It was ugly.
Hair flying everywhere. Snarls and growls emitting from all around. Sharp claws swinging wildly, trying to hit anything they could. And the blood. It was like a red river running down the sidewalks and across the street. It was warm and sticky, and free-flowing. I remember the screaming the most, the way its high-pitched sounds left little else to be heard. I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Time stretched on forever, no beginning or ending, just a middle full of blood, sweat, and tears. Then, quiet.
No birds chirping. No dogs howling. No cars whizzing by. Just quiet.
The only color I could see was red. Red scratches running down my arms. Red marks marring my hands from the tight grip I had to maintain on the leash. The deepest red however, was littered all over the street, the sidewalks, and my own legs, leaving an ominous trail from where we had been to where we were.
Suddenly harsh panting broke through my fog and I could see. I could see Rosee sitting on the concrete, staring at me. Her eyes were wide, her breathing irregular, her throat emitting strange little strangled whines. On shaky legs I kneeled down in front of her, using trembling fingers to try to assess the damage done.
Eyes glassy, but unscathed.
Chest pink from exertion, but unscratched.
Front legs unsteady, but untouched.
Then. . .
Her ears had nail marks in them with blood dripping off the tips.
Her muzzle though. Her muzzle got the worst of it. Her nose and upper lip were smeared red, it just falling down her mouth like a torrent. At that moment all I could do for her was press the tissue from my pocket to her mouth to help stem the bleeding and continue my mantra of “It’s okay, Rosee, it’s okay.”
The day had started out deceptively normal. Wake up, eat breakfast, take dogs out for daily walk. See? Normal. The weather was warm, but not too hot. Both Rosee and Simon were behaving themselves nicely. All in all it was a good start to the day.
Working our way down a street lined with slightly older homes, made mysterious with their large front yards surrounded with shrubbery and short picket fences, we were suddenly put on the defensive. Our attacker came out of nowhere. Lithe and speedy it went immediately for Rosee’s face, not even giving her (or me) a chance to realize what was going on before it was too late. Going straight for the face, moving forward with wild abandon, all I could do was pull Rosee between my legs and plant my knees on the ground in an attempt to hold all of her 75 lbs. back from further attack. Once I gained a better grip on Rosee’s collar I successfully worked at pulling her across the street to safety with her attacker following. It wasn’t until we hit the middle of road that the attacker finally trailed off going back to hide like the little coward that it was.
What happened? Why was my dog’s muzzle spouting blood? How did I get covered in scrapes, bruises, and blood?
The answer: a cat.
Yeah, that’s right. We got attacked by an extremely forward cat. We were ambushed as we walked down the street by a cat stealthily hidden in nearby shrubs who thought we got a little too close to it. Jumping through the plants it had used as camouflage this huge cat (seriously, it must have been a Maine Coon or something) launched itself at Rosee. This cat screeched and screamed, digging its sharp claws into Rosee’s muzzle, at one point I was worried they were actually stuck! Rosee freaked out, unsure whether to go forward or backward, so she settled for just jumping up. Never once did she bark, whine, snarl, bare teeth, or snap at this cat. She just was. I pulled and pulled, and eventually got her away from the assault, but the damage was done. The cat had left her torn up and bloody.
A thirty minutes’ walk from home, I could barely contain myself to move let alone pull a stunned dog along with me. Theresa, who had been holding Simon back from the attack, quickly called our mother who was able to immediately come and pick us up. In an effort to right herself while we waited for our ride Rosee would shake her head and red droplets would just go flying. My hand, arms, and legs were covered in her blood and mine. Dabbing Rosee’s dripping face I could only tremble and stumble until we walked through our front door.
Once home Rosee’s face finally stopped bleeding, but she still had terrible scratches running across the length of her upper lip and nose. She was still breathing harshly and didn’t know whether to sit or stand. It’s like she was no longer comfortable in her own skin, and frankly, I knew the feeling. What should have been a comfortable morning routine was inexplicably boiled down to a terror-filled few minutes that would stay with all four of us for a long time. For weeks afterwards every time Rosee or Simon saw a stray cat wandering the street they would go crazy, pulling and whining after it. Every time we passed “The Spot” Rosee would dive for the fence where the cat had emerged. Suffice to say, the next few weeks of walks were spent trying to undo the damage this attack had taken on poor Rosee’s otherwise burgeoning relaxation she was finally starting to associate with walking.
As for me, I carried a paranoid air around me for a while. If this was what one wayward cat could do to Rosee, what would a dog do? Besides that, big or small or anything in between it is truly a terrible thing to see your beloved animal bleeding due to no fault of its own.
And so much for all those “Vicious Pit Bull Attack” storylines. This experience has certainly made me wonder how many of those “vicious pit bulls” were simply moved to defend themselves, because that is what normal dogs, animals, and even people do when they feel threatened—they get defensive. I feel as if I have been given a glimpse of clarity and understanding. How does that saying go again? Oh yeah, don’t judge a book by its cover. More aptly stated perhaps, don’t judge a dog by its breed.
Because seriously, a cat!