Off leash dogs & severity of dog attacks on guide dogs

(From One of the many injuries this particular guide dog got from an attack.
(From One of the many injuries this particular guide dog got from an attack.

I’ve blogged a few times on here about off-leash dogs and how they have scared me and frustrated me to no extent. A few things recently have inspired me to blog about it again. The other day I walked downstairs from my apartment to relieve my dog, as usual. This is the area that we’ve had issues with one dog, Coltrain, and very close to where we almost got attacked by a vicious German Shepherd. However there are two staircases down from my apartment and this is the one with the most grass and I hadn’t seen the dogs in awhile. We went downstairs and immediately as soon as we hit the bottom I heard a guy yell, “Oh NOW it’s playtime.” Immediately in my mind I’m thinking ‘ugh!” and then suddenly there are 4 other dogs IN MY FACE.. well, not literally, they were in Makiko’s face and circling around me. Imagine being low vision and having your dog trying to relieve in front of you, ignoring the other dogs (GOOD GIRL!) and the four other dogs driving you and your dog crazy. Oh man it was a mess. One of the dogs was, of course, Coltrain. Surprisingly one of the office staff was out there (all the owners and others were playing volleyball) and he thought it was hilarious too. Sigh. Anyway, that was a bit distressing but none of the dogs really bothered us too much physically. We just proceeded back upstairs to the apartment.

More and more nowadays I’m hearing and reading guide dogs all over the world are getting attacked. One blogger described what it was like when her guide dog got attacked and I think this shows you why I react the way I do when dogs approach us out of nowhere and I have no idea if the dog is friendly or not.

“Just as I was starting to run with Elvis at the park, Elvis was attacked by an off leash dog, causing me to sprain my ankle and be back in the dreaded boot. Fortunately my fitness was good at this point, so I was able to come back to cycling and pool swimming within a few weeks. The setback was tough on both of us mentally. He had not reacted during the attack, and had instead made himself into a tiny ball as the dog continued to bite him. I kicked and pulled the vicious dog off of him, screaming at the top of my lungs. Elvis was shaking violently on the ground after the attack, and there was little I could do to console him. Guiding Eyes sent out a field rep a few days later to check up on us to see how we fared as a team. Their concern was in making sure that he got right back to work, and didn’t show any signs of fear or aggression in the presence of other dogs. I was terrified to leave the house.”  Blindsommelier’s blog

She then goes on to talk about how the field representative showed her several tricks when they are passing dogs to help reassure the guide dog. 1: Imagine being “terrified” to leave your own house, especially after having so much freedom because of the guide dog and 2: Imagine having the fear that your dog might not be able to work more because of the attack. Luckily this dog was able to but then think about all the stress and worries with having to work with the guide dog around other dogs now. It’s just so unnecessary. If dog owners were just responsible, trained their dogs, kept their dog under their control (not necessarily leashed although that’s probably preferred), and especially keeps them away from working service dogs, this would not be a problem, obviously, and it doesn’t seem like this is such a hard task.

I know this is not in America but the same thing happens here. Here’s a news article stating that TEN guide dogs get attacked on average per MONTH in the UK and describes the severity of the attacks as well as shows what happened to one guide dog during an attack. (News Article here) 

Here are a few other recent news articles of guide dog attacks:

The articles may not be about stories from the US but the same thing is happening here. It is unbelievable and devastating. I am flabbergasted in the three months of having Makiko how many times owners let their dogs (both on leash and off leash) come run up and try to play with Makiko (in harness). I’m getting more vocal about it. It’s just ridiculous.

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Jessica N and Makiko

Jessica is a proud Texan. She graduated in 2014 with her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and is now employed. She is visually impaired and has a retinal disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Originally Jessica started blogging about everything from being diagnosed with the disease to where she is now, almost 9 years later. Then, Jessica went to Guide Dogs for the Blind and was blessed with Makiko, her new guide dog. Now, her blog "The Way Eye See The World" is about everything related to visual impairments, including guide dogs.

8 thoughts on “Off leash dogs & severity of dog attacks on guide dogs”

    1. Thanks so much Mrs. Dragan! Your adjectives are spot on! It is one of the most distressing things I experience nowadays but it’s not constant so that is good. I just gotta keep educating, but as you said some of the ignorant people don’t seem to understand, or maybe they just don’t care, what they are doing.

  1. One of my dogs is a little scared of people but she’s also skittish around other dogs and somewhat dog-aggressive (she never snaps at humans but will growl or snap at strange dogs). It always makes me nervous when other people bring their dogs close to her, even when they’re on leashes, because I’m never sure how she’ll react. But if course me having her out and about is just for fun. I imagine it would be very distressing in your situation!

    1. Thanks for sharing this story! You know your dogs limits and “quirks” and I am sure you are a very responsible pet owner! 🙂

  2. I know that this is a problem, but none of my guide dog friends have ever encountered this. I think it would be a terrifying thing for both of you. It’s hard to believe that your neighbors could be so callous. Maybe you should talk to them and let them know of your worries and concerns? Good luck!

    1. I have talked to them but the particular neighbor I have the most trouble with always laughs it off and always finds it highly amusing when his dog comes and jumps all over my working guide dog. So frustrating. Wish it were that easy…

  3. this thought just hit me: it sounds like bullying to me! 😦
    you two are the little kid that doesn’t want to fight, they are the ones who have fun taking advantage of this fact…
    it’d be awesome if there were some ‘adult’ you could tell that would take care of this for you… (you know, in the bullying commercials -at least the ones i’ve seen- the people advise you tell like a teacher or an adult if you are being bullied.)

    1. Hello, friend! 🙂 You are always so insightful and that is EXACTLY what they are doing, I just hadn’t thought of it in those terms. I wish there was an “easy” adult to tell. I mean, if it gets too bad I CAN call the police. It depends on what the dog did that time whether it was breaking the law or not but we think we can almost always at least get them on something around harassment. Then depending on if the dog did interfered, attacked, injured, etc it can go up to a misdemeanor or even felony. I can also tell the complex. I told them about one dog and I haven’t seen them again but I don’t want to be that person that is always hassling them. I want them to see me and my guide as a positive experience, not a negative one, and that’s where it gets tricky. However, I have a pamphlet in my purse and backpack ready if I do see them again and if they STILL aren’t receptive I am going to tell them I will call the police and if they STILL don’t take me seriously, I’ll follow up on that. I don’t want to be “dramatic” or cause a big scene but this seriously is getting ridiculous. I’m about to post another big rant here soon enough about it, haha. Thanks for your comment and always being insightful. I am honored you follow my blog and love reading everything you have to say in response.

      -Jess and Makiko

      P.S. Most of my recent posts have pics in case you haven’t been seeing them. 🙂

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