Thursday, March 10, 2005


Stupid is as stupid does.  Robbie asked if I could explain this.  Until yesterday, I was also unsure of its meaning.  But I think I think I've got a pretty good idea now.

I made a stupid mistake yesterday that I just can't seem to get over.  An avoidable mistake gone wild.  In a nutshell:  I let my new client, Gizmo -- the pitbull -- say hi to three of my dogs.  They were all fine.  No worries.  Even letting Gizmo get closer to them was fine.  She was on a leash.  But two of my dogs jumped out of the car.  I almost lost one to city traffic as he waddled down the long driveway, away from us.

Again, everyone was ok.  It just could have been disastrous.  I had to flip Gizmo on her back because she was so overly-excited to see other dogs.  She and Hunny had a growl/attack/standoff.  I expected it. I was prepared.  So, that's when I first tried to get Gizmo on her back.  She fought with all her strength.  She used every part of her body (including her mouth) to get me off of her.

When I felt her jaws on my forearm, I was like whoa, what am I doing here?  She didn't bite me.  She didn't break skin.  She used her mouth as another appendage.  Like a hand, trying to remove my hands from her face, neck, body, paws (where ever my hands were at that time).

It was a long struggle.  I had her down three times.  Each time, she got out of the hold.  I couldn't give up.  She would've won.  And she'd have lost all respect for me.  We've been working well together.  I wasn't about to give that up.

I was totally out of breath, sweating and still whooping her ass.  She's strong!  Maybe the strongest dog I've ever worked with.  Possibly stronger than Marley.  She's also untrained and more importantly, unsocialized!  THAT's where our work is going to be most difficult.

Anyway, my left arm is so fricken sore.  I even have bruises and swelling in my forearm.  I rarely bruise.  I also have a nice raspberry on my knee from the black pavement.  I choose my fighting grounds well, don't ya think?  My white t-shirt was filthy, as well as my arms and the knees of my pants.  My body is traumatized. Sore neck and all.

I feel like I was hit by a bus.

The mistake was introducing them so soon.  One little hello was perfectly acceptable.  But when we returned from our walk, Gizmo was going wild with excitement, trying to get to the dogs in my car.  Just to be near them.  She sounded like she was being tortured.  I wouldn't let her run to the car.  I made her heal the whole way.  One. step. at. a. time.  I rewarded her with another greeting.  If I had tied my dogs in the car, or better yet, if I didn't open the car door, the chase would've been completely avoidable.

A dog could've gotten hit by a car.  I could've gotten bit by a pitbull.  Honestly though, if Gizmo wanted to bite me, to really bite and hurt me, she would have.  She had every opportunity.  My entire forearm was in her mouth.  She could've taken it off.  She didn't want to.  [note: if I thought she'd ever want to, I wouldn't be walking her.]

I finally got my dogs back into my car.  I got Gizmo  to calm down and refocus on my commands.  And before I left, I had her submitting on her back in her territory.  And like every day this week,  everyone in the office (they work for Gizmo's mother) who watched this whole scene was thanking me for all I'm doing with her.  [I'm thinking, did you not just see any of this?]  "You're welcome. See you tomorrow."

I know it sounds like everything is okay because it all worked out.  And that's true.  It is ok.  It did work out.  All is well.  Except for the "what if" aspect.  Even though I still really believe it's important to get this dog around other dogs ASAP, it needs to be in a more controlled environment.  And in this situation I was out of control when things got out of control.  That's a mistake I can't afford to make. 

Sure, I put myself in a potentially dangerous situation every single day.  But the moment I feel out of control is when it actually becomes a dangerous situation.

Stupid is as stupid does.  It means one is stupid because of what one does, not because of who one is.  My choices were stupid.  I'm not stupid.  But I tell ya, I feel pretty stupid.  It was a stupid mistake.  Just stupid.  But ...

Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get.  ~Forrest Gump


donah42 said...

Don't beat yourself up too much. Even under the most controlled circumstances animals can be unpredictable. No irreversible harm was done. You got things under control. You'll do it better next time. To quote Scarlett O'Hara: "Tomorrow is another day" :)

kristeenaelise said...

Yanno you can "what if" anything to death - the great thing about experiences like this is that you learned something.  Its over, your angels were watching you, and everyone's ok (kinda - sounds like you've got a little PTSD going on, along with your bruises and oweys).

We have a pit cross too, and she's strong as heck.  You acted intelligently and proved you're tougher - you did the right thing. I'm 5'10 and I'm not sure I could take my pit bull - it just proves you can find strength when you need it.  Thank goodness they're sweet dogs, or they'd be trouble.

big hugs!!
(and you're not stupid, nor were your actions)
=) kris

s0ngbird1962 said...

Pitbulls scare me...

And I think you have that definition down just right.  

"Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get."  ~Forrest Gump

Well.............. you could know what you're gonna get in a box of chocolates if you squish them first, lol...

mikethedawg said...

Trishy, I've TOTally been there, but in a different situation. I know it's hard not to beat yourself up over this...but really, please don't. Sure, it was a huge mistake...BUT you've learned honey...YOU'VE LEARNED and you damn well know that this won't happen again. So chalk it up to a bad experience for the better!
And you know damn well, you are good at what you do. I TOTally can't see you "out of control." You are not made that way. YOU ARE GOOD AT WHAT YOU DO!
ps...I love giz! And good for you and hunny for showing giz who is DA BOSS!
After you get Giz trained...I'll send Mike your way...gotta beef up those arms a little first, after all he is a freee range country dawg.

nellemclaughlin said...

I am presently trying to bring in the reigns on a five pound nine week old Sheltie pup. He is very determined at times. I wish you were here to help me and give advice. He is my third one I've had but the most intelligent and determined. My work is cut out for me. Nelle

andreakingme said...

I had this t-shirt as a kid: POBODY'S NERFECT.

The good thing about making mistakes is that we generally learn from them and in this case, I think you certainly HAVE. You're sure to be more attentative and careful the next time. That's what matters. Meanwhile, it seems as if you've driven yourself crazy long enough with the what-if factor. Stop it already! Don't make me take you down, woman, you know I don't like confrontation!

Gizmo DOES looks like a sweety. (Big, though. Yipes.)

phlskygirl said...

Had I been in your shoes, it would have been MY poop you'd have been scooping up off the grass... [as I sat off to the side quietly mumbling, "that rotten little fucker broke my nail... my NAIL!]...

yakima127 said...

That is a beautiful dog...a beautiful mass of muscles!  I refused to walk my daughter's Pitbull...she dragged me around the block, and I weigh a lot!  She would yank so hard, it felt like she was going to yank my arm off!  She is a very small pit, too.  Only a little over 40 pounds (4 years old).  She is a sweety, but she is STRONG!!!  I tried to teach her to heel, but then my daughter would just let her drag her around, so it was futile!  Pits are incredibly strong, and it takes a lot to make them do wht they don't want to do!  I bet you feel like you were hit by a truck!!!  Better luck next time with the training!  JAE

krobbie67 said...

"Stupid is as stupid does.  It means one is stupid because of what one does, not because of who one is.  My choices were stupid."

OMG! That makes so much sense! Thank you! It also made me smile. Wonderfully written entry...a leading intro summed up nicely with the conclusion.

Now, then....I do believe we had a conversation the other night about "What ifs" and I think you said something about them not happening or some such, by that time my brain was fried. And, you know it was a late night so you were probably as beat as I felt yesterday. We make stupid choices when we aren't well rested. Get some sleep girly. Everything turned out okay. Yesterday is history. Think how it will make you a better person tomorrow.

Yah know, now that I think of it. I think you were a pitbull in another life. You're one tough cookie for such a little thing. :-) ---Robbie

heathyrxmarie said...

Aww! Don't beat yourself up too much! You took control, before it got TOO bad, that's all you can do!  And I'm really impressed with the way that you handle Gizmo
Lots of hugs for the sore arm :(

bridgetteleigh75 said...

Good grief, Trish...I'm really glad everything worked out.  Although the idea of my arm in a Pitbull's mouth isn't overly appealing...Yikes.  You're one brave gal!


sunflowerkat321 said...

I can see where this would be a tense situation and I'm glad you came through it ok.  Every mistake is a learning experience....and some things, you just can't predict.  I'm sitting here thinking about all you have to know (and be prepared for) to do your job effectively.  I never realized it before.

onestrangecat said...

I am so glad that you are ok and that no dogs got hurt.
I am sure that Gizmo will love you for helping her to become a better dog.


judithheartsong said...

I am glad it turned out all right....... hi Gizmo. judi

indigosunmoon said...

Gizmo is very pretty...but those pitbulls
scare the bejeezus out of me!
You be careful!!!

barbaramck said...


I'm so glad your instincts kicked in when they did and I'm very sorry to say that I think you're right about Gizmo, bless her heart. Yourself, Hunny, and your previous wards' safety should come first.

Pits are beautiful animals but need to be trained the Super Puppy way immediately out of the womb. There's hope for the old gal yet just be careful, okay?

Best Wishes and God Speed to Gizmo and the rest of your crew,


deabvt said...

Freee, that was wonderful!  That`s a lot of courage on your part! [and hunny`s]

jennipooh3597 said...

I always understood training horses - but, didn't quite "get" training dogs.  I guess it's somewhat similar in nature.  (maybe?)  I can't believe you let the dog put her mouth on your forearm!  Yikes!  At least you got the situation under control and *you* remained the master :)  Yay :)  Jenn

alphawoman1 said...

I have a lot of respect for you.  I would have fainted.

kathlyna22 said...

oh god!
I had a dog like Gizmo, a great big dalmation.
When I moved into my apartment, I had to give him to a family....
I wonder if he ever got any smarter.
Good luck with him!!

belfastcowboy75 said...

Pointers are bred to point, retrievers to retrieve. Pitbulls are bred to fight. It's not their fault, but they are dangerous. I'd never have one as a pet, especially around children. I hope this one is an exception.