By Brian Willie
and Amanda Horvath
Rocky Mountain PBS
The comment section of a social media post isn’t usually a place where you find the best of humanity, but a recent post about a dog attack has turned that idea on its head.
Mark Pape was recently walking his 8-and-a-half-year-old dog, River, in the Angeline Little Greenway in Littleton. It was a typical walk for them until another dog approached with a leash but running free. Pape said then the dog attacked.
“Kind of in those moments, I got freaked out. She was dominated by that other dog,” said Pape. “He definitely got her down and, you know, was going at her.”
The other dog’s owner caught up with the dog and they were pulled apart. Pape walked away shaken up, but River seemed OK.
Then, a couple of days later, Pape said he noticed River acting strange and discovered a wound from that incident. He took River to the veterinarian, who treated her with antibiotics and a staple for the puncture. Then Pape decided to post about the incident on the neighborhood social media app Nextdoor.
“The reason why we went to social media was trying to find the person … whose dog it was. I didn’t know what social media would do,” said Pape. “And, surprisingly and amazingly, something did happen.”
“My daughter was walking Bo,” explained Colleen Welch. Her dog, Bojangles — Bo for short — is an Anatolian shepherd. She said when she saw the post, she knew it was about her dog.
“It was just this freak accident that just happened where he decided ‘oh’ … Maybe she was too close to him, maybe [it was] something between dogs that we don’t even know. And he said ‘boom,’” explained Welch with a forward hand movement.
So, she decided to comment on the post and take ownership for what happened.
“We needed to be responsible and make sure that Mark’s dog was OK,” Welch said. “So I just said, ‘Hey, it’s our dog. Here’s my phone number, here’s my mom’s phone number. Contact us. Your dog is injured, we want to take care of him.’”
Sure enough, Welch and Pape were able to connect, and Welch paid the $150 veterinarian bill for River. Then Rocky Mountain PBS was able to see the two make amends in person.
“This is the culprit. He says he’s very sorry,” Welch said to Pape as he approached her and Bo.
“Yeah, well we forgive you,” responded Pape, while petting Bo.
In the end, Welch said no matter how small or big the incident, people need to own up to it and be more caring toward one another.
“The world already has enough bad things in it,” said Welch. “We as a collective group need to make it a better place for everybody.”