Catch, a 17-month-old golden retriever, is lucky to be alive after being attacked by a pitt bull at Hayward Lake.
He had just finished a walk on Saturday with his owners Anika Malmsten, 20, and her sister Lauren, 18, and was about to jump into the back seat of the car when three dogs approached.
Two were Labradors and the other dog was a marble-brown pitt bull.
The dogs sniffed Catch and then wandered off but then the pitt bull returned, lunging at Catch’s neck.
“Lauren was screaming behind me and I was trying to get Catch under control because he was pulling away from me,” said Anika recounting the traumatic event.
There was a couple looking at a trail map who came running with a stick to fight off the dog along with what appeared to be the dog’s owner.
“The guy who had the pitt bull grabs on to the dog’s collar and I manage to get Catch by his collar,” explained Anika, saying that, by this time, the dog has let go of Catch’s neck and grabbed on to his ear.
The man punched the pitt bull in the ribs and Anika punched the dog on the nose but they still they couldn’t get it to release Catch.
“He probably had the neck for five seconds and he had the ear for a good minute,” said Anika.
When the pitt bull finally released its grip, Anika managed to get Catch into the car but blood was everywhere.
The man came back over and apologized saying it was his brother’s dog, but Anika and Lauren were in a rush to get Catch to a vet.
Catch was rushed to Willowbrook Animal Hospital in Langley where he had two surgeries.
The first took place Saturday when the surgeon had to remove one-third of his ear because of cartilage and artery damage. The second surgery took place on Monday after the pressure bandage was taken off and it was discovered the artery had not healed. So far, the Malmsten’s have spent $649 in medical bills even though the veterinary clinic performed the second surgery for free.
Catch has to take pills twice a day for the next 14 days and has to return to the clinic mid-April for a final analysis.
“Hayward is off leash but you have to be down at the bottom of the hill first. You are like, half a kilometre in before you’re allowed,” explained Anika who would just like to see more caution taken by dog owners when they have their pets off leash.
“The dog’s probably super sweet but just for some reason they, (Catch and the pitt bull), didn’t get along,” said Anika.
“Catch has never had a problem with any other dogs but if for some reason because he is a little bit more protective when he’s getting in the car, what if he decided that that lab wasn’t his friend that day?” asked Anika.
Anika’s mother is just relieved that the outcome wasn’t worse.
“I don’t want to say thank God it was just my dog, but thank God it wasn’t my daughters,” said the girls’ mother Lori Huberman.
The Malmsten’s would like to thank the couple who rushed to their aid. They are not expecting the pitt bull owner to pay for Catch’s medical bills nor are they blaming the breed of dog.
But they say the event was preventable just by having the dog on a leash.