Snark Week: Man’s Best Friend?



Back in the 1970s, Saturday Night Live ran a skit in which Chevy Chase played a very clever land shark. He selected his victims by going door to door. And because no one would in their right mind would open the door for a shark, he pretended to be other, more benign things: a plumber, a flower delivery person, a dolphin.

Land sharks, of course, don’t exist. And even if they did, we wouldn’t bring them into our homes. But a dog in a shark costume? We’d kiss its wee fuzzy wuzzy face off.

But consider this: DOGS ARE JUST AS DANGEROUS AS LAND SHARKS — maybe even more so.

Don’t let the cuteness fool you. Like their wild wolf ancestors, dogs have 42 strong teeth — “fangs for grabbing and puncturing, incisors for nibbling, premolars for tearing, and molars for crushing bone.”

Now you’re expecting me to drone on for paragraphs about pit bulls attacking babies and rottweilers mauling old ladies. And, oh Nelly! I could tell you some stories. But instead I’m going to focus on a less obvious, far more common evil: the accidental insults that dogs inflict on their owners everyday.

Let’s start with my dog, Bea. She’s adorable, right?DSC_0002

Most mornings she wakes me by jumping on the bed. She puts her head on the mattress, hoists her butt in the air, and then she writhes, heedlessly flinging her 60-pound body from side to side. To prevent her from slamming full force into my pregnant belly, I must quickly flip my body and scoot to the far edge of the bed. Eventually she lays down. But before she settles, she likes to give my husband a swift kick in the balls.

And we have it easy. Just listen to the tortures dogs have inflicted on others: LWON’s own Jennifer Holland suffered a terrible leash burn when her dog tried to chase something. A deer? Something imaginary? Jenny will never know because she was too busy writhing in pain. You hear stories at the dog park too. One of the regulars told us he ended up with a broken thumb when his large, blonde hound bounded after a rabbit during a leash walk. A parked car spooked a friend’s dog when she was out for a run. He dragged her several feet, scraping the skin off her knees. When that same dog encountered a terrifying tree on a bike ride, he leapt in front of my friend’s bike. She swerved to avoid him and crashed. “My dog is afraid of everything,” she says.

But it’s us who should be afraid.

A friend’s sister bent down just as her dog was leaping to lick her face and the impact broke her nose. Another friend told me about the injury inflicted on her ex: Just as the man leaned over to pet her gentle chocolate lab, the dog flung her head up. The dog’s head slammed into his mouth, busting off the bottom halves of his two front teeth.

And then there are the rarer stories of canine-induced misfortune. A college friend told me about her aunt, who saved a puppy’s life by giving the dog CPR. During the mouth-to-mouth contact, she contracted some dog-borne microbe and ended up with a systemic infection that nearly killed her.3512872261_b418d1231f_z

Sometimes the injuries dogs inflict are psychological: Soren’s cousin Dave had a black lab that didn’t like to be left alone in the car. “She would leave a ‘surprise’ in the driver’s seat,” he says. This happened on multiple occasions, but Dave’s sister’s boyfriend had a special relationship with the dog, and he refused to believe that she would shit on the red leather seats of his shiny sports car. “He was wrong,” Dave says. “She not only gave him a surprise in his driver’s seat but wiped her butt across all the air vents and the dash.” 

While you can find loads of data on dog attacks, there aren’t good statistics on the more trivial daily brutalities dogs inflict. But these assaults add up. The injuries may not always be life-threatening, but they leave lasting physical and psychological scars. My cousin still sees a chiropractor years after a pit bull that she was dog sitting slammed into her knee. And no doubt my husband will still be shielding his balls long after our beloved Bea is gone.

Let these anecdotes serve as a warning to all those mooning over puppies. And I hope you’ll share your own dog terror stories in the comments. I’m sure you have some doozies.


Top image courtesy of Nathan Rupert via Flickr

Video and black dog photo by yours truly

Last image courtesy of Toddy Dog via Flickr

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3 thoughts on “Snark Week: Man’s Best Friend?

  1. Our sweet Trixie (pit/boxer mix) has a few terrors on us too- once while playing with a rope toy, she jumped up to grab it, missing, and instead I came away with an arm locked in her teeth. Out on the lead she ran after a rabbit, wrapping the rope around john’s ankles bringing him down and a nice burn. She ran INTO a moving car, avoiding death but denting the side a bit. She hates car rides, so when we go I have to arm the backseat for the onslaught of drool that will fly and then profusely clean after. But, we love her endlessly! Loved the post.

  2. My aunt and uncle used to have a large mutt that they jokingly said was “part dog, part bear”. He was normally a pretty calm dog, not going after squirrels or cats or other dogs. One day, however, when my uncle took him for a walk he spotted a coyote and decided to give chase. The dog yanked my uncle clean off his feet and dragged him (face down) for about a block before he managed to let go of the leash. Fortunately, my uncle didn’t break any bones or teeth, but he was scraped up pretty badly from head to toe. They loved their bear-dog, too, and my uncle blamed only himself for what happened (for not holding the leash more loosely)!

  3. My dear mother all of 4 ft 11 inches weighing about 110 came home one night with my brother. he was with her so he could retrieve his very large, very smelly golden retriever, Tucker. she didn’t have her key, so went around back to get the hidden key. She went in the back, ran through the house in the dark and ran to Tucker who stretched himself across the entire expanse between the living room and dining room. She went flying, but the dog didn’t budge- even as she hollered in pain on the floor, he didn’t even lift his head. She broke her foot and despite surgery and more than 10 years of time gone by, her foot has never been the same since. I have to say, she did not love Tucker before the accident and loved him even less afterwards.

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