Friday, June 1, 2012

Dash for Dasher

Updated: I'm crying as I update this, but I am sad to report that Dasher has since passed away.  

Last night, Eric at Roc the Run became a hero in my mind.  I know that he doesn't think that he is, but he is in the truest sense of the word.

You can read his account of what happened, here, if you want.  Please keep in mind that the description and photos are graphic in nature.

If you do not wish to read what happened, the short version is that he heard one of his neighbors in distress and ran out to find three pitbulls attacking, viciously, two greyhounds and their owner.  Eric did what he needed to do to get the three dogs off of the woman and her dogs and saved their lives.  Unfortunately, Dasher, the greyhound who got the worst of the attack, is not doing well and is fighting for his life.  Dasher and Vixen's owner is likely going to need surgery on her hand.

I only live a few blocks away from Eric, his wife, Sheila, and their dog, Picasso.  This could have been them or it could have been me, Mike and Bernie, our dog.

It could have been our friends Sarah, Mark and their dog Kiva.  It could have been Ali and Rex, Jen and Pepper, Alex and Freckles and so many more.  It could have been anyone walking or running with or without their dog.

I am angered not only because Dasher is fighting for his life and his owner had to go through this horrible experience, but I am also angered because the three pitbulls are going to lose their lives because of their selfish owner.  Their owner alone taught them to behave this way and now innocent people and dogs are suffering as a consequence.   

I do not support Breed Specific Legislation as I do not think any breeds are vicious on their own.  Owners need to take responsibility for their dogs and do what needs to be done to make sure nothing like this happens.

Mike and I did just that with Bernie.  He is a Chow Chow/Black Lab mix and most people shy away when we utter the word, "Chow Chow".  Chow Chows are, by nature, aggressive dogs and they need training.  Mike and I are not experienced dog owners, however, we are smart enough to recognize warning signs.

 He looks sort of grumpy in this picture

When Bernie was only three months old he started to exhibit dangerous behaviors that needed to be stopped.  We went to a trainer at the recommendation of our vet and she put it to us bluntly.  We had two options (well, really three but ignoring it wasn't really the best option): give him up or have him stay there for three weeks of intensive training.  He was a liability, to us and to other people.

We left the appointment crying because we knew what we had to do, he was going to stay there for three weeks.

This is the only way we saw him, cellphone pictures and videos from the staff

In April we brought him there and after three weeks we picked him up.  He was a new dog.  He is now well-behaved and rarely exhibits aggressive behavior.  We know his triggers and warning signs and when he is in a dangerous situation, we LEAVE (no matter who it offends) because the truth of the matter is that Bernie is the one who would be at fault if something ever happened.

It cost us thousands of dollars to do this and I know that not everyone has the means to do that, however, do what you can to protect your dog and others.  Give your dog a fighting chance at a good life.  There are good pitbulls out there (take Patrick the pitbull as an example), but there are just as many bad owners who ruin these dogs' reputations.

 I donated money for Patrick and now he oversees all of our training

Eric is organizing a local 5K run next Sunday, June 10th at noon called "Dash for Dasher". Updated: It is now called the Dash for Dasher Memorial 5K. If you can't join us in Rochester, you can also participate virtually.  He is also asking for donations to help with Dasher's vet bills because even though the pitbulls' owner is going to be charged on three counts, he may not have the means for restitution. 

Please consider joining us in Rochester, virtually and/or donating whatever amount you can.

Just think, it could have been you out there crying for help.


  1. This was a great post, and I'm so thankful (and I know Eric is, too and Nancy and her husband) for all of the amazing support everyone is showing by posting and re-posting this story. Change will happen if we all agree that this is unacceptable and band together to make sure everyone knows that. Thanks for being responsible dog owners and taking care of your pup (and therefore other dogs and people who come into contact with him). See you on Sunday. --Sheila

  2. This whole story (I read Eric's blog post, too) turns my stomach. It is my absolute WORST fear and honestly, I think I would rather be hit by a car when running than be the victim of a dog attack. I can't even begin to imagine nor do I want to.

    Now that we live in a suburban/rural neighborhood we haven't encountered very many aggressive dogs although my next door neighbor's Jack Russell did attack Minnie on OUR front lawn but after I started screaming my neighbor came running and pulled his dog off mine. When we lived in downtown Albany, one night I was walking Baxter through the park after work and a German Shepherd came bolting across the park to attack him. I managed to fend him off, yell at the owner and contacted Animal Control. The owner yelled at me. Jerk. Luckily, in both these instances there was no broken skin and no blood. But, I know it could've been much worse. Owners need to take control of their dogs and when mine get lose, I take full responsibility. While I know that my two aren't aggressive, I'm not sure that would be the case if they were provoked and when pack mentality set in. The whole situation just scares me.

    Thank you for posting. It breaks my heart to see animals in pain and I hope the owner of the pitbulls gets what he deserves.

  3. I didn't know this logger, but I'm truly touched by his story. Our dog sky is our very first baby, we love her, we care for her, she was our little baby all by herself for 5 years before the twins.

    Our dogsky was attacked by pit bulls on our street in Toronto, years ago, the only reason she is alive is that the 2 pitbulls wore muzzlles(they had broken away from their owner, they were wearing leashes and muzzles). They desperately tried to bite her, but the muzzle wouldn't let them.
    I do support bred specific muzzle laws, if Ontario hadn't passed that law a mere few months earlier, sky would be dead.

    It's not just pitbulls, we have encountered a lot of wild German sheppards...

    (I also do agree that the dog behavior is highly dependent on the owner, but when you can't control a human, unfortnaltely we need to pass laws to control the dog).

  4. I read the original blog post in addition to yours. This story scares me, because I live in a neighborhood with pit bulls in "trashy" homes. None of the numerous pit bulls seem well cared for in the neighborhood and are very aggressive whenever my dog, Dante, and I walk by. Be careful Jamie!

  5. This is scary indeed and you are right, it could have been anyone. You just never know. Owners need to be responsible for their dogs - just as you were. Your post definitely brought tears to my eyes this morning.

  6. How terribly sad and scary. Thank goodness Eric jumped in to the rescue! I completely agree with you - there are no bad dogs, just bad owners. Poor Dasher.

  7. So sad:( This is so upsetting. I had an experience at the dog park where I witnessed a pitbull attacking a smaller dog. he was locked onto the dogs neck and wouldn't let go. The owner couldn't even get him off and I haven't been back since. Owners definitely need to be more responsible with their pets. My heart goes out to the owner and Eric is a hero in my book too:)

  8. Oh, I'm crying too! You know I'm a softy for dogs and firmly believe that we are responsible for the actions of our dogs! When Ruby was bit at daycare I had no hard feelings towards the aggressor dog, the dog was only doing what it knew to do. Sad, but true. At least it wasn't a child and the situation was quickly controlled.
    I can not applaud you enough for making the hard choice for intensive training for Bernie! Most people would have ignored the behavior leading to an unfortunate incident or just done away with the poor thing.
    I'll be Dashing for Dasher next week - promise.

  9. no amount of money can cover what was lost - this turns my stomach, just as I commend Eric's bravery. I've already donated, and I can't believe that people would allow their dogs to do such a thing.

  10. I will do a virtual run, is it next Sunday, Jamie? I am doing an 8 mile race that day. Just explain to me again how to do it.

  11. If I have two comments, that is because I am not seeing my first one is published. Anyhow, Jamie, I will do a virtual run next week on, is it Sunday? I have 8 mile race at 9am. If you would please just explain to me how to do it.

  12. I'm actually running a half marathon that day but I'm going to donate and run the virtual 5K. What a sad story, I feel so horrible for that cute dog :( That kind of thing breaks my heart.

  13. What an awful story! I'm so sorry for you, and everyone who has been dealing with it. The 5k is a great idea!

  14. Thanks for sharing our story... Looking forward to seeing you guys on Sunday!!!!

  15. Absolutely terrible. It's so scary (but completely true!) that it could happen to anyone. Reading & thinking about Dasher's family just breaks my heart. I hope they can take solace in the fact that Dasher is no longer in pain...I truly wish there was more I could say but losing a pet is unbelievably awful especially in such a brutal way. The family was in my thoughts all weekend...I was that crazy crying person on the subway when I saw your update on facebook.

    I will definitely be running in Dasher's honor this Sunday.

  16. This is absolutely heartbreaking Jamie and you are right about this being any of us that have dogs. I'm hyper vigilant about being aware of our surroundings when we are out especially when it's just Lucky and I and not all four of us. Lucky does an excellent job of ignoring barking dogs and even the off-leash dog that poops all over the neighborhood. However I know that if another dog came at me Lucky would defend me to the death if need me just as Dasher did. This makes me just want to snuggle Lucky and Sasha all day!

  17. Jamie - I read this a few days ago and it's so heartbreaking and disturbing. Dog owners need to take responsibility for the situations they put their dogs in. I donated to the fund for Dasher's vet bills and I hope Dasher's family will eventually be able to find some peace. Oh, and Eric is COMPLETELY a hero.

  18. I live in the area and was not home when it happened. I almost wish I was to do something to help as the incident occurred around the corner from my house and totally infuriates me. I have watched the owner walk those greyhounds by my house the last several years. My heartfelt sympathies to the family and thanks to Eric who put his own life in jeopardy to help. Dasher and Vixin were wonderful dogs. We used to pet them and we are heartbroken that any dog owner/dog should have to endure this type of pain. It was totally avoidable and it was the irresponsibility of the owner of the pits. That white picket decorative fence isn't going to stop anything trying to blow through it especially with holes in it. That fence has had deficiencies in it for years, I tell you years! It didn't have to happen at all! It could have been me, my kids and my small dogs, the blind man who walks with his dog on a daily basis on that same route. It's unfortunate that some people are selfish and if you can't do what needs to do to take care of your dog(s) properly you shouldn't have them. In fact after having dogs run out without leases when my kids or I am out walking my dog, we live in fear that it isn't safe to be out. I am a nurse and will be working Sunday but my kids and rest of the family should be walking.