PD had a difficult time accepting Frank into our home. He became very possessive of me. With Henry, PD was willing to share my lap and willing to share our bed.
Frank was a lively, friendly dog, but he was not totally welcomed by PD. PD would stare him down if Frank looked like he wanted to get on the couch with us. He growled at Frank if he thought he was getting too close to my lap. Early on, we were able to get both dogs on our laps without much of a problem.
But things began to change. PD became more aggressive. When Frank wandered too close to my lap, PD would snap at him. We had a couple of loud scuffles on the love seat where Wife and I sat to watch television.
Food had become another issue between the two of them. And part of this aggression, we believe, was due to PD’s having been put on steroids. It wasn’t too long after PD recovered from his pancreatitis that we figured out he really was having back pain, and he was put on steroids for a while to help with that.
One evening, about three months after Wife and I had brought Frank into our home, PD taught me an important lesson.
Frank had beat PD to my lap and had settled in. PD came up the ramp and demanded that Frank get off. He began barking and started to lunge at Frank. I instinctively put my hand out to block PD’s attack. PD clamped down on one of my fingers. I grabbed his jaw (with my finger still in his mouth), flipped him over on his back and did my “aggressive” act to let PD know that his behavior was not acceptable.
When he was looking calmer I withdrew my hand and found a couple of puncture wounds in my finger.
Things got better with PD after that, but we still watch their proximity when I am around. The two can be best buddies as long as I am not close.
My First Lesson? I’ve learned not to stick my hand in front of a growling, barking dog.
A couple of days after the biting incident, one of the puncture wounds was turning red. I was in Victoria at the time and decided to have it checked out by a doctor. I went to a walk-in clinic, got some antibiotics, and was told I had to wait until the Animal Control folk came out to interview me.
Animal Control showed up and asked me some questions. Then, they informed me that if PD had been in Victoria they would have required that he be taken to the pound and quarantined and observed for three days.
They labeled him as an aggressive dog.
Since PD lived in Aransas Pass, they sent a notice to the Aransas Pass Animal Control (APAC), and it would be up to APAC to decide what to do with him. Thank goodness they didn’t file extradition papers on PD.
A day later, the APAC knocked on our door in Aransas Pass. Wife opened the door and PD and Frank ran out onto the porch to greet the Animal Control Officer. Thank goodness PD wasn’t in one of his barky moods. The officer saw the wagging tails and experienced PD’s submissive peeing (did he get her on the foot? I think not) when she bent over to pat PD on the top of the head.
She said she could tell that PD was not an aggressive dog. And she understood that bite was due to circumstances, after Wife explained what happened.
But, she also warned us that the dog bite is now “on his record.” Another bite could result in his being put down because he is an aggressive dog.
The Second Lesson I’ve learned is that my family pets are just two bites away (well, PD is only one bite away) from being taken from me.
I realized that PD was aggressive around Frank, and he didn’t really like kids, but I never thought of him as a danger to the public at large. But now he has a record. He has one strike against him in a two strikes and you’re out system.
In my work, I do risk assessment on offenders. How likely are they to “recidivate” or commit the same crime again? I began to wonder if there were any assessment instruments or psychological tests out there that I could administer to PD. Maybe I can do an assessment and show that he isn’t really a high risk dog. He has to register every year, but that’s just for rabies.
At least they don’t have his mug shot in a book down at the dog pound.