Sorry it's been awhile since posting. We had an emergency this last week and it halted all of my writing. As you all know, I walk with my dog in our local state park everyday. She is my constant companion and we enjoy our walks. Last Wednesday, as we passed a couple with two large dogs the husband lost control of his dog and it attacked my dog, Chessie. I had her leash wrapped tightly around my hand because we are working very hard on heeling and when the other dog pinned her to the ground it made me bend forward too. The owner grabbed his dog and I tried to pull Chessie away but then he let his dog go again and again the dog grabbed my dog. Then the wife, for some reason, lost control of her dog too which joined the fight and there I stood in the middle of three dogs fighting. I was knocked to the ground at this point by the dogs and my hand opened up and the leash unraveled off of my hand allowing my dog to run away. One of the other dogs chased her. My dog does not like to be away from me, so she had run under a bench to wait for me and the other dog once again pinned her and that is how the owner got a hold of his dog. But at this point my dog ran off into the woods and by the time I caught up to the spot where the bench was she was long gone. Aussies are known for being fast runners, an she is. I quickly called my family, since Chessie will not go to a stranger, and we combed the trails for hours calling for her. She still had her harness and lead attached, so we were fearful she would get caught up on a fallen tree or something in the woods. She was nowhere to be found.
Finally, after four days of searching the woods (there are 1,600 acres in the park) and walking the trails, the state park workers let us know that someone had finally spotted our dog so we were able to pinpoint an exact area to search. Late on Saturday we found her, no harness or leash still on, dirty, but in fairly good shape. She was hungry and tired and her paw pads were worn down from her searching for us. Since then I've had her to the Vet for a check-up, and except for a few scratches and cuts, and a mild infection, she is okay. She is scared to go outside at night now and fearful of being in wide open places so she walks the edge of trees and bushes and the house instead of in the middle of our yard - like a wild animal would. It will take some time to help her feel safe again and I'm not sure yet if she will ever want to walk in the park again. But she is here with us and that is all that matters.
As to the people who couldn't control their dogs, we didn't call the police or do anything to them but we should have. They lied to the state park officials that I had lost control of my dog and never once told them that their dogs attacked. When I talked to the state park workers and told them she was attacked by the dogs, they were very angry at having been lied to because of safety reasons. The campgrounds were full of people, many with children, who could have been hurt by these dogs. If the state park ever did anything about these people, I don't know and don't care. On the first day, right after this happened, the other dog owner said he would be happy to "take care of the problem and make some sort of resolution", meaning pay us off. I told him the only resolution I would accept is finding my dog. He didn't like my answer. He also didn't like it when we confronted him about lying to the state park and not telling them he and his dogs were the cause of my dog running away. I will give him and his family credit for helping to search for our dog that first day, but in the long run that actually did more harm than good. They probably scared her deeper into the woods as she is afraid of strangers if we are not with her. After that first day I just didn't want any more to do with them.
Accidents do happen, but I am a firm believer that if you own very large dogs you should be able to handle them correctly. I always have a heavy harness and heavy leash on my dog so I have control of her at all times. She only weighs 50 pounds so I am able to hold her back if I have to. These people lived under some fairy tale belief that their big dogs were incapable of ever hurting anyone or anything. All dogs, no matter what their size or weight, are capable of attacking another dog or person. I also believe my dog will not attack another person or dog, but I still always have a firm grip on her at all times just in case. It is arrogant to believe your dog will not attack. These people were irresponsible to be in a public place and not have better control of their dogs. I am hoping that by writing this, some people will think twice about believing their dogs are above behaving like a dog.
I do have to add that the State Park officials were very helpful and rode the trails searching for our dog. They let us put a poster up in the office and they told every visitor to keep an eye out for our dog. It was their phone call that helped us narrow our search and enabled us to find Chessie. We are very grateful to them and all the campers at the park who kept an eye out for our dog.
Thanks for letting me share this story and I will try to get back to writing about writing soon.