Big dogs can be a bruising experience

Ouch. Ow. Ouch! The scrapes and bruises really hurt – thank goodness for ice packs! And, Forest really, really loves me and only wants to protect Leia – but his best intentions are sometimes painfully incorrect.

I hesitated to write this post because generally, I don’t write sad posts to generate sympathy. Also I cringe at “injury” posts: “Does this look infected?” Eeeeewwww….

Dogs bring so much joy.

However, I post so many happy, funny photos and stories of Forest and Leia that I realize I am at risk of being one of the Facebook users who only post good news, never bad. This could leave readers with the idea that news is always good and never bad – especially where large dogs are concerned.

Louise Drowley-Harris, an amazing and prolific dog rescuer, notes that the biggest reason young, large, healthy dogs are given up to shelters is because their owners had no idea how much of a physical challenge they can be (most likely, WILL be – which is not news to anyone familiar with dogs).

So to balance all the hilarious and fun Forest and Leia videos, I think it is also fair and responsible of me to post this week’s photos, which is the divot in my forehead and the road-rash on my face that resulted from Forest pulling me off of my feet on my driveway on Friday evening.

We were returning from a 90 minute walk on the Durham Waterfront Trail. It was really hot out and I was tired and sweaty, but pleased we had finished our second walk of the day and were headed inside for good food and cold drinks. I was so happy to be home, I did not notice that a family with stroller, toddlers and a dog was approaching on the opposite side of the street.

Both of my dogs were on leash, as is de riguer on our neighbourhood streets (not so much the trails).

Forest, who has become more protective and growly since Leia arrived (it is his job to protect her, I have learned ) barked and lunged forward. I was not prepared. He pulled me right off of my feet and I did a face plant on my own driveway.

I scrambled to my feet, collected up both dogs, and shoved them through the front door of my house before I realized I was bleeding. I picked up the clean “dog towel” I keep on the front porch and sat pressing the wound on my forehead for a while before my neighbour Christy, from directly across the street, approached me.

“You are really bleeding a lot,” Christy pointed out, looking at the towel and my forehead.

“Am I?” I asked, completely disoriented.

“Yes,” she said. “I think I should call 911.”

“Really? OK,” I replied, in a daze.

The paramedics arrived, cleaned my face, bandaged the wound and offered to take me to the hospital. After some conversation, lots of bobbing flashlights and commitments from neighbours to check in on me, they left me at home. Christy lived up to her word and turned up at 9pm with a chocolate cupcake for me, just “checking in.”

So, it’s been a painful weekend (four wounds that I can see on my forehead, eyebrow and in my hairline) and a giant, shining black eye (“You look like you got punched out!” Grampa Trent from Price’s Market told me cheerfully today. “Just tell everyone, ‘You should see the other guy!’”)

You know what’s the craziest part of it? This is the FOURTH time this has happened to me in my life. Twice with my lab/Great Dane Moose and twice with Forest. It’s the first time an ambulance was called, but the fourth time one of my big happy dogs knocked me out cold and left me with bruises, black eyes and scars. It always comes as a giant surprise; and yet, WHOOPS, there it is.

Our first errand today, Monday, was to go to Pet Valu and buy a “No Pull” harness for Forest (Leia already has one, and it works GREAT. I just did not think Forest, who is seven years old, needed one. I was wrong about that).

I asked my neighbour Stefani to try to get a shot of Forest modelling his new No Pull harness, and as a bonus, to try to get my bruised face in the shot. I think we got more of me than Forest, but anyway, I guess that’s the point of this post.

Warning: the puppy on the right is much closer than he appears to becoming the full grown dog on the left.

Puppies are SOOOOOOO cute. 8 week or 10 week old puppies of any breed are adorable. Labs rip your heart out. Boxers and Mastiffs look so clumsy and cute. Shepards and Rottweillers with the irresistible eyebrows and the wiggly bums…how can you say “no”?

Well, unless you have 3 hours per day to commit to a young dog, you have to say “no.” The walking, the training, the grooming, the walking….it is real work. Totally worth it, mind you – and if you luck into adopting an older dog who is already trained and needs a bit less exercise, it is easier.

Young, strong, healthy large dogs are a serious commitment of time and money and as you can tell by the photo above, can also be a “bruising” experience. Keep my face in mind next time you are looking at photos of “irresistible” puppies!



Leave a Reply