As pet parents, our number one priority is keeping our fur babies happy, healthy and safe. Which is why the moments when our dogs are injured or face dangerous situations can be absolutely horrific to experience.
Which is what Sarah and Hank (aka Hankie) personally experienced one day at the beach.
I came across Hank's Instagram page earlier this year, and whilst scrolling through his beautiful pictures of life and beach adventures, I came across an article by Sarah. It recalled a horrific dog attack that saw Hank injured and Sarah hospitalised.
I reached out to Sarah to show my support for her strong message about responsible dog ownership and keeping dogs on the leash in public places. But I didn't want to stop there, as I knew both Sarah and Hank could massively benefit from having a Doggy Anchor to help the next time they were at the beach.
So I offered this to Sarah to trial, to see if it helped her feel more safe knowing that Hank was secure and couldn't wander off. And also so she wouldn't have to worry about hanging on to his leash, where he may find himself in a situation where he may run into another unsociable, aggressive dog.
(For context, Sarah's dog Hankie was on a leash at the time of his attack, and they were approached by an unleashed dog.)
I asked Sarah to share her story about that day. So together we could bring more awareness as to why it's always important to have your dog under constant supervision, on a leash and in your control, and also how Doggy Anchor has helped her and Hank.
Sarah and Hank's Story
In November 2021, Hank and I were involved in a traumatic dog attack, where we were walking on a leashed Gold Coast beach and were quickly approached by an unleashed/unrestrained dog.
The unleashed/unrestrained dog initially attacked Hank from behind by latching onto his lower back. The other dog's owner eventually caught up and was attempting to restrain his dog, but unfortunately the dog attack proceeded for a little while longer, causing injuries to both Hank and myself.
Hank sustained multiple bite marks to half of his lower back, and I suffered many bite wounds to both my hands and wrists, including a compound fracture to my left wrist (from a puncture wound that went top to bottom hitting the bone).
We did get some great support from the public, who assisted with making sure Hank and I were removed from the situation and emergency services called. Friends and family took Hank for vet care and I was hospitalised for 4 days, where I underwent surgery for my injuries.
From this dog attack, we are still taking each day at a time, becoming stronger and more confident when being out in public. We are more aware of our surroundings and I believe I am more in tune with Hank and his feelings.
We also enjoy our walks with friends and their dog(s). There are times that either of us may start to feel anxious, but removing ourselves from things we are not comfortable with is what works best for us. For example, we always walk at leashed areas, however there are still people that have their dogs off the lead, so we walk far away and well aside. My friends and I have also asked people to put their dogs back on their lead for everyone's safety.
Melissa from Doggy Anchor got in contact with us to share her brand, product and what it is all about. We absolutely LOVE IT. The whole purpose of this sand bag is the ensure everyone and your dogs are safe, whilst still enjoying time at the beach together. Everything in this product description is true to word.
Hank is an English Staffy and a strong boy. I know by using the Doggy Anchor product, I can attach Hank safely to the sand bag and also know he is under effective control.
- Love Sarah and Hank
Safe Dog Behaviour at the Beach
In the past I have been a bit of a naïve dog owner. I thought that because my dog Lulu was so friendly with myself and my family, if she were to run around without a leash at the beach it would be no problem, because other leash-free dogs would be just as friendly. Otherwise, why would they be leash-free in the first place?
But I've learned that in this scenario, I would be the one at fault. To allow my unleashed dog to run up to another would make me the irresponsible dog owner, regardless of how sweet, or well behaved I felt Lulu was.
I have discovered so much over the past 3 years since we brought Lulu into our lives and from taking her to our place down the coast, where she loves to run and swim and chase seagulls! During this time, I've learnt from my mistakes and how I need to be a better dog owner.
We respect the leash only rules at beaches we attend and while I do let Lulu off her leash where permitted for some free play, I am super aware of those around me. And as soon as I spot a dog or person in the distance, we immediately recall her and place her back on her leash.
No matter if the beach is a designated "off leash" beach, I still cannot predict what the other dogs' behaviour or response to Lulu will be. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.
I hope Sarah and Hank's story helps more people to understand the risks and responsibilities of being a dog owner. And also how important it is to have full control of your dog, at all times.
Please always keep your dog on leash when out and about, and only allow them off at permitted beaches (for NSW, here's a handy downloadable PDF for off-leash areas.) And if you have a dog that you can recall and restrain, do so as soon as you need to.
Remember that not all dogs are social, just because they're on the beach with you. All dogs respond differently to other dogs and people. One reaction today is not necessarily the reaction they will display tomorrow.
In upcoming blogs, I'll be talking more about Lulu and Sunny's beach behaviour - with some tips and tricks on how to make my beach experiences even safer and less stressful.
Keep your fur babies safe, secure, be respectful to others. So we can all enjoy this magical country and it's coastline that we're so privileged to call home!