A Dog Fight at a Dog Park

28 01 2013

I love my dogs so much. Some may think it’s not normal but I’m not really seeing children of my own in my future so my dogs ARE my family. I’ve taken hundreds (probably thousands) of pictures of them and will probably take thousands more. I talk about my dogs like people talk about their children. I enjoy spending time with them, teaching them new tricks and spoiling them with special dinners and fun toys. My life is a lot happier when there is a dog in it.

I think I’m more amazed that I can still be amazed at the stories I come across about dogs; their loyalty and never-ending love, their will to survive, their forgiving hearts, their amazing talents and their instinctual behavior that causes them to perform life-saving feats that sometimes make the headlines. I can never get enough and there always seems to be something new popping up.

Yesterday, I caught myself in a state of amazement once again.

BFFs

BFFs

We took my Pit Bull and her sidekick Boxer mix sister to the dog park on Sunday, a ritual we’ve started since the first of this year. This is my first Pit Bull and I’ve spent the past 4 years learning all that I can about them. Even though she’s been around other dogs her entire life, she’s had a few squabbles, which leave more of a negative impact on me than the dogs because they always sound so horrible and scary. I don’t want to see my cute, sweet baby girl showing her teeth and scrapping until blood is drawn. I don’t want to see any dog getting hurt.

Needless to say, I was a little hesitant about bringing her to the dog park. When I had my Shepard/Rottie mix, I didn’t think twice about the dog park. Maybe I was naïve or inexperienced. I never had a problem or was traumatized by any dog fights all those times we went. But with my Pit Bull, it was different. Maybe because I’ve heard a lot of negative things about Pit Bulls or that I know what they are capable of if not trained or conditioned properly. They are very smart dogs with amazing strength, but then again, so are a lot of other types of dogs.

Dog parks, although an excellence place for exercising and socializing your dogs, can be scary. As a Pit Bull owner, I’m very aware of other people and dogs around. I’ve trained my girl a certain way but I don’t know how anybody else trains their own dogs. I’ve overheard people say that their dog doesn’t get along with this type of dog or that type of dog but they still bring them into the park. I was a little nervous at first but the more we went, the prouder I was of the way they behaved.

My Pit Bull simply likes for me to throw the Frisbee the entire time. She’ll check out a dog or two and sometimes checks up on her sister but for the most part it’s just her and I and the Frisbee at that park. She loves that there is a lot more room for her to run, jump up and catch the flying disc. She pays no attention to the other dogs for the most part.

Backyard Fun

My Boxer mix on the other hand must meet and greet every dog that comes into the park or is already in there. I noticed her playing kissy face and following around this beautiful male Blue Pit. I have to watch her a little more carefully because she is still young and energetic and sometimes tries to play with the grumpy dogs. Maybe she likes a good challenge. Truth is, she would rather be playing with the little dogs next door but settles for running up and down the fence between the big dog section and the little dog section chasing the fast rascals that are brave enough to race her.

So I was throwing the Frisbee around and my Pit was showing off her skills. All of the sudden this older Lab mix and another Pit Bull get into a fight. The grisly sounding barks and growls caught the attention of the other dogs which gathered around and watched, kind of like us humans sometimes do. Owners grabbed their dogs one by one so they wouldn’t join in. The two dogs went at it for a few seconds and I noticed my Pit Bull watching real close. So many thoughts went through my mind. It’s hard not to get involved in a fight because I love these dogs and I don’t want to see any of them getting hurt.

I clenched the leash tightly in my hand and wanted to make it over to my dog who was on the other side of the fighting dogs. At this point even though the Lab mix was the fight instigator, the Pit Bull had strength and youth on his side and was now dominating the fight on top of the Lab. Before I could even take a step towards my baby girl she jumped in on the back of the Pit Bull and straddled him from behind. Yes, it looked like she was going to hump him and my anxiety immediately escalated because this dog was pissed off already and in fight mode.

I see her wrap her front paws around his backside with a tight grip. She didn’t bark or growl or even hump. I didn’t notice that crazy look in her eyes like when she’s tried to hump her sister. She actually started to drag him off of the Lab. It worked for a second and distracted him from further attacking the Lab allowing the owners extra time to retrieve their dogs and break up the fight. I saw the Pit Bull quickly snap back at my dog but then just as quickly turned back to the Lab. At that point I was able to grab my Pit’s collar and pull her away from the fight. I was holding on to her collar so tight before I realized that she was fine. She wasn’t barking or growling or trying to get in on the action. She was actually a lot calmer than I was.

The fight was stopped and both owners held on to their dogs. Immediately the other Pit settled down once his owner had control over him. The Lab had some injuries to his tail and leg that looked pretty bad and was whimpering a little. My heart went out to that dog and his owners who were a little shaken up by the scene. They carried him out of the park and took him to the vet where I’m sure he was taken care of.

My Boxer mix was already leashed and taken out of the park as a safety precaution and I was considering going home at that point because I was emotionally exhausted after that. Nobody good wants to see their dogs fight like that.

I couldn’t leave though. It didn’t seem fair. Both of my dogs acted great. The Boxer noticed the confrontation but obeyed the commands to leave the area without a fuss. My Pit actually tried to do what I couldn’t do and jump in to stop the fight. I watched her assess the situation, act on it with bravery and strength and backed down when I commanded. She actually grabbed the other Pit from behind and tried to pull him away from attacking the Lab. It was like she knew what they were doing was wrong and was trying to help make the situation right. All she walked away with was a couple of scratches but didn’t seemed phased one bit.

Afterwards we ran into the other Pit Bull owner who was upset about what happened. Upset that people immediately started making comments about Pit Bulls and his dog had never been in a fight before. He stuck around and offered the owners of the Lab any assistance but they had bolted quickly.

My Pit and his Pit gave each other bloody nose kisses and were very calm and collective. You wouldn’t have thought at all that these dogs were just in a fight a few minutes prior.

I decided that since we hadn’t been there very long it wasn’t fair to punish the dogs for behaving properly by taking them home when all they really wanted to do was play. We brought them back inside the park and let them play for another hour until they were both exhausted.

Smiles

I’m still in awe of my Pit. She is amazing to me. And to top it off she has a heart of gold which makes me the proudest mother around!

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