I've more or less stopped going to the main off leash dog beach because Oscar, the older Border Collie, has grown increasingly intolerant of badly behaved dogs approaching us. If they are the same size or larger than him and young Saffie, he will snap a warning, especially if they rush up with no manners. Its just a "piss off and leave me alone" thing, but still a worry as I don't know how the other dog will react. Smaller dogs are fine. It's the favourite beach in the dry season as I swim there (happily ignoring the potential crocs) and is just gorgeous. This weekend there was a festival at our smaller and less dog-frequented off leash beach I usually go to, with less chance of hassles, so I decided to try the main one. Bad move.
Yesterday early morning I went there for the first time in ages, not for swimming (still a possibility of stingers which are much scarier than crocs.....) and had an awful experience. Shortly after arriving I saw a young woman with a couple of dogs in the distance who I immediately assessed as potential triggers for Oscar, a staffy and a boisterous bull arab cross, both 2 or 3 times bigger or heavier than Oscar, so I put him on the leash. Within seconds they's rushed up to us, prompting Oscar to give a F@!ck off snap and it was on. Both dogs went berserk, with Oscar not even trying to fight back, just lying on the sand screaming. The big one kept going for his throat while the staffy just grabbed anything it could.
I was screaming, Oscar was screaming (Saffie I think was just dancing around going "oh, this looks like fun", don't know, I lost focus on her). The young woman ran up and was trying to pull off the big one while I managed to wrench the staffy off by its collar with one hand while keeping hold of Oscar on the leash with the other. Managed to keep the staffy under control, but the owner was totally unable to hold the bigger dog, it kept breaking free from her grip and rushing back to Oscar's throat. It was awful. Luckily there was a young fellow up in the dunes who ran down to help and got the big dog sort of under control while I gave the staffy to the woman to hold and dragged Oscar away.
I had to ask her to kick my lost thong over so I could continue away up the beach while she dragged her two in the opposite direction. She didn't even have a bloody leash and so dragged them away by their collars. It was my nightmare scenario, though in hindsight I am grateful for some things - Oscar on the leash meant I was there in the middle of it, but also meant I had some control over what was happening - if he was off leash I would be running into a bust up with dogs free to move and much harder to control what was happening. Plus Oscar being all fluffy meant less chance of teeth ripping in to flesh. And, I have to admit, I don't think those dogs were trying to rip flesh - I've seen that happen and it's devastating and fast. I think they were just trying to teach him who was boss. But might not be so lucky next time, there are a lot of hunting dogs that go there.
So miraculously there was no torn flesh, Oscar was limping, but I think that was because one of the horrors was pulling him by his back leg at one stage (hip dyplasia). We continued on the walk (get back on that horse) and he limped for a bit but was generally fine. The hardest part was getting all the sand out of his coat after being slammed around. Saffie was quite unconcerned (she's usually quite timid), which made me think it was a fairly mild touch up which could have been much,much worse. So I was left devastated while both dogs enjoyed the remainder of their walk. I felt I failed in my duty to keep him safe, but he doesn't seem to hold it against me!