A German Shepherd and a Small Chihuahua-Mixed Terrier: What Could Go wrong?

After the incident, Julie would have to go weeks with pins attached to her jaw bone, but of course she’s very strong and got through it.
Sleeping soundly with her new and soft blanket. (Catherine Torres)

Yells and terrified voices dripping with shock filled the Torres household; they never thought something so tragic could happen to their small and furry loyal family member.

July 27th was a normal Monday for the Torres family but once the sun began to go down, everything took a sudden and unexpected turn. The family was just relaxing inside their homes as with the COVID-19 pandemic, there really was nothing much to do. That is until Mr. Torres decided to take out the trash with his son (second eldest child, age 21). As they walked to their kitchen door leading to their driveway and backyard gate where the trash cans laid beyond, their small chihuahua terrier mixed dog, Julie, suddenly jumped up from her bed that resided beside the kitchen door and ran outside.

Mr. Torres and his son, Alejandro, thought nothing of it and continued down the small steps and to the backyard gate to unlock it and roll the trash cans out. Meanwhile, Julie went around the front yard and sniffed around and explored. She ventured under a tall tree that was in the corner of their yard and under there, she started doing her business while Alejandro stood close by waiting for Mr. Torres to unlock the gate. Suddenly, everything changed and the air became tense as Julie suddenly stopped in the middle of what she was doing and ran towards a man walking his German Shepherd. The Shepherd growled, wanting to get closer and unexpectedly his owner lost his grip on the leash which allowed the German Shepherd to race towards Julie. They both ran towards each other, trying to bite each other while Alejandro stood in fear as he called Julie back. He couldn’t move, too frozen by shock.

Julie tried to bite back the German Shepherd when suddenly the owner of the Shepherd pulled back his dog and watched as Julie retracted back with blood running from her mouth. Alejandro watched as Julie trotted back in a weird and slow way to their front yard, his eyes landed on the red liquid on her blonde fur. He started to panic and, confused, carried her to the pavement in their driveway with a towel. Mr. Torres finished placing the trash cans in the street when he saw his son crying with Julie on the floor. There were blood splotches forming under her and he started running towards them. Alejandro explained in a choked up voice and Mr. Torres decided to call the rest of the family outside. Mrs. Torres, her eldest daughter, and her two younger ones heard his alarmed voice from the kitchen door and they all hurriedly rushed outside. One of their daughters, Catherine, hurriedly slipped on her sandals and when she heard a lot of commotion from outside, her heart started to race. She rushed outside and looked around their car parked in the driveway and saw her little sister (Michelle, 9) and older brother crying as they held Julie on the floor with a bloody towel. Her older sister, Vanessa, was refusing to look at Julie. The two were very close and she spoiled Julie like no one in the family, this destroyed her.

Mrs. Torres stood watching and asking what had happened. Vanessa stood around looking for the owner of the German Shepherd, but he was long gone. Mrs. Torres came towards Julie and gently picked her up to examine her, as nobody else was brave enough to do it. She opened up Julie’s curled up legs to take a look at her stomach and inwardly sighed as she saw no injuries. Once noticing the blood was coming from her mouth because of a tooth hanging by a thread, she tried to comfort everybody, Mrs. Torres told everybody that it was just a tooth. She turned to Julie and hugged her, as Julie was trembling and looked as if her eyes were tearing up. Everybody came and hugged Julie, relief came through everyone’s thoughts, they had thought she was dying.

Rushing back inside the house to grab masks, car keys, and phones, they were in the car very fastly on their way to the veterinarian for Julie to get x-rays done and a treatment for her tooth. Everybody was in the car and they began driving to the nearest veterinarian. They got there and spent approximately two hours in the parking lot waiting for Julie to come out and ready to go back home. After all, it was just a tooth. They didn’t know how wrong they were. When Vanessa came out of the veterinary clinic and looked glum as she entered the car everybody looked at her expectantly when suddenly her phone started ringing. They felt their hearts drop as they heard her words, “Is there anything we can do for her…oh okay thank you..” her voice quivered. She hung up and bluntly told everybody that Julie might not survive, Julie had a dislocated jaw. Julie is an old dog which meant if she were to have the surgery that was necessary, there was a big chance she wouldn’t make it and die.

Nobody took this well, understandably. Eventually, they had to go back inside the veterinarian’s office and they came back with hopeful news, there was another hospital that had doctors who were specialists for surgeries like the one Julie needed. They took Julie back inside the car and hurriedly went to the hospital that was recommended. Half the family stayed back and the other three went back home as it was nearing midnight.

Eventually, after almost two and a half hours, the others came back and explained they had to leave Julie overnight. The Torres family all went to sleep with their hearts in their throats and their thoughts on their small and furry family member. Three days later, the family received the call they had been waiting for anxiously. Everybody stood around and they saw the smile on Vanessa’s face, her eyes were filled with happy tears as she thanked the person on the other side of the call and she let out a relieved laugh as the call ended.

Julie had survived the surgery and was ready to be picked up in two days. When she came back home she was showered in love and care. Mrs. Torres had bought her a dress, a new food bowl, bed, and a squishy monkey plushie. Of course, after this incident, the Torres’ took this as a lesson. They had to take better care of Julie and appreciate her more, as, before the incident, nothing like that had ever happened. They always heard stories of dogs getting attacked by other dogs and saw videos on incidents like that but they never thought it could happen to their dog. From then on, everybody was more cautious and careful.

Now, almost three months later, Julie has recuperated and recently got her jaw pins completely removed as she had healed faster and better than expected. She went back to the same playful and happy old dog that acts like a puppy. She went back to jumping around in the backyard like a small deer, to rubbing her back against the grass, and chasing around taunting squirrels that always seem to run along the backyard fence. Vanessa now speaks of Julie proudly, “She’s very strong,” she looks down at her, “She’s our small soldier,” Julie looks up at Vanessa from her bed with big and piercing dark eyes.

Of course there are many pet owners and specifically dog owners who are afraid of something like this happening to their dear pet. When asked about the feelings she would get if a similar incident happened to her dear dog Glen, Alanis Guzman, a student at Mt. SAC Early College Academy stated, “..I would feel a mixture of emotions, like fear and anxiety for my dog…I would run and try to stop and protect him.”

Many people would most probably echo these feelings of fear and anxiety as nobody wants to see something horrific happen to a dear animal one gets greatly emotionally attached to over time. When something like this happens, people might get frozen in fear and panic, holding their pet and not knowing what to do as their minds might be swarmed with shock. The best and obvious thing to do is to take your pet to a clinic in which it could get the care it needs.

When Julie was taken to the clinic for x-rays and the Torres family got told about her one-sided jaw dislocation, they got really worried as what she needed was a surgery not many old dogs live through. Then, there was also the possibility of her having a hard time after the surgery for the

In the backyard, a week after her jaw pins got removed. (Catherine Torres)

remainder of her life and as a person responsible for an animal’s life, you have to make the right choice based on what’s best for them and not a decision that’s going to please you. Selfishness is something that can come into play during these situations but never let it get the best of you, choose what you think is right for your little companion.

 

Once asked about the decision she would take in a situation like this, Alanis Guzman said confidently, “I think that my dog is strong, he has recently gone through some back problems… He was able to fully recover and is now so much happier and in less pain…with this in mind, I would let him do the surgery.”

The Torres family thought similar to Alanis, they had a feeling that since Julie had always been strong and the fact that only one side of her jaw was hurt meant she had a higher risk of surviving than if she had hurt her jaw on both sides, they took their chances. They have a strong pet that endured the surgery and recovered even faster than the doctors expected. Julie got her jaw pins removed two weeks earlier than planned as she was doing really well. 

 

Julie is indeed a small yet strong soldier that carries on no matter what comes her way.