Boomer was a happy, playful, fun, 13-year-old Australian Shepherd, who loved his walks, according to Mom Tanya Strejc, of Beaverton.
She almost went to the gym that day, but decided Boomer needed his walk, so off they went.
Two dogs came from out of nowhere, Tanya said, and one of them, a mastiff mix, attacked - and killed - her baby Boomer. (It turns out, this dog killed another dog in 2015.)
(Read her story at the KPTV link below.)
And possibly PREVENTABLE.
We must be prepared to protect our dogs when out on walks. Carry pepper spray or pepper gel! It is non-lethal and will deter most dogs most of the time. (No product will stop every dog, every time. Depends on how aggressive the dog is and how competent you are at using the product.)
I have had to use Pepper Spray twice to protect my girls from advancing, aggressive dogs zeroed in on them. Scary... but it worked both times.
ALWAYS USE PEPPER SPRAY/GEL AS A LAST RESORT. IT WILL CAUSE SUFFERING (burning sensations in the eyes, nose and mucous membranes) to the animal, and please remember, no behavior, not even aggression toward people or other animals, is the dog's fault.
Someone, somewhere along the line, failed him in his socialization, training, management, supervision.
Last resort only.
The online Pepper Spray Store has information on how to help a dog that has been pepper sprayed.
The problem is that you probably can't help him. He's going to be running away, hiding, growling. Unable to see well (or at all), he could get hit by a car.
That said... I am going to do whatever is necessary to protect myself and/or my pet.
I've never had a dog come after me when I was alone, but I certainly have had dogs come after my DOGS when we were together. I once used citronella spray (less effective than pepper spray or pepper gel) to chase off an aggressive dog coming after my Doberman, Dancer. All I had to do was spray it TOWARD the dog when he was about 15 feet away. I didn't even get any on him, but he turned and ran away.
Here's a story from the online store Sabre about a Yorkie who lost his life after being attacked by another dog.
I so wish the owners had had pepper spray (or even citronella spray) with them.
I wish Tanya had had pepper spray or gel to protect Boomer.
I highly recommend the product from Sabre called "The Runner."
This is really cool 'cuz it has a strap so it stays in the palm of your hand without you having to grasp it all the time, which means you can have it handy (forgive the pun) and still hold other items and use your fingers for other tasks. And, when you have it in your palm and feel the need to "get ready just in case," it takes just a flick of the thumb to arm it. It's very subtle... and when the "threat" passes, a flick of the thumb disarms it.
In addition, when you need your hand free to grasp or carry something, flip it around so it's resting on the top of your hand.
They also have one called "The Cyclist" which attaches to your bicycle in a way that you can easily remove it if needed.
The Pepper Spray Store has traditional sprays but also some that look like lipstick and a pen.
NOW... Pepper spray formulated for humans is twice as strong as pepper spray formulated for dogs, because dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than we do. So pepper spray formulated for humans will ward off dogs, but could also cause even more suffering to them.
Ideally, I'd want to carry one for dogs and one for humans, right? But for me, that's not practical, so I chose the stronger one.
Also, keep this in mind: The spray is better for distance and gel is better for close range. Spray shoots farther than gel, but can more easily blow back on you in the wind or if you hit a dog or person at close range.
Gel sticks, so is better in the wind and at close range, but be aware that it doesn’t shoot out as far. Ideally, you’d carry spray AND gel and when threatened, hope you have the presence of mind to choose the right one.
Now... back to citronella spray. It's definitely more humane, but as I said, not as effective. Petsafe says their product, SprayShield Citronella Spray, defends against aggressive dogs, and that it is effective for dogs with low to medium aggression.
Here's the problem: it's really hard to be totally prepared. If you were, you would have citronella spray, and pepper spray and gel for dogs (and, as far as I'm concerned, pepper spray and gel for humans). And when fighting off an attacking dog, pick the appropriate weapon based on the dog's distance and aggression level.
The problem is that it's hard to carry all these tools and this all happens so fast, it could be difficult or impossible to properly evaluate the threat and pick the best defense.
I guess for me, I want to have the most effective product and guess what? If I think the dog is not as big of a threat, I can spray AROUND the dog instead of directly ON the dog. I hate to say this, but I'd rather have my biggest gun and try to shoot it with less force than to have my lightest gun and possibly find it’s ineffective against a particular aggressor.
I care about the other dog, but to be honest, I care more about the safety of my (innocent) dog, and... I didn't choose to be in this situation. It's a tough choice.... I wish everyone luck making the best choice for him or herself.
By the way, I also recommend my students NOT walk their dogs in neighborhoods. Stay on busy streets. You can encounter (and get attacked by) loose dogs in neighborhoods, but you rarely find a loose dog on a busy street. We need to protect our kids. If a dog gets attacked, obviously, it can lead to his injury or death but there's something else: even if he survives the attack physically, it can damage him mentally. It's not unusual for dogs to become dog-aggressive after being attacked, and this is often something we cannot fix.
Oh! Here's another idea: For those of you who go to dog parks... carry your spray/gel (it's good for breaking up dogfights) and also carry Binaca breath spray.
A lot of dogs are annoying, bothering other dogs and trying to jump on or even mount them. Often the owners are all the way on the other side of the park, not paying any attention. If you spray the dog in the mouth, he won't like the taste and will probably go away.
Don't worry, if some of it over-sprays into his eyes, he will air it out. Worst case scenario, if you get in too much, the owner may have to wash it out with water, but that's not likely since you are close to the dog and aiming for the mouth.
Before I ever suggested a student do this, I got my veterinarian to look at the ingredients in Binaca and ok it, and then I sprayed it directly into my eye to test it. Sounds crazy, but I held my eye wide open and I sprayed directly onto my eyeball from just a couple inches away. And I did it five times! Only once did I have to wash it.
So, order your pepper spray/gel and get down to the pharmacy for some Binaca.
We need to be prepared to protect our kids. Period.
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