Trouble in Paradise


photo credit: Paul Mayer


You have to know, the island is my peaceful place, and Roche Harbor, my happy place on island. We found it first by boat, and later, we picked up our lives in the city and moved there.

Waiters informed us Roche Harbor had a microclimate of its own where the sun shines nearly every day, and now we know that to be true. It’s where everyone looks good in that light. Where children don’t whine, and babies don’t cry. Where children are capable kayakers or driving around in dinghies. And young ones are entertained with a net and a bucket on the docks until bedtime. A life jacket over their pajamas, rather than a computer in hand.

Where the Our Lady of Good Voyage chapel rings out beloved songs in bells. It’s where a parade of pets goes by daily: Goldens and Golden Doodles, Spaniels, Pugs and Poodles. A dog on nearly every boat, and the dogs look good in the light too. Hell, it looks like a Ralph Lauren ad.

We purchased a home to be near that light. And every day we circle through Roche Harbor in the course of our walks to pick up our mail, get groceries, stroll through the gardens, and generally enjoy the facilities, a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.

All that shattered for us last week at the dog park in Roche Harbor. How often it’s empty, I notice every time I cut through the woods. Normally we’d have no use for it, but our daughter was visiting and her Brittany pup needs to run and knows no bounds—so we chose the safety of a dog park. In we went accompanied with our other daughter’s Yellow Lab and our dog “Coco,” a small American Eskimo/poodle mix. The Brittany and Yellow Lab were fetching balls while Coco stood around not knowing what to do with herself, when the gate swung open and in walked a woman with a 90lb steel gray pit bull, off-leash. Her dog didn’t hesitate to lunge toward Coco. It was clearly in kill mode.

It is difficult to recount all that happened in the space of 15 or 20 endless seconds. The pit bull lunging, singularly focused. Coco yelping and leaping about to save herself, finally landing in my husband’s arms. Him covered with her blood. It took two people to hold back the pit bull. The mouthful of Coco’s fur in his jaws. Meanwhile in the woman’s automobile, another large aggressive dog, going nuts.

“Coco’s a lucky dog,” our vet said, pointing out punctures near her lungs. Any deeper… Incisor marks all over her left foreleg, right rear leg, belly, and rear end. They are called “weeping wounds.” Bandaged initially, uncovered now for better healing.  Coco sat still all day, with little thirst or hunger, having to be carried outside to a patch of grass for the first few days. Attended day and night by four people and two gentle, caring dogs, the Yellow Lab and Brittany who watched over her.

My question is: why would anyone have such aggressive animals? And why do they bring them around? It’s hard to believe this woman lives here, on island, near Roche Harbor as do I. She obviously doesn’t see things in the same light. The light that looks good on everyone and everything, the waiters, the food, children, babies, kayaks, dinghies, boats, and dogs. She can’t possibly see it.


Filed under aggressive animals

17 responses to “Trouble in Paradise

  1. Oh Kim, what a nightmare. May your love of Roche Harbor and its light remain undimmed!

  2. Donna

    Like most blessings, living near Roche Harbor also is (sometimes) a curse. Several years ago, our son was attacked by a pit bull which broke free from its chain. We hope Coco mends quickly and are thankful it wasn’t worse. The owners should be held accountable before someone’s child becomes their next victim. Fall is just around the corner … my favorite time on SJI.

    • We are working on that, trying to hold the owner accountable. So many innocent children too, as you said. Tell me, how did your son mend? Thank you for writing.

      • SJC121

        It was decades ago but still has a nice scar on his inner thigh where the dog took a fair-sized gash out of his flesh. Hope Coco (and the family) gets back to normal soon.

  3. Tracy Ahrens

    So well written and sad to read. Poor Coco. I can’t imagine how frightening it was to watch it unfold.

    Love, Tracy

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Be careful with Scouty. You know your neighbors, but watch where you take her. Be vigilant in dog parks. Watch who is coming in, though there was no time here to prevent the attack. We are much more fond of a walk in the woods with the dogs and hope to get back to that soon.

  4. Kim,

    I’m so sorry to hear about Coco!

    I tried you on FaceTime but couldn’t reach you. I’ll try you again tomorrow. I’ll be thinking of the bean and sending all my hope for her healing.

    Hugs to you and Paul.

    Love, JC


  5. Shira Brewer

    Ack! I’m so sorry, Kim!!! I ditto what Donna said.
    Love to you all!!

  6. Deb Derrick

    Oh Kim this sounds perfectly dreadful. Can’t write much now (in Europe) but I’m sending all my love to Coco. Deb

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Paula

    So sorry Kim. I, too, so often wish some people would see the light.

  8. Alice B. Acheson

    So sorry, Kim!!!

    I applaud your writing the last paragraph after such an incident.

    I presume you told Brent Snow. If he said he would do something, be sure to keep “nagging” him.

    Best, Alice

    ========== Alice B. Acheson, Book Marketing/Publishing Consultant P. O. Box 735 Friday Harbor, WA 98250 360/378-2815 a little elbow room wrote on 9/6/2016 11:01 AM: > > a little elbow room posted: ” photo credit: Paul Mayer BY KIMBERLY > MAYER You have to know, the island is my peaceful place, and Roche > Harbor, my happy place on island. We first found it by boat, and > later, we picked up our lives in the city and moved there. Waiters > inform” >

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