The martial artist is my sister, the boxer a neighborhood dog.
The story unfolds in a sleepy hamlet in Connecticut, where my sister, L, lives with her husband and two school-age children. L had gone to the bus stop to pick up her son, a first-grader. As she was waiting, alone, she noticed a neighbor’s dog acting up, barking and dashing up and down the street. Up till that day the dog, a boxer, had stayed in his yard, and although the yard wasn’t fenced, the dog never strayed from it. Until yesterday.
L, afraid the dog would be hit by a car, ordered him home. He obeyed and L thought that was the end of it. When the school bus pulled up and opened its doors, the boxer ran over, jumped on L, and began biting her. The driver immediately shut the door to prevent the animal from entering and phoned 911. L meanwhile did her best to fend off the dog with her hands. Here her training as a black belt and martial arts instructor no doubt came in handy, but she was afraid to be more aggressive in case that provoked him further. Her cries brought the dog’s owner from the house. At first, she too, was unable to call off the dog. At last she did, and L escaped to another neighbor’s house. Throughout her ordeal her 6-year-old son was on the bus witnessing his mother being attacked.
Four police cars and a trip to the emergency room later, L returned home with 15 stitches to the four wounds in both her hands.
When I heard the story the thing that surprised me the most was that the dog was a boxer. My daughter’s grandparents have owned a string of boxers through the years, and they were always the gentlest of dogs. In fact, boxers have a reputation of being excellent family dogs. So what went wrong?
First, the dog was young, just 18 months old, a male, and probably hadn’t been neutered. On the school bus was the son of the dog’s owner. My theory is that in the first week of school the boxer quickly became used to the routine: School bus coming down the block equals little boy. Seeing L waiting there, and in a state of excitement, the young dog must have viewed her as a threat to the little boy and attacked.
Right now the dog is with animal control for the next two weeks. After that, its fate is up in the air. As for my sister, she faces at least two weeks of recovery and a pile of medical bills. And why did all this happen? Because one woman allowed her dog to roam free.