Brady1 Brady2
Yesterday I experienced one of the scariest moments of my life.

Anyone who knows me or has ever read my blog knows that I love animals. So very dearly. And when I get to know an animal well, I love them as my own. So that’s part of why what happened yesterday was so utterly terrifying.

I walk Brady, the adorable 7-month old chocolate lab puppy pictured above, three times a week. He is my joy during long workdays as I prepare to move across the country. I adore him.

Yesterday afternoon, we were taking a long stroll on Embassy Row when he was suddenly, viciously attacked by two Pit Bulls.

He did not provoke them. Brady is one of the sweetest, most loving dogs I have ever met. He barely even barks. He does loving chasing squirrels, but I’m not even sure what he’d do if he ever caught one.

It started when the owner of the Pit Bulls, a nice looking young woman, smiled, said hello, and stopped so that the dogs could become acquainted. I barely had time to say a word to her before one of the Pits lunged at Brady’s throat and sunk its teeth into his flesh.

I couldn’t breath. My heart almost stopped. And like they always say in the movies, time seemed to turn to slow motion for an instant.

But then it sped up again. And it became damn obvious that this dog was not letting go. This dog was going for the kill.

Hysterical, I started screaming for help and hitting the Pit Bulls as hard as I could on their rumps (they didn’t notice).

Both of them were now ferociously attacking Brady while their owner tried in vain to remove them from his throat. At one point one of them had his entire ear in his mouth and I was afraid that if I pulled too hard, his ear would come off too.

And the worst part – the most horrible, agonizing part – was listening to Brady. He was screaming. It sounded so human. I was at a loss; I just kept shrieking “Someone, do SOMETHING!”

Finally, some angel of a man ran up and somehow wrestled the most aggressive Pit off of Brady. The owner then held back the other one as he continued to aggressively lung and snap at Brady from within her grasp.

And then by some act of God, Brady was free. Staring into his wounded face, I had a moment of secondary panic while I wondered if he would turn on me out of pure fear and pain. But he looked up at me with his soulful eyes and licked me right on the nose.

Cradling Brady in my arms, I sobbed on the sidewalk. I could see his little ear, wet with slobber and twisted. I could feel a deep gash on his beautiful neck bleeding down his coat. But as the first minute passed and he kept licking me with all the love that only a dog can provide, I realized that he was probably going to be okay.

Brady was lucky. The vet gave him stitches and he is recovering. And I have no doubt that I was also extremely lucky that one of the dogs didn’t injure me. In my panic I had clawed at their jaws, coming far too close for my own safety. But I just wanted to save him from them. I felt this maternal instinct that was so primal. It told me  to protect him, at all costs.

When I’m upset, I write about things. And I’m damn upset right now. What if the next victim of these dogs is a smaller, more defenseless dog? What if, God forbid, it is a child?

A smaller dog wouldn’t have even stood a chance against those machines of rippling muscle and sharp teeth.

And a child? A child wouldn’t have the same loose skin and fur to protect their vulnerable throat from unforgiving jaws. A child would have lifelong emotional scars if they even survived such an attack.

I don’t even want to think about how bad it could have been, but I can’t help it.

People HAVE to be responsible dog owners. This is the second time I’ve come into contact with this type of irresponsibility in the last six months. Early this summer, my ten year old cousin was attacked by her violin teacher’s dog. She was rushed to the ER and had to have plastic surgery and stitches because the dog ripped off part of her lip. Turns out, it wasn’t the first time that the dog had tried to bite a kid. But the teacher hadn’t taken the proper precautions after seeing warning signs.

And the owner of the Pit Bulls? Amidst sobs, I asked her whether this had ever happened before. She didn’t look me in the eye and she didn’t give me a straight answer.

Unacceptable. Unforgivable.

If you know that your dog is dangerous, do something about it. Put them through extensive training. Don’t bring them anywhere near children or other dogs. Don’t let them off leash. Sometimes, as horrible as it sounds, the only answer is that a vicious dog has to be put to sleep.

Be aware if you have a dog breed that is more likely to attack so that you can be on the lookout for aggressive behavior and take precautions. Although some Pit Bulls are extremely sweet and never attack anyone, the cold hard truth is that over the past  five years, almost 60 percent of all fatal dog attacks in the US were committed by Pit Bulls. Other dog breeds that are more likely to be aggressive include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Boxers and even Huskies. If you have one of these breeds, you HAVE to be more careful. [Update:] But the truth is that no matter what type of dog you have, you have to work your ass off to train them and make sure that they won’t become aggressive or dangerous. As my friend pointed out after reading my article, she grew up with Pits who were as sweet as lambs and then later had a Beagle who attacked people in wheel chairs! Every dog has its own particular personality, and much of that is based on training.

Think about the consequences of inaction. Think about how your dog could hurt someone else…or even ruin another life.

I’m just so damn thankful that Brady is going to be okay.

More information on dog fights, dog attacks and what to do: