First, the important news. This afternoon I found an envelope on my back door, and in the envelope a note:
Thank you for your help!!!
We want to thank those of you who came out to help save Alli's life. Words cannot describe how grateful we are for all that you did to help this awful situation.
Alli is recovering at her vet today. We hope to bring her home this evening.
Here's the pit bull that attacked her:
The reason I have the pit bull's picture is that the story made the paper. The Orlando Sentinel, that is. Natch. The mayor's involved. The print version headline reads: "Dyer rescues terrier from jaws of pit bull." The much less detailed online version says that "Mayor Buddy Dyer rescues terrier from jaws of pit bull," to which are attached some 280 comments offered (save for a few exceptions) by a melange of idiots. Both headlines made me laugh at first. I suppose there is a sense in which they might be true. Maybe we wore the dog out and he had to take a second's rest, but I doubt it. Maybe his locked-in, bred-in-the-blood instinct to hang on until the other animal's dead freed up for a second in the realization that he was disobeying the humans around him. Who the hell knows? But in fairness to the mayor, nowhere in either article does he make the claim being attributed to him by its author. He simply says, "I was just hanging on with everything I had." In fact, the article admits later that "the pit bull turned Alli loose long enough for Dyer to pull it away, and an onlooker scooped up the injured animal."
Onlooker. I'm thinking of changing the name of my blog to The Onlooker. I like the sound of it. Opinions welcome.
Later, "Alli...was rushed to an emergency veterinarian and treated with antibiotics..." No mention of an onlooker, though.
We are also told that Alli's owner was "walking down Dyer's street [no, he doesn't own it - ed.] with her 9 year old Jack Russell terrier," while I had been informed that she was riding a bike and the dog trotting along beside.
I love the online version's first sentence: "No one came forward today to claim the pit bull that tangled with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer over the weekend." It sounds like the two ran into each other on the street and decided to square off. Maybe I'm expecting too much from newspaper writing.
Anyway, because my wife was at the scene while I was gone, and because she actually spoke to the police - being the only one at the time in possession of the victim's name and phone number - I could say more about how certain things get into the newspaper, and why, but I don't really give a damn.
I have a theory about why Alli survived. Just a theory. But it could be that she saved herself by all her squirming and twisting. Maybe she kept the pit from getting a genuine death grip and left him mostly with a mouthful of skin. But I'll never forget her exhaustion when she finally broke free (or was released). She could not move. Her whole energy had gone into trying to survive, and there was nothing left. It was a pitiful sight.
But the important thing is that she's still with us and back home in the arms of her owner. I hope to pay her a visit in the next few days. A really sweet dog.
Update: I stopped by and visited Alli yesterday. Her owners live one street over and one block up. The puncture wounds on her back and neck are still quite visible, and I didn't even try to look at her throat where the damage is worse. She's on antibiotics. She can eat only soft food, doesn't try to bark much, and when she does it's very soft because no doubt it hurts to try. But she seems to be getting back to her old self. She was allowed outside where she, in turn, allowed me to pet her. She has a "sister", by the way, a silkie terrier slightly smaller in size but equally friendly. Here is a page devoted to the Jack Russell terrier, with photos here.
Alli's vet was surprised that she had survived, adding that part of her incredible good fortune lay in the pit bull's tooth having missed her jugular by mere fractions of an inch. The owners, still reeling with gratitude, had been planning to visit us this weekend, apparently bearing a gift of some sort, but I told them to forget the gift and just bring the dogs.
I haven't been able to verify it by other means, but the owner (in contact, I presume, with Animal Control) also told me that the pit bull is scheduled to be put down this Monday.