I’ve probably given myself a bad reputation for being that crazy neighbourhood lady screaming at people to put their dogs on a leash. I’ve gotten into arguments with people about it. Of course, the kind of people who let their dogs run around leash free on city streets are usually not the kind of people (and yes, I mean “kind of people” in the MOST derogatory way) who you can talk logic with. They don’t believe their dog would ever hurt another creature and they think you’re whack when you point out that a leash would protect their dog from harm. “Oh, he always comes when he’s called,” they’ll reply. Then they’ll call the dog over to prove their point and the dog will give them a withering look and wander off in the opposite direction.

This morning we were out walking the dogs and walked past a nearby apartment. An older Asian woman was sitting on the curb of the driveway in front of the building, a yellow dog (some kind of lab/sheperd cross as best I can tell) sitting beside her. I’m watching the dog because I can tell it’s not on a leash, but it sits there until we’re almost past. And then it leaps up, runs across the driveway and through a flower bed and latches onto Petula’s head. I kick at it a few times, and scream at it, and it backs off.

Through it all the Asian woman sits there unblinking. She doesn’t get up, yell at the dog, or make any effort to hold it back. In fact, she says nothing at all, despite the fact that Greg and I are screaming bloody murder at her – until we threaten to sue her, at which point she just starts repeating “not my dog, not my dog!” Given her behaviour throughout, that might very well have been the case.

Thank heavens for the hundreds of years of inbreeding that created the weird, resilient SharPei skin. There’s almost no blood, but the soft wrinkly skin is gashed and peels back like the skin of a ripe fruit, exposing the flesh underneath. Through it all Tula makes no indication that she’s even hurt – no noise, nothing. It’s close to her eye, but thankfully her eye is fine.

We rush her home, call a cab and Greg takes her to the vet where he waits for 5 hours to be told that the dog doesn’t need stitches. Resilient SharPei skin, apparently. They’ve given her some anti-biotics but the doctor at the Emergency Vet figures it will heal on its own. $200 later (because it’s a Sunday morning, there are no regular vets open and the flat appointment fee just to see someone is $150), they’re home and we start looking up what is needed for small claims court. And it’s way too many hoops to jump through, starting with finding the actual owner of the dog if it’s not the old Asian woman. If it had been more, if she had actually needed stitches, I’d maybe pursue it, but for $200 it’s not really worth it.

But hot damn, if people thought I was a hard ass about keeping dogs on a leash before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.