March 31st, 2006

VGC Jess

A Thin Line Between Love And Hate

I always said that Panda and Zena have become like sisters after their first few initial scraps when Panda first came to be a new member of our household back in November. Since that time, the girls have done everything together – playing, sleeping in the same bed, grooming and nuzzling each other, going on walks together. The amount of affection that my dogs generally share with each other is something that’s put my mind at ease after hearing horror stories of neighborhood dogs who are just plain nasty for the sake of being so.

Unfortunately last night I got to find out just how much like sisters the girls are, after they had a “disagreement,” and quite literally went at each other’s throats. Of course it had to be the *one* night that I came home late from one of our Vets' retirement dinners, and I walk into the house, and something doesn’t smell right. I thought, “Oh, someone had an accident, because I’m home later than normal.” No, not just that. First thing I saw was poop, pee, lots of fur all over the floor… and blood all over the floor, up the walls and down the stairs.

I had a short moment of panic, thinking that one of the dogs had killed a cat or something. I was looking around for a body, when I found a dog nail on the floor that had been completely ripped out. It didn’t occur to me that a dog had been hurt as they all came to greet me like normal, with tails wagging. On closer inspection I noticed that Zena looked all ruffled up, and her fur was matted with blood in some areas. Then I noticed Panda looking even worse, with a rather sizable chunk missing from the top of her head.

Lemme tell you just how dumbfounded and stupid I felt for just standing there with my jaw hanging open as the two girls began to lick at each other’s open wounds like they were the best of friends they had always seemed to be.


How in the hell do you go from being best friends, to nearly killing each other, to suddenly friends again like nothing happened, when you’re missing pieces of flesh from your face?? O.x When I took the two downstairs to clean them up, I got to survey the damage more closely.

Zena had a deep dent on the top of her head where Panda had chomped down on her, and smaller bite marks just above her eyes, on one side of her lip, and a tooth dent on the top of her muzzle. She also had a pretty deep bite to her chest, some mild damage done to her left forepaw, and a few other smaller nicks and scratches here and there.

Panda got the worse end of the fight. She was the one missing the thumb nail from her left forepaw and just had a bloody quick remaining, as well as some pretty deep puncture wounds where Zena had bitten her paw pretty hard. She’ll be limping for a good while. The worst damage done to her was where there was about a two-inch laceration that stretched across the top of her head. Her left ear was pretty red and sore looking, though I didn’t find any actual tares. Other than that she had a few more nicks and scrapes to her face and one back leg.

Needless to say, I brought the girls to the vet today for treatment. They both had to be put under anesthesia, given stitches, and have a heavy antibiotics prescription. Thankfully my mom gets a discount at this vet for doing rescue work, so I only got about a $600 bill. Regular prices would have brought the bill to at least $500 per dog, not including the cost of antibiotics, which would have brought me up well over a grand. X.x

I have no idea what triggered the fight, but if I had to harbor a guess based off of their personalities, I’d say that Panda probably did something that Zena didn’t agree with, and when Zena tried to be the boss Panda must have gotten defensive. Knowing just how pushy Panda can be about certain things, and also knowing that she doesn’t take very kindly to authority, it’s easy to see her causing a dispute, since Zena has never been the type of dog to start a fight – though she is the type to end them. On the same token, knowing that Zena is the Alpha, has very low tolerance for bullshit and is a major control freak, I can see her taking matters into her own paws, especially with me not being home to stop a potential fight before it has a chance to start.

The problem of course is that both girls are incredibly stubborn, and don’t back down. If Panda had the sense to roll over and submit, Zena would not have continued to fight her. I’m thinking that’s what probably happened, (thought I can’t be 100% sure…) and Panda is now showing a tiny bit more caution/respect for Zena by licking her wounds. I’m just extremely grateful that the fight ended on its own with the two walking away, instead of coming home to find a dead dog! O.x I keep on telling myself that it could have been a lot worse. Zee probably could have killed Pan if she really wanted to… but she didn’t.

So now the two are friends again. For now. Though they both look like something from out of a Zombie movie. Zena really shouldn’t have been left out of her crate unsupervised to begin with, (mom sometimes leaves her out for about an hour when she goes off to work, because she figures I’ll be home soon enough… which is usually the case, except for this particular night). So it’s had to be made clear to everyone in the household that Zena is *not* to be left out of her crate *at all* if no one is home! #1 rule of owning a Staffie or Pit Bull type dog: No matter how good or friendly they might be with other animals, never, EVER leave them alone, and unsupervised!

I’m surprised at how calm I’ve been through this whole thing. I hope I never have to deal with it again! O.o
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