Thursday, June 11, 2009

Miguel the Brave

I was almost done with a blog or two about my lengthy trip back from Canada, but never got a chance to finish and post it before we went out for our evening run to the lottery booth.

On our way back from buying the lottery tickets, we had to stop by Ronco's to pick up some canned cat food (for some reason few stores, including the one near us, are stocking it right now). We had Loco with us, as usual - perched with his front feet on the top of the hood of the cart, with his back feet planted on the floor. My right leg gets propped up against the side post to prevent Loco from tumbling out as Miguel turns the corners. Sometimes I shove Loco down to the floor - if I see a dog that I think will go after us or will trigger Loco, who has an aggressive streak with certain dogs that has no logic attached (at least, no logic that I can figure out). His aggression is a lot of noise and nothing more, but I hate him carrying on and making a scene, so I try to stop it before it gets started by shoving him to the floor. Out of sight, out of mind, is how I approach it.

As we pulled away from Ronco's, I heard some dogs barking and fussing, and then I spotted one running at full speed across the road into the lot on the other side. I prepped Loco to duck as I wasn't sure how many dogs might be involved, but it sounded ominous. It was, but as it turned out, the battle was on the other side of the street, just ahead, and that dog I'd seen running across the road was running for its life.

There was a white-ish male dog about the size of a bulldog and it was biting a large black female. The male was trying to tear the dog apart at the hind end, then under the stomach, then the neck area. Someone was trying to pull the dog free, but the male had a grip and was not letting go. Someone else got a stick and was trying to hit the dog to make him let go. Nothing was working, every time the male let go he just went right back at the female from another angle. The female was screaming and the male just kept attacking.

Miguel pulled over to the side of the road. I did the only thing I knew how to do - I screamed. Miguel went over and tried to hit the dog with a rock. Nothing anyone did was having any effect, it was a horrible scene.

Then Miguel grabbed the male dog by one hind leg, and he just held on and pulled and twisted and the female dog's owner came with a long stick and poked at the dogs, and someone else tried to put a piece of wood in the dog's mouth, and somehow, they got the male off the female dog.

Miguel kept his hold of the dog's back leg and because the dog was still focused on the female, it didn't think to turn on Miguel. Miguel had to tell the woman several times to go away with her dog - she didn't seem to realize that by staying around examining her dog she was risking the male getting away and attacking again. Finally Miguel got through to her and she left with her dog, which I think might have some wounds but seemed like it would be ok in the end. I hope so.

With the female dog gone, there was just Miguel and the male, and he still had hold of the dog by its leg. The dog was trying to get itself sorted out but Miguel kept it off-balance. Then he told me to leave - wanting to get Loco away from the scene in case he lost control of the dog and it came after us.

And so I left, with the last image in my mind of the dog sitting on its haunches and Miguel controlling it by holding it on both sides. I noticed a gaping wound at the dog's neck, like someone had tried to slit its throat.

I got home and dumped Loco inside, taking off his collar and returning on the golf cart to pick up Miguel and/or offer him the collar and leash to control the dog. As I pulled up to the corner, there was no sign of anything, but I did see a guy that I thought had been present during the fight, and so I stopped and asked him what had happened.

Somehow someone found the owner of the dog on the street behind, it had gotten off its rope, and went after the female dog. I mentioned the cut on the dog's throat and the guy said it had been caused by the dog's rope. Might that explain the dog's aggression? It had to be in a ton of pain from that rope cut.

The guy said that the male dog was returned to its owner and Miguel headed home on foot. Of course I missed him because he walked along the lagoon and I was driving on the road.

After talking to the guy I figured I'd just head home and keep an eye out for Miguel, but the golf cart was dead, dead, dead. Sigh. And so I grabbed the bag of cat food and headed home on foot too...following the same route as Miguel - along the lagoon.

Miguel was already home, his clothes splashed with blood, but thankfully none of it was his. I really do not know how he did what he did. I told him he was the bravest person I know, and he commented that he was either brave or crazy, he wasn't sure which. All he knew was that nobody was really doing enough to intervene and that if he didn't do something, the female was likely to be killed in the attack.

Although Miguel more or less shrugged it off, I can tell that he is shaken up. I suspect this was not the first time he has done something like this, but I don't know for sure and it probably has been a long time. I think it is just sinking in what a risk he took - if that dog had turned on him that way nobody would have been able to do anything to help him. I never realized how hard it could be to get a dog to stop attacking - now I know.

The attack was a horrible thing to watch, and the dog being attacked was terrified and in pain. It made me think about organized dog-fights, and I wonder what kind of person can ever possibly think that dog fighting is a fun sport? It's a horrible, cruel event, with animals suffering and sick humans enjoying it. I don't get it. The human race is truly pathetic for many of the stupid things we do on this earth, and the destruction and the suffering we cause.

But there is also the good side of humanity, and tonight I saw several people put themselves at risk in order to save a dog. They are all heros, but tonight Miguel is my #1.


CancunCanuck said...

Wow, what a story, you've made me cry! Miguel is a hero, give him a hug for me. I'm with you, I don't know how anyone could find such a thing entertaining.

Life's a Beach! said...

How horrible. And how brave of Miguel! He never ceases to amaze me! And it does make you understand how people get mauled and sometimes killed by dogs.

KfromMichigan said...

Miguel the hero! I would not want to be near that male dog. Glad hubby made it home safe.

Mic said...

Miquel is absolutely a hero....what a brave and smart guy to know what was the right thing to do.

Jackie said...

Yikes! So glad to hear that Miguel didn’t get hurt. He could have been seriously mauled by that dog.

Islagringo said...

I am constantly shocked that somebody hasn't been seriously hurt or worse here by dogs. There are way too many bull terriers and mixes thereof on this island. And far too many of them to run as they wish. I'm a dog lover for sure, but have no use for this breed or the irresponsible people who own them.

R Johnson said...

I am considering staying at your inn and came across your blog. I have two rescue dogs, both pit mixes, and it really upsets me too that people would ever fight dogs. There are so many ignorant people who think it's the breed of dog, not the owner who ties it up or trains it to be aggressive. I have volunteered with an organization that takes dogs off chains. If you're interested in seeing some of the transformations check it out. lots of videos. It has really shown me it's the crappy owners, not the breed of the dog are the problem.

Sue said...

I'm late getting back to everyone on the comments.

Canuck - hug delivered, followed up by...

Beck - he never ceases to amaze me either!

K - me either, I never had a fear of dogs until I came here.

Mic - I think he's as surprised as anyone that he 'knew' what to do. He acted out of instinct, and got lucky, maybe.

Jackie - he could have been seriously mauled is right. That's why I went back for him - he thought I was crazy to go back until I told him why I went back.

Wayne - I'm not sure if the problem is the breed or how the dogs are treated or the fact that they are out running around, but I agree, it is lucky a person has not been seriously harmed. I hate how they do animal control here, but I am completely in favor of animal control. I am also in favor of animal protection, and would love to see some of those poor dogs on less than a foot of rope freed from their existence. We have a puppy in this condition around the corner - they have taken two dogs away from them but they just keep getting more and then leaving them tied outside on a very short rope. It breaks my heart.

RJ - thanks for that link, it is heart-warming and I can only hope one day we get to that level of caring here. However, the lack of open property on each plot of land makes it very hard to have a dog under proper living conditions - there simply isn't any space to fence in with most lots as they build their houses property line to propery line. Children play in the street for lack of a 'yard' as we know it. Tough situation, for sure.