A local couple is searching for a man whose dog bit their two-year-old daughter in Meridian Hill Park last week.
The couple, who only want to be identified by their first names and Kate and Jamal, said a small white dog — possibly a terrier or a Jack Russell terrier — bit their daughter Elise while the family walked through the park last Thursday around 11 a.m.
Kate and Jamal said the dog’s owner, a “fair skinned white man in his late 50s or early 60s,” pried the dog from their daughter but left the scene before the couple could ask about the pet’s immunization status.
The family posted flyers around the neighborhood with a photo of their daughter’s injuries and a note to the dog owner earlier this week.
“Kate and I were initially frustrated by not being able to protect our child, and then angry that the man walking the dog would run away,” Jamal said in an e-mail to Borderstan today.
Originally, Jamal and Kate suspected they might have to vaccinate their daughter for rabies as a precaution. Jamal said that, following the attack, he received conflicting medical advice about whether his daughter was at risk for contracting the disease.
“We were told that we were facing very serious risks,” Jamal said. “But in researching rabies, I learned that while the consequences from getting rabies are horrible (nearly always fatal), the likelihood (probability) of that occurring in this instance — being bitten by a leashed dog in Washington DC — are negligible.”
“Animal control told me that in the District, the last case of rabies in a dog was in 2005,” Jamal added. “I think we are going to opt not to subject our two-year-old to the post-exposure rabies vaccine shots.”
Still, the couple — who filed a report with the U.S. Park Police yesterday — simply want the dog’s owner to make himself known and put their minds at ease.
“We are asking the dog owner to come forward and confirm that his dog is in good health, has not recently tangled with any wildlife and has been vaccinated for rabies.” Jamal said. “I am confident that the wheels of Karma will come around to deal with whomever was walking that dog.”
Kate and Jamal are urging anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact them at the phone numbers listed on the flyer.
Earlier this week, District Parks and Recreation officials locked the gated patch of grass next to the Bruce Monroe Community Garden and attached signs to the gates barring dogs.
Almost immediately after the signs went up, Columbia Heights resident Dave Bobeck started a Facebook page called “Save the Bruce Monroe Community Park Dog Run,” which has already garnered 60 members. The problem, Bobeck said, is that he’s not sure who they’re saving their makeshift dog park from.
“I’m not really sure if there was pressure or where it’s coming from to keep dogs out,” Bobeck said. “Obviously somebody cared enough to send enough emails that they put up the signs, so somebody out there is opposed to this, but we haven’t heard who or why.”
Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman John Stokes told DCist that the area was chained off because it was not a legitimate dog park. In fact, said Stokes, the plot is officially designated as a stormwater management area for the community garden.
Still, Bobeck said he and his neighbors are trying to get the signs removed so their dogs can use the area again. Bobeck said he’d at least like the chance to respond to whatever opposition the makeshift park has run into.
“People having been using that as a place to run their dogs for basically as long as the community garden has been there,” he said. “It’s been uncontested as far as I know and we want to restore access to that immediately if possible. Failing that, we’d at least like to know what the issues are with the dog run use and have a chance to address those issues.”
But a resolution may come soon. ANC 1A Commissioner Rashida Brown told members of the Facebook group that she is working to schedule a meeting next week to bring together dog owners and DPR officials who closed the area. Bobeck said that one member of the Facebook group is working on submitting the applications to DPR for an official dog park, but added that he doesn’t think there is a need to spend money building an official dog park when owners have been happily using this plot for years.
“Some people are talking about development and an official dog park in the future, but if it comes down to public funds going to that or to some better cause, by all means let them go to a better cause,” he said. “Just open that area back it, it won’t cost anybody anything.”
Photo via Facebook/ Save The Bruce Monroe Community Park Dog Run
It is 8 am and you are dropping your dog off at doggie daycare for the day. You are feeling very guilty because you know you’ll be working late and won’t be back to pick up the dog for 12 hours.
In the car on the way to daycare, you tell your dog how sorry you are and assure him that he will have a great time. Once you get there, you give him a hug and tell him goodbye as you hand him to the daycare staff. He looks back at you longingly and tries to pull himself back to you. You say goodbye a few more times and reluctantly leave.
Does this sound familiar? Most people go through this tearful routine with their dog every day, whether they are leaving their dog at home or taking her to daycare. At the end of the day when they get home from work, there is a joyful reunion between dog and human.
Goodbyes and Reunions Cause Anxiety for Dog
In reality, these tearful goodbyes and happy reunions are not helpful to dogs, and actually make dogs feel anxious and worried. In human social interactions, it is quite rude to leave without saying goodbye or enter without saying hello, and humans quite naturally follow these social conventions with their dogs. However, in canine social interactions, dramatic arrivals and departures indicate that something is wrong.
When you say goodbye to your dog, what your dog understands is “This is a serious situation. I need to say goodbye in case I don’t come back.” Similarly, when you have an ecstatic greeting ritual upon arrival, you are telling your dog “Thank goodness I made it home. I was really worried that I would never see you again.”
The more emotional you are during arrivals and departures, the more worried your dog will become. The best thing to do when leaving your dog is to simply walk out the door without speaking or making eye contact. When you return home, try to ignore your dog for two minutes and wait until she calms down before greeting her calmly.
Use a Low-Key Approach
This may make you feel uncomfortable and rude, but it is actually making your dog feel much more relaxed. Low-key arrivals and departures tell your dog “This is no big deal. I’ll be back so soon that there is really no point in saying goodbye.”
It is natural to feel guilty about leaving your dog for the day, but try to remember that your job is to keep your dog calm and relaxed. Dogs don’t understand our language, but they seem to equate a lot of chatter and emotion with a potentially distressing situation. The less you say to your dog during arrivals and departures, the better.
As we head into summer, it is important to make sure your dog stays cool. Heat stroke can occur after only 5 minutes of exposure to hot temperatures and can be fatal. Here are some ideas for keeping cool in the heat:
- Take your dog swimming. Two options for off leash dog swimming in the area are Shirlington Dog Park in Arlington, Va., and Downs Memorial Dog Park Beach in Pasadena, Md.
- Buy a kiddie pool for your patio or backyard. Even if you have a small patio, your dog will love splashing around in a kiddie pool.
- Make doggie “popsicles.” Freeze chicken or beef broth in an ice cube tray and give them to your dog as a cool treat.
Signs of Heat Stroke
Limit your dog’s outdoor time during peak sun and never leave him in a hot car. If you are worried about them being bored, add some training or stimulating toys to make up for the shorter walks in summer. Signs of heat stroke include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, bright red gums and unsteadiness.
If you see these symptoms, try to immediately cool your dog by placing her in a tub of cool water (not freezing) or using a cold cloth to cool her feet and groin area. If symptoms persist, go to the vet right away.
Summers in DC can be brutal for everyone. Make sure your dog is comfortable and happy this summer!
The beagle is one of the most common breeds found in our local private rescue organizations.
This is because local rescues get dogs from West Virginia, Virginia and the Carolinas, which tend to be hunting or herding breeds.
City dwellers think that the beagle is the perfect size for an apartment. It is important to know what you are getting into before choosing any breed of dog.
Beagles are hunting dogs. They have been bred for hundreds of years to chase foxes and other small animals. This is work they do independently from humans. This means that they are not naturally inclined to take direction from humans or be “team players.”
So expect them to be lower on the trainability scale than breeds that do work together with people, like retrievers or herding dogs. This doesn’t mean they are not intelligent, just that it will take more time and patience to train them. Beagles are also not very reliable off the leash, as they tend to follow their noses and get lost.
Beagles are very sweet tempered and love affection and company. They are good with children and other dogs. Beagles that are raised as hunting dogs live in huge packs in kennels. When they get rescued and brought to the city, they can have a hard time being alone while owners are at work.
Beagles have a very loud bark, and if they feel anxious and express it vocally, it can mean tension with neighbors. Before choosing to adopt a beagle, make sure you have understanding neighbors and a training program in place. As a trainer, 95% of the separation anxiety cases I see are beagles, and all of them are in apartments.
If you are willing to devote some extra time to training and your neighbors can tolerate some noise, a beagle can be a wonderful addition to your family.
Barking is one of the most frustrating behavior problems that dog owners experience. It can be very difficult, if not impossible, to silence a barking dog. It is also embarrassing and problematic to have a noisy dog in an apartment building or on a busy street.
The best way to deal with an overly vocal dog is to first examine the cause of the barking and try to eliminate it. Dogs bark for a variety of reasons and each one has its own solution.
Why is Your Dog Barking?
- Fear: Many dogs vocalize when they are fearful or nervous. This is especially true for toy breeds. The dog is sleeping quietly and then the doorbell rings, immediately sending the dog into a frenzy. She may continue to bark the entire time the visitor is in the house.
- Scolding or punishing her for barking is not only ineffective, it probably increases her nervousness. The solution to fear-related barking is to eliminate or reduce the dog’s level of anxiety through training and desensitization exercises.
- Frustration: A dog that is frustrated may resort to barking when he can’t find a solution to his problem. Solution: examine the source of the frustration. Does he have a legitimate reason to be frustrated? No dog should be tied up or closely confined for long periods of time. Similarly, a reactive dog should not be allowed to stare out the window and bark at everyone who passes. He is not enjoying himself! A relaxed dog would be sleeping in a corner, ignoring the window. Find a quiet, windowless spot for your reactive dog.
- Attention-seeking: Some sources of doggie frustration are not legitimate. Your dog should not feel the need to bark at you when you are eating dinner or engaged in an activity that does not involve her. Don’t give in to a dog that vocalizes to get attention. She needs to learn to wait patiently until you are ready to interact with her. The only way to eliminate this type of barking is to ignore it completely.
- Breed-specific barking: Always research your breed before you get a dog! Some dogs, such as Lhasa Apsos and Chihuahuas, have been bred for centuries to bark at the slightest noise. They may not make good apartment dogs for this reason. Small-breed dogs, hounds and herding dogs tend to be barkers. Training is not very effective against years of genetic selection for barking.
The best solution to problem barking is to attack the reason behind the barking instead of the barking itself. Eliminating the source of the problem will result in long-term success and a much happier dog.
The Pit Bull is probably the most controversial breed of dog at present. Several states and countries have enacted legislation against the breed, believing that it is inherently dangerous.
The animal rights community believes that breed discrimination is wrong. Any breed of dog can become gentle or dangerous according to the genetic selection and training of the breeders and handlers.
Pit Bull Terriers were originally created for “sports” such as bull baiting, ratting and dog fighting. They can be very formidable fighters against other animals. The breed was also created to be incredibly docile with humans and wonderful with children.
During the 1950’s the Pit Bull Terrier was dubbed the “Nanny Dog” because they were so gentle and watchful over children. In fact, one of the reasons that Pit Bulls are predominantly used for dog fighting is that they are really the only breed that will tolerate the abuse and rough handling of the humans who engage in dog fighting.
Almost all Pit Bulls are wonderful family pets and are easy to train and gentle with humans. Because they have been historically bred for fighting with other animals, they aren’t great candidates for dog parks or households with cats. Pit Bull owners need to be aware of the high energy level and extreme athleticism of their dogs and provide them with good training and sufficient exercise.
Just as with people, dogs are individuals and need to be judged on their own specific temperaments. Pit Bulls that have been bred and trained for fighting can certainly be dangerous, but the majority of them are sweet and loving family members.
From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at [email protected].
Borderstan, some of you may have seen scenes like this and I’m not sure where you come down on them, but I’m declaring my displeasure.
I am usually fine with the sight of dogs tied up outside various neighborhood establishments, as it normally involves a 5- to 10-minute foray into the supermarket, pharmacy or flower shop of choice. Fine, you remembered you needed dish soap as you were walking your pet, and combined a quick pop into the store with the rest of the walk. No problem, I hear and understand you.
But do not get me started on the folks who tie their dog up outside a restaurant or bar while they are inside hanging out — inside — with friends, having drinks or even a full-blown meal while their pet is sitting outside, tied to a railing or tree box. My latest such sighting came as I was walking a friend’s dog at night and we turned the corner onto Church Street NW.
My dog was sniffing along and suddenly we heard a pitiful whine coming from a pet tied up in the next tree box, essentially sitting in all the pee and other traces left by earlier dogs, unable to defend himself if attacked, looking and sounding pretty vulnerable and miserable.
For real?! This particular owner couldn’t take their pet back home before hitting the happy hour or getting to their dinner date?
I imagine that sometimes the daily walks can be a drag or an interruption to our other activities; in certain weather they’re downright uncomfortable. But let’s not forget that dogs living in city apartments or condos, with no yard to run around and relieve themselves in, rely on those walks for an essential function, one they’ve patiently and generously learned to avoid doing around our homes. Let’s at least show them the courtesy and caring not to make those moments outdoors become associated with feeling abandoned, exposed and otherwise humiliated.
Finally, kudos to all those caring dog owners who don’t subject their pets to the behavior described above. You are (thankfully!) the rule.
It’s Wednesday, the middle of the work week… Tipping Point… so here’s a dog blog. There is a park and beach for dogs on the South River in Annapolis at Quiet Waters Park. Here’s a video clip of a really cute Borderstanian dog going for a swim a few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon. Full disclosure: Yeah, she’s our dog and we think she’s the cutest dog in Borderstan (which is saying a lot).
PLEASE send us a photo or two of your dog and we will post them under Dog Blogging. Send your photos and a short message about your dog to [email protected]