Well, after my last post we had a rather unfortunate end to our stay in Santa Fe. I mentioned before that the RV park we were in had a dog park. In general, I am very wary of dog parks and I’m very careful about when I will and will not let my dogs into one. In my opinion, the less dogs the better, and if I ever see a dog whose behavior makes me uncomfortable, then we leave. The dog park at this RV park, though, was great. In addition to our 3 dogs, there were typically only 1-2 other dogs there at a time. We met several very nice dogs (and owners), and our dogs had a great time playing with all of them.
On our last night (we thought) at this park, we went to the dog park for one last visit. We were the only ones there, and then a man and his medium-sized dog came in. As soon as this dog entered the park, he growled at Nikki, our German Shepherd. Nikki paid no attention, and the owner quickly scolded the dog, and stated that his dog was nice and got along with everybody. So I didn’t worry too much about it, especially since the dog was on a leash when he growled, and many dogs (including my own) tend to be more protective on a leash.
So the dogs started playing, and the man’s dog (who I’ll call Nippy), was nipping at our dogs a lot. But he was a herding breed, and that’s typical herding-breed behavior, so again, I didn’t think much of it. Everything seemed to be fine, but then out of nowhere Nikki and Nippy were in a fight. I didn’t see what caused it, I just heard it and turned to see both dogs locked on the other. To be honest, my first concern was for Nippy. Nikki was twice his size, and being a German Shepherd, she has incredibly strong jaws. I had heard that the best thing to do in a dog fight was to grab the hind legs of each dog. So I grabbed Nikki’s legs, and yelled for Nippy’s owner to grab his. He didn’t really react quickly, but after a few seconds he did grab his dog’s collar, and they were separated. I immediately checked Nikki over, and she appeared to be fine. I asked about Nippy, and he seemed to be fine. Needless to say, we took that as our cue, and decided to leave the dog park for the night.
Later that night, Deas and I talked about it, and he said that it seemed to him that Nikki was getting tired of Nippy’s nipping, and so she barked at him. And that’s when Nippy went after her. So she of course defended herself, but Deas and I are both confident she did not initiate the aggression. This is a dog who gets along with all dogs – from 10 pounds to 100 pounds. In the 3 years we’ve had her she has never shown any aggression. But she seemed perfectly happy and fine that night, so we thought everything was okay.
The next morning when we woke up, the first thing I noticed was a little blood on our comforter. (Yes, we’re the kind of people that let our dogs sleep in our bed….they’re spoiled, what can I say!) I gave Nikki a more thorough check, and once I got through her thick fur on her neck, I could see a wound. I immediately called a local vet, Dr Gruda, who got us right in. He examined her and took her back to shave her fur to get a better look. He came back and told me that she had a 3-inch long laceration! I was shocked – I couldn’t believe she had been hurt that bad and I didn’t know, and I couldn’t believe she didn’t bleed more than she did! The vet thinks her thick fur absorbed a lot of the blood and allowed the wound to clot quickly. And by the way, if you ever in Santa Fe and need a vet, I would highly recommend Dr Gruda and his staff – they were awesome.
So I went back to the RV park to talk to Nippy’s owner. When I told him, his response was that his dog was just defending himself, and that Nikki needed more socialization. Which is RIDICULOUS. I was so annoyed but got the feeling I would get nowhere with this guy, so I just dropped it.
I picked Nikki up a few anxious hours later, and was aghast at the site of her. I can not believe that this happened to such a sweet dog. And Nippy, for the record, was completely unscathed. Which only proves my point that Nikki was not the aggressor. A dog Nippy’s size would be no match for a 65-pound German Shepherd if Nikki had really wanted to do any harm.
Nikki is now on an antibiotic and a pain killer, and she seems to be doing just fine. She’s a trooper. I’m just really glad she’s okay.
In addition to dealing with Nikki that morning, we also had to take our RV in for a fluid leak repair, which ended up taking all day. We also got a temporary plexi-glass replacement on our broken window. So we spent one more night at Santa Fe Skies, and then hit the road the next morning, with only a tentative idea of where we were headed….