Aw, shucks.

Kristen does life stuff, sometimes writes about it.

The Awful Incident with a Shar Pei at PetSmart.

21 September 2013 by ludakristen

If we aren’t Facebook friends and/or you don’t follow me on Instagram (you totally should, though), you might not know that Sean and I got a dog. If you are my Facebook friend and/or follow me on Instagram, you are probably sick to death of hearing about Arlo. I’m not sorry about it though because Arlo is the best dog in the world.

Or, as Sean would say, Arlo is so handsome, he makes Tom Selleck’s mustache feel insecure.


We had a bit of an incident at PetSmart this morning, however, and I am sort of embarrassed to admit that I cried like a little baby. In public. In front of lots of people, dogs, parakeets, fishes and lizards.

Arlo is a beast, and he’s not super great on the leash yet, so we have a heavy-duty leash with a rubber handle down near his collar so whoever’s walking him has total control. We were standing in line at the PetSmart register, and an older man walked by with a Shar Pei. The Shar Pei (we found out later her name is Mariah) walked right up to Arlo and got in his face. Arlo was on a very tight leash (I never thought I’d be using that phrase literally). He was right by Sean’s thigh, and we were in a narrow aisle at the register and had nowhere to go. Mariah’s owner seemed oblivious. It all happened very quickly; before we could really react, the two dogs got into a fight. It was very brief, but there was some snarling and biting on both dogs’ parts before we got them separated. Mariah’s owner seemed completely unfazed and wandered off with her. I got down on my knees to check out Arlo’s face and make sure he was okay. He seemed completely fine, but I saw a flew spots of blood on the floor. I walked over to the Shar Pei and her owner (who was checking out the dog treats and apparently hadn’t looked over his own dog to make sure she wasn’t injured) and noticed she had blood in her mouth. I told him so and suggested he walk his dog over to the pet hospital attached to the store, which he did.

He immediately placed all the blame on us and Arlo, which didn’t really surprise me, I guess. Mariah stopped bleeding pretty quickly, and the vet checked her over and put her on antibiotics just in case of infection, but she didn’t require stitches or anything. We got to read his written version of the incident, in which he described this “vicious attack” as “completely unprovoked.” This is about when I started sobbing. I was worried this guy would, I dunno, press charges or something and sue the pants off us (even though I didn’t believe we, or Arlo, really did anything wrong in this scenario) and we would lose Arlo. We had the opportunity to write our own witness statements, and the managers all got involved and the whole thing was very scary. The man was kind of a pill to the vet staff, too, but he did eventually shake our hands and thank us for being so wonderful. We paid for the vet treatment of his dog, which I believe was the right thing to do even though I’m not convinced we were at fault. The only thing I think we could’ve done differently was not take Arlo to PetSmart in the first place, which perhaps we shouldn’t have done until we had him for a bit longer and knew how he’d do. The two women who were fostering him before us had seven dogs of their own and Arlo got along fine with all of them.

Anyway, we believe┬áthis was just a one-off incident, but even so, we’ll definitely be more careful with him going forward. And, as one of the PetSmart managers told us, beware of other dog owners. It’s like defensive driving. Even if you’re the best driver in the entire world, you can still be in danger because of some asshole out on the road.


6 comments | Categories: Sad panda.

Comments (6)

  1. My dog Mojo (who looks just like Arlo, only with brown and white markings) is aggressive with other dogs in public, and that’s a catch-22: The more aware of it you are, the tighter you hold the leash, the more nervousness the dog picks up on, making him more likely to get aggressive, which makes you hold the leash tighter, and on and on it goes.

    I’ve often wondered if putting shaving cream on his face to make him look rabid wouldn’t keep others at bay, because that manager is right: Other dog owners act like idiots: “Oh look! A very large dog pulling on his leash! Here, Fifi, let me remove your leash so you can go say hi!”

    • It really just happened so quickly, and I kept thinking, “What could we have done differently?” We’ll be extra careful going forward for sure, but I also just think that any dog has the ability to be aggressive in certain situations, and maybe this was just one of those times. But you’re totally right about that Catch-22.

  2. Aww. Poor everyone. Mariah’s owner sounds like a jerk.

  3. You should NOT feel guilty about this. My labrador Indie is the sweetest thing in the world and gets along with all humans and dogs and cats except for one of our neighbor’s dogs, whom she bit about a year ago. If Arlo is usually a gentle dog, he probably just had a weird reaction to the Shar Pei (just like Indie and the neighbor dog), and the Shar Pei owner (and any dog owner) should be aware that dogs are dogs and sometimes they fight. Arlo looks precious and lovable.

  4. I always worry about taking our dogs out, even though they are both wonderful and sweet and not aggressive at all. I guess since Boof is a pit bull, I’m extra sensitive about how people prejudge him.

    In the future, be alert for lax parents, too. I’ve had to call down kids multiple times for being up in my dogs’ faces without asking to pet them or showing any sort of wariness or caution. The parents seem oblivious. While I’m confident that my dogs wouldn’t act out, you can’t ever be sure.

    Arlo is a cutie.

  5. Mariah’s person is an idiot who needs to teach his dog some manners. My dogs are pretty mild mannered, but they don’t like other dogs all up in their grills like that, even if they’re not leashed.
    I’m sorry that happened to you. You’re a good person for paying the bill and for checking up on Mariah in the first place. If you hadn’t, it sounds like that dude wouldn’t have even bothered to look.