WARNING: This post contains graphic photos with blood and puncture wounds.
The morning of June 3, 2015 began like any other. I got up, fed my dog, and went to work. When I arrived in the parking lot, I saw one of the guys petting a pitbull. I walked over to talk to him and the dog ran right up to me. She was incredibly friendly and seemed completely unafraid. June in Tucson is unpleasant to say the least, so we were all about making sure she had water and wasn’t running around on the hot pavement.
The dog was wearing a collar with a license so our Facilities Manager called animal control to find her owner. He was told her name was Sugar and he was given the owner’s phone number. The man who answered denied being her owner so we confined the dog and tried to figure out what to do with her. Sugar actually hung out in an air conditioned office most of the afternoon because it was too hot outside.
Ultimately, I took Sugar home with me that evening so I could make sure she was safe while I looked for someone who may be missing her. She insisted upon riding shotgun in my Jeep and rode most of the way home with her head on my arm. When we got home, Sugar and Lulu were totally chill with one another. Sugar was filthy from being on the streets so I gave her a bath and removed the collar that was cutting into her skin. She had quite a few scars so I wondered if she had ever been used for fighting. That night, she slept in bed right next to Lulu and cuddled up like she’d been doing it for years.
That weekend, I took Sugar to the vet to check for a microchip and was given the contact information for her chip registry. We went ahead and got her some shots since it wasn’t clear how long she had been on the loose and because she was found on the south side of Tucson. Yes, that’s me being judgy but I’ve seen some things. Sugar and Lulu continued getting to know one another and Lulu even shared her toys.
I meant to call the chip registry number on Monday but it was an insane day. My boss was out of town and I was completely slammed. I realized when I got home that I forgot to call and figured I would get to it first thing on Tuesday. Sugar and Lulu were napping together on the couch and then began playing. They were kind of chasing each other around the living room with ears up and tails wagging. I was supervising just to make sure it didn’t escalate and then I made the mistake of clapping my hands.
I’ve heard people say that sometimes pitbulls will turn on people or dogs without warning and it’s like flipping a switch. I always thought that was bullshit. My Rottweilers always showed warning signs when they were losing their patience. Sugar gave no warning when she attacked Lulu in my living room.
I was trying to break up the fight and was being bitten by both dogs. All three of us were rolling around on the tile and I was screaming at them both to stop. Sugar had clamped on to Lulu’s collar and I was punching her as hard as I could trying to get her to let go. There was blood everywhere and I was getting really tired. I knew if it went on much longer, I would be too tired to help Lulu so I ran to a spare bedroom and grabbed my bb gun. I held it by the barrel and slammed the stock into Sugar’s head until she let go of Lulu’s collar. As soon as she released it, I pushed Lulu out the patio door and closed it behind her. That’s when I called 911 for help. Sugar acted confused and completely subdued while I waited for help to arrive.
I ended up with fire, police, EMTs, and animal control at my house. Animal control took Sugar and I assume she was euthanized but I don’t know that for sure. With the scars she had and the location where she was found, there is no telling what she had been through.
The EMTs saw the wounds with adipose tissue gaping out of them and convinced me to go to the hospital for stitches. They had let Lulu back in the house and I was more worried about taking care of her but they were super concerned about all of my wounds caked with dog hair and slobber. The firefighters convinced me they would make sure Lulu had water and was okay so I could go in the ambulance. She was so upset she tried to jump on the gurney with me.
When I got to the ER, everyone made a big deal out of how many wounds I had and the risk of infection. Apparently, doctors don’t like to stitch dog bites but they were gaping to the point where they didn’t have a choice. But first, they had to clean the wounds. I was offered pain meds but refused because I needed to take care of Lulu when I got home. So this really sweet guy scraped the living shit out of these gaping wounds with a plastic scrub brush and I didn’t have so much as an ibuprofen. He kept asking me if I needed drugs and I kept telling him to hurry up and get it done.
I had lidocaine injections for the stitches but they didn’t wait long enough and I still felt every single one. TWELVE stitches in my arms, left hand, right calf, and right foot. Then they wrapped me up like a mummy and sent me on my way at around 11:30 that night. It was a brand new hospital and they didn’t have the antibiotic they wanted me to take. But they were all super duper worried about infection, or something. I finally got home at around midnight with no pain meds, no antibiotics, and no idea how my dog was doing.
It turns out Lulu is tougher than she looks. Her ear had a rip about half an inch long and she had a couple puncture wounds on her neck but her thick leather collar bore the brunt of the attack. The firefighters broke out the peroxide and cleaned up the majority of the blood in my kitchen. The adrenaline was finally wearing off and I was beginning to feel like absolute shit. I texted my boss’s boss to let him know I wouldn’t be at work the next day.
The next day was fun as hell. I could barely get my right foot into a sock, let alone a shoe. I had stitches between my toes and could barely stand. My left arm looked like the Incredible Hulk. I drove myself to the drive-thru pharmacy and faced the third degree over what the hell had happened to me and why my entire arm was green. Apparently, I didn’t look great. I sure didn’t feel great.
When I went back to work on Wednesday, I limped around with my right foot in a sock and my mind in a daze. I’ve never been so tired in my entire life. I probably shouldn’t have been driving even then but I had no choice.
A coworker and I removed my stitches at work a week later. I couldn’t run or wear heels for months afterward. I still can’t flex my right foot due to the scar tissue. Most of the scars on my arms have blended in with the others. My right calf still looks like it ended up in an angry pitbull’s mouth.
I’m tired just thinking about all of that again. I still love pitbulls but I’ll think twice about bringing one home with me again. I’m thankful Lulu and I found Sherman out on the rez and they live in peace and harmony. Mostly, I wish people didn’t do horrible things to dogs that make them lose their shit.
Note: Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson regularly tells the public during periods of overcrowding to keep found animals at home rather than dropping them at their location while attempting to locate the owners. So you may think I’m a dumbass for doing that but it’s exactly what they say people should do.