Saturday, January 15, 2005

Nature of The Beast

There's this dog in our apartment building. Mongrel mix, medium-large size, black/brown short fur. Older, I wager; the few times I've seen its face it seems to have a cataract. It usually is attached to its mustached owner, who I know by sight but don't know by name. It is perfectly docile in the presence of other tenants, and me.

Yet, it is The Beast.

It hates other dogs. Not just hates like barks or approaches or vaguely threats; this docile mutt turns into The Beast upon seeing another animal -- it immediately snarls viciously, tugs at its leash and scrabbles as if it hasn't cannibalized in a full day and is ready for your meal.

Normally, this isn't an issue, because the owner has a good hold of it and on the odd occasion we meet at the elevator (I'm going down, he's already in the shaft or the other way around going up) and have Ciara with me the one who's already in the elevator just smiles ruefully (or in his case, restrains his Beast mightily) and the one outside cedes the territory.

Last night, I was ready to take Ciara out right after work and there we were, waiting to get in the elevator. I had just gone up straight from work with a passenger who was delivering Chinese food, and was hoping to catch the elevator on his way back down (he continued up). So maybe I was looking for him in the elevator when I should have been looking for The Beast.

What ended up was the door opened, Ciara went to move in, and The Beast lunged. The mustached owner was not on the other end; some hispanic woman who was talking to the other occupant and not paying attention was, and the dog got halfway out of the elevator before she realized what was going on. By that time, The Beast had chomped on Ciara's soft little nose. Now,she's a terrier and it's not like she was silent this whole time; as soon as Beast lunged she immediately dove in but was outmaneuvered. I cried, "Get him off!" And with a quick jerk the inattentive walker jerked The Beast back in. I didn't see any apologetic look or anything, and I picked up Ciara. A little section on the top of her nose was bleeding, but her tongue quickly licked that away; later on an examination showed indentations and grooves but only skin scrapings. She's fine now.

Now I'm left with how to deal with this. Obviously, when I see Mr. Mustache again I will let him know what happened in a non-aggressive way -- the thing is, whoever walks The Beast needs to have it on a short leash at all times, and he should tell that person to be more aware. But should I take pictures? Report it to the board? No idea. So I'm writing it here. In three years that's the worst that's happened with The Beast, so I'm willing to let it go for now. If it was worse, or if it happens again, there will be something more official.

Poor Ciara, though!

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