A rough week for Archie—two dog attacks at the same beach

Jack Russell Terrier with malignant anine oral melanoma

For the first time ever, Archie was attacked and bitten by another dog, not just once but twice (two different dogs). One of the incidents was especially serious, and my boy was badly hurt.

Both incidents happened at off-peak times at our local beach, Playa la Ropa, when the beach was practically deserted. And both times Archie was minding his own business, just chasing his stick, when he was attacked.

Surprisingly, the attackers weren’t stray dogs. We’ve dealt with strays around the world. No, these were misbehaving, off-leash pets.

Dog-attack #1

Eight days ago Archie was bitten in the face by a large, off-leash pit-bull mix.

She’d been walking alongside her owner about 50 meters away, but as soon as she spotted Archie she bolted toward us, ignoring her owner’s calls to stop. Without hesitation she jumped on Archie (who, as I mentioned, was playing with his stick) and bit him, while the owner ran over to us yelling, “She’s just playing!” Oh sure, right. Archie fought back, but luckily we managed to separate the dogs in the nick of time, before the altercation escalated into something unstoppable. Afterward Archie appeared fine, though as we were driving home I noticed a bleeding bite-mark on his face and then found a second smaller one behind his ear.

Fortunately Archie seemed totally unfazed, just his normal perky self. And (of course) he’s current on all his vaccinations, including rabies. So I didn’t fret about the attack, and simply considered ourselves lucky for having dodged a bullet.

Mark reminded me later that we’d seen the same dog a few days earlier. That time, as soon as her owner saw us, he grabbed her collar, turned her around, and walked in the other direction. When we eventually passed them, the dog strained toward Archie, though she didn’t get loose. Once I recalled that, my blood boiled, because it proved the man knew he had a problem dog on his hands but allowed it off-leash anyway.

Dog-attack #2

This one was bad.

Two days later, as dusk was turning into a full-moon-lit night, Archie was ambushed on the same stretch of beach by a Weimaraner that jumped its fence.

Mark was playing with Archie, while Scout and I bobbed in the ocean. The dog rushed Archie from behind and mauled him…a totally unprovoked attack. Archie was minding his own business, just chasing his stick. He didn’t even see the brute coming. None of us did. Archie is a brave little terrier, and he managed to drive off the Weimaraner, but he didn’t pursue it or try to fight with it. He returned to us, tail between his legs, whimpering, and obviously in a great deal of pain. In case you don’t know Jack Russell Terriers, it takes a LOT of pain to make them whimper. Though it was dark, I could see that a patch of flesh had been torn from his side and blood was running down his fur.

The owner came out. He couldn’t understand how his dog (one of two) had gotten out, and apologized repeatedly. It’s true that we’d walked past the house plenty of times, and though the dogs always barked hysterically and ran back and forth along their fence, we’d never seen them out.  I wish I’d had the presence of mind to inquire about the attacker’s rabies-vaccination status (for my own safety), but I didn’t.

Archie got three punctures, one of which was deep and nasty…a 2.5-cm hole in his skin, as well as a deep gash. He was hurting and badly shaken. I carried him off the beach and held him in the car, while she shoot with pain and shock. It was a tough night for all of us, but Mark and I got him to the vet the first thing in the morning, where he underwent a painful wound-cleaning procedure and then received four stitches. Archie is terrified of vets, so Mark and I had to muzzle him and hold him down while the vet worked on him, the saddest thing.


That was six days ago. Archie’s been in a lot of pain since then and extremely fragile. For the first few days he stayed away from us and just hid in corners of the house. But now, thankfully, he’s turned the corner and is on the mend. The sparkle his back in his eye, and he’s napping in my lap as I write.

Several friends suggested we ask the dog’s owner to pay for the medical bills. I’m not too fussed about the expense. All in all it wasn’t that bad…about $55USD to have Archie cleaned and patched up (this covered about two hours of vet time, antibiotics, and drops for an unrelated ear infection). Actually I did stop by the fellow’s house, not to ask for money, but just to follow up in a friendly way on the rabies vaccinations. Non one’s been home though. This is obviously just a beach house, so who knows when he’ll be back.

We’re not going to stop taking Archie to the beach, because that’s why we’re here…for our terminally sick dog to feel the sand under his paws. But Mark and I will be extra defensive from now on.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Casey June 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Poor Archie! This made me cry. My husband and I live in Baja Sur, Mexico with our two little dogs and several months ago our friendly, un-aggressive jack russell mix was attacked by a neighbor’s dog who had somehow gotten into our yard. He wasn’t seriously injured but those moments when the much bigger dog was on top of him, wouldn’t budge or loosen his grip, and my dog was screaming, were so terrifying. I sometimes feel guilty about moving here because Mexico is generally just not super dog-friendly/ safe for dogs, at least not where we live. On our walks if a dog approaches us barking I pick up a rock and act like I’m going to throw it and that has so far been enough to scare them off. Someone suggested carrying wasp spray since it sprays far, is super targeted, and easier to find here than pepper spray. I’d hate to spray a dog with it but if it’s that or my dog getting hurt I’m going to do what I have to do. I’m glad Archie is getting his spirit back.


2 Renee June 21, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Casey, I’m so glad your pup is okay. I know exactly what you mean about feeling guilty for not being in a dog-friendly place. Sometimes, for Archie’s sake, I think we should pack up and go to France or Germany, where he can ride on buses and join us in cafes for snacks.


3 Alex June 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Sending healing love to Archie and all of you. What a terrifying experience.


4 Dawn June 23, 2014 at 8:29 am

My heart ached for Archie and you guys when I read this. What a terrifying experience. I’m glad to hear that Archie is recovering and that sparkle in his eyes is coming back. May he get his strength back so he can enjoy the rest of days frolicking on the beach. We had a similar incident with our dog as well, where stitches needed the first time, and staples a second time around. Sending lots of hugs your way and to Archie for a speedy recovery.


5 Renee July 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Thanks, Dawn. He’s doing much better now, though he’ll have scares on his face and side.


6 Frank July 8, 2014 at 8:25 am

Poor Archie! Hope he gets healed up quick!
Frank (bbqboy)


7 Renee July 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Thanks, Frank!


8 Akila September 16, 2014 at 10:07 am

Poor Archie! I feel so bad for him. What a sweet boy that he came right back to you. I hope that he feels much better now. And, maybe it’s worth having a whistle or something that will scare away the other dogs.


9 Renee September 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm

He’s all better now, thanks, though he he’s sporting scars from each bite. We’ve gone back to carrying a big stick, just like we did all through Serbia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. That’s doing the trick.


10 Jes October 20, 2014 at 5:25 am

Wonder what the law is on “self defence” here. If dog A bites dog B, can dog B bite back? Probably. But what if dog B’s owner gives dog A a good kick? As self defence on the part of dog B?

I have a big dog so usually nothing messes with him, but if I had a small cute dog and a larger dog attacked it, wouldn’t it only be fair that something much larger than the larger dog, like me, attack said dog!? 🙂 Good restraint speaking to the owner after their dog bit Archie, I wouldn’t be able to, I would definitely give their dog a huge kick in the ribs:)


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