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Dogs and Families

I wasn’t really sure how to write about this so I figured embedding the facebook update would be the easiest way to begin.

We returned from Costa Rica New Year’s Day (a trip I plan to write about in detail because it was spectacular) and in the Costa Rican Rainforest a particular sort of tree grows and it’s bark makes the sweetest cinnamon. Naturally the kids and I smelled it through the sealed plastic and decided that if we bought some for Granny she’d make us Snickerdoodles. It is the one and only souvenir we bought in Costa Rica. We are a pragmatic bunch.

In keeping with my general pragmatism and excitement for what comes out of my mother’s kitchen as soon as we landed I texted her to ask if they’d come to my house for dinner. My plan was to bring in Versailles and ask Mom to bring a salad. Her salads are my favorite.

This happened.

text from mom

So as I’m waiting for my Uber car I walk away from my family who are curbside at LAX and I’m trying to avoid the noise and the smokers and the oversized baggage carts because I don’t know what’s wrong at my Mom’s house but I know that something is wrong or she wouldn’t care about speaker phone.

And then she’s crying and I hear, “Lulu was killed.” And I can’t quote much else because I was fighting waves of lightheadedness and nausea and trying to imagine how the world’s most docile dog would meet a gruesome end. And my mom told me. The details are horrible so I won’t share them but my Stepfather was bitten and injured by a 145 pound mastiff and a husky who… well I’m skipping the details because they aren’t mine to share. But he was bitten and significantly injured while Lulu, a 22 pound terrier, was killed.

They came for dinner and I didn’t bring in Versailles. I made chicken and asparagus with potatoes and I made a salad too. My salads aren’t as good as my mother’s. It seemed fitting to have a mediocre salad but it felt really good to have my family under one roof. I needed to see them and they needed to snuggle our cat and dog. We all just sort of met each other’s needs.

I’ve spent most of the last two days answering phone calls and emails from friends who love both people and dogs. I have learned a lot of things:

Mace is a name brand and not an actual product. It’s tear gas and not what you’ll  want to have on hand. Pepper spray is the best thing to have on hand when you’re walking a dog because it temporarily blinds people and animals and causes swelling around the mouth, nose and throat. As a general defense product it’s effective when used on drugged people too.

Dog rescues routinely take dogs that have bitten, rehabilitate and rehome them. I have given my last dollar to rescues that rehome aggressive dogs in Los Angeles (or anywhere really).

It can take months to years to find a healthy Wire Hair Terrier in Southern California. This adds to the tragedy because a new dog would be a nice step for my family. It’s hard to wait that long for a happy step.

There’s more here but Lulu wasn’t my dog so she’s only partly my loss. Naturally we’re all concerned for my stepfather who was physically hurt and now emotionally tormented by two animals who were improperly cared for. We’re all sad and stunned and acting like freaks when we walk Junior.

I didn’t know how to start this post and I certainly don’t know how to end it. This is from my Mom’s instagram.

9 thoughts on “Dogs and Families”

  1. Ugh, Jess, I am SO sorry. So, so sorry. This breaks my heart on so many levels. One of my dogs is an Italian Mastiff and she is the most loving, dumb, sweet animal. And one of the dogs I regularly dog-sit for is a Husky mix who is, again, so sweet and adorable it can only make you smile. So to hear about these dogs being improperly cared for to the point where they harmed your stepfather and killed poor Lulu just sickens me. A few years ago, a rottweiler attacked my grandfather, wounding him and tearing off part of his ear, and severely injured his pug. It was traumatic for all of us. It’s just horrible. Again, I’m so sorry. If you ever want to talk or just not talk about it at all, I’m here.

  2. Oh, Jess!
    I have 3 rescues, and have worked in rescue for over 25 years so I know what you mean, My heart if so sad for your mom and stepdad, and all the puppies involved.

  3. I have three dogs and never take them outside my own yard and now I probably never will again. How very sad for all of you especially for your mom and step-dad. As a young child I was bitten in the face by a dog that I knew…the dog was not vicious but I was traumatized at 5 years old. My grandmother always told me that dogs were animals and somewhat unpredictable so never put my face in their face…the other thing I learned, if a dog has attacked once it will more than likely do it again. I hope your step-dad’s bites heal…it will take his emotional wounds much longer to heal, I am sure. xo

  4. These sorts of posts make my heart hurt. Nothing like the death of a beloved pet to make a person sad to the soul. Hugs to you and your mom and stepdad. :( RIP, Lulu.

  5. Please tell me they were able to find the owners of the dogs and there will at least be some sort of repercussions for them.

  6. The efforts to which people will go to not take any responsibility for their dogs just aggravates me. I love dogs, and have a working dog of my own (avalanche search dog), but I really dislike most other people’s dogs and their cavalier attitude towards their behavior. Sorry this happened to your family.

  7. So sorry to hear about Lulu and your stepdad. My cousin’s little fluffy dog was attacked by dogs in LA a while back, on a coffee shop patio. Stupid dog owners didn’t even stop to help her.

    This holiday season has been horrific. On Christmas Eve, my grandmother went into cardiac arrest, so I flew to Orange County last minute. She died while I was in transit. While my hubs and kids were out for the funeral, one of our cats was killed. Still haven’t figured out what mauled her.

    2014 had better start looking up soon. I don’t want to bury anything else this year.

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