I’ve had a nibble or two in my career, but I’ve been fortunate to never have any serious bites. Some of it is luck, I’m sure, and a lot of it is planning. If I don’t feel comfortable around a pet, I’ll muzzle it. It’s not an option, it is the condition on which I will complete an examination.
Which is why I was so rattled when a husky tried to bite my face off the other day.
He was nervous, in the way most huskies tend to be. He was an intact 8 month old dog who had zero training or socialization. I was going slowly during my exam, keeping an eye on him while talking to the owner.
It’s the stethoscope that usually does it. Something about extending this scary tubing under them while sticking your face near theirs is particularly intimidating for a dog. For this reason, I approach them gradually and pause if I’m concerned to put on a muzzle. The dog was acting nervous, but not agitated.
He lunged at me without a peep. The owner tightened on his chain so that he stopped short when I fell back, but I felt his jaws grazing the skin above my eyebrow and below my cheekbone. He intended to hurt me. I know I’m no Christie Brinkley, but be that as it may, I do like my face. It is pleasingly symmetric, what with its two eyes, one nose, etc. I would be most perturbed would those numbers change on me.
I backed out of the room, shaking. “I don’t know what happened,” said the owner. “He’s never been like this at home.”
I don’t spend much time thinking about the possibility of injury in the workplace. It definitely happens, but I hope to think that our precautions help to minimize that. Fortunately for me I came out of it with nothing worse than bruised nerves, and a reminder that I can’t afford to be worried about people’s feelings when it comes to protecting the safety of myself, my staff, and the owners themselves.
I am glad that my Husky is the total opposite. However, my husky is a fixed female, but she just LOVES LOVES LOVES to be social and LOVES everyone and everything!
However, She was kicked out of doggie day camp, an hour early yesterday, because she was being “too feisty” with another dog, which is a 1st for her in her year and a half of life. The staff even said that was very unlike her and chalked it up to the other dog, she was being feisty with because they said that dog was feisty to begin with. I hope that is all it was, because we have made sure to socialize Akira, for this very reason. I know how stubborn Huskies can be, and I wanted my girl to be friendly for all. So fingers crossed next time she goes back, that other dog is not there and she can prove herself to be a great socialized dog again.
Oh my, glad to hear you’re OK. It’s so scary when something like that happens. I had a dog go after me. She grabbed me by the arm and pulled me to the ground, and then proceeded to go after my neck and face. By the time I got away from her, my arms had green bruises all over them from defending myself. I honestly thought that this dog was going to tear my face off.
Yeah, I hear ya. Fortunately at my ER job, I usually examine all patients in our back treatment area before talking to owners. We are judicious with the use of muzzles. Dogs coming in on ER are often in more pain or scared, so I think the proportion of “questionable” animals is higher. I have to say, Ive come to like examining animals on my turf, and not having to run shaken from an exam room when one tries to (or does) bite me – this happened to me once in vet school. I started crying and shaking in front of the owners. It wasn’t pretty. Glad to know you’re OK. Most of my patients are too small to take my face off, fortunately. My fingers, on the other hand, are a different story. Remind me to tell you about the 300 lb sea turtle bite I incurred once 😉
Yeesh! Er, niiiice doggie?
OMG!!! I’m so glad to hear that you didn’t get hurt! And I hope that owner learns that he and his dog needs to get some SERIOUS Training!!
so it goes in vet care i saw a farrier bit in the butt by a horse just for looking at another horse animals are that animals, and though we love them and most are sweet and loving some are not or are scared to death think of the time you got your first colonoscopy if you could bit the doc wouldnt you have?
My poor friend was attacked in the face by a dog last week, they’re telling her she’s going to need plastic surgery to fix what the dog did.
Susan Montgomery says
Don’t forget that lady in France, the first face transplant recipient. All because her OWN DOG took her face off, literally. Can’t be too careful. I have watched my wolfhound crunch up a cow bone bigger than my arm like it was candy, those are some powerful and large jaws.
And don’t get me started on why was the male still intact..why is there such an issue with that? Unless it’s a champion of the breed and multiple winner, he doesn’t need to be intact!
I had a coworker (tech) almost lose her face to a Mastiff once. If the dog had been just a bit faster (or not so riddled with arthritis as to be almost immobile) or she’d been just a bit slower, she’d have ended up with more than lip prints on her face. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen.
We don’t actually muzzle too many dogs at the clinic where I work, but at the same time, if the dog gives warning, we heed it and don’t mess around.