Eliot, my heart dog of heart dogs, just attacked BT, our sweet old rescued Boston.  I say just, but this happened last night as I will be posting this the morning after.  I’m completely heartbroken.


Eliot has always had aggressive tendencies, but I manage him closely and thought things were getting better.  Apparently not.  We were feeding lots of chew bones and special treats tonight because Pascale the puppy has to stay calm after her spay.  Eliot had been giving warning growls when another dog got close, but that’s fairly normal to him and I just gave him a verbal correction.  BT, being almost completely blind from cataracts, wandered too close and he just launched at her.

He’s never gone after her violently before, and I didn’t react quickly enough.  At first I thought it was fine, but she held her head funny and cried.  Then I picked her up and we noticed the blood, which still didn’t panic me.  I did (inwardly) panic when I saw her eye begin to turn red and swell, and we rushed to the emergency vet.

Better days.
Better days.

That’s where she is now, and we’re waiting for results.  I’m heartbroken that my poor, sweet little girl is hurt and in a strange place where she has to spend the night.  I’m heartbroken that the dog that I love did this.


I don’t know what to do.  Completely at a loss.

Almost Midnight Update:

They flushed her eye and the blood that was collecting on it was just on the surface, not coming from the eye.  She has a scratch on her cornea, but otherwise the eye looks really healthy.  The swelling is most likely from a “big ‘ol bruise” behind her eyeball.  She’ll stay overnight so they can medicate, but an anti-inflammatory and pain medication should make the swelling go down.  In other words, I think we won’t lose her eye and she shouldn’t require any crazy treatments or surgeries.

Still really upset though.

Morning Update:

She’s back home and is doing okay.  Can’t close her 100% but she blinks over most of it.  Now we give her lots of medications and lubrications to the eye all day to keep it moist.  There is still a lot of swelling, and the vet is concerned about the muscle behind the eye holding it in.  Don’t laugh, but having it pop out is not really that unrealistic.  Not out of the woods yet.  I’m working form home to help my husband keep an eye on her.

42 thoughts on “Derailed

  1. Poor puppy! I hope she recovers quickly, and that her eye does NOT pop out, because I’m thinking that could be pretty traumatic for everyone!

  2. Growing up we had a cocker spaniel that had to get hormone shots because of his aggression problems. He was the only dog in our family, and rarely, if ever, was in contact with other dogs. But it was something he just got done yearly at the vet. Is that maybe something you could look into if you haven’t already?
    Currently I have two cocker spaniels and a Boston Terrier. And it’s usually the female cocker that will fight with the Boston… But our Boston is young, and scrappy and can hold his own pretty well, and to be honest he kind of pushes the other two dogs to their breaking point daily. My older cocker usually gives out a warning bark and the Boston will stay away, but he lives to torment the female. The Boston been in the vet on a few occasions to have his eyes looked at because of one incident with a barbed wire fence, and another with a kitten.
    I hope that your Boston heals quickly and that everything turns out ok!

  3. This is a frustrating predicament indeed. I’m glad she’s doing well. I know how you must be feeling – I’ve gone through a similar ordeal. I was raised in a family with a large pack of dogs (our count is 9) who frequently disagree over bones. I’ve witnessed several scuffles that normally resolved themselves, but I have been around dogs that have flat-out tried to murder another dog. I don’t think that was Eliot’s intention, so don’t be too hard on him. Dogs are dogs – they can be irrational. He probably doesn’t even recognize his actions as wrong – he was guarding his property. It’s a natural thing for a dog to do. Maybe separating him into a crate with his chewies/treats from now on would be a better way to prevent future attacks. He’ll feel safer and more secure in there, and you wont have to worry about keeping a close eye on him 🙂

    Anyways, I hope you and BT feel better soon.

  4. Oh, I am so sorry. It’s so hard to manage and process when dogs disagree like that. We have a dog in our family who is a big doofusy jackass, and we have to be careful about every single interaction he has with another dog. It’s stressful and difficult and no fun for anyone.

    Will be thinking of your girl and hope we have a positive update soon.

  5. Dog politics! We’ve had a couple of fights (with the new one being the aggressor cuz she somethings thinks shes in charge. ha! not!) but nothing that required the vet, thank god. There is always going to be some kind of politics. I guess the best advice i have is let the aggressor know that YOU are pack leader and he is not to correct behaviors. We also have to be careful of rawhide and antler bones because they get super protective over those kinds of toys/treats in a way they don’t over other toys. I hope your girl gets better fast and you can put this all behind you.

  6. Oh my God. I’m glad your little girl is okay!! Bostons and all smush-faced dogs tend to be way more susceptible to eye stuff just because of the way their faces are put together. She was very lucky, and I’m glad that’s all that happened. We see so many housemate attacks on ER that end up being so much worse.

    From a veterinary standpoint, there’s a ton of things you can do to help with Eliot’s aggression issues. The easiest would be to just permanently do all food exchanges with him in a separate room from the other dogs (I’m guessing this is what you had been doing before, when he was worse about this). He can be placed on medication to help with the issues. You probably know about this already, but some dogs with long-standing aggression issues are placed on anti-anxiety medication and it can make a huge difference, and this can be done by your regular vet; you don’t have to see a specialist for it. If you have a veterinary behaviorist in your area (this is a vet that is board certified and specialized in animal behavior), that could be another option – they can evaluate Eliot’s behavior and often give you tools you’d never even thought of to help you finally resolve the problem. Good behaviorists can be true miracle workers, but the drawback is that they can be expensive. Just options – you might know about them already, being an experienced dog owner, but sometimes even long-term dog owners don’t know they exist. 🙂

    I hope both you and BT are feeling better soon!

    1. I wanted to piggyback on this!

      As I experienced this situation this summer, I know how you feel. Fucking blows.

      The medication that my aggressive dog is on is called Clomi-calm. She weighs about 30 lbs and gets 1/4 tab twice a day. I’d guess your kid would be roughly double the dose. I pay $45 for a month’s supply. (These are all things people ask when I used to talk about rx.) The medication is for aggression and OCD. I’ve noticed significant improvement in my girl’s wall-licking and cat-chasing. It doesn’t make her drowsy and doesn’t change her personality (squirrel).

      And, worse case scenario, she wouldn’t be the first boston to get an enucleation. Not fun, but if it comes to that, she should adjust very well.

      Good luck! I know I had to make a lot of changes in my household and certain things will never be the same. It’s a pack, you’re the alpha, and you have to maintain that.

      1. I thought about you as I wrote this last night and hoped you’d say what rx your dog is on. I need to make some more changes in my house so hoping we can manage this.

        The way she looks now id almost prefer the eye to come out. Hoping the next 24 hours will be smoother.

        1. Ha! You can always email me! I get a sick pleasure out of talking about my evil dogs, I guess because it ties in with both veterinary medicine and training. Once Eliot graduates out of the crate some, look into “tethering”. It’s a pain in the ass, but I think it helped humble both my girls.

          Oh, and there was a generic for this medication that was a smidge cheaper and came in capsule form. Over the fall, they either stopped production or had a shortage. I switched to the name brand and haven’t inquired about switching back because the tiny tabs are much easier for me to give. Also, they may talk to you about “pheromone treatment”, but in my experience that was mostly only effective with cats (Feliway, for example).

  7. Wow, I hope she is okay and her eye heals. We have never had to deal with an aggressive dog so I can’t imagine how difficult that is. At least when my kids get angry and fight I can try to reason with them. With a dog so much is just instinct for them. I hope you figure something out that works for you guys and gives you peace of mind.

  8. So sorry you are going through this. I know how it feels, I was in a similar situation a few years back with a rescue Catahoula named Schaeffer. I loved him dearly but he playfully bit my landlord, then followed up by biting the bylaw officer who came to check him out. It was a hard decision for me to have him put down but it was the right one. I was not able to ensure the publics safety…he was deaf, if he got off lease, there was no way I could make sure it wouldn’t happen again. Hopefully you can find a way to make things work for you with your beloved doggies, but don’t live in stress. Good luck hun.

  9. Oh, your poor little pup! That must have been so scary to witness.

    You’ve been given some great advice about how to manage Eliot. It sounds like you will probably need to separate the two anytime there is a resource that Eliot values (treats, rawhides, toys, etc) since your little Boston won’t be able to pick up on Eliot’s warning signs.

  10. Oh my goodness, poor pup. Hope she recovers quickly and without more complications. No advice on managing the turf wars (I don’t have dogs), but hope things can be ironed out.

  11. Super awful feeling. 🙁 SUCKS! I have 3 dogs (put the old 4th one down this fall) and I know I’m SUPER fortunate they all get along and respect each other’s space. I have read A LOT about different people’s dog aggression situations and really, the number one thing is to keep them separate – esp times when things could happen. 100% of the time. Esp if BT is handicapped visually – she can’t see his cues. SUPER SUCKS. Speedy recovery!

  12. Hi Lauren, sorry to hear about your doggy wars. Dogs will be dogs, unfortunately, they have a different set of moral standards to people. Hope your little BT recovers quickly. There’s some really sensible advice in the comment thread from Saiph & Rebekah, I’m sure that with a bit of tweaking, you’ll figure out a way of managing Elliot.

  13. Lauren – I am so, so sorry this happened 🙁 I know exactly how you feel. My family had a senior pug (since passed peacefully at the ripe old age of 16+) she was so sweet, but had vision limitations and had trouble getting around. At dinner time once, she wandered too close to the bowl of our young Am Staff, completely by accident. He pinned her to the ground – no injuries – but I just felt so terrible for the poor senior lady. It seems so unfair when they can’t clearly read the warning signals from other dogs, due to the handicaps of old age. I know you are doing everything to get her comfortable. Once she is physically comfortable, you will actually probably be feeling worse than she is. Dogs live in the moment and she’s probably already past the experience, mentally & emotionally.

  14. Hope the BT feels better soon.

    Sorry to hear it happened. Unfortunately, a lot of aggression can appear as pack members get weaker as well, which perhaps due to age is occurring?

    My husband lab shredded his mother’s Llasa a few times after she went blind. Very upsetting situation as there was little warning.

    Best wishes,

  15. Oh my goodness. That is a goddamn bitch of a garbage dump of a situation and I am sorry. It’s never easy when children fight 🙁

  16. Wow, I can’t imagine what I would do in that situation. We had a foster go after one of our dogs once, and that was hard enough, even knowing we wouldn’t have the foster forever/weren’t attached. Good luck with it, I’m thinking about you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.