Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World
We bought Henry, (English Setter) last July, aged 13 months. Two months after we got him we were walking through the woods, he was on his extending lead but by our sides when an offlead dog came charging over, ripped his ear to shreds and left a puncture wound in his neck.
Fortunately my husband was with me at the time as I went to pieces seeing all this blood, he got the name and address of the owner then rushed home to get the car, Henry was admitted for emergency surgery to his ear and throat, he spent a few weeks bandaged entirely around his head, poor little mite. The owner of the offending dog admitted full liablility and her insurance paid all our vets bills, but that's not the point, he had a history of attacking dogs that were on lead, his owner more or less told me that it was my fault as my dog was on a lead! I've attached some photos of Hen after he came back from the vets and a few weeks later.
I am on the committee of the local Dog Watch team, basically we look out for suspicious acitvity whilst walking our dogs and report back to the police. Because of my contacts within the police I mentioned the attack to one of them and it transpired that they could warn the owner of the dog to keep it under control, i.e. either on a lead or muzzled. This was carried out, although I haven't seen the dog in question again, hopefully it will prevent another innocent dog from being attacked.
Henry is not a fighter, he is a lover, he adores all his friends and I do let him off on occasions, but only in a field that is fully enclosed and when I know there are no threats to him, his recall is not 100% and I don't want to risk losing him in the woods, he is too precious to me. He gets walked 4-5 times a day, on his extending lead, for anything from 1/2 an hour to 1 1/2 hours each time, he has access to the garden whenever he wants. Thankfully this has not altered his temperament in any way.
Then, just before Christmas, we had the misfortune to cross paths with some people that own a nastie Westie, this had attacked my previous dog on a number of occasions but the people refused to control it...well I wasn't having Hen attacked again, I asked them politely to put it on a lead...as I nudged it gently away 5 times before it got the message, the daughter said the dog had never attacked anything in it's life. There are several people we meet with friendly dogs that have all been got at by this dog, so I phoned my contact at the police station again, apparently these dog attacks are becoming more and more frequent. She asked for details of where they lived and she issued them with a warning also, they have to keep the dog on a lead at all times or risk losing him...there had apparently been other reports about this dog but no-one knew where they lived.
Back to the point, I am now paranoid about taking Hen out, I know I am trying to wrap him up in cotton wool but seeing how this little terrier cross did so much damage the first time, and knowing that he won't fight back, unless it's a dog we already know I am crossing roads and all sorts just to avoid the off lead dogs, most of whom are probably perfectly harmless. Last night Hen had a bounce around with his boxer friend, then we carried on walking only to be charged upon by a black Lab, tail in the air, grumbling away and jumping on Hen's back, no sign of an owner. I pushed it away and shouted at it, it ran back off, we turned around and headed for home, suddenly he was back again trying to bite Hen...as it happened I was protecting Hen's head and throat and the dog grabbed the arm of my wax jacket, so I kicked it and screamed at it to get away. I heard a mans voice in the distance shouting at it to get back, but I didn't hang around, I was in tears, it scared me to death, and I'm never scared of dogs, I love them all and have been bitten so many times as a child because I would try to make friends.
We live in a nice area of Buckinghamshire with plenty of fields and nice places to walk, and I'm not condeming people for allowing their dogs offlead, but it's got to the point where I am happily taking Hen out for his walk and I get this feeling of panic wash over me as to whether we will make it home in one piece.
I know dogs will be dogs and some are bolshy but mean no harm by it, we've met a lot like that, I let them have a sniff and then we walk on, I don't try to stop Hen making new friends, but there are some that just shouldn't be offlead at all, or if they are they should wear a muzzle to protect big softees like my boy.
Oh it's scary isn't it? I hope you don't come across them or anyone else like them again..you would think the lad would have learned his lesson hopefully.
I'm actually now waiting for 2 knee replacements and, as such, I have days when I'm struggling to walk Hen anyway...my hubby has just said that he is going to come out with us whilst my arthritis is bad, just so we've got some protection as it were, that puts my mind at rest a bit.
I can't drive at the moment so still haven't been over to the paddock, but we will get there at some point.
I hope you don't have too long to wait for your knee replacements.
I have bad arthritis in my hands and sometimes holding leads is painful.
Maybe a go cart with Hen pulling? Once ,in the ice, I slipped flat on my back holding the leads of four adult and pulling Irish Setters.It was on an icy hill and the dogs saw a dog they knew and took off,I was helpless and must have covered 100 yards taking me like a sledge before I could let go all of their leads.Children were going to school at the same time and I caused great hilarity ,I must admit, I couldn't stop laughing either!
Benson was attacked by a pack of labs when he was 10 months old and from that point on he was wary. They pinned him down and one owner said it was their way to put him in his place! She then complained to me that everytime she walks past our gate with her dogs, Benson barks at them. I told her I wasn't surprised that he now reacts in this way.
He's not keen on black dogs, particulary labs, but gets on with many breeds of dogs.
Yesterday Arthur, six months old,met a terrier who was a bit aggressive towards him a few weeks ago because Arthur had not read the signals that Archie was giving off.Arthur saw him yesterday at the far side of the field we were in.Archie,the terrier, was not interested but Arthur decided that it was a good idea to leave the field and head homewards,By the time I had started to call him Fred had run to him and gently shepherded him back to me.I was astounded!