Saturday, June 27, 2009
The thing about pitbulls is that they really do bite, cliché’ it seems, like Stephen King’s morphed Cujo. This I experienced firsthand recently. While many insist pits are misunderstood, the reasons why an unprovoked pit will bite and a lab in the same situation just wags its tail is too disturbing for an easy answer.
I don’t ask for drama. I don’t welcome traumatic events. I don’t relish anything about victimhood. Yet, there I was. A UPS man had delivered a package to the wrong address and instead of calling the company and going through all of that, I decided to drop it off on my way home. It was sunny and warm, a typical shorts wearing day. It was late afternoon and this neighborhood, with all manicured lawns, was very quiet.
Grasping the package and starting up the driveway, a yellow lab appeared from the house next door. Friendly lab, no big deal. But the silence caught my attention and out from behind one of the trucks parked next door, a brindle, stout male pitbull, tail straight up, stood in a crouch. He was going to jump me. As instinct, I turned to protect my throat. The pit attacked my left calf. He bit down, punctured it, chewed. I thought that was how I was going to die, torn apart, closed casket guaranteed. And then for some unknown reason he let go. He retreated to his place on his porch, and I to my car.
Trying to prevent even more blood from dripping onto the carpet while dialing the police, I kept saying to myself, “He bit me. A pitbull bit me.” Why? The lab didn’t need lunch. It could have been worse. Stitches wouldn’t be required. A pitbull bit me.
I know about dogs with bad reputations. I used to have a Doberman pinscher. When walking him, people would make an arch to avoid him. I loved that dog. Did I think he would bite unprovoked? So I’m not unsympathetic. But pitbull owners have a responsibility to deal with this issue. Yet does this world need even the possibility of intact male pitbulls escaping from their yards? Pits are misunderstood? I can’t reconcile this.
Especially with what happened next. A friend of the owner arrived, argued with me until I showed him my bloody leg. He called the owner and then proceeded to unload fishing poles from his truck with the dog following him, off leash, with a ball in his mouth. I waited in my car for animal control and the owner to appear, in the heat, my windows rolled down just enough for air but not enough for an irrational pitbull to jump through. I hate being a victim. It ruins a perfectly fine day.
Animal control took the dog for a 10 day mandatory quarantine. The owner couldn’t believe his pit would bite. And I, sigh, had to go to yet another doctor at least 3 times so far, for a tetanus shot, wound cleaning, antibiotics, an injection of an antibiotic and more antibiotics. I am feeling uncertain about going out looking from side to side for something to appear. It’s the look you get when faced with an experience where all control has vanished: the jeep driver who thinks he can blow a stop sign, the restaurant that allows their food to sit out too long to grow bacteria and then serve it, the ones who think it can all be undone with a little doggie treat.