What I saw on Tuesday night I would have expected from a pit bull or doberman not a whippet. Not a mild mannered though somewhat naughty whippet. I should have been prepared to head off the incident for certainly the signs were there that any decent owner of dogs could have seen coming. But I was distracted with boys and schools and headmasters and missed them.
It's cost me nigh on £500.
And it has made me re-evaluate my dogs and how I treat them.
To all intents and purposes the fight was kicked off by a bowl of food that was left out. Tattie, my Empress (whose reign as Alpha Female has been on the wane for sometime now) was having a good old chomp, I remember thinking damn me I should have picked it up because there goes a fat whippet and it was as I thought about it that Sassy, the EBJ (Evil Black Job aka The Wickedest Whippet), came up to have a look see.
Tattie swung herself round so that Sassy couldn't get at the bowl. Blocking her from the food.
Sassy tried again.
Then suddenly they kicked off. At first I thought it would just be a spat over as quickly as it began but it wasn't. This was a full on challenge and Sassy was never going to back down. In fact she won quite quickly and Tattie was trying to get away but that wasn't enough for Sassy while her blood was up.
It was vicious.
It was terrifying.
tattie was cringing away but sassy kept on coming. She would not stop. I waded in with feet bashing at sassy to get her to release her hold but I fear I only made it worse she let go then went straight back in again. Tattie was yelping. I was hollering God knows what.
I broke them up and shoved sassy outside into the garden and turned to look for Tattie who had shot under the table. She wouldn't budge so I opened the door out to the hall and she bolted there and up the stairs.
I let Sassy back inside, she was cut on her shoulder which I thought served her right and she had a small nick on her nose. Nothing untoward.
Then I went in search of Tattie. She was sitting at the top of the stairs, her eyes bulging and breathing rapidly through her mouth in puffs making her muzzle look pinched and thin. She was covered in blood.
I approached and she turned from me and that is when I saw the extent of the damage: a four inch piece of skin was seemingly missing on her shoulder with a deep puncture wound welling up with dark blood in the middle. She was obviously in shock.
Strange as it may seem I know the vets' number by heart and I called it immediately knowing that if you get a wound like this to the vet within the first four hours they can literally work miracles.
Both dogs were bundled in the car, though I hasten to add, separately. And I rushed them down, not thinking it was too bad: I was just kidding myself. All of us were shocked, me and the dogs.
Tattie's wounds were far worse than was immediately apparent as were Sassy's. This had been a fight for stakes far higher than a mere bowl of dog food.
Both dogs were whisked away for stitches. Sassy returning with me that night while Tattie underwent a general anaesthetic and surgery for her extensive injuries. I could not sleep that night and tossed and turned right through finally giving up the battle at three in the morning and reading until it was time to get the boys up.
As I waited I thought long and hard about it. If a whippet could do so much damage to another dog what sort of damage could they do to a child, a toddler or even a baby? What sort of damage could a larger heavier dog do?
I thought I knew my dogs, thought I could trust them but I know now that I cannot, not totally.
Tattie is OK. The vets' are miracle workers. It was touch and go. She will be scarred but I knew that and she is still My Empress though perhaps not in the eyes of the rest of the pack. It is something I will have to be careful of for a while until I can work out how the land lies.
We have DAP for dogs pumping its calming influence around the house. It's helping.But all I can think about is how thin the veneer of domesticity.