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No more collars

July 11, 2013

This story could perhaps save your dog’s life.  It has changed one major thing we do with our dogs.  It’s a very frightening story but needs to be told.  So here goes.

At this point, just a few short months ago we had 5 dogs.  Sadie, Bailey, Chief, Boomer, and Asia were residents at the dinner table each night.  However, on this day we almost lost one of our chow hounds.  It was late afternoon and Cindy had put the dogs out into the fenced back yard for their afternoon potty and play time.  It is so nice having the yard fenced in where the dogs can run and play without fear of them running off, or digging up the neighbors flowers, or chasing the deer that appear out back.  This afternoon I was in my office working and Cindy was in the kitchen doing what she does so faithfully and so well.  I was on the phone discussing a technical matter with a fellow employee who had called in for assistance.  I was using my Bluetooth headset with my cell phone sitting next to my computer.  This gives me the ability to be somewhat mobile.  Suddenly I heard what sounded like dogs scrapping or fighting.  Within seconds I heard Cindy screaming, “Help Help DAVID COME HELP”.  I tell the person I am talking to, “Please hang on a second and I’ll be right back”.  But I neglected to remove my headset.  I run to the back door and I see what appears to be Chief and Bailey in a struggle.   Chief is about 6 months old and full of energy and spunk.  He is one-hundred percent puppy but bigger than Bailey.  And Bailey is a larger version of a Beagle, lower to the ground than Chief is but she is heavier than Chief.  Chief loves to play the “jump on your back and bite your neck” game with the other dogs.  And that is basically what it looked like at first glance as I ran out the back door.  However, the sound that Chief and Bailey were making made it very clear that this was not a game being played.  I now could tell that Chief was yelping in pain and Bailey was attempting to growl in a self defense sound, but somewhat muffled.  I still didn’t understand what was happening and I was about 2 feet away at this point.  Cindy was already over the dogs screaming for help.  My first impressing was that Chief had Bailey by the back of the neck in a death bite and Bailey screaming and growling in pain.  Cindy had already figured out what had happened and was telling me but my senses were trying to absorb everything in that first few seconds, which seemed like an eternity, and I didn’t really comprehend what she was telling me.  I grabbed Chief, the Australian Sheppard and Lab mix, and pulling him off of Bailey and Cindy yelled at me, “STOP STOP THEY ARE TANGLED UP”.  As she said that I now was able to see what had happened.  What I saw scared the living daylights out of me at first, and then my mind began racing for a solution.  Cindy yelled, “I’m going inside for scissors”, and I understood why.  Now keep in mind this is all occurring in a matter of seconds.  If it was a video it would be 7 or 8 seconds from the time I exited the door to the resolution.  But it seemed like 5 minutes.  I looked at Bailey and she was unable to breath and her eyes were bulging and she was trying to yelp and growl and I knew this was far more serious that it appeared.  I saw Bailey’s collar wrapped around Chief’s lower jaw which pulled it far too tight around Bailey’s neck and was strangling her.  Chief was yelping in pain as he was trying to back away from Bailey.  And Bailey was suffocating as she was trying to pull away from Chief.  Cindy later recounted to me that she heard these sounds coming from the back yard and they got louder because the dogs were moving toward the house.  She heard some banging as the dogs made their way up to the patio furniture and banged up against the house.  That is when she looked out and saw what was going on and yelled to me for help.  Thank the Lord I was home that afternoon or we very well could have been a dog short at dinner that evening.  So the two dogs got tangled up out in the yard and Bailey drug the both of them up toward the house.  Now, back to the rescue that was turning very dire.  I knew Chief was in danger of having a broken jaw or severed tongue, and Bailey was close to losing consciousness, and Cindy was coming back with scissors.  I didn’t see any way we would be able to get the scissors into position to make a cut on the collar because it was far too tight and both dogs were moving.  I reached for the plastic buckle on the collar.  I am so glad that the collar Bailey was wearing had the plastic snap together buckle and not the typical belt buckle style with the little pin that has to go through the hole and then pull it tight.  I attempted to squeeze that snap to release the collar but the snap portion was pulled so tight I couldn’t get it squeezed together enough to release the tension.  By this time Cindy was back with the scissors.  She was only gone maybe 5 seconds as the scissors were not that far away in the house and she made good time running to get them.  Suddenly on my third or fourth attempt the snap released and Bailey went one way and Chief the other.  Now did I mention that during all this commotion that the other dogs had to have their input into the situation?  Sadie was right there believing she could help, and Boomer and Asia wanted to lend their assistance as well.  We got the two dogs calmed down and examined them, no physical damage to Bailey that we could tell but we knew we had to watch her for the next hour or so to see how she acted.  Chief did not appear to have any tongue or jaw damage.  Thinking back on how this happened, Chief was playing with Bailey and had grabbed her collar in his mouth and then twisted himself, or jumped across Bailey, which caused the collar to wrap around his lower jaw pulling the collar so tight it now locked the two dogs together.  From that day onward, no more collars on the dogs.  Everyone survived and everyone is happy and everyone still runs to the kitchen when they smell the wonderful aromas that my wife is able to produce in the kitchen.  And they still sit beside us when we eat.  And that night, if I remember, there were a few more handouts given to the dogs than normally are.  Oh, did I mention, my Bluetooth was on that whole time, I don’t know how much the person on the other end of the phone heard, and I hope he doesn’t have nightmares about what he heard, but I haven’t spoken to that person again to be able to apologize.  At some point during the rescue he had hung up the phone.

So, if you have collars on your dogs, have you considered what that collar may become tangled up in?  I have another collar story from a few years ago I’ll share in another story, but it is more of the funny sort. 

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