Monday, January 11, 2010


I was filling in for an ailing meter reader and probably not as cautious as I would have been had it been my regular job. Because I had read all the meters in five counties during my previous three year stint, there wasn't a back yard or pasture I had not been in. That possibly led to a false sense of security. Besides, the yard I was about to enter belonged to a friend of mine and I thought I knew what to expect. There would be a rather fat but friendly old female pit bull on the loose and a very handsome red nosed pit in a pen.

Not Josh nor my picture, but the spitting image of him. He was a handsome dog.

Confident of what I would find, I did not rattle the gate as was normal procedure to alert any dogs that I was coming. Instead, I popped open the gate, shutting it behind me and looked for Lucy the female who was very friendly. She came around the front of the house wagging her fat behind and I was getting ready to pet her when Josh came from behind the back of the house in full attack mode. I barely had time to think,"Josh isn't supposed to be loose." when his massive jaws clamped on my thigh. Fortunately he did not get a good grip for he got the fattest part of my thigh. Sometimes a little extra thigh is a good thing.

He swung his head from side to side trying to shake me off my feet when I drew my pepper spray and attempted to spray him right in the face. I knew if he got me on the ground, things were really going to get ugly. PSSSST was the sound the can made as air only came out. I was out of spray.
The sound started him a bit and he released my leg. This was a blessing for Pits will lock their jaws if they get a good grip. They can pin a 300 pound wild hog so I didn't have much hope for me.

Most all of my previous dog bites came from dogs who bite and run. Only once before with the Shepherds, had I been actually attacked. I knew I was in for a battle for he came right back in, low and frothing. I swung the read book at his head and was rewarded with hand wounds. I then continued swinging the book, kicking at him and backing up. Each kick brought a new bite on my legs but they were punctures, he did not get a good grip.

Then a new problem arouse. Fat,sweet Lucy decided that this looked like grand fun and joined in. She was circling me from behind, not yet in full attack but thinking seriously about it. The only good thing in all of this is that I felt no pain as it was happening. Adrenalin is a wonderful thing. I finally swung, kicked and backed my way to the gate and squeezed out.
Then what ever had been holding me upright quit and I sank into the grass with Josh chewing and slobbering on the fence. I was weak and shaking violently. My jeans were torn and blood was running down my arms but I really didn't know just what the damages were.

When I could stand again, I walked to the house directly next door and knocked. This was pre-cell phone days and I needed to report the attack to my boss. A gentleman came to the door and let me use his phone. I wondered where he had been hiding when the attack had taken place for it certainly was a noisy battle. He was not at all like my phone guys but I could hardly blame him. I had years before discovered how one can be frozen in fear watching an attack.

I was relived of duty by my boss and sent to the ER to see if I needed stitches and to get antibiotics. That was when I learned I had been bitten in 17 separate places. My legs were a mess but since they were all puncture wounds, no stitches were needed. I did look like I was wearing purple leggings for quite a while as the bruising was extensive.

Alan, my friend and owner of Josh, was just sick about what had happened. That morning, after he had let Josh out of the pen for a run, he thought,"I think I will let ole Josh stay out today while I am at work." and he left him loose inside the fenced yard. He never even thought about the meter reader being due that day.

Alan asked me if I wanted Josh destroyed and I said no, as long as he was properly confined. Alan moved Josh to a nearby hunt camp to be kenneled except when used for hunting. I guess the poor dog got life with out parole. I know it sounds odd, but I felt sorry for him.

Alan ran an automotive electric repair shop and for the for the next 10 years that I lived in that area, I could never pay him for any work he did on my cars. Today, you can't even see one scar from the attack as puncture wounds heal with barely a trace. I do feel fortunate and no, I don't think ALL pit bulls are bad. Had I been a burglar or an attacker threatening his family, Josh would have gotten a medal. To him, that is what I was.

That day actually was my fault also as I did not do my job properly. I did not rattle the gate and I did not make sure I had a full can of pepper spray. Two mistakes I never made again.


  1. You're way to kind to Pits I think...Many, many, many of them will turn on a dine to attacking....Killing small children. I do not know why anyone who has a kid would have a pit. It is just to risky...

  2. I developed empathy for those who by occupation or fate are required to interact with a variety of animals, especially dogs.

    I've had dogs all my married life. Early on I studied and learned the nature of dogs in general, and the more agressive ones in particular, because my breed of choice is German Shepherds.

    When meters are located inside my fence, I make arrangements to read my own meter. I've read my electric meter for 30 years. The contractor reading our meter is required to check our meter once a year.

    He knocks on door; I confine my dog to the house. One adventurous reader said "I get along well with dogs so I don't see why you need to read your meter."

    I explained I could not guarantee a dog will not bite, no matter how sweet tempered they may seem. We don't think like a dog, besides I did not want my homeowner's insurance premium increased. That guy was cruisin' for a bruisin'!

    As sweet and even tempered as Luckie is I am careful with her. She seems much more accepting of strange women as opposed to strange men. We know her past included an abusive male owner.

    She will warm to men but it takes much, much longer. She loves my husband, and shadows him everywhere. She has growled at men that make me wonder what she is thinking.

  3. Yes, you are far too kind to pit bulls. I wouldn't not trust one for one minute. You were very lucky that it wasn't worse.

  4. I would never have made it through one day as a meter reader. You are quite brave.

  5. You are so kind to Pit Bulls. I love dogs, but there are some breeds that are not to be trusted, especially around children. I have a chihuahua, a pit-chihuahua (at least in his younger days)...I love him to pieces, but have never trusted him. Even to this day, I'm cautious and watchful when children are around... We simply don't know what they're thinking.

  6. bless you for not wanting him destroyed
    you're a good soul Patti

  7. There is so much liability that goes with owning a dog, any dog! I think any dog is capable of biting someone under the right circumstances. You really are a brave and lucky woman!

  8. Recently on a ride on the light rail, the asile was packed with standing people. The two seats I was facing were occupied by a man in one seat and his pit bull in the other seat.

    Animals are a 'no-no' on the light rail but who pays attention to rules?

    I looked at the man and then the dog and decided it would be easier to make friends with the dog than the owner.

    With that in mind I chose to continue to stand and let the dog remain seated. Apparently the other standing passengers made the same decision.

  9. You are so brave!! I admire you & salute you. I know part of it is also due to your love for animals but its so admirable. I just run in the other direction whenever a dog walks around me ;-) The bruises sound so many that too! As always fabulous.. I love the way you recount these tales.

    Oh & I must compliment you for the photographs (previous post). Hats Off! Brother Jim better learn from you to deserve my compliments :-D

  10. 4th,
    I totally understand your concern, especially for anyone with children. I have just met too many wonderful, gentle pit bulls to totally distrust the breed. All dogs need to be watched around children. I had to protect my great niece from Mighty dog.

    I really appreciate your way of handling Luckie. I used to tell people who insisted that their dogs did not bite that the best you can say is that they have not bitten anyone YET. Mighty dog would bite under the right circumstances.

    Oh it could have been a ton worse and I do feel very lucky. Too bad they didn't have lotto at that time or I would have bought a ticket.

    I really wasn't brave, for 99% of the time we met only sweet dogs. It was a really good paying job at that time for a woman. I took a big increase in pay when I went from bank officer to meter reader. That was the facts of life then.

    You are so right about the dreaded chihuahua. I adore those little darlings but they will bite a child in an instant. Partially due to their tiny size they tend to offer preemptive strikes.

    I was as wrong as Josh that day. Alan was normally a good steward, he just had a slack moment. It wasn't the dog's fault. If he had hurdled the fence to get me, I might have revised my request for then he would be truly dangerous.

    There really is a lot of liability in dog ownership. When I had the rescue, I had one heck of a time getting insurance.I do feel they are worth it though.

    Wow, that must have been a fierce looking man. I'm sure he was never bothered or perhaps he had been once and didn't want to be again. Smart move on your behalf.

    I know you are afraid of dogs and you must think I am out of my mind. Honest, the vast majority of dogs only want to be your slave.
    Thanks for the thoughts about the photos, I'll tell Jim.

  11. What a horrible and harrowing experience, Patti. I understand your compassion, and most pit bulls get a bad rap for the ones that do attack and kill. It's a shame.

  12. Hi Patti, You are a much nicer dog-lover than I am. I am one of those people who don't understand why Pit Bulls are allowed anywhere around people..... There have been so many accidents with them and children... I don't have one tiny bit of sympathy for them---not an ounce... Glad you were okay.

  13. Oh this could have turned out so much worse. I'm so glad you survived your attack. An interesting and well told story!

    Have a greatly blessed day!!!

  14. Oh, Patti, what a stomach-churning story! My vet told me once that if terriers had pit bull jaws, they'd be outlawed, since they are what has bitten him most. I'm with you about not condemning any particular breeds, but I know there are some I could never manage.

  15. What a terrifying ordeal. I can't imagine how you must of felt...truly scary.

  16. Patti...half way through I'm I want to read this, but I was mesmerized. You were lucky...that doesn't sound right, after being bitten 17 times...but you know what I mean. You're brave and forgiving too!

  17. Finally a story that didn't make me laugh. Geewilikers. Yikes, Oh Cra...that would have ended any and all dog rescuing for me. You are a much more gracious person than I am. Did you have nightmares for weeks?

  18. robin,
    I totally agree with you.I guess I look at dogs like I do people, they are individuals. I do not judge the breed as a whole for just like us, there are good and bad in each. It is man's interference that generally tips the scales with careless breeding or ruthless handling.

    I do understand your fear for we only hear the horror stories but I could relate just as many stories, and have, of wonderful Pits. These however never make the news. Had I been a burgler, Josh would have gotten a medal. To him, that is what I was. Hum, wish I had said that in the story.

    Thank you so much and yes, I know I was very lucky that day. Had I lost my footing, someone else would most likely be typing on this computer. I really learned not to throw caution to the winds. I love dogs but do respect their capabilities.

    That is so true, often little dogs are quick to bite. They can't do a lot of damage even though their intent is to do just that. Poor vets really take a beating for they are often being forced to hurt a dog to help them.

    Oh yes I was scared. Don't ever remember shaking so badly. The fear stays with you for a while and the dogs you meet later in the day and sometimes for a week after can smell it. Even tiny dogs think they have your number and will come after you.

    I know how lucky I was and also how stupid I was that day. Bravery would have been to go in the yard after I saw him. All I did was survive after the fact. He was protecting his property and doing a darn good job of it.

    Actually I was pretty much scared of a yard with a Chihuahua in it for a while but I eventually got over that as I do love dogs and know the huge majority of them only want to be your devoted servant. Fortunately, no nightmares.

  19. This is what worries me, my 87 year old Mother is going to my younger brothers house each day to feed and water two bit bulls that are in his house.

    Apparently they use paper by the door, but according to my Mother the male seems to pee where ever he darn well pleases. Why my brother doesn't keep them in this large pen he has in his backyard, I don't know.

    I've told Mom to keep her cell phone turned on and in her pocket in case something should happen. They both know Mom, but still I don't trust them. My brother had to have neck surgery and his wife passed away this past July, since he has no friends, or at least none he can trust,so he says, Mom is the only one that can do it.

    She does what he's told her, when she first goes in, she talks to them, then gives each of them a slice of bread and a piece of cheese, then changes the water, food and rolls up the paper and puts into a closed trash can outside the door on his porch and lays down new paper.

    I still say it's an accident waiting to happen. I don't want to get started, but if you knew this brother you would understand why it upsets me so. He's a user, and a loser. He'll never change.

    His own son at the age of 43 told my Mother (his grandmother whom he adored) that his Dad just needed to grow up. This is the young man that painted my Mother's house in 2008, Mom bought the paint and asked him what he would charge her, he gave her a rough figure, she said go ahead. When he had it completed around the end of Sept. 2008, she said well now, tell me the total, so I can write you a check. He had started doing handy-man jobs part time, when he was between job and had some invoices and etc made up. Anyway he handed her an invoice and there wasn't any dollar amount on it, she said Michael this is blank, he said turn it over Grandma, and on the back he had written her such a nice letter.

    Telling her how much he appreciated the good care her and Grandpa had given him and his sister when they were growing up and his parents weren't doing their job. And that was more than payment enough for what he could do for her. This young man was killed in an accident while on his way to work on a Sat. morning early, Oct. 18, 2008, semi went left of center and hit him head on, throwing him from his truck, even with his seat belt on, he never regained consciousness. His wife donated his healthy organs. He never smoked, he saw what it was doing to his parents, he didn't drink, he also saw that with his parents. And as horrible as this sounds, it makes me wonder why the son, and not the father.

    Then my Mother felt guilty for keeping him from his wife and two boys from his first marriage. I told Mom she shouldn't feel guilty, Michael wanted to do this for her, they had a lot of Sat. lunches together where just the two of them could talk, and as far as his boys, they pretty much didn't see him anyway. They were teenagers and didn't have the time to spend with their Father even on the days they were suppose to.

    Well I have gone on and on, but I feel better. LOL Why is it, every family seems to have one that acts like everyone owes them something and they are always right?

  20. Patty
    I am so sorry for I know my story only increased your concern about your mother.
    Actually I do not know how spry your Mom is at 87 but any dog, even a small dog, could be a mild concern as it could trip her or knock her down unintentionally.
    As for the dogs being Pits, I have seen so many sweet, gentle pits and only a very small percent of them are agressive. Those that are, were bred for that purpose.
    I just hope your brother is well soon and your Mom is out of that situation altogether.
    Michael was so sweet to paint her house for free and the accident was just too tragic. Unfortunately, bad things do happen to good people.

  21. Having worked in a vet's office a number of years ago, I learned that any dog can bite given the right circumstances. And often those little spoiled Fifies are amoung the worst. My daughter got her family a pit pup and raised him with the best of care & attention. I love dogs, have two of my own, but something about this pup told me he was not to trusted. Saddly he proved me right, he killed two of their goats, and then the favorite family cat. They rehomed him, but he's still a danger.

  22. Brighid,
    Those Fifies are much quicker to bite, they just don't have the weapons to do much damage.
    Any dog bred to hunt will kill. Probably the scariest for the smaller furry animals is the Greyhound.
    I also had a goat killed but it was by a Bluetick hound.
    I do understand your not trusting Pits. The sad thing is that many have been bred specifically to attack other animals.Those bred for show or pet, are very sweet.

  23. It could have been worse.

    I agree on your decision not to put the dog down because this was not his normal behavior. The pack mentality took a hold. As with people, there are always exceptions to the rule.

    I've met one dog in my life that I was afraid of...a deaf Doberman of about a hundred pounds. He had "turned" on his owner. They later discovered the dog had grown deaf and the owner surprised him. When I met him you could tell he was afraid, too. Natural reaction for a dog is defend theirself.

    You have a kind heart. Bless you.