Last week I met a pet store manager who’d been bitten on the face by a dog. Her name is Rayne and she is very shaken up from the incident – feeling like her lifelong trust in animals is now in question.
It happened when a customer came looking for advice on her 160-pound bullmastiff. She said the customer told her: “My dog is pulling us down the street and he’s out of control.”
Rayne suggested a no-pull harnass and offered to fit one onto the dog, who seemed fine with the situation.
“He was still wagging his tail, still panting, happy, just overall looked like a friendly dog. So I go down, I put my hand on the front of his chest, pulled the strap up, and went to do the adjustment,” she said. “Then I turned around and heard the growl. At first I thought he’d just hit me to knock me out of the way – but then, after a second or two, my face hurt so badly, and I fell to the ground.”
Rayne went to hospital for stitches and was back at work ASAP, with only eight hours of time off due to the injury. She and her staff got more information on the history of the dog – who was sent back to rural Alberta, where it had been staying up til recently. He was not trained and had only been in Vancouver for a few days when the incident happened.
I asked what, if anything, she might do differently in the future.
“I would probably get more background on why the dog was pulling. I would ask if the dog had ever been aggressive, and, if so, I would ask the owner to muzzle the dog while I’m performing my duties or get the people to do it themselves,” Rayne said. “You never, ever know. The friendliest dog that you’ve known for 10 years could get scared and could attack you.”
Check out Learn to Speak Dog and Teach Your Kids for more information on staying safe around dogs.