How Nix Lost a Tiny Bit of Her Ear

The Sunday of the same weekend that we visited Montserrat was supposed to be a relaxing day for us all. As usual, Manel took Nix out for a walk and frisbee fetching first thing in the morning. As I think I’ve mentioned earlier in the website, Nix can be possessive of her toys.

Nix and her frisbee, when she was just 11 months old.
Nix and her frisbee, when she was just 11 months old.

It turns out that while Nix was playing fetch with Manel, a female Labrador approached her. It seems that the owner encouraged her to get closer to Nix to play with her. Nix didn’t like it. At first she showed the other dog she wasn’t wanted there, without any physical contact. The other owner, completely oblivious to Nix’s signals, continued to encourage her dog to play with Nix.

According to Manel, the other dog approached Nix again, but clearly having mixed feelings about it. I can imagine the Labrador’s dilemma: her owner telling her to go play, and Nix telling her she wasn’t welcome. So this second time Nix dropped her frisbee, got closer to the dog, and growled or snarled, and then mouthed her. Probably due to confusion and awkwardness, the Labrador decided to respond back. From here on I don’t know what happened and Manel is not sure either.

Nix looking down
Looking down

What I know is that after both dogs were split apart, Manel kept playing with Nix, as he didn’t see anything wrong. That was until he noticed blood streaming down Nix’s head. When he looked more closely, he realised that a very small part of her ear was missing (just millimetres, but noticeable).

They both returned home immediately after this. We cured the injured ear and decided to wait until the next day, Monday, to take her to the vet, as on Sunday all vets are closed and we didn’t think it was an emergency. Unfortunately, just as we were finishing breakfast (about 20 minutes later), Nix shook herself and splashed blood all over the floor and furniture. We thought that maybe she’d need stitches and that it was better to go to the vet.

Nix relaxing in front of the camera
Relaxing in front of the camera. You can see that there is an indentantion on her right ear…

Unfortunately, our vet seems to no longer offer a 24-hour emergency service, and we had to drive to a city nearby. Once we got there, we realised that she was no longer bleeding and that perhaps the visit wasn’t necessary after all. Still, since we were there, we thought it was better that a vet see her. € 120 later, our suspicions were confirmed: she didn’t need stitches and the wound wasn’t infected. To avoid any risks, though, the vet recommended she take antibiotics for five days.

Nix looking happy
A happy Nix!

I’ve learnt several lessons from this. First lesson: ear wounds bleed quite a lot but it’s pretty unusual that they require stitches. Second lesson: we should try to train Nix to avoid her being reactive to other dogs, and that instead of trying to sort issues with other dogs herself, she should turn to us, something she doesn’t do. The problem is that I’m not sure how to find a trainer that can help us get there. Third lesson: after your dog gets into trouble with another dog, make sure that your dog is fine and has no injuries. If he’s not, then you should ask the other owner for his dog’s immunisation record. Fourth lesson: be assertive enough to ask people to go away nicely, or go away yourself. The owner of the Labrador clearly knew nothing or didn’t bother checking the dogs’ language to try and understand what was going on. Manel did, so the whole thing could have been avoided by just asking the other owner to leave or by going away himself. By the way, I’m not accusing him of anything – this could have easily happened to me, and I also feel responsible and guilty for what happened. The only consolation I have from this is that Nix looks as happy as ever and doesn’t care at all about her pierced ear.

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