Last week, Monday, Riley and I went for our daily visit to the dog park once I got home from work. As you all know, I take her to the park daily, for her exercise and crazy energy level. She loves going and truth be told, I really enjoy taking her. Monday was just like any other day, we walked into the park and Riley ran off to inspect and greet all the other dogs, like she always does. She never starts playing right away- she checks out all the dogs that are there (looking for her friends I guess?) and then decides who she wants to play with. As Riley was making her rounds and saying hello to all the dogs, out of nowhere, a dog she was NOT playing with or even making contact with, came out and just bit her for no reason. Riley barely made a sound- she didn't cry or anything. The dog that bit her was a Malamute, one that she's played with before and never had an issue with. For some reason, immediately after the bite, Riley ran over to the owner of the Malamute. The owner gave Riley a once-over and called out to me "She's fine! It's just a scratch!" Now, Riley was quite a bit away from me, but I could see with my own eyes, that it was NOT a scratch- far from it. I called Riley over to me and she ran over, as happy as could be, and I saw the huge gaping bite marks- two of them- from the top and bottom teeth, on Riley's right side.
I LOST IT. I grabbed Riley by the collar and said as loud as possible "COME ON RILEY WE ARE GETTING THE HELL OUT OF HERE AND NEVER COMING BACK!" I immediately started bawling (because that's how I am) and started walking Riley out of the park. The owner of the Malamute saw how hysterical I was and asked me what was wrong- because it was just a scratch. I told her to get the hell out of my face because I needed to get my dog out of there. In hindsight, I realized that yes, I should have asked for her name, information, etc. but honestly- at the time, all that mattered was getting Riley to a vet. I kept walking, trying to get out of the park, and away from the owner before I punched her in the face for insisting it was just a scratch. I was just about to walk out of the park, when my friend Emily walked up with her Dalmatian, Perdita, who happens to be Riley's BFF. Emily could tell right away from the look on my face that something was wrong. I quickly filled Emily in on what had happened and she told me to follow her her home, so she could drop Perdita off, and accompany me to the vet. She wasn't going to let me go to the vet in my condition and handle this all by myself. In the midst of all this, I am trying to get a hold of Mike, so that I can fill him in on what's going on. I'm trying to take pictures of the wound with my phone so I can text them to him as well, all the while I am driving/following Emily to her house. We get to Emily's and drop off Perdita and we make our way to a vet. Being that it was already after 7pm, we had to go to an emergency 24 hour vet, so I couldn't take Riley to her usual doctor.
We get to the vet and Riley is still acting like her normal, crazy self, all the while I am still hysterical and poor Emily is doing her best to keep me together. I am so grateful that she was there with me- I wouldn't have been able to handle all of that alone. Riley gets seen by a vet almost immediately. He told me that Riley's wounds were pretty deep and that he was shocked that anyone could call them 'scratches' and that I had done the right thing by bringing her in immediately. I was told that Riley would have to spend the night at the vet, would need a drain put in and of course stitches. My baby, with stitches and a drain?! Cue more tears. I was able to pick Riley up the very next afternoon, and she spent a very groggy and sleep night at home with me. I guess because the doctor needed to put a drain in, he enlarged Riley's wounds from two separate ones into one large one. It was actually a little bit scary looking to see her with a huge scar down her side, but once the medication wore off and her personality came through again, I wasn't scared or worried anymore.
I'm 10000% sure that this whole experience has been a LOT more traumatic for me, than for Riley. She's been amazing throughout all of this. She hasn't changed one bit and it's almost like nothing even happened to her. She's definitely not fearful or aggressive towards dogs (which I was worried about) and she's still her silly, crazy, goofy self- and that is so reassuring to me. I'm sad that this had to happen, but I'm glad that it's not any worse than it was.
As for the dog park...I'm sure Riley and I will back again one day, though I will be a lot more cautious and vigilant about what dogs she plays with. As for the irresponsible owner...I don't care if it takes me stalking the dog park for weeks or months, I WILL find her, confront her with the vet bill and pictures of the injury, and insist that she pay for everything. I am also thinking of making flyers to hand out at the park, to warn other owners about her dog. I know I might not ever see the owner again, but in the end though, all that matters is that Riley is okay.She's already had her drain removed (on Friday) and she goes this Friday to get her stitches out. I'm so proud of my baby girl!
These are the so-called "scratches"- you can tell they're deep and NOT scratches!!
Home from the vet, with her drain put in.
Still happy, still silly, still Riley :)