We have a dog. Her name is Leila. I may have mentioned her before.

Leila has two arch enemies. They are the poodles.

Across the street and one door down live two hyper-spastic standard poodles. What do hyper-spastic standard poodles look like, you ask? They look like their owner being dragged down the street in an uncontrollable manner. They look like a tangled mess of doggie dreadlocks and leashes. They look like the kind of manic-ADD animal that the UPS man is afraid of. They look like psychotic lunatic beasts that are capable of jumping a 10-foot fence and dangling there, half in their yard and half out, frightening the neighborhood children.

They look like Leila’s evil nemesis. Leila despises these poodles, and they in turn despise her. Over the years we’ve heard snippets of info about the poodles without ever having spoken a word to their unfriendly owners: The poodles are prized agility dogs. The poodles are show dogs. The mailman hates the poodles. The poodles’ owner once got dragged down the street and injured various body parts when the poodles chased a squirrel. The list goes on.

When the poodles’ owner walks them past our fenced yard, and Leila is outside in the fence, poodle lady (as she’s come to be known in our house) quickly scurries to the other side of the street while muttering an expletive under her breath. She cannot control her poodles while she’s walking them, and they go majorly out of control when they spot Leila. Likewise, Leila goes into full hyperGoldenRetriever mode when the poodles approach the fence. Or when they bark. Or when we yell “POODLE ALERT!!”, something we’ve taken to doing for fun to get Leila riled up about the annoying poodles.

{Did I mention yet that poodle lady is super unfriendly, and has hair that exactly matches her poodles? This is important for picturing what went down today, as I relate a very gory tale below…}

Today.

A friend was over for a walk, and as she was leaving FatJ sticks his head outside to say goodbye, and Leila escapes. (This is rather normal- happens at least once a week I’d say). Leila takes off for our neighborhood tennis courts, where she’s sure she’ll find discarded tennis balls, and if she’s lucky, a few games of tennis to interrupt. FatJ takes off after her, and I continue saying goodbye to my friend, while holding Ryan in front of the house. Just as friend is getting into her car, Leila comes barreling down the sidewalk toward the house. Just as I see Leila barreling toward the house, I see poodle lady turn the corner, walking not TWO, but THREE poodles. My inner voice screams “yowser, this is NOT going to be pretty.” My other inner voice says a quick prayer that Leila runs straight to the door and into the house, with nary a sighting of the poodles. Inner voice #1 wins out: Leila spots the poodles, making a beeline for them. Three poodles on leashes feel they are being antagonized by wild loose Leila, and a three-poodle to one-golden retriever dog fight results. The whole tussle lasted probably 10 seconds. Poodle lady freaked out and screamed at Leila to get out of there. I was frozen and didn’t really know what to do, besides calling for Leila to come to me. Which she did. Sheepishly. Skittishly. Painfully.

Poodle Lady took her prize poodles home, and we went into our house and went about our day. Leila seemed a bit shaken up from the whole experience, so I looked her over to be sure she didn’t succumb to any poodle-induced injuries. Aside from acting a bit frazzled from her poodle encounter, Leila appeared totally fine.

Then about an hour passed. And Leila hadn’t moved from the spot on the floor upon which she had lain when we came back in. And I asked FatJ if she had been acting weird, and he said yeah, she’s acting all tired and lazy. (TIRED and LAZY are two words that never accurately describe this dog). We still thought she was just a little downtrodden from having her booty whooped by a pack of poodles. But then she readjusted her position on the floor, and I look down, and I see a ginormous. bloody. gaping. hole on the side of her body.

It was SO gross. And what’s even more gross (don’t read this if you get easily grossed out) is that I’m pretty sure the initial injury left a flap of skin and hair hanging over the wound, and that’s why I didn’t see it when I inspected her, and SO, I’m pretty sure she was so bothered by this wound that she ate the flap of skin and spit out the hairball of her fur (which I found on the floor later). BLECHBLECHBLECH.

Long story short- I brought Leila to the vet. The injury required morphine, surgery, sutures, a stent, and an oral antibiotic. And then later, I marched on over to the poodle house. I didn’t go over there to get mad or state my intentions of suing them over a dog attack or anything crazy like that. I mean, it was our fault that our dog was loose. It was our fault that she didn’t come when called. It was our fault that our typically-friendly golden retriever was viewed as ‘antagonizing’ as she approached three leashed dogs who felt they wouldn’t be able to defend themselves if she was truly on attack mode (which she was not). But I DID want poodle family to know what had happened. The vet also wanted to confirm that the dogs were current on their rabies shots. So, I walk over to poodle house. Poodle lady comes to the door. The jist of our conversation is as follows:

ME (smiling): Hi…I just wanted to apologize for this morning when my dog got loose.
PL (Poodle Lady): Oh. Uh hum. (not smiling)

Me: Also, my dog had to get sutures today from an injury that occurred during the incident.

PL: Oh. He did? Oh. (monotone voice-looking into the sky, as if picturing how on earth one of her precious poodles could possibly have done such a thing.)

Me: Yes. The vet recommended I come and confirm that your dogs are current on their vaccinations.

PL: Oh YES, they ARE.

Me: Um…yeah, so my dog doesn’t typically run loose. She just got out accidentally today.

PL: Yeah, I know you aren’t one of THOSE PEOPLE who lets their dog run loose all the time.

Me: No, I’m not.

PL: Is he going to be ok? (meaning the dog- apparently she didn’t pick up on the feminine pronoun I was using to describe Leila.)

Me: Well I think so. Haven’t picked her up from the vet yet. (apologizing AGAIN!) So…sorry about that again. See ya.

PL: Thanks. Bye.

And as I’m walking away, I’m thinking why in the fleep am I APOLOGIZING to this woman for my dog running up to her hyper-spastic poodles and one of them taking a bite out of my dog??!! I accept blame for my dog being loose and sprinting toward the leashed poodles, but cripes, don’t you think she could at least grant me one little “I’m sorry my psycho poodle ate a hole in your dog, thus costing you $400?” But nope, not one little I’m sorry. Nothing.

What do you think, are we asking too much? Are we totally to blame? Should nothing further come of this incident? Should poodle lady have said I’M SORRY?

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Wounded Leila is pictured below. If you are easily ruded out, stop here.
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[random photog confessional: I’m learning and utilizing the manual modes on my camera; but when under pressure to snap a quick pic, I sometimes have to flick ‘er back to automatic. que horror].

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