For a decade now, Sparky and I have been inseparable. Neighbors say that we look alike, and I’m not sure if that’s a compliment to him or me. He’s a 12-year-old Poodle/Parsons mixed breed rescue who means the world to me and many others. What can I say, it was love at first sight at the shelter. We work near Tudor Street Park and know every dog, owner, and walker in the community. I’m very proud of our relationship and the level of training that we’ve gone through, as well as the joy that he brings to neighbors, clients, patients, and pets.
The first time that Sparky was almost killed, I had little knowledge of Molosser breeds (Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Pitbulls, Cane Corsos, etc.) and their inherent strength. I can still remember him getting torn apart like a stuffed toy. The sheer power of the attacking Pitbull was eye-opening to me, as well as to the owner who recently adopted it. After paying Sparky’s surgery bills, I inquired about liability and accountability when owning such a powerful animal. Cambridge Animal Control dismissed my concerns saying that “it’s not the breed.” But I did not specify breed, I specified strength. How could someone whose job is to protect animals and public safety not consider sheer bite strength as a factor? Dr. Christopher Ulrich, well respected Cambridge Veterinarian, had a different perspective after saving Sparky’s life. Pointing to Sparky’s throat wounds, Dr. Ulrich cautioned: “1 inch to the right and he’s in a bag. Think anatomy when going near certain breeds, it’s not worth it.” I heeded Dr. Ulrich’s words and avoided parks. That is the reality for sensible dog owners: be vigilant about what dogs are around you. Much like our houses, guns, and trucks in America- our dogs are trending towards bigger and more powerful.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGERY
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGERY
The second time that Sparky was almost killed was this past June. After being ripped out of the air by a formidable grey and white Pitbull, Sparky remained in its jaws for 15 seconds. The screeching distress wails echoing up Brookline Place that evening still ring in my ear. I’ve had to watch the video with lawyers & city officials, and it is beyond disturbing. The teenager who was harboring the Pitbull kicked it repeatedly to release, but nothing was going to stop it from killing. It was a playtime for this dog, with its tail wagging in its prey’s blood & fur on the sidewalk. Luckily, Sparky’s leash was off during the attack and he miraculously escaped. The Pitbull was leashed, yet could still lunge 36” across a sidewalk and pull an animal who is running for his life out of the air. If Sparky were on his leash, he would be dead and my arms would have been shredded. He ran all night wounded in “flight mode” and was found the following morning in Kendall Square. I rushed him to Emergency Surgery in Boston. On his intake, Dr. Kim Helmboldt wrote: “bite wounds to the left chest, abdomen, left lateral thigh, left inguinal region secondary to a Pitbull attack.” Dr. Helmboldt has unfortunately seen too many attacks this severe, and always from powerful breeds of the Molosser family. “A Beagle, no matter how mistreated or misbehaved, just cannot cause this trauma.” His left chest and belly were ripped open, but the surgeons were more concerned with the deep puncture wounds around his hip. My hopes were that they would stabilize him enough for me to say goodbye. Imagine: you hope to say goodbye to your dog as you pay a deposit of $4,000.00. I slept next to him for 10 hours until morning, taking a few Dunkin Donuts runs while he was under. He didn’t know who I was. The next day, he ran a temperature of 106 and the concern was clearly infection. I would bend my upper body into his kennel and hold him while reciting our familiar catchphrases. After 48 hours of fluids and a lot of encouragement, his fever broke! Sparky ate a bit and went for a short walk around the waiting area. The Vet-techs were in disbelief that this 12-year-old was pulling through. I could see small but hopeful signs of my buddy. It was the most challenging summer for both of us, but we made it. Sparky has some bronchial & intestinal issues, and his head tilts to the left a bit, but he’s as tough as nails and with me now. I cannot thank this wonderful community enough for all of your support and love throughout this difficult summer. Please sign our petition and continue to reach out with your stories. They fuel doggammit.org. Your support has got us here! Thank you!