I contemplated whether or not I even wanted to do this post. I don’t want to reinforce any negative stereotypes about pit bulls and I’m certainly not keen to share something that makes me seem like the kind of dog owner who doesn’t have complete control over my pets. But after much consideration, I decided to share because I know that other people have experienced this and I made a commitment to share both the ups and the downs of fostering. So, here it goes…
Our best friends Nate & Deanna came over for cookie decorating and a Christmas movie (Elf…my favorite) on Saturday night. Around 10:30, the evening was winding down and Daniel was showing them some of Ginger’s tricks. Turk had been sitting nearby. Suddenly, Turk jumped on Ginger and started biting…hard. Daniel pulled them apart quickly, but it was apparent something was wrong. I checked Ginger for wounds (she didn’t fight back), and noticed she was bleeding pretty badly from her ear. Turk had bitten a hole in the thin flap of her ear. Immediately, we got Ginger into the car and rushed her to the nearest emergency vet clinic. 2 hours and $300 later, Ginger emerged with six stitches in her ear and a staple in her neck from a wound I didn’t notice until we got in the car.
The next day, Turk seemed desperate to be sweet with us and to inspect Ginger in the new contraption surrounding her head (e-collar). It seemed as if he knew we were mad at him because of what he did to Ginger. Honestly, I was mad at him, but more angry at myself because I know that Turk didn’t just jump on Ginger for no reason. There is a reason, and it is probably our fault. Daniel knew better than to have treats out when having Ginger perform tricks. We have known that is a trigger and have been very careful to eliminate treats and toys when both dogs are out, just as a precaution. So the only thing I can figure is that Turk’s trigger is….us. I don’t think he likes it when Ginger is the recipient of our attention instead of him. This is strange because Turk doesn’t seem to have issues with our friend’s dogs or Rufus (although they did get into it a couple times when we first brought Turk home). I guess what I am trying to say is, Turk isn’t an inherently aggressive dog…he’s just aggressive with Ginger when it comes to us. This is bad because I want Ginger to live in a safe environment and I want to continue fostering, so aggressiveness on Turk’s part just isn’t going to fly. Kate from Twenty-Six to Life mentioned checking out Nothing in Life is Free, so we’re going to try that for awhile to see how it works. I also think it might be a good idea to try the tiedown method that Aleks mentioned awhile back – maybe Turk’s issue is that Ginger has free reign of the house? I don’t know. Does anyone else have any suggestions of things to try to work on Turk’s aggression towards Ginger?
I guess the upside to this incident is that we are finally going to address Turk’s issues so he can be a better foster brother in the future…and…Ginger’s antics with her e-collar have been pretty funny. We bought her a Comfy Cone on Sunday because her staple is right along her collar line, so the plastic e-collar was irritating it.
Very quickly, she figured out how to use her cone to her advantage…she figured out how to slam doors with it, how to use it as a built-in pillow, and most interestingly, she figured out that she could scare the crap out of her foster mama. She used the cone to completely envelop my face while I was napping, so I woke up to total darkness except for Ginger’s wet nose and piercing eyes. She’s done it to me twice now, both times were equally terrifying! And I swear, I saw her smile after!
So, Ginger is fine. Her stitches will be out in a week and she doesn’t seem emotionally scarred from the whole thing (that’s more Daniel and I who are), and we’re taking it as a wake-up call to be more careful and to really address Turk’s issues with Ginger. Am I the only one who has a dog who doesn’t want to a good foster brother/sister? Suggestions? I’m all ears!