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a doggy day

October 11, 2006

This afternoon, I opened the door to take Himself out for his afternoon walk and came face to face with our upstairs neighbor’s dog.

For background, Himself is not great with other dogs–mostly territorially–and the upstairs dog is also not great with other dogs, though I don’t specifically know what sort of issues he has with other dogs.

As soon as I opened my door, the other dog came towards our apartment, and Himself reacted. The two dogs nipped and snapped at each other, all gnashing teeth and growling, right on my threshold. My neighbor pulled his dog off, and I pulled Himself back inside; my neighbor apologized and asked if Himself was OK and I said he was fine. I closed the door.

[I want to make it clear that I am not blaming the other dog or Himself here; as far as I am concerned, the upstairs dog was either intrigued by our open door or by Himself while Himself was reacting territorially to a large dog coming towards his home.]

Himself was shaking and I noticed a little blood spatter on my wrist. Himself had a little blood on his muzzle, so I led him to the bathroom, where there is good light, and looked him over. He had a spot of blood on the side of his mouth, but it didn’t appear to be bleeding actively, so I figured it was either a very small cut or it was blood from the other dog. I wiped his muzzle, calmed him down, and took him out for his walk. While we were out, I stopped a few times to see if he was OK, and noticed a bit more blood, apparently from his gum. I wondered if he broke a tooth or cut his gum. Our walk was short, because I wanted to get a calmed down Himself back home to check him out further.

Upon returning, I noticed something sitting on the carpet outside our door–a tooth. Himself’s tooth! Himself lost a tooth in the tussle with the upstairs dog! This is what the blood was from–the tooth socket! The whole tooth appears to have fallen out, and it didn’t bleed for more than a few minutes, so I am not TOO concerned. I called my vet and they told me to bring him in tonight, but we’re taking him there in the morning, to board for our out of town trip, so I told her I’d bring him then unless he seemed to be doing badly.

So now I’m sitting at home, Himself curled up next to me, and I’m worried about him. Not about his health–I know he’ll be fine–but about his future behavior. I’m concerned he’ll start having even worse reactions to other dogs (though, while on his walk immediately after the tussle, we passed another dog without any particularly unusual reaction, which is to say Himself pulled a bit, but didn’t growl or lunge).

And, OK, maybe I’m a little worried about his health. What’s up with his teeth that one would fall out during a fight? The vet told us he needs to have his teeth cleaned, but didn’t mention that it was urgent or that Himself’s teeth were in serious condition. But he lost a tooth in an 8-second tussle with another dog!

My evening, understandably, I think, has therefore been a little less than ideal. I thought it would be a good evening–I was very gung-ho to get some work done, I had some really great ideas I wanted to start exploring for my comment, and I thought I might even do some pre-packing for our trip. Instead, I’m sitting on the couch, googling “canine tooth loss” and not finding anything helpful. And being very concerned for Himself, while trying not to act too concerned, such that he would get anxious.

Sigh. The perils of dog ownership. The benefit, of course, is that Himself showers us with so much love.

Categories: woof
  1. Mel
    October 11, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    You know I can relate to that!! 🙂

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