Dangers in the Dark


When Rick and I first moved to Gardendale in 1984 we loved so many things about our new country home. The brick fence around the backyard was one of our favorite features. It created a safe place for our dogs to enjoy the sunshine and country air. That fence has not only kept our dogs safe from wandering, it has kept them safe from predators. Last night that safety was breached for the first time in 32 years and the consequence was disastrous.

Everyone here at the sanctuary had enjoyed a quiet Saturday afternoon. We had a short rain shower and then a cool evening. The air was crisp, clean, and cool. Shortly before dark, as is my routine, I went out back and gathered everyone inside the porch and closed the door for the night. Of course our dogs have access to a doggy door to go in and out, but many of our seniors enjoy settling in on their favorite beds at dusk. They know I will be checking on each of them, straightening blankets and beds for the night, and covering up a few of the more fragile seniors. Last night that routine played out like every other night, and I began to make dinner and pass out the night time meds. Rick went about his evening chores which include putting his horses in the corral and spending some time with some of our larger dogs who live outside the perimeter of our back fence.

Around 8:00 pm the dogs all over the sanctuary began to bark. Nothing new there. Horses and their riders wander by, skunks can be detected in the breeze, and the rabbits get active in the pasture. All these things cause our pack to bark and pronounce their presence behind the safety of our fence. So we pay little attention to what has become the song of our existence around here. But something was different last night, and our dogs knew long before Rick and I did that danger was present.

When the barking didn’t calm down within a few minutes Rick and I began to check on everyone, and Rick drove the property shining his flash light into the darkness. I fussed about the front porch lights being burnt out and tried to calm my shepherds without being aware of what they were trying to tell me. Rick soon came through the front door and found me watching the dogs on the back porch barking with an unusual fervor. We both stepped out into the enclosed porch and found Max with blood on his back hip. Striker continued to raise his voice and charge at the closed back door.

So we took our flash lights out into the yard and Rick saw three large black shapes run behind our back fence. He screamed at them to scare them off and we immediately started to frantically count heads on the back porch. Everyone was there except for Ginger, Max’s mom. We checked under each blanket on the porch, and when we still could not locate Ginger we walked the yard. We found her lifeless body in the darkness of our previously safe yard.

Rick ran for his pistol and searched the area around our home and shop building while I wrapped Ginger in her blanket, and turned my attention to her son Max. I placed him in a feeding kennel and cleaned the blood off his back end. I found six puncture wounds and one tear in his hide about an inch long. He was obviously in shock and I began to administer first aid.

The next half hour or so are somewhat of a blur for us both but we managed to lock the doggie doors all over the sanctuary to insure everyone was secure within the confines of our home. We counted heads numerous times in an attempt to quell our fear. I gave Max something for pain and an antibiotic. I also sprayed his wounds with an antiseptic all the while trying to maintain a calmness that would benefit the dogs but was elusive to say the least.

Our night was long and full of grief for our sweet lady, Ginger. Max is doing as well as can be expected this morning and I have received instructions from Doc Jess on his care. Just within the last hour Rick’s brother who lives 1/2 mile from us had to fend off an attack from these dogs with a pipe. They also jumped on another dog down the road from him. Rick and his brother are tracking them now while we wait for the Sheriff and animal control. All of our sanctuary dogs are still locked safely within the walls of our home. There are actually four dogs in this roaming gang and we will not rest until they have been dealt with.

Rick and I have both spent the last sixteen hours trying to figure out how to restore the security that was shattered last night. Our dogs have all been as upset as we are, and no one got a good night’s sleep. Rick and I spent several hours on the back porch holding and loving on each of our babies. Finally around midnight they began to settle down, Rick and I did not fare as well.

In our 32 years here in this home we have NEVER had a predator get into our yard. We are now considering, very seriously, extending the height of our back fence by several feet. Money will no doubt be an issue as brick fences don’t come cheap, but the security of our fragile dogs will now take priority over everything else.

RIP sweet Ginger. You are now whole and without pain. Please know that we will care for your brave son to the best of our abilities. He, no doubt, tried to rescue you and was sadly unsuccessful. We will, however, succeed in returning our sanctuary to the fear free environment that we have worked so hard to achieve. We will miss you and we will never forget your sacrifice.


Author: thepromisedlanddachshundsanctuary

I rescue senior and special needs Dachshunds

22 thoughts on “Dangers in the Dark”

  1. My heart is so sad for your loss. Ginger is an Angel now and she is watching over you all! I will keep you all in my prayers!!


  2. So sorry to hear about your loss. It didn’t occur to me as I read, that it was dogs that did this. We have these problems from coyotes, and sometimes even foxes here. And the tallest fence won’t keep them out, as they can scale a 20 foot brick wall. So I have 6 Great Danes that patrol the front yard, and the horse pasture whenever they are outside. The littles have a small yard in between those two. Just this morning while walking the littles I saw a fox not 200 feet away. I didn’t have any of my danes with me, but we were in the driveway by then. I don’t wish to kill any of them, but I do want them to avoid my property. Feral dogs can sometimes be worse than the wildlife. Again, I’m very sorry. That’s just heartbreaking.


  3. Connie and Rick, I couldn’t be more sorry. It hurts so much to lose a child. It is made worse when it is through violence. Please kiss little Max’s head. I wish I lived closer and could provide better comfort.


  4. Paying that the marauders are caught and euthanized. Praying you can all rest well tonight. I feel the pain of your loss.


  5. I am so sorry. My heart is breaking with yours. Maurading packs are a formidable and treacherous threat.
    I know ranchers who have cut large round PVC pipe in half and strung it along the top of fence line, rounded side up to make a wide and slippery plastic half-dome. Coyotes can not scale it.
    Just an idea which can be made fairly easily and cheaply, even if it is a temporary fix.
    Perhaps animal control can set traps to catch the roaming pack. There are good humane traps not too pricey. I think one company is called “IHeart traps”. These dogs need to be caught soonest and most likey euthanizing them is the safest for all. Once dogs pack and kill, the behaviour will escalate to attacking humans, it is just a matter of opportunity, and there is little hope in rehabilitating that kind of prey drive.
    Again my sympathy for the loss of Ginger. Do not blame yourselves. You could easily have been victims too. Put pressure on your local elected officials and media to trap this pack before they kill again.
    Bless you, Ginger…RIP


    1. Thank you Elga for your sympathy and concern. We are still evaluating what we want to do about the fence. Rick actually trapped the four dogs in his shop yesterday after they tried to attack his brother and did attack another dog down the road. We are waiting on Animal control to come and pick them up today. So sad for everyone concerned. We know these dogs formed this pack to survive and that is not their fault, but we also understand that we cannot have four large dogs roaming around attacking innocents. Lots of seniors and children in our little country community and their safety is utmost concern along with our babies and all the other animals around.


  6. I am so sorry for your loss of little Ginger and the injuries to her son. As a dog owner and foster, I can imagine how much you and Rick are hurting. I recall many years ago that numerous dog packs were terrorizing some of the communities just outside of Houston. These animals had all been domestic pets at one time who one way or another became strays and formed dangerous packs. I am relieved for you and Rick, the sanctuary dachshunds and the vulnerable humans in your community that Rick trapped four of them. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers that a simple and uncostly solution to your fence is available and that the funds needed will come to you. Regards, Diane


  7. I am so sorry for your loss of Ginger and peace…I do not have much experience with what you are sharing…I teared reading your post…Me and my doxie Izzy sending healing thoughts your way,



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