Turns out it really is a dog eat dog world

DAY ONE My mobile rang its jolly tune just as I was about to order a much anticipated Rhum Baba from the rather handsome waiter. A stranger was on the other end of the phone telling me my little dog had been seriously injured. The chatter of the busy restaurant faded into the background as the caller, a vet, continued. Jack, our 14 year old Jack Russell, had been given pain relief and was about to into the operating theatre.


dog-eat-dog-worldBack on the train to West Sussex, I tried to find out more but, frustratingly, could not get through to the Dog Walker immediately but, when I did, I was shocked to the core. There were five dogs on the walk and they all got along well. However, after 45 minutes, without warning or provocation, the largest dog a Japanese Okita, turned on Jack. Despite Dog Walker’s frantic attempts to get the Okita off my Jack, the vicious attack took at least a minute and she was bitten trying to unclamp the jaws. In shock and horrified at seeing Jack in such agony, she drove to the vet where he was injected with a strong painkiller. Shortly afterwards he had a long operation to repair the extensive damage to his stomach, neck and back. Apparently, he was nearly killed.

DAY TWO The vet allowed me to visit Jack the next day. He advised me to contact the Dog Warden at the local council to report the Okita. But it transpired that our council are only interested if a dog attacks a human. I was told it was a civil matter and that I should contact a solicitor. Jack, although extremely sore and sorry for himself and barely able to move, had good vital signs and the vet thought he would be happier at home. I will only say this – the stress and emotion of looking after much loved but severely injured pet is enormous. He would not eat or drink or pee. He just lay in his basket.

dog-eat-dog-worldDAY THREE Up at 3.30am to check on Jack. He was sleeping peacefully but no inclination to pee or drink water. Attended second appointment at vets where the rubber drains were removed and he was given four more injections.  Around midday, I managed to hand feed Jack small chunks of freshly cooked chicken breast which Husband had kindly roasted for him.

DAY FOUR Woke up at 4.40am and went downstairs. I have never ever been so delighted to find a poo on the kitchen floor. I just hope it didn’t hurt him to pass it. He walked into the garden and did a pee and then, to my absolute joy, went to the water bowl and had a big long drink. I managed to get his four different pills down him, disguised in hand fed morsels of salmon and jellied meat.

DAY FIVE Jack is progressing slowly but is a little better each day. He is a tough little chap. However, I am getting more and more annoyed. The owner of the Akita has not had the decency to contact me to see how he is. I find this unforgiveable. For all I know, she is walking her dog without a muzzle and it could attack again – next time it might be a human. Dog Walker found out that she has no pet insurance. So on top of the terrible wounding of my gentle innocent dog, the emotional upheaval, and the disruption of our daily life, I now have to pay the vet £3000 (God knows when it will be reimbursed by our pet insurance – less, of course, the excess) and we’ll have higher insurance premiums to look forward to in the future. And the Akita’s owner? She gets off scot free.

Unfortunately it’s not just us who’ve had a stressful week with pets. Marvellous Mother In Law’s Dachshund has (as yet undiagnosed) weeping sores on her muzzle. Two of my friends have had to have their dogs put down. Another found her cat dead on her bed and then mislaid her new rescue kitten on the day the Cats Protection League lady was coming to ‘sign them off’. One has discovered her much adored terrier has a heart problem. Husband did make a wry comment about pet ownership ie was it worth all the trouble. Well of course it is I replied. They only have to look at you with those big limpid eyes and you’re suckered. Long live our pets!

A big thank you to all those lovely people who, having read this post, contacted me to see how Jack is getting on. The answer is that he is making steady progress and has had his stitches out. The vet has signed him off and tells me Jack is ‘incredible’ to have made such a good recovery. G x

Amazingly, my stoic gentle little dog has been signed off by the vet 15 days after being savaged. He deserves those treats (but not all at once of course!).
Jack reading his get well card


  1. This is heartbreaking. We love and cherish these little beings who come ino our lives and steal our heart. We are responsible for their well being and happiness. So, when I read something like this I only imagine the pain you are going through.
    The other dog owner should take responsibility for the damage his dog has done, pay for the care of your poor little Jack and make sure nothing like this happens again, likewise the dog walker. We entrust our dogs to the care of others, hoping that they will look after them as much as their owner but this does not always happen. As a fellow dog owner who adores her Terrier, Bo, I just wanted to send Jack a big (&gentle) hug and best wishes for a speedy recovery.
    Deborah x

  2. Grace,
    I think that your insurance company could still claim against the owner of the aggressive dog – dog insurance (but not cat) also has a section to cover you for car damage so presumably if you didn’t have it you would be personally liable? Or could you claim against the dog walker? They should surely take reasonable care when walking dogs together and insist on insurance for just an eventuality – or be insured themselves. It does also leave a nasty taste in the mouth though and the fact that the Akita owner has not been in contact is disgusting – it clearly says a lot about them as a human being.
    Please keep us updated on Jacks progress, but I hope his recovery is swift.

    • Hi Karen. Thank you so much for getting in contact. I have been overwhelmed by all the kind messages I have received. I am still thinking about what to do re. insurance etc as my main priority at the moment is Jack. Who, by the way, is making steady progress every day. He is an amazing little dog. And quite the kindest gentle Jack Russell – which is why I am so incensed that he was the victim of such a vicious and unprovoked attack. Best wishes, Grace

  3. All your costs should be recoverable. The dog walker should have public liability insurance which you could claim against and the owner of the Akita can be pursued in the small claims court, which can be done online now, there would be a cost for doi g this and the maximum you can claim is £3000 which is the amount of your vet bill.I hope your dog is back to full health soon.

  4. Horrific! How could the dog’s owner not enquire how someone’s beloved pet is after such trauma, is beyond me!! Wishing little Jack a full recovery X

  5. I really hope Jack is ok and I am truly horrified to hear this story, as the owner of a peaceful, sweet natured Jack russell bitch who everybody loves my fear is always another dog turning on her. It sounds like he has been mercifully spared, and is delicately on the mend. Sending gentle hugs and keep us informed preferably with a happier photo than the one of him with his injuries. The Akita owner should be held responsible and a vicious dog like that should be muzzled, it will attack again.

  6. Having just read this, my eyes teared up yet again. My 14 year old French Bulldog survived a broken back, two bouts of cancer, deafness, blindness in one eye, a dislocated hip, a bladder operation before failing to fight off an infection and going to sleep two weeks ago. Would I have another dog? Absolutely, but not right now.

    • Hi Sandy. I am so so sorry to hear about your dog. You must be heartbroken. But I am sure your pet had a wonderful life with you and your family and that is, in the end, the most important thing isn’t it. Grace x

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