Thursday, July 26, 2007

Attack of the Jack Russell Terrier

My neighbor Erica and I, had quite a day. It all started when I returned home to find a police car in Erica's driveway. She came outside to inform me that a Jack Russell Terrier had been stalking our houses all day. I had first noticed "Jackie" (as I named her), yesterday, when she appeared in my backyard. She only stayed a second or two before darting off from, and I thought nothing of it. Well... apparently Jackie had been hanging around all day today... and Erica finally decided to call for some assistance when her efforts to keep Jackie from scratching at her back door proved useless.

She seemed harmless enough... rubbing up against us... begging for attention. No tags... possibly "up there" in years we thought... and she was really pretty sweet (we thought).

We soon learned that our county does not have an animal control department. On top of that... police officers are not allowed to transport stray animals to nearby shelters. (We couldn't help but wonder what on earth else the Whitestown version of Boss Hog has to do with himself... but I refrained from asking). Instead of offering any suggestions, he simply gave the dog a pat on the head, shrugged saying, "she seems harmless enough", and headed off to undoubtedly bust the next careless citizen who dared go 2 miles over the 20 mph town speed limit.

Erica and I debated over what to do with this pesky creature while at the same time entertaining her one-year-old daughter, Rachel... and then for reasons that I still am searching for... I decided to let Max out. Rachel adores Max... and she was getting frustrated simply talking to him through the front door window. Typically, Max enjoys a little kiss and teasing from Rachel - but today was different. It was different simply because I had forgotten about our little guest - Jackie. "No big deal", I thought to myself as Max bolted to inspect the intruder. He generally likes other dogs and plays well... never mind the fact that this particular animal was a stranger to us... without tags and an unknown immunization status.

Fast forward to what felt like 10 minutes but probably was all of 2. The attack started so fast that it took quite awhile to come to my senses and go into rescue mode. With Rachel in my arms... it was difficult to try and kick Jackie as hard as I wanted to ... watching her pin my poor sweet dog up against our house and mawl him. I finally passed (ok threw) Rachel off to her mom (also frozen and in shock)... and headed back to save Max. It was probably a good thing that I didn't stop and consider the risk of putting your arms into the middle of gnashing teeth and claws... although I'm pretty sure I would have preferred to be cut up over Max sustaining further injuries. He is now OK.. I think. One very large laceration to his leg along with a few others... but I think he'll live to tell about it.

The attack was all my determined neighbor needed to get the police back out and demand they do something. This time, it was Barney Fife himself who arrived to rescue us. Let me give you a step-by-step breakdown of the hillbilly way to scare a dog off your property.

A) Obtain large bucket of water.
B) Follow dog around with bucket of water aimed and ready.
C) Reassure civilians that this technique looks cruel, but is indeed extremely effective.
D) Dump bucket. Miss dog. Soak civilians.

(I didn't make this up.)

Jackie ran away... and Barney proudly announced that he thought he was gone... just as Jack came back around the other side of the house. The State Trooper who lives down the street happened to be driving by about this time. He pulled over, and for a moment I actually thought just maybe he might have a more sophisticated approach. Perhaps State Troopers are allowed to transport stray dogs??? Barney asked him if he had any pepper spray... (apparently Whitestown Police do not have the authority to carry pepper spray). The State Trooper replied "yes". Barney requested he loan it to him to spray Jackie. The State Trooper said, "no". (Erica and I exchanged hopeless, yet slightly relieved glances... as we could not possibly understand why this officer was so sure that making the dog petrified of him... would get him off our property.

It was at this point that I suggested we put the dog in Max's crate and I personally drive him to a shelter.

Barney Fife: "You have a crate?"

Me (trying so hard to not sound sarcastic): "Yes".

Barney Fife: "Well then yes, let's try that. Then you can put her in the shade with some water and maybe find the owners later."

Me (thinking to myself): "When I get the little monster in the trap, I'm going to dump her at the pound and come home so I can sleep and go to work."

After a small battle of trying to remove the crate from the house and Max jumping in it trying to keep me from doing so... I emerge outside. I began coaxing Jackie with treats toward the crate and she comes slowly, but willingly.

Barney: "Here give me one of those... I'll get her in there".

(Jackie retreats... cowering behind me).

Barney: "I think she's a little scared of me... (ya think)... c'mon girl..."

(Jackie moves farther away...)

Barney: "If I had some thick gloves or something, I'd just pick her up and put her in there."

Me (rolling my eyes at Erica and promptly picking the mutt up and throwing her in the crate): "There. Now what?"

Barney (sticking his finger in the crate... I guess trying to tickle Jackie's leg or something, and announcing proudly): "Well... another case closed by the Whitestown Police!"

(You're kidding, right?)

Some time later... Erica and her husband Steve attempted to drop Jackie off at the nearest Humane Society. It was found that she had no microchip with owner information.

Humane Society Employee: "We can take the dog, but there will be a $20 impoundment fee."

Erica: "Excuse me? There's a fine for turning in a lost dog?"

Employee: "It's a processing fee."

Erica: "But she attacked my neighbor's dog... why should we have to pay for trying to get her off the streets?"

Employee: "She attacked a dog? In that case... we are going to have to euthanize her. That's going to cost $120, and you will have to keep her overnight because it can't be done until the morning."

Seriously? Is this a joke?

As they were leaving (Jackie still in tow), Erica called me to relay this conversation. While it may not seem humane... we all agreed there was only one solution. Forget coughing up $120 for trying to do the right thing... set the dog loose again. Apparently... this city offers a subliminal threat: "leave our strays loose or pay a fine"!

They found a deserted gravel road - far enough away from our houses but still within the city limits. Just maybe, she would be able to find her way home. It was apparently a very emotional "goodbye". Steve placed Jackie on the ground and she frantically began running around the car trying to get back in. They got in the car and Steve told Erica just to not look back... but that was impossible. As Steve hit the gas, Erica watched Jackie barking and racing to keep up with them. Ironically, at the same time Nelly Furtado was on the radio singing "All Good Things (Come to an End)"...

..."travelling i always stop at exits
wondering if i'll stay
young and restless
living this way i stress less
i want to pull away when the dream dies
the pain sets it and i don't cry
i only feel gravity and i wonder why

and the sun was wondering if it should stay away for a day until the feeling went away
and the clouds were dropping and the...
the rain forgot how to bring salvation
the dogs were whistling a new tune barking at the new moon
hoping it would come soon so that they could die"...

Poor, poor Jackie. Perhaps if you had not ripped my beloved puppy's arm open... things would have been different. While this may have not been the most favorable solution to our challenging day... I reminded Erica that they were merely giving little Jackie one more chance at life. The alternative was a certain death... perhaps now - she may find her way to herreal home. I'm cautiously optimistic... At the same time... I don't think I would be too surprised if we hadn't seen the last of old Jackie, the Jack Russell Terrier...
It may be awhile before Max will be pottying by himself again... I'll keep you posted!


janet l moran said...

Meg, that is such a crazy, funny story. I'm really glad Max is ok. Jack Russells are a terror. My parents have lost two cats at the hands of a mean Jack Russell. I'll forgive your degrading references to my favorite show on earth - the Andy Griffith Show.

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh, I was cracking up at that! Sounds like you have some really fearless defenders of the people in your town! :0
I'm glad poor little Max is ok...your friend might want to get a few boxes of dog repellent and spread it all around her house...or better yet a BB gun!

Anonymous said...

How is Max doing today?

Meghan said...

Max is doing OK today. He's pretty subdued and has been sleeping since yesterday. I think he's probably pretty sore. His leg is swollen but so far I don't see any signs of infection. The trick has been trying to keep him from licking off the antibiotic ointment! Anybody have any home dog remedies for alleviating pain??

Anonymous said...

The only remedy I could suggest for poor Max would be a "Doggie-Rita"!! I'm sure he would love that!! You guys are going to have to sign him up for a self defense Karate class or something! In all seriousness, I am glad that he is okay, and you too! You and Erica are like Cagney and Lacey!!

Christy said...

No way! The police couldn't have been of any more help?! I'm so shocked by what they did or didn't do. And the humane society, are you kidding me? That is one great story Meghan! Hope Max gets to feeling better soon. Jess is so funny, doggie-rita! :)
Maybe you should trying getting on the city council next relection........

Meghan said...

Well... it's been less then 24 hours and already my biggest fear has come true...

Jackie is back my friends.

Anonymous said...

Okay Meg, no more Mrs. Nice Guy. Let's get the donation basket sent around for the $$$ needed for the "you know what". It's go time people!!

Anonymous said...

I know a remedy for the dog problem. You have a brother-in-law who would LOVE to help you out...You know which one, don't you?

Meanwhile, don't mess with dogs fighting.

Eric said...

I have a home remedy, not for Max.. but for Jackie. It called a nice little bowl of anti-freeze. Also that comment from Jess about Cagney and Lacy... I was thinking more Laverne and Shirley. :-)

Anonymous said...

Laverne and Shirley...great now all I can picture is Meg and Erica putting gloves on the soda bottles when they are going down the conveyor belt (during the opening credits)!! Totally laughing out loud at the vision!! :)

Unknown said...

For Max's wound licking problem, you might try this spary at the pet store (I got mine at Petsmart) called Bitter Apple. It tastes awful but won't hurt him and it will make him stop messing with it so it can heal.

Anonymous said...

Geesh, what a story ! It made me angry, anxious and exhausted.
Sorry for the entire incident w/ Jack & your beloved Max.

Hope all is better soon w/ Max.

Hope you get rid of that "Jackster".

Jackie Carl

Anonymous said...

I am laughing hysterically here...sorry about your Max getting hurt, though! :(

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

I just came from Isaac's blog...
*crying my eyes out*

I saw your profile and saw that you are a NICU nurse..
we spent 6 months in the hospitals w/ our son Matthew.. who is now two.. he was born w/ a heart defect... has had two open heart surgeries at Stanford...

Anyhoo.. I also noticed you were from Reno!! I lived in Reno for 20 years.. and I love it there soo much.. I've been back in Vegas now for about 9yrs..

but anyway..
just dropped by for a hello..
and to tell you how much we love our nurses... we stay in contact with most of his NICU, CVICU and PICU nurses... we love them all so much..
You are a God send!

Tiffany Evans said...


Thanks so much for stopping by our blog. I actually read Ricky's story quite some time ago...simply amazing. Thank you for your prayers. I love the God we serve and the community he brings around us in times of need. Thank you.