Family pet mauled while out for a walk with owners

It’s every dog owner’s worst nightmare.

You’re out for a quiet walk when, from nowhere, an out-of-control dog launches a vicious, unprovoked attack on your pet.

This is exactly what happened to Aileen Blakeley’s Bichon Frise, Holly, recently.

She was walking the seven-year-old near her home in Hook, Hampshire, on a Sunday evening when a Staffordshire bull terrier knocked Holly to the ground and another picked her up by the throat.

The Staffie’s owner somehow managed to prise open his dog’s jaws to release Holly, but she was already badly injured. Aileen, who was with her daughter Claire at the time, knew she needed to get Holly to a vet before she bled to death.

An image of Holly, the Bichon Frise dog involved in a dog attack looking happy before the incident
Holly was brutally attacked by two dogs while out for a walk

She ran to get her husband, Laurence, and, with Holly wrapped in a towel, the three of them set off for Vets Now in Reading which provides emergency care for pets.

Only the quick actions of the vet and vet nurse on duty saved Holly’s life.

Claire said: “We’d wrapped Holly up as she was badly injured and was bleeding to death. It was very traumatic for all of us.

“Both my husband and I are trained in first aid so we knew we had to keep pressure on her wounds to stem the bleeding. We rang Vets Now to inform them we were on our way. They were very calm which was reassuring, but I thought we had lost Holly a couple of times on the way — there was blood everywhere.”

A mix-up with directions resulted in the family driving up a cul-de-sac next to the clinic and Laurence had to clamber over a wall before he could rush in with Holly.

Claire added: “I had to pass Holly over the wall and then the staff came out to meet my husband and they were brilliant, taking her in straight away. Mum was in bits and I was quite shaken up, but they were very calm with us, though they did say we should prepare for the worst.

“Holly is a little fluffy thing who only weighs about 7kg and it was difficult for them to gauge the extent of the damage until the bleeding had stopped.”

The family were amazed to be told that Holly had somehow escaped damage to her bones and arteries, but she did require surgery to repair muscle damage.

An image of a dog who was badly injured in a dog attack for a Vets Now article on dog violence
Holly suffered horrendous wounds from the dog attack

Claire added: “The Vets Now staff did an amazing job. Holly’s like a new dog and seems to have a new appreciation of life after having such a close shave — both metaphorically and physically. The surgery they performed definitely saved her life so we are very grateful.”

Laura Playforth, Vets Now’s professional standards director, said: “It’s wonderful to hear Holly is back to full fitness. She had a lucky escape but her owners did the right thing in wrapping her up and rushing her to us as quickly as possible.

“Unfortunately, dog-on-dog attacks occur more often than people might think and they can cause serious injuries. Owners are responsible for keeping their dogs under control and ensuring they’re properly socialised and trained.

“Those worried or wary should consider keeping their dog on a lead to minimise the risk of them being attacked or, indeed, attacking another animal.”

An image of a family dog injured by a dog attack being treated at Vets Now
Holly required surgery to repair muscle damage after the dog attack

More on this topic

The Vets Now clinic in Reading — where Holly received treatment — is one of 58 Vets Now clinics and pet emergency hospitals across the UK that are open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s premises have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.