I have sad news to report. In Worman's Mill, a Bichon being walked by her guardian was attacked and killed by a loose agressive dog who didn't even live in the neighborhood. Needless to say, everyone in the neighborhood is shaken and Animal Control is involved to find the best solution to the issue.
This brings up a question that lots of clients have been asking lately, "How do Cat Ladies respond to dog aggression, whether it's the other dog or the one you are walking?"
We have a holistic approach, involving prevention, preparation, and protection:
Even if we are walking the friendliest dog in the whole world, Cat Ladies are trained not to allow dogs to interact on our walks if we can avoid it. This usually means crossing the street if we see another dog coming. If you see a a Cat Lady walking straight away from you, please don't be offended! We just know that limiting the opportunity for dogs to interact also limits the opportunity for attacks.
We also screen out aggressive dogs before they ever become clients. It's no fun to turn potential business down, but it's even worse to get bitten (I figured this out the hard way).
Cat Ladies hope for the best but prepare for the worst. We all carry citronella spray to deter agressive dogs and pepper spray to deter agressive humans. Citronella spray has a shocking effect on the dog's sense of smell, and is less harmful than pepper spray. Citronella spray is availalbe at local companion animal supply stores, or on amazon. Be sure to use amazonsmile.com so a portion of the proceeds can go to your favoriate animal rescue charity!
We also take each walker's skill and ability into consideration when assigning her to a client. Smaller walkers aren't going to be paired with large dogs. Some of the more difficult dogs will be assigned to full time walkers with the most experience in reading dog body language.
Even with the best prevention and preparation possible, accidents still happen. No matter how responsible we are for our dog, that doesn't affect what's going on with the other dog. That's one of the many reason's why we are insured and bonded by Pet Sitter's Associates, LLC. Thankfully we've never had to file a claim, but they are there if we ever need them.
Our hearts go out to the guardian of the dog who lost her life. Let's work as a community to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again!