what it would take to put Nanny cams in all rooms so he (I don’t have access to a computer during the day) can check to make sure the kids are OK when we’re at work . So yes, it IS possible to watch them 24/7! 🙂

    1. What bothers me the most… his tail never stopped wagging. The least he could have done was look at me with accusing eyes, but no, he just got more cuddly. That boy has been a walking train wreck ever since he moved in. From the scars he had from back in the mother country, he was a train wreck there too. I need to invent a Willy sized, bubble wrapped hamster ball for him so he can be safe!

  6. I have to agree with everyone else: you are being too hard on yourself. Everyone could have exited nicely and the new dog could have made an appearance 5 minutes afterward and the result would have been the same. Fights WILL happen when you have more than one, even under “perfect” circumstances. Sending Willy and you healing energy and Love.

    1. Not that I’m being overly paranoid (I would NEVER 🙂 ) but when the kids are out, I check for neighbor dog now. If he’s out, I stay with the kids. It’s a learning/training opportunity to get The Hoard to settle down already!

  7. I admire your honesty in reflecting on the incident. It happens to all of us, and things like this serve as a much-needed reminder. Thankfully Willy will be ok. One of our pit bull mixes attacked my German shepherd when he was a puppy, and left a puncture through his upper lip. She’s always been a cranky dog, but we never thought she would take it so far, and attack a puppy! Especially since, oddly enough, she loves kittens. But now he has a small scar, and we’re very careful with letting them out into the yard in shifts.

  8. A much needed reminder indeed! Willy the Moody, because of his emotional problems (bad start in life in Afghanistan) is medicated. We tried to wean him, but some of his destructive behaviors started to come back so we are back on the pills. Of all the kids, he is the one I am most over protective about. I am starting to wonder if my worry is the problem…..

  9. {Sigh} It wasn’t too long ago I wrote a post all too similar to this. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. I have only three and this happened to me…you are doing an amazing job to handle THIRTEEN! We all make mistakes, sh*t happens, but in the end please don’t be so hard on yourself (though the fact that you are, is further proof that you are in fact a most excellent mother!) I beat myself up like crazy after my girls got in a fight but in the end, just like yours, they stopped before they took it to the point of no return which I believe is further proof we both have pretty great dogs. The whole pack mentality is a crazy, delicate, thing and something I am now hyper aware of. I am so glad Willy is going to end up okay!!! You learned a tough lesson (just like I did!) but in the end, he will be fine and the pack will return to normal, and you will never let this happen again. Now give yourself a break!

    1. People misunderstand… had my boy been lost, THEN you would see me hard on myself. To admit and acknowledge the cause, that is simple honesty.

      Yes, we (you included) have pretty great kids when they know they have gone to far and stop on their own. I’ve heard stories about others that haven’t. Hug your girls! They’re pretty special 🙂

    1. It may be the drugs, but he was pretty Willy like on day 2. He’s off pain killers, except for the anti-inflammatories now, and gets his staples removed tomorrow.

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