Sam was at the end of her lead and the choke chain was choking her while they fought, so I dropped it and said, Okay. Which is a command that means to her she's free to do what she wants, usually scamper around the park or play. The pit bull was relentless, it tore at her throat and caught her on the right foreleg shaking and tearing it violently. Sam began to fight back, I reached in to pull them apart a tooth grazed my hand. At first small drops of blood spattered on the pavement then bigger and faster ones appeared..... I could see a trickling stream soaking and staining the long, downy soft fur on her leg. I didn't know it, but I was screaming, helpless to stop this dog. The young man who had appeared behind me grabbed the pit bull and pulled him off. Sam took off running heading for home, I ran behind her for awhile until my heart felt as if it would explode and break all at once. A mile and half away, Sam made it home without me .....by then there was a police officer and a small crowd of people gathered. One of the neighbors hearing the screams, had waved down the officer and she related that this same dog had actually run into her house and attacked one of her dogs.... (At home) blood was everywhere Sam had walked through the house. The hallway, on my shoes from the fight, the bathroom where we tried to stop the bleeding and in the car ....taking her to the veterinarian. She underwent minor surgery last night where a drain was placed in her leg in one puncture wound where the tooth had penetrated completely through the muscles and tissues of her leg. It had entered from the front and exited from the skin in the back. There's a tremendous amount of bruising and swelling on her leg and several bites and abrasions around her eyes and muzzle.
September 3, 2000
The owners live across the street from an elementary school and the Animal Control Officer expressed his concern because his 8 year old son walks that way to school twice a day. He assures me the dangerous dog assessment will not require the dog to be put down. It's treated very much like points assessed on a driver's record. Depending on how many points are given to the dog, the owner will be required to do certain things, I'm hoping one will be to take the dog through obedience training. My husband is buying mace to take on walks. One of the bites between my fingers is showing signs of infection. I took off (Sam's) bandages and cleaned the drain in (her) leg. There's a lot of bruising and swelling, stitches from lacerations. I take her back to the vet tomorrow, hopefully to get the drain taken out and find out when I can take her for walks again. I know she misses them.
September 5, 2000
Most of what has happened the past few days has been in conflict with what I hear people tell me and what I actually see going on. I have been assured by the owner of the dog that she will get her boyfriend to pay part of the vet bill. Yet when I passed her house Tuesday night there were three large men standing out front watching me as I passed on the other side of the street. Arms folded across their chests two fixed their eyes on us (Kiki and I, Sam won't be able to walk for two weeks) one shook his head and went in the house with a look of disgust on his face. Yesterday a new Animal Control Officer called and said she had been assigned to the case from 'the guy at the top.' I told her perhaps the first officer had himself removed from the case because he can't be objective since his son walks pass the house to and from school. She wanted me to get the address of the neighbor who said the dog had entered her house and attacked their dog. She asked 'Do you walk every day?' I tell her yes, I've been walking this route for almost a year now. Every night since the attack, Animal Control, Pima County Sherriff and Marana PD have passed me on my walks. Last night my husband called the lady and all seemed amicable. She's still trying to get her boyfrind to pay part of the vet bills and she understood from the Animal Control Officer that the vet would have reported the incident to Animal Control, she understood that we're not trying to cause any trouble. Reassured I walked last night, but took a different route. I heard the car coming from behind me, it's boom box vibrating the ground with deep resonance. He drove by me slowly, glaring, it was one of the men that live in her house. It was all meant to intimidate. A white car with gold wheels, the tags are from California. I walked off in the opposite direction from my house because I didn't want him to know where we live.
They don't know what I've lost these people. I do a lot of thinking on these walks. About how to rebuild my life, help one of my sons with a perplexing problem or plan for family. Working though problems while the heat scatters into the cooling desert and the chameleon sunsets.
These are the people and things I see and delight in every day...
- ~ the desert gecko that lives in a clump prickly pear cactus who suns himself in the evening sun and scurries back to safety when we walk by only to be out again when we return home.
- ~the pizza delivery guys
- ~the curly black terrier that literally explodes into yapping when we go by, dashing madly around the back of the house to get to the other gate before we go out of sight.
- ~the sad basset hound pup next door whose bays are mournfully muffled because he's so young.
- ~ the family I met at he grocery store who insisted that I look for them (I found them) who drive by in the blue Thunderbird we all exhange friendly waves,
- ~ the contented cat in the picture window silently twitching his tail.
- ~ a brown and white dappled Saint Bernard who, I swear if he decided to,could lean against the rickety old wooden thing his owners call a fence and knock it over!! Well he always bounds to the fence and gently sticks his nose out between the boards for a friendly nuzzle. (he has now passed away)
- ~ the sage that blooms delicate purple after every monsoon rain
- ~the energetic man with the tags that say INVSTR who waves wildy to get a smile from me.
- ~ the place where the cottontailed rabbits come out in the early evening to graze and scurry off flushing out the quail making my dogs dance excitedly the end of their leash.
I threw away my purse today, I couldn't get the stains out of the fabric. Sam had laid on it in the darkness of the car. The walking shoes I bought myself for my birthday were also permanently stained and I got rid of them as well. I still have to face tonights walk and I'll go because I don't want to end up losing this step forward in my recovery. Time will pass and hopefully it will become a distant memory, but for now it's painful.
September 8, 2000
Yesterday morning the specter of this memory reached out of the past in the form of the friendly voice of a County Attorney. He apologized for calling on a Sunday and explained that the hearing was Monday morning at 9:30 and could I have any bills for reimbursement ready by then. After trying three different copy places, all closed on Sunday, it took a reminder from Number Two Son to remember Kinko's was open on Sundays. A restless night then awake at 4 A.M. Leaving an hour and half early for the courthouse because I get so terribly lost. Over and over practicing what to would say. On time but pushed the up button on the elevator instead of down and had to listen to lawyers grumbling about that one. There used to be the usual underground parking garage but couldn't recall where it was downtown. Pictures, bills and these suddenly very usful E2 daylogs were clutched tight as tides of confusion and nervousness washing over, hands sweating, wandering down the alley and out into day light across the street to the pink building with the big turquoise dome. Would there be one of those rolling mental blackouts?
A man facing his second DUI was being sentenced, thirty days in jail 24 consecutive weekends in jail after that was done, two year probation, a second round of DUI classes and an appearance before MADD which would begin with a breathalyzer test. The man pleaded with the judge, his mom had died two years ago and it was stressful taking care of his SO who suffered from panic attacks. Although the judge sympathized he failed to see how drinking the equivalent of ten drinks and then getting behind the wheel of a car helped his SO, the defendant, he observed, obviously didn't pay attention to or understand from the first 10 week DUI course. The next time he would be facing penitentiary time warned the judge. The next case was a young girl maybe 12 or so who had survived a dog attack. Some bruising on her leg she didn't notice until she got home. The court room was running behind so the lawyer and clerk took me over to another court room. He took the things I had brought along and submitted them. Another judge appeared and asked where the defendant was. I had explained to the County Attorney that the family had moved out of the neighborhood a few months ago. It was 9:45 the defendant has only a 5 minute leeway for being late at any rate, said the judge. He offered to wait but the attorney said no and informed me that they would reschedule the hearing. The judge began forfeiture proceedings on the dog owner's one hundred dollar bond and issued a bench warrent with a bond amount of two hundred and fifty dollar. I really don't care anymore about getting the vet bills paid back. When I showed the attorney the pictures of Sam's leg, how the dog had ripped it apart he was shocked. "This is the second time the dog attacked," I mentioned, "I would hate to see this happen to a child."
It's a warm spring like day, in the 70's so I'm off to take Number One Son's car in for some work. Think I'll walk home.
Sam passed away on January 28, 2004. Her case was never adjudicated and more than likely the statutes of limitations has expired. I still see the woman at the grocery store on occasion. I look at her each time but she fails to recognize me.
A new dog walks by my side today and in all of her ‘here I amness’ it’s plain to see all of the members of the canine family she arises from, their culture, and tribe sees me and my family, my tribe, and even my ancestors. I look in her eyes and see her mother's instincts and her father's intuitions. More than anything I am convinced that if Sam had not been there it would have been me that would have been mauled, something that took a long time to realize.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.