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Friday, April 14, 2017

A Terrifying and Violent Event

Yesterday was a shocking day. It started out normally, with me and Shyla heading out onto the trails together. We stopped to soak up the sun, on the first really warm day of spring!

Then, I pedaled and she ran by my side directly up to Hug Hill, a place of peace and fun to both of us. We always take a happy break atop Hug Hill. Yesterday, we started our break with some games, aimed to teach Shyla to imitate me as a way of teaching her new behaviors.

As we were playing, I saw Shyla's ears perk up and her eyes dart to the east. I turned around, and I could make out the shape of someone running up the hill but I couldn't identify the person because the bright and low sun was directly behind her.

The woman said "hi" in a happy voice, and I thought that I knew who she was - a neighbor who lives quite close to us. However, I wasn't absolutely certain.

Thinking it was a neighbor, I released Shyla from a "stay" and said "go ahead and say hi" because my neighbors love Shyla and have been a huge help in her rehabilitation from her paralyzing fear of non-family members.

Shyla trotted toward the person in a typically meek way, with her body low to the ground. The person said something in a high pitched voice that encouraged Shyla. Shyla slowly rose on her hind legs to see the person's face better but didn't jump on the person. However, I suppose that the person might have thought that Shyla was about to jump on her.

As Shyla peered at the person, the person belted Shyla across her face. Given the unstable position that Shyla was in, she fell over... and actually didn't get up immediately. I was stunned into silence as life took on a slow-motion and silent-movie quality. Slowly, Shyla got up and almost crawled to me, obviously terrified by what had just happened. At first, I worried about whether she had a head injury but I think that she was just scared to death.

At that point, I broke the silence with verbal barrage at the woman, who I now realized was a stranger. "Do not hit my dog, EVER", I yelled. I honestly don't remember the rest of what I said as I slowly got closer and closer to this evil woman while yelling at her. There was no defense for her behavior - none. She walloped an innocent dog - and that dog happens to be more fragile than most. I've worked hard to teach Shyla that strangers are not a threat, and I honestly thought that years of work had been destroyed with one punch.

My rage must have scared the woman because she started crying and began to run away. I realized that I needed to get some basic information about her so I asked who she was and how she'd gotten onto land that is only accessible to people who live adjacent to it.

Since then, I've learned that the woman is a chronic trespasser who has been banned from everyone's land. She gained access to Hug Hill by trespassing across land that she's been told that she may *not* set foot on. She is not the kind of person who I should have trusted to interact with Shyla. It was a costly mistake.

We tried to do a normal ride home after the altercation but Shyla didn't want to run. We moved at a slug's pace as we headed home. I had tears in my eyes the entire way. I spent the whole day obsessing over the event, too upset to even write a blog post about it.

There is a decent piece of news now, the day after that trauma. I took Shyla's older brother, R, along on our ride today to bolster her confidence, and she seemed very happy. We didn't see a single person so I don't know how Shyla will cope with seeing non-family members on the trails after that terrifying event.

Here's a photo of the two of them today, atop Hug Hill. Today was "take back Hug Hill" day. I wanted to go right back there and have a ton of fun with my dogs, like I've done almost every morning for years. I figured that if that awful woman showed up again, R would deal with her.

Just kidding - sort of. R doesn't have a mean bone in his body but he can look scary.
I think that R will be with us again tomorrow. He's a great source of security for Shyla and for me.

41 comments:

  1. I am totally flabbergasted, can't even think of a comment... I am so happy you are both ok and this did not turn into something really ugly with that trespasser, not that hitting Shlya is not ugly, poor sweet pup. I hope she will be ok

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  2. I am so sorry this happened and especially to Shyla. Praying it does not cause a big set back in her trust.

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  3. Hari OM
    Good grief... that must have been some wallop to have knocked Shyla flat. Here's praying not too much damage done for darling dog; sounds like you did more 'ravaging' to the nasty!!! Sending hugs from my hill... YAM xx

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  4. Oh my word, KB, I am crying. What a horrible, horrible thing for that person to do. I feel physically sick. Poor Shyla and poor you - you have worked so hard on Shyla's trust issues - such an unexpected nightmare for you. Many many hugs.
    Here's hoping that this ONE awful MOMENT will be a flicker of Bad Experience for Shyla, and will be completely overridden by her YEARS of moment after moment after moment of love and support and care from you and everyone who loves her, but especially YOU.
    Much love to you and to Shyla.
    And I'm not usually a vindictive person, but I hope you can charge that awful person with trespassing and perhaps assaulting an animal. She doesn't seem to be listening to what she's already been told.

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  5. OMG, that's the most horrible and shocking thing I can imagine to do to a dog like Shyla. To any dog, really, but a sensitive dog??? OMG. I am so, so sorry y'all had to deal with that. :(

    Best wishes and good thoughts for all of y'all, and shame on that woman. Who the hell does that? A villain.

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  6. Once again, mom has tears in her eyes. No one hurts our Shyla! What a evil person she is! Paws and fingers are crossed that this will not have any lasting effects on our sweet girl♥

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  7. I can't even comprehend. I would have exploded at the woman. Poor Shyla, I hope more than anything that all your hard work has not been undone by one stupid, thoughtless.....ummmm.....person.

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  8. My first thought on reading the story, aside from wanting to inflict grievous bodily harm on the woman, was that R should come along next time, and I am so glad he did! All paws and hooves crossed that Shyla can put this behind her quickly.

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  9. OMG - how terrifying for you both.

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  10. A prayer, a hug, and some love. For all of you. I do not believe in any type of violence and I admire and praise your restraint in the face of such cruelty. Am unsure I could have contained my rage (and the rage I feel now for you and Shyla), the desire to protect may have been overwhelming.
    I hope and pray Shyla will in time forget this event and your constant love will help her to do that.

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  11. Mom is freaking out saying HBO words. Shyla must have been so shocked. Mom hates people
    Lily & Edward

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  12. That is awful! I hope that Shyla is still ok with your neighbors after this. Every time Barley's had an encounter with an off-leash dog, I worry that it will be the time that undoes all of the hard work we've done, so I can totally understand your worries. Thankfully, she's been resilient and has bounced right back after a few days of decompressing. I hope the same happens for Shyla.

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  13. Who the hell hits a dog as a greeting? Shyla's body language was that of curiosity, greeting and hopefulness. That woman was a complete ass. I do believe, even without having "a mean bone in his body", R will protect both you and Shyla. I read these accounts and really wish I was with you when these bizarre things happen....geez!

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    1. I wish that you were with me too, NinjaPonyDad! There seems to be some legal stuff coming down on her about it - not instigated by me - so at least we have that.

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  14. Poor Shyla and how awful. Seriously, better you than me because she would never trespass again, anywhere.

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  15. R will be there a lot I am thinking, security in having him along.I cannot imagine your feelings, I would have done more than yell for sure. Take a photo, tell her that the police will be involved, and have faith that Shyla will bounce back .Your years of TLC and patience and training will surely be utmost in her mind. The one good thing, Shyla came straight back to you and stayed with you, surely proof of the sense of love and security. Hugs.XXXX

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    1. That is a great point. If Shyla hadn't trusted me to protect her, she would've run away after being hit. Instead, she stayed with me as I ranted and yelled at the person.

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  16. People can be such idiots...Hugs to both you and Shyla.

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  17. Let's hope, if she trespasses in future, she meets a mother bear, or moose!

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  18. Happy Easter

    Aroo to you,
    Sully

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  19. That is awful! Going right back to that place and having fun is a great idea. Poor Shyla. People can be so awful!

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  20. We have no words, just utter dismay that anyone could do that. We hope Shyla will recover quickly and well.

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  21. Oh, my goodness!!! That is so terrifying!!!! Poor Shyla - and poor you. I hope this won't be a setback for Shyla.
    KZK

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  22. I would have belted the Lady back. What a horrible human! I hope Shyla is able to overcome this terrible event. Sigh!

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  23. OMD!! How absolutely horrible. Who does that. Our mom would have been screaming too
    We hope that Shyla will have a quick recovery from this.
    hugs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

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  24. That would be really upsetting for any dog and any owner, much less one who has overcome so much fear and distrust as sweet Shyla. Oh, so sorry this had to happen but I am overjoyed that Shyla seems to have overcome it. And thank goodness for the goofy black dog.

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  25. I can't begin to express how fuming mad I am.
    She will get what she deserves.
    I hope that you and Shyla with R have party on Hug Hill.
    xo Astro

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  26. Oh no, that would be so terrible to have happen!! How can people react so violently? Poor Shyla! We are shook up over here because we came close to losing our boys today. Gotta love our pups a bit tighter . . .

    C

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  27. You know, that's what crackers are for. To show up and defend who they love. I've release Loki many times on aggressive dogs who come at us. He chases them away and holds them at bay and then when i call him, he comes to me. The other dogs usually run from him. But Juno for some reason has a "bite me" sign on her for all aggressive dogs. Poor girl. Loki sometimes re directs on her in tense situations but the more i know him, the more i see, it's his way of telling her to stay away from the strange dog until he thinks it's safe. Honestly, i have no issue with asking R to help out poor Shyla if he needs to. I'm sure he'd do an excellent job intimidating but not touching a mean person/animal. Kisses to Shyla. I'm still so friggin' pissed off about this. I don't blame you one bit. I would have unloaded on her. Lots of kisses to her from us.

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  28. Wow! I'm glad Shyla isn't a Rottweiler. People totally freak about strange Rottweilers. SO stupid.

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  29. That is SO awful. This woman sounds like she's not right in the head! This reminds me so much of a post I wrote about the "worst walk I ever took". We (me, Rita, my friend and her boxer) were at the dog beach/bay that we used to walk at ALL the time. The boxer ran at this guy's dog (didn't actually even touch it though) and this guy hit her across the back with his walking stick. He then started screaming at my friend, and while I tried to get him to calm down, he hit ME with his stick too. It was just unbelievable. I tried going back a time or two, but once you have a bad story to tell about this particular place, you realize how many others have terrible stories about the place too. So we stopped going. Like Shyla, Rita is not trusting with certain strangers, and I couldn't take a chance that something like that would happen to her! I'm really sorry you had to go through this. If you're like me, you replayed that damn scene over and over and over in your head. Hopefully Shyla gets over it quickly!!

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  30. I'm so sorry that happened to Shyla. We had a neighbor do that to Phoenix once and I was devastated. :(

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  31. My son and I (about 11) at the time used to take our Lab/Golden to a lovely out of town park. She had a grand time running and one day, there was a man fishing from the lakeshore. Cappie ran up to him and sat down and he took a pistol from his pocket and put it to her head!
    We called for a hurry up come, and the three of us were happy to get away from this person, but the bottom line is you NEVER know how folks are going to respond.It changed my way of doing things!

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  32. unbelievable!! Grrrrrrr is what I say. I hope sweet Shyla will be OK (you as well). Momma and I think it is a good idea to take R along, at least for a while so Shyla can feel at ease and happy. I know you will help in in any and all ways to over come this. Give her a nose poke from me.
    Blessings,
    Buddy

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  33. What the heck is wrong with some people????? I'm glad your rage made her cry. I wouldn't have been able to control myself. I probably would have belted her across the face as she did to Shyla. I do hope Shyla is ok and doesn't suffer any ill effects from the encounter. Disgusting woman.

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  34. I had tears in my eyes and could feel your distress as I read it. And my heart broke for Shyla, such a sweet dog and so undeserving of such nasty treatment. I hope Shyla will bounce back OK and you can both put this all behind you. You've had enough to deal with lately. :(

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  35. I hope you're not seeing this twice... Blogger just ate my comment, so here it goes again....

    I read about what happened on FB, and totally echo the words and thoughts of the comments here and there. I'm grateful that Shyla wasn't physically injured. I so hope that her trust in the human race hasn't been compromised by the callus stupidity of this stranger, and that it continues to be found in foundation from all your hard work and the love and security she feels each and every day from those around her -- And from all of us who cheer her and you on!!

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  36. WTH?? I mean, seriously, WTH??? This is just crazy and awful. Of all the dogs for this to happen to :( So sorry!! I'm not sure what I would have done - I think I would have gone seriously off the rails. Goodness, fingers crossed that Shyla is able to put this behind her and trust again...

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  37. WTF??!!! I can't believe that!!!! I have never heard of anyone hitting a dog like that before!!!! Especially a sweetie like Shyla! I can't even begin to imagine the total RAGE you must have felt!! I would have had her whimpering on the ground fursure! I don't even know how that could enter into a person's brain. I am so glad that you did what you did, and I am glad that Shyla is okay. I have to admit, I might have decked her. Sendin' lots of love and AireZens and {{{hugs}}}....I can't even think right now...
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

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  38. OMD!!! I can't believe that happened to sweet Shyla! And that idiot woman is lucky that it was a dog like Shyla she chose to abuse instead of one that would've bitten her like she deserved!

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