This hasn’t been an easy pregnancy to begin with.
I’ve dealt with infertility, nausea and vomiting that lasted for six months, acid reflux, sleepless nights, anxiety and leg cramps that would wake me up in the middle of the night.
My activities were already restricted; no hiking, surfing, traveling.
And then, on Tuesday, I get attacked by a neighbor’s dog.
I posted my injuries on social media right after the incident and was immediately inundated with well wishes, advice and offers to, ahem, talk with my neighbors.
But the experience was far worse than the two puncture wounds I suffered on my upper left arm.
So here’s what happened: I took my three dogs — Opae, Sunny and Indy — on our morning walk, alone, something I’ve done for years and throughout this pregnancy. There are a few routes we walk in our neighborhood, and this one happens to pass a house with an aggressive dog. I say that because twice before, this dog, who is let out of the house without a leash to pee and poop in the front yard on the main road, and had attacked my dogs. Once, she ran across the street after us. This dog should never be allowed off-leash.
This morning, however, I was walking toward this house and saw the dog peer out of the garage. I stopped and held my dogs — who are always leashed, by the way — back. I called out to the owner, who was in the garage, too, and said, “Hey, your dog is loose! Grab your dog!”
The dog came charging and I, despite being well into my third trimester, went into protective dog-owner mode. It was a blur, me trying to keep my dogs away while fending off this dog, who’s more than twice the size of mine. In the scuffle, I got bit and fell. At one point, I lost hold of Opae’s leash and, to my horror, she ran into the street. I managed to pull my dogs away, get up from the ground, grab Opae and scramble across the street to relative safety.
The owner stood in the garage and did nothing. She apologized, said the dog just ran out of the house, and hurried inside. That’s it.
I’m clearly pregnant. I have clearly sustained injuries. And not a single person — not the owner, no neighbors, not even the construction workers who had been working on houses along the road — despite my cries for help, came to my aid or to even check if I was OK.
That was utterly disappointing.
I walked home, cleaned my wound, and made sure the dogs were OK. (Indy had cuts on his neck and back leg, but the other two seemed OK.) And then I called the police.
My intention wasn’t to press charges; it was to let my neighbors know the severity of what happened. This dog could have seriously hurt me, or a child, or another dog. This isn’t something to shrug off.
I filed a police report and asked the officers to go over and talk with them. But my neighbors wouldn’t answer the door. Maybe they were too embarrassed. Still, that’s no excuse.
It didn’t take long for me to start to feeling the physical affects of the attack. My pubic bone started aching first. And since I fell, I knew I had to call my doctor. (Let’s just say falling isn’t recommended during pregnancy.) She told me to go directly to the hospital to get checked out.
Turns out, falling is one of the ways you can suffer a placental abruption, an uncommon yet very serious complication where the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery. This deprives the baby from oxygen and nutrients and can, if left untreated, lead to death.
It’s rare, but a fall will do it.
By the afternoon, I started having major contractions and that concerned the doctor, who ordered antenatal steroid treatment — two injections right in my ass — to speed up the development of the baby’s lungs in case I was going to give birth prior to reaching full term.
I was on 24-hour fetal monitoring — which meant I couldn’t leave my bed unless I had to pee — and was constantly supervised. The doctors and nurses in the labor and delivery ward were incredible, too, keeping me informed and, maybe more importantly, keeping my spirits up.
I was in the hospital for four days, always worrying about the health of this baby that has really been a miracle for us. But apparently, he’s a tough little guy. His heart rate is strong, he moves around a lot, and he didn’t seem to be affected at all by the dog attack.
Instead, I was the one the medical team was worried about. And I was the one dealing with the emotional scars.
I spent a lot of time in the hospital — well, besides watching the Food Network — thinking about what happened. Why didn’t anyone help? Why do my neighbors insist on letting their dog off-leash when she’s attacked before? What do I do now?
I just hope there’s a lesson to be learned here. Aside from the fact that I’m now not allowed to walk the dogs alone — or near that house — I hope people remember that we should be good human beings first. I wouldn’t have been so upset had the owner come to my aid, asked how I was, just helped me up from the sidewalk. But to run away? That just seemed so wrong and cowardly and, frankly, unneighborly.
So thanks to everyone who’s texted, emailed, sent messages on social media, posted comments, shared personal stories and ranted on my behalf. It’s nice to know I’m still surrounded by people who care.
Cat, we are all praying for you and for lil’ Fox to be okay, and healthy, and awesome… auwe to the neighbors… auwe to those of stood by and watched… but… let’s hope that in this aftermath, you’re stronger, and baby is healthy… much aloha to you, yours, and the doggies… #theresSOmuchtobethankfulfor
I am so sorry for you and glad you are ok. Some people have just been raised wrong I guess. I would never, and my kids would never, be so uncaring and irresponsible. Those of us who know right need to step it up and do right and call out those who don’t. I believe that neighbor needs to be held accountable. Isn’t there a law there about a dog attacking before and still not being leashed? I know it is probably the last thing you want to have to deal with right now. Just the stress and worry if you and keiki are going to be ok is enough. Prayers for you and yours! Thanks for sharing.
I hope you file charges against your neighbor. She has an aggressive dangerous dog that could repeat it’s actions against children and elderly. Sorry for your incident. Wishing you well.
Unacceptable behavior by all those people you mentioned not helping or assisting you. And now that you know that about your “neighbors” it sheds a different and shaded light on them. Sad…But remember, there are many others that would have come to your aid and that there are good people living in Hawaii that take the time to be courteous and helpful to others. God Bless you and your Ohana and healing prayers to you and your “Little Guy”.
First, I’m glad you’re okay. I’m glad the baby is okay.
I’m super shocked that not one person came to help, most of all the dog owner. I’m not sure if people in the surrounding area could actually hear and detect the sound of your cries for help, though….I once had an elderly neighbor fall & call for help in the house next to the building I lived in, and for maybe 10-20 minutes I couldn’t tell where the sound was coming from, even when I walked up to the house itself. Anyway, no excuse but sometimes sound doesn’t carry well.
I know we live in a frivolously litigious society but ummm….does your neighbor understand the implications in this incident? Aside from disobeying the dog leash law it’s pretty obviously a potential lawsuit. And I know you love animals, but Hawaii is a one-bite state. Just putting that out there in case the owner reads your blog and isn’t familiar with the liability and subsequent actions on their dog.
Last leg of the pregnancy!!! Stay safe!
I am Melissa Chang’s cousin in Nebraska and was attacked by a neighbor’s dog this summer. After x-rays, MRI and ultrasounds, I am physically better but walk my 2 dogs only one at a time and I carry a Taser and a phone. Unleashed dogs and irresponsible dog owners are a tragic frustration. Hope you are well and karma takes care if the neighbor.
This is terrible, and I feel so bad that you had to go through this…. No one should have to deal with an animal who is a danger to others, let alone a pregnant woman just walking her dogs. I wish I was there to give you a hug, and let you know that you have more people than you will ever know that are here for you. (even some of us who are 4300 miles away)
I will keep you and your baby as well as your husband in my prayers. I cannot wait to see pictures of your baby, as I know he will be beautiful.
the Chicago Cuz
Best to you me ke Aloha, Heidi
We’re relieved that you and the baby are fine and healthy! Be safe and listen to your doctor 🙂
I’ve been attacked by my neighbors German Shepard, two puncture wounds on my buttocks. I file a compliant with the Humane Society. I also talked to the owners and asked that the watch their dog better. They did install an auto closing door from the back yard to the garage, which was how the dog got loose. But every time I walked by or when the grand kid rode their bikes the dog would rush the fence. They eventually surrendered the dog to the Humane Society but now they have what looks like a rotwilder dog that constantly growls at the fence. Now I have new worries since this dog seems to be more aggressive.
Cat, I’d highly recommend you push back on the owners, the Humane Society and HPD and have the dog removed. It’s apparent that the owners don’t have control over their dog, A dog that aggressive and not under control can cause serious injuries to other dogs and children.
We’ll get better, and stay safe.
Hi Cat- I heard it’s been a rough pregnancy for you. I’m appalled about your neighbor and that the cops couldn’t do anything because she wouldn’t answer her door!! They could’ve left her a citation or warning or SOMETHING!!! I’m glad you and baby are ok. Waiting patiently for pics!❤️ Take care???? Melbs
Sounds like there needs to be a local ‘puppy trebuchet’ detachment that launches bad owners and their pets out far into the Pacific Ocean. In all seriousness, people not coming to help is deeply disappointing.
It breaks my heart to read your story this morning. Although I have never met you in person, you have a profound influence on my thirst for food and travel( especially last eeek when my ” husband” and I were retracing your steps during our visit to New Zealand.
Like Melissa, I am totally shocked that NO ONE came to your aid or even offered to call the police to file an incident report.
I pray for your baby, and most of all YOUR health & emotional recovery. Just Know there are people , like ourselves who appreciate so much how to have such a zest for life, and respect how you handle such incidents like this with Grace & Aloha. Big Hugs from Dave & Jimmy ( aka GeishaWaikiki
That neighborhood needs to be “cleared.” Someone needs to frequently walk that street with his/her dog.. When that vicious dog comes charging out of the yard, take it out.
I’m in tears reading this… we love you Cat. I think of you often and I’m happy that baby is ok. I can’t imagine dealing with that kind of incident and the emotional scars you’ve been left with but I know you are one of the STRONGEST women I know. Sharing your story will hopefully remind people to be “neighborly” and kind. love you!
I don’t know you, you don’t know me, but after reading your story, I wanted to give my two cents. My wife and I are both attorneys and own 4 cats & two black Labrador retrievers, all of whom we love dearly as members of our family, just as we love our 2 adult sons who are away in college.
I want to commiserate with you, because we often have & witness the same behavior in our community. Our kitties are inside cats. They’re not allowed outside, so unless there’s an accidental “jail break,” We don’t worry about their safety (Our dogs love their feline siblings.). But because we live in a condo and don’t have a large enclosed yard for the dogs, we must walk them 3 times a day in the neighborhood. In our city, it is illegal to let your dog out in public off leash with the sole exception of while inside fenced public dog parks. It is also illegal, in EVERY public area, to not pick up and remove your dog’s waste when they “go”. It never ceases to amaze us how many people simply ignore these laws and allow their dogs to roam freely, unleashed, and poop indiscriminately and just leave it for someone else to clean up after (I often pick up other people’s dogs’ poop that we come across whole on our walks.).
These people all seem to believe that because their dogs love THEM so much, that they’re simply the nicest dogs alive and will automatically be equally friendly to every new stranger & dog they run up to. They also assume that every stranger is not afraid of dogs and is a dog lover. They assume that all strangers aren’t ALLERGIC to dogs. They assume that all CHILDREN won’t be fearful of strange dogs running toward them and will not react in a way that will agitate their dogs and trigger aggressive behavior. They assume MY dogs, even though they’re always leashed, will be “equally” enthusiastic and friendly when a strange unleashed dog runs up to them, often aggressively, and won’t move to protect themselves, each other, and us.
There have been numerous such unplanned encounters, when these unleashed dogs, often large ones, run up to us, and we’re forced to try to control our two 65 lb. dogs who almost invariably freak out. I’m somewhat disabled, and I’ve been forced to break up spontaneous dog fights that erupt when these irresponsible people’s unleashed dogs aggressively and unexpectedly have run up upon us. It’s difficult to separate two or three agitated & angry dogs when one is unleashed, as you know having experienced it. I too have fallen a few times when it happened to me. I too have experienced the quick “Sorry!” and immediate disappearance of the owner & dog without so much as an “Are you & your dogs okay?” It never ceases to amaze me. Just obey the law! It’s not too much to ask.
We know a woman in our neighborhood with 3 small dogs who experienced an incident very similar to yours when she was walking her dogs and was attacked by another neighbor’s aggressive pit bulls, who are routinely allowed to run the neighborhood unleashed and unsupervised. Although she fortunately wasn’t pregnant like you, she too fell and suffered similar bite wounds to her arm when she tried to protect her dogs by scooping them up when she saw the pit bulls running toward her. Her wounds required stitches at the hospital. She did phone the police who spoke to the owners. They never apologized and reacted angrily toward HER as if she were at fault for “provoking” their free-roaming dogs. She was afraid to press charges or sue them for her medical costs or pain & suffering because she has to live in this neighborhood and fears reprisals & harassment from them if she does. We always try to go out of our way to avoid passing the pit bull house. The entire neighborhood is aware of the problem, the police have been called several times, but nothing ever seems to come of it and the problem continues.
You CAN sue the owners for injuries caused by their dogs in incidents with such circumstances, but unfortunately, you must weigh whether it’s worth the trouble, especially if the owners lack sufficient financial assets and therefore are “judgment proof”. It sounds as though your medical expenses were substantial. I can only advise you that you consider seeking legal advice from an attorney who can look into the dog owners’ situation & finances and determine if it would be worth going after them for compensation for your injuries.
I was so sorry to read about your experience. It was a huge relief for us readers that your baby is okay. I hope that whatever you do, it all works out in your favor and for the best.
I should add that often, attorneys won’t charge for an initial consultation and can do a cursory Internet search to look into the other people’s situation and either won’t charge for that or it will be just a nominal fee. Don’t hesitate to ask the attorney if they charge for these things and if so, how much, before the consultation. They won’t mind telling you.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I too live on Oahu.
I’m glad that you, your baby and a your dogs and okay. Press charges for the medical expenses and call the humane society too. I got bit by my neighbors pitbull when it got lose and attacked my dog on my property when my dog was leashed to a post. While trying to defend my dog I got bit on my arm, 4 punctures. I was lucky, the dog could have ripped my arm apart.
I do not know you, but I am very sorry this happened, and I am glad you and the baby are safe as well as your dogs. I am appalled and saddened that no one came to help you. I hope you will still believe that there are people in the world who want to help each other, and if I were on the scene, I certainly would have done everything I could to help you.
Hi Catherine…so glad to hear you anf baby are okay. We had a similar experience in our neighborhood. My mom took our little 11 pound dog out for a walk. And suddenly my mom noticed a huge dog running toward her. She tried to block our dog which didn’t go so well, and then tried to pull her up with her leash. Needless to say the large dog ended up biting our dog on her head. By this time my mom had kicked the big dog and his owner had run out to get him. The owner made sure my mom was okay and then they realized our dog was hurt. He followed my mom back to our house where he proceeded to talk to my husband. They exchanged numbers and he told us he would pay every cent of her doctor bills. We took her to emergency and later that night, the owner came and brought cash to cover the bill and extra. We had also called the cops just in case, and a few days later the owner came to tell us that he had shipped the dog to the big island where he would have more room to run around. I’m sorry your situation ended differently, and it saddens me as well to know that no one came to help you. Malama Pono…hoping for a quick delivery for you when it’s time!
I’m so glad you and Baby Fox are ok. As a soon-to-be Mom, you have enough to worry about without being attacked by a dog. I am still so disappointed that no one came to your aid AND the nerve of your “neighbor.” As someone said earlier, I hope karma takes care of your neighbor.
When you first posted about this it shocked and saddened me that no one came out to help you. What is happening to the people in Hawaii that blatantly ignoring a neighbor in need becomes so common? Is there really so little aloha left here? I’m am glad that you and Baby-Fox are healthy, and that the Ratter Pack got away okay. I applaud you for writing about this and encourage you to write even more.
I’m so sorry to hear this happened Cat. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. The problem with dogs running loose in the neighborhood that their owners don’t seem to think about (or care) is that the dogs start to see their territory as more expansive than it is (the sidewalk, the street, the neighbor’s yard). I feel sad for the people and other pets who encounter these dogs and I also feel very sad for the dog whose owner doesn’t care enough about them enough to prevent aggression. Hugs to you and I do hope you & baby feel better soon.
I am horrified to hear what happened to you. This kind of negligence by the dog owner should not be tolerated. I hate to say this, but of you don’t report this dog and have it taken away and euthanized, you are also ignoring the problem and someone else could get hurt or even killed. Just based on on what happened to you, this will happen to someone else. You don’t have to sue them, but that dog lost its right to exist when it attacked you. I love dogs and it breaks my heart to have to say what I did, but unfortunately that owner’s negligence is mostly at fault for this (some blame goes to the dog that is aggressive), so do your neighborhood a favor and have that dog taken away from its owner. They do not deserve to have a dog!!!
Geez i”m so sorry. Prayers to you and your family. If you need anything at all from Hawaii Pacific Health, please don’t hesitate to email me at. [email protected]
Dear Cat. Thank you for sharing your experience and I’m glad you and baby are fine, most important. We also experienced aggressive dogs in our neighborhood too. Our beloved CC was killed by neighborhood dogs what were constantly allowed to run free in the neighborhood. File a police report, call the humane society and then ask Kai to take over dealing with everything. You focus on growing that human…love to your family.
That is just so crazy – I’m wishing you well and your baby and furry babies well too! I had a. Rich or with a crazy dog who “oops” got loose and burnt dig where she had to get stitches. Glad you filed a police report! You should feel safe in your home and neighborhood. And your neighbor needs an education and a heart!
All the best to you!
Curses auto-correct! I had a neighbor with a crazy dog… her dog got loose and bit my dog and my dog needed stitches. No, we don’t have pet insurance.
Oh Cat I was devastated for you when this happened. I don’t have an instagram account but always look at your instagram account. Cannot believe that the owner of the dog did nothing or that no one came to your aid. Glad that baby fix is a strong baby but how stressful for you. I know how hard it has been conceiving and your past losses. Greetings from me in Queensland, Australia.
Best wishes, Cat. Is this neighbor always like this? Or was she obviously so frightened that her dog would be taken away that she went into hiding? If this is recurring — if you see the dog chasing after others — time to act. The neighbor sure needs to be scared into taking responsibility. What if the dog just happened to charge after someone else (someone trained at this, obviously) while animal control officials just happened to be visiting your street?
its is disappointing that common decency has fallen to the way side in recent times. its is surely the times we live in. or maybe just the neighborhood you live. with such a scaring incident, one must reflect if you want to raise your son in such a place that does not share your core values. we are all glad you and your baby are ok and on the road to recovery. there are other neighborhoods that are ok with chickens in yard. 😉 and I still say get you some real steel toed boots along with your stick. may it be a blessed holiday season for you and your family with baby Fox…
You have been on my mind ever since I read about the dog bite incident on Instagram. Now that I read the full story it makes me even madder and sadder to think you had to experience all of this especially during this last stage of your pregnancy. It’s so hard to believe that people can be so uncaring that they didn’t come to your aid much less the dog’s owner totally callous behavior. It’s unbelievable that you have to deal with all this pain during the last few weeks when you should be at peace. It seems like you have taken steps to stop this from ever happening to you or anyone else again. May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving , that you are feeling strong and at peace waiting for your new baby to arrive.
CAT: I wonder if there is such a thing as Dog Mace? Hopefully, you will go full term with your child…blessings to your family.
what the guy above me said, there is pepper spay you can get and carry on your walks, I walk for exercise on weekends and i usually carry mine for whatever reason, people or animals, i got mine thru these people: https://damselindefense.net/
I am glad that you are OK and the baby fox is doing good, you should sue them for medical expenses. I’m sorry no one helped you, if i was there i would have. Happy Thanksgiving, smoochies to your fur babies.