This is the story of Rosie, a lovely Boston Terrier that I have had the privilege to know for many years. This May Rosie’s owner went on vacation and left her with her parents while she was gone. As thoughtful babysitters they took her out for a walk in Palmer Park, appropriately leashed as required by law. From out of nowhere a black Pit Bull came charging up the hill and jumped on Rosie, doing his very best to disembowel her. Rosie’s caretaker started, at great risk to himself, to try to kick and fight the dog off of Rosie, employing some choice words in the process. A girl came up the hill after the pit bull, and apparently unconcerned that her dog was actively trying to eviscerate Rosie, she screamed at Rosie’s defender that she was only fourteen years old and should not be subjected to hearing such language. The commotion attracted the two young men who were also with the dog. They managed to call the dog off, and then demonstrated what caring, upstanding citizens they were by running away so that they wouldn’t have to suffer any consequences for their irresponsibility.
Rosie’s caretakers had more important things to worry about, like whether Rosie survive long enough to make it to the vet, so they let the Pit Bull’s owners go. I know that the culprits will never have to pay for their stupidity, but just in case they are out there yukking it up in the back yard while downing brewskys and reminiscing about how they just barely got away that time that ole Killer almost tore that little black and white dog to pieces, I would sincerely hope that someone reads this article to them so that they can know what happened to Rosie after they fled.
Rosie lay in our hospital for about a week getting IV fluids, antibiotics, and the strongest pain medication we could give her. She still didn’t want to eat or even sit up. She had some minor skin lacerations, but was too unstable to anesthetize to repair them. Near the end of the week she rallied enough to be sent home on oral medications.
Rosie returned about four days later feeling crummy and smelling like a corpse that had been laying in the sun for a week. All the tissue that had been severely damaged in the attack had looked normal initially, but the blood supply had been damaged to most of the skin and musculature along her left side, and now that devitalized tissue had literally started to rot. Rosie underwent four hours of surgery to remove the dead tissue and to try to pull normal skin over the damaged area. She was still left with a hole from the middle of her ribs to the middle of her hind leg that could not be closed.
The next day instead of feeling better Rosie looked worse. The toxins released by the removal of all that dead tissue were triggering her body to destroy its own red blood cells, a situation that would very likely become fatal. We gave her a transfusion, but I didn’t think it was likely that she would survive the night.
The next morning, to everyone’s great joy, Rosie was not only feeling better, she was standing up and eating a little. It has been a long road from there, but Rosie continues to improve every day. With frequent bandage changes and lots of TLC Rosie looks less like something out of a horror movie and more like the dog we all knew. She tolerates all her treatments with great patience. I was almost sad to turn her over to her owners for the next few months of bandaging at home because we will miss seeing her daily progress and her sweet personality. They have promised to bring her back when she has finished healing, which will probably be sometime in August.
Denver uses incidents like these to support ridiculous legislation like breed bans. It just so happens that the attacker in this case was a Pit Bull, but it could just as well have been a mixed breed or a Golden Retriever. Saying that Pit Bulls should be banned because they are all vicious killers is like saying that women should not be allowed to vote because they are all too emotional and incapable of rational thought. I see many Pits in my practice who are loving, gentle dogs, and to rip them away from their responsible families would be a crime.
What we really need is an irresponsible owner ban. That is the thinking behind leash laws, which not only protect people and pets from attack by aggressive animals, but also protect dogs from dashing in front of cars, and allow people who are afraid of dogs or maybe just not wanting to be knocked down by an overly friendly dog to be able to walk in peace. Our police force probably has more important things to do than chase dog owners around and tell them to use a leash, however, so make it easy on them and do the right thing when you are out with your dog.