by Gigi McWhirter
I was prompted to write this after seeing a billboard in Phoenix offering trial lawyer services for dog bite wounds.
Dog Related Injury (DRI) is an injury caused by a dog. The first thing we think about is bites. Your own dog can and may bite the hand that feeds it if startled or scared.
A few years ago, Martha Stewart received nine stitches in her face after she bent down to whisper “adios” to her sleeping dog. Her dog was apparently spooked, jumped up and knocked her on her face, which resulted in lacerations on her face.
I have my own story. I was sitting in the loo when my two Scottie dogs decided to join me. They got into a scuffle, and out of fear that one of them would bite my calf, I pulled them apart and one of them bit my hand. Because her rabies vaccine was current (yes, I reported it to Animal Control), she was put under “house arrest” for 14 days, rather than impounded, where we could monitor her for signs of rabies.
If you want to freak yourself out, go online and look up injuries from retractable leashes. Besides the dog running into traffic because the person on the other end lets the lead run too long or is too busy on their cellphone and doesn’t realize the dog is in a hazardous situation, you will find very scary photographs of humans with leash burns and even stories of amputations – like the story about the woman whose leash was pulled tight when her dog bolted. She noticed a human finger lying close by and was super freaked out when she realized the finger belonged to her!
When a dog goes “off course” during a walk and quickly cuts in front of the walker, it is not uncommon for the person to fall and quite possibly get hurt.
Here are some tips on how to avoid a DRI: First, use common sense. Secondly, train your dog early and well. Next, use leashes, collars or leads appropriate for your dog’s size and personality. Take your dog with you to the pet store when choosing. They will allow you to try things on. Remember to always wear good shoes while walking your pet.
Learn the right way to use retractable leads. Always hold the leash handle flat in the palm of your hand. Do not wrap it around your wrist or fingers. One wrong pull can result in fractures, torn ligaments and/or tendons. Keep an eye on your surroundings, look for other dogs, cats, anything that might be a distraction to the dog. Stay off the darn phone while you are with your pet.
Enjoy the time you have with your dogs. To them, you are everything!
Happy Tails to You!