Mary Anne Barkhouse and her dog, Ty, sit in the afternoon sun as they continue to heal, both physically and mentally, from a dog attack at their home in Gelert.

On Oct. 30, Barkhouse, a sculptor, was working in her studio with the door open to the warm temperatures. Ty was outside enjoying the sunshine.

Barkhouse said she glanced up to see two dogs looking in the window. She’d seen them before, she said. “Suddenly and unprovoked,” she said one of the dogs attacked Ty, a white poodle. The other dog was not involved in the incident.

She does not know how long the attack lasted but, “at one point, I thought my dog was dead because he went limp in her jaws and was just lying there,” Barkhouse recalled. However, she said as the attacking dog continued the assault, she wrestled her off of Ty. In the process, her hand was injured. But it was enough for Ty to get away. She said one of the dog owners came up the driveway and got the attacking dog in their vehicle and then helped her look for Ty, but he was nowhere to be found.

That’s when Barkhouse’s friends posted the missing dog to social media, which was picked up by CanoeFM and MooseFM. Meanwhile, she went to hospital to have her hand stitched.

Barkhouse said the community response to her missing dog was heart-warming and she is forever grateful. People looked throughout the night, set up trail cams, and someone even used a drone to check forested areas. The next day, her mom and dad and brother came from Ottawa to support her.

Neighbours eventually located Ty a couple of days later. Barkhouse said, “he was in rough shape, bloody and full of brambles.” She took him to the vet to have his injuries treated. He has puncture wounds on the side of his neck and staples in his skull. She also went to the hospital to have her hand X-rayed. It is badly bruised, and she suspects soft tissue and muscle damage.

Barkhouse notified OPP of the incident. They issued a news release Nov. 3, saying they’d charged the dog owner under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act with fail to prevent dog from biting and attacking a person or domestic animal. Because it is not a criminal charge, police did not name the accused. The dog owner declined comment and the charges have not been proven in court.

Barkhouse said she is still in disbelief.

She thinks she will need to see a hand specialist. She won’t be making art for a while and will likely spend time with family in Ottawa healing.

The artist said she is telling her story because she does not want something similar to happen to anyone else.

“In the course of searching for Ty, I talked to numerous other people who had bad experiences … in terms of dangerous dogs roaming the County. It is definitely an important issue and more widespread than I had known.

I think we owe it as responsible guardians of domestic animals, whether livestock, or dogs, to keep our animals safe and our community safe.”