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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mt. Hood Vacation - Off to a Rough Start

Day 1 - Vacation
How Not to Handle a Stray/Lost Dog.

A few months ago my husband and I decided to take vacation this year over near Mt. Hood Oregon. So we rented a cabin that was dog friendly (with no weight/breed limitations, yay!!) and booked 4 nights with my parents. Our goal is to have fun with the pups and gets lots of hiking in.

Taking off Saturday afternoon we were planning on hitting the Woodburn Mall on our way to the cabin and since check in time wasn't until 4 pm we had plenty of time to leisurely get the car and dogs packed, house picked up, and dogs exercised for the drive.

It all started out normally enough...we got up in our usual morning routine, husband takes the dogs for a walk while I make breakfast and coffee. On this morning I realized we were short on milk for coffee and so I went off to the Dari Mart just down the street from our house. As I was driving I spotted my husband with our two dogs being followed by a clearly lost dog so I stopped to check it out.

The dog in question was a fluffy white Samoyed male, about 40 pounds and he had on a collar with visible tags. The problem though was that he would get super close to our dogs but not allow us to touch him (he'd shy away then come back).

Not the Actual dog, just a photo of the breed. Photo Attribution: Phil.Al

Well I got pretty close and touched him several times, he didn't show any signs of aggression he was just a bit stand-offish towards people. Another neighbor ended up trying to help us catch him, we really wanted to get this handsome fellow back to his family. We tried putting our dogs into the car, he quickly jumped in but scooted out just as fast when he realized the door was being closed. We tried looping the leash and dropping it around his head - he was wise to that trick. We tried talking to him but no luck.

You know that little voice in your head - intuition maybe? That little voice said, "Now don't do it!" But the animal lover in me said, "He's wearing tags, if only you could get a look we could call his family."
I should have listened to that voice, as he was passing near me and sniffing Ziva for the umpteenth time I reached down, touched him first, and then took a gentle hold of his collar.

**I've seen dog rescues many times, usually a dog that is fearful will take maybe a single test bite and then cower when it doesn't work (dogs usually aren't okay with biting humans if they come from a healthy family), some dogs will struggle and try to run. Not this guy.**

I think if he'd have been a bit bigger I wouldn't have tried to grab his collar, but he wasn't very big and my intentions were good. I just wanted to help him get home right?

Well he totally freaked. I wasn't hurting him but he wanted nothing to do with me holding his collar, and because I had hold of his collar he was able to turn and bite me, multiple times. I held on longer than I should have, I waited for the initial test bite but that's not what happened. He kept biting. Thankfully his life was spared - the hubby had hold of Dante and Ziva who quickly wanted to jump in and rescue mom. I released the little punk, and he took off at a dead sprint.

Thankfully we were close to home, but I was bleeding profusely. I had a general idea of where the bites were but my hands were so covered in blood I couldn't see anything. We quickly zipped back home and ran my hands under cold water in the sink. I nearly passed out - blood doesn't bother me but the adrenaline rush on an empty stomach plus some shock about did me in. And my hubby quickly got me set up on the couch while he pulled out our first aid kit.

The dog bit both my wrists, 3 times on my right thumb, the back of my right hand, and a tooth got the inside pad of my left hand.  MAJOR OUCH, and lots of nice puncture wounds.

Thankfully my sister had spent the night (she was going to be house sitting) and she helped patch me up while my hubby made food. We used Q-tips and got Iodine deep into the punctures, and then used neosporin and bandages over the top.

We also called animal control with dog description, direction he ran, and made sure they knew he wasn't friendly. Hopefully they'll find him and can get him home.

After breakfast, I realized that dog bites require tetanus shots. And I wasn't sure when I had last had one, so off to Urgent Care we went.

My hands soaking at Urgent Care

The doctor said she wasn't worried about rabies because he was a clean house dog, was wearing tags, and I had gotten a good look at him and he didn't have any visible wounds. If it had been a cat she would have been concerned - cats tend to chase and kill the things that carry rabies like bats, and get into fights with other animals like possums.


But she did want to make sure the wounds were super clean so she had me soak my hands in Hibiclens, an antibacterial solution that thankfully didn't sting.

Also they are required to report dog bites - whether I wanted to or not. I ended up filling our the report which was fine, I made sure to check the box that I provoked him. It was my fault, I shouldn't have grabbed him.

Great way to start vacation right?

Things I Learned from this Experience:
  • Never just grab a dog if they aren't already willingly allowing you to pet them.
    • If the dog won't allow you to pet them - keep an eye on the animal if you can, and call animal control to pick them up. If possible stay with them so that they are easier to locate.
    • If possible, lure the animal into a fenced yard or other safe place in order to then call animal control to come pick it up. Your car is not necessarily a good idea, the dog can become frantic or aggressive if you try to drive them making you a safety hazard to others.
      •  If you can't approach the animal then don't - animal control has looped poles that will allow them to safely hold the animal without injury to person or beast. 
  • Just because the dog is small - doesn't mean it can't do considerable damage.
  •   ALWAYS, Always listen to your intuition. If their is something not right or not quite safe  then don't do it.

One more thing..PLEASE, PLEASE, socialize your animals constantly so that if they are to get lost a Good Samaritan can get them back home to you.

Other Tips if you find a Stray or Lost Pet: click here for the link
  •  If you can transport the animal safely - take them to the nearest animal shelter.
    • If you plan on keeping the animal should you be unable to find their family - notify animal control that you have found the animal or that you've taken them to a veterinarian or animal hospital. 
      • Look for tags.
      • Check the animal for a microchip at your local vet or shelter.
    • You can usually place a free "found" ad in your local paper.
    • Notify your local animal shelter or animal control office of the "found" animal.
    • Before bringing the animal home
      • Make sure you keep your resident pets safe and separate should the animal be sick, fearful, or aggressive.
  • Take pictures - you can post "found" flyers around your area.
  • You can also post notices at veterinary offices and websites such as and
  • If you've tried finding the owner without success and are unable to keep the animal long term you can try to re-home the animal yourself.

I am not mad at the animal, I hope his family finds him. I should have been smarter and I hope that you will not make the same mistakes that I did.


  1. I'm glad you were not hurt worse than you were! As a pet owner/lover, it's a difficult decision as to what to do. At the time you think you are doing what's right for the dog out of your concern for his safety, but then the "lost/stray" dog does not always see it that way and can react by trying to "defend" themselves. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope you heal quickly!

  2. Yikes! Sorry to hear that happened to you, but we hope you heal quickly and that the dog finds its way back home.

  3. I'm glad you're OK. I hope the entire country reads your post -- for very selfish reasons. I'm an animal control officer. I'm SOOO tired of people thinking "I can do it, I saw it on TV" and then getting bit. (Though sometimes I want to say "Not as easy as it looks, is it?") I'm also tired of bystanders mocking me because I take the same precautions with the small dogs as I do the big dogs. I've been bitten 5 times in 9 years -- IT HURTS! -- and every biter was under 25 pounds. Your tips are spot on. We do have tools and training. We still get bit sometimes, but we also have pre-exposure rabies shots, up-to-date vaccines and workman's comp. What's best for me is if someone can keep eyes on the dog, and if at all possible shoo it into a gated yard and/or away from traffic. Again, sorry for your pain. I know it hurts. Your hand will heal before your ego, so take it easy on yourself.

    1. I find it pretty funny all your bites came from small dogs (not funny you were bit). It's these dogs though that owners allow to act nasty and out of control, those same behaviors in a large dogs are downright terrifying and yet the owners don't take the time to correct their small dog but rather make excuses for them. I have a neighbor whose tiny dog would gladly attack any passerby given the chance, she's always picking him up or trying to keep him in the house. She refuses to control his bad behavior and she uses a flexi-leash on walks. This tough little guy even charged me and my two dogs one time, luckily everyone was leashed.

      I guess one of the reasons I didn't think it would be too much of a problem was that I had touched him a couple times before I grabbed his collar.
      I've never been scared of dogs but now I know better. :-) Thanks for being a dog lover and animal control officer - people like you are needed!

  4. I am visiting from Blog Paws and can totally relate. As a child I also tried to save a dog from boys who decided it would be fun to pelt the dog with rocks. As I reached for the already frantic animal, he bit me on my finger. 12 shots later and a thumb wrapped up in gauze, I would have stood a better chance confronting the boys than the dog. Sometimes even our best intentions don't work as planned. Glad you shared your experience.


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