so my little girl got attacked by the school’s guard dog

It happened Wednesday, but I haven’t felt comfortable enough to write about it until today.  She is fine now. She is a remarkable child. She is blessed and cursed with having a game face. She is the one who did not shed a tear or cry or moan or groan when she broke her arm las year.  I have to study her to determine her actual level of suffering. She is the strong and silent type when I least want her to be.

The school nurse called, I flew over, got her in a wheel chair and hit the gas all the way to the emergency room.  I pulled up to the entrance and carried her past at least six men within feet of me who watched. I started to stumble as I entered the emergency room and everyone just stared at me carrying my little girl. I had major back surgery so I was starting to crumble and still they stared. I yelled for someone to help me, to take her, I shoved her into a man’s arms.

Soon afterwards the school’s administrator joined me “For legal reasons” she explained. I was too overwhelmed at the time to contemplate the legality of the situation. I wanted my daughter taken care of. While on the hospital bed the doctor asked me about the dog, I directed him to the school administrator. For what felt like an eternity they talked while my daughter suffered in pain without any treatment.  I went out to the main counter and asked the staff if they could at least give her some Paracetamol (Tylenol in the US). Again more stares. Damn you robots and your stares!  Back in the room I saw my girls legs start to tremble from the pain so I distracted her with items I brought with me: a drink, a blanket and an electronic game. I was so pissed that I forgot my little pharmacy. I usually carry my own stash of Benadryl, Tylenol etc. which came in handy when she broke her arm last year. I was able to shove one down her throat back then until help came. I was able to do something.

A lady came in with more paperwork to fill out. There were no introductions. Everyone just wanted my national identity number, phone number and address. “Can someone please help my daughter?” I went out a second time to the counter to beg for any pain killer: nothing.  I went back in and took a photo.


Eventually her wounds were cleaned and she was patched up with some giant cloth like bandaids that kept the wounds closed.  Anything to avoid stitches. I learned that when I came to the same ER (on a previous occasion) with my son’s head cracked open: they glued it shut.  Stitches were the most popular measure of severity of her injuries when asked about the attack.  So if she doesn’t get stitches then she is fine right?

For the next 48 hours our phone rang off the hook.  I checked her for infections. Rabies was not a concern since after all it was the school’s guard dog. O thank goodness. I should be grateful. Yeah, that is some twisted shit right there isn’t it?

Friends and family were outraged by the concept. Yes folks, the school keeps an entire pen of guard dogs, on campus. Yes folks, one of the guard dogs tunneled out during recess and attacked my little 7 year old. Yes folks, my other child knew which of the dogs it was because he had seen it run around on the school’s field before, during school hours.

I am not angry at the dog and neither is my daughter. We have 3 rescued animals. We pet every dog on the street and in Chile, you can’t walk for 5 minutes without encountering a stray.  I have taken my kids for walks around our town and taught them how to behave when approached by packs of wild dogs and even worse, guard dogs. We have been surrounded by over a dozen at a time all barking fiercely and my kids and I knew how to move without provoking them.   The strays usually want some food and  affection. We happily pet and even give belly rubs to all interested.

You see rarely will you find the kind of dog we would define as a “pet”in the USA. There are two kinds here, the ones who are trained to injure you, these are the ones who are fed and sheltered and then there are the tame ones, starving to death in the public eye.

My daughter is healing at a wonderful pace both mentally and physically.  She does cover her ears at the mention of the incident.  When she hears dogs bark she freezes, hugs herself and shakes. I hold her and make her move on. What of the dog who attacked her?  My daughter told the school director she should train the dog. I am proud of her. While others want the dog shot or removed, my daughter sees a good creature who in her eyes did a bad thing. In my eyes though, the dog did what it was trained  and hired by the school to do.

I understand that the dog escaped. I also understand that having guard dogs near children is like having loaded guns near children. Accidents happen.



Please take the time to comment on my blog as opposed to Twitter, Facebook, e-mail or in person for that matter. You can do so anonymously here, just grab a generic avatar and a creative pseudonym.  I won’t respond elsewhere: as I noted in the blog entry, too much “craziness”.  Gracias

9 thoughts on “so my little girl got attacked by the school’s guard dog

  1. I am very sorry for your daughter and your whole family. This is awful and very wrong of the school! The school need to change their guard dog policy and the fencing of the school. You may want to hire a lawyer to make sure the school is taking serious action both for your children’s sake and for the greater good. But, a call to SERNAC will help you through hopefully without too much personal cost. Take care.

  2. I am very sorry for your daughter, you and your family. This is awful and it is very wrong of the school to make it possible for the dogs to escape. They will really need to review the guard dog policy and fencing system. Did you make report to the police/carabinero? Please do so. While you may want to hire a lawyer to make sure the school takes serious action to prevent this to happen again both for your children’s sake and for the greater good, a call to SERNAC (consumer’s service) will help a lot too.

    • I went with my kids to file a report at the comisaria, just to document it should history (God forbid) repeat itself. I am used to getting a police report in the USA just for documentation purposes, but here they said if I do they will simply go in immediately and remove all of the dogs. That was not my objective. I just wanted to file it away should no action be taken to prevent another incident.

  3. Wow! I am so sorry about what happened to your little girl. As you say, “accidents happen”, but people not helping promptly don’t, it sounds quite like negligence to me. I’m totally shocked at the way you were treated at the emergency room. Please tell which Clinica you took her to.
    I hope your daughter recovers well soon, she is a very brave girl.

  4. Dogs are so sketchy sometimes…most are loving, and then some bite at the mere smell of fear. Sounds like the “guard dog” was not very well trained. Hopefully they will find another place for him. I am glad to hear that your daughter is recovering, even if it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. As for the Clinicas…like everything else in Chile, they take their own sweet time about things. I am sorry that you had to go through all of it. Abrazos para todos!

  5. Ay, qué pena para Uds. Pero me alegro que está recuperando tan rápidamente.
    I’ve always found that it’s the pet dogs, the well-fed ones, the ones who have a home, who are the loudest and most aggressive. Guard dogs are terrifying. I can only remember one time strays ever made me nervous here- and it was actually in Valparaíso, a pack of dogs wildly chasing after buses and fighting with each other.
    Que les vaya muy bien!!

  6. I am sorry to hear about your daughter. My daughter is around the same age. I came across your blog as my husband’s company has recently offered us the opportunity to move to Santiago. We are finishing an expat assignment in Mexico City and I am hesitant to sign up for another Latin American assignment due to violence and educational issues. Your blog is very enlightening about family life in Chile. Thanks for sharing.

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