This is one of the those stories that seems too unbelievable to be true. My hospital's associate veterinarian admitted a small chihuahua for having a few broken teeth. The story of the events that led to the broken teeth just blew us all away!
The owner of this chihuahua lives in a multilevel retirement condominium that requires constant elevator use to get downstairs for any reason, including to walk her little dog. The chihuahua's owner uses one of those flex leashes, where the leash is coiled up in a plastic mechanism within a handle, where the owner controls the length of the leash with a button/lock mechanism. These leashes can be as long as 10-15 feet, unravelling without resistance as the dog moves foward until the owner either stops the extension by pressing the lock button, or the coil runs out of slack. For the record, I detest these kinds of leashes.
The chihuahua and her owner had entered the elevator to go up to their home and the elevator made a stop at one of the lower floors, where there was a man waiting to enter. Being the territorial ankle biter that many chihuahuas are, the chihuahua aggressively ran at the man that was still on the other side of the open elevator door. The owner did not press the lock button on the flex leash in time, so the dog was able to run out of the elevator and into the hallway. Unable to reel the dog back in, the elevator doors closed with the owner inside the elevator holding one end of the leash, and the dog on the other side of the closed elevator door still attached to the other end of the leash. From the owner's perspective, as the elevator started to go up, the leash slid to the bottom of the closed elevator door, became very taught with tension, then quickly snapped.
From the other side of the elevator door, the gentleman who had remained in the hallway for fear of the little dog that was attacking him, did not enter the elevator. After the elevator door closed and continued to go up, from his perspective, the dog still attached to its leash, began to slide up the closed elevator doors. Acting quickly and heroically despite the dog's bad intentions for him, the man ran to the dog's rescue and unsnapped the dog's collar, just nanoseconds before the end of the leash with collar, got sucked up into the elevator shaft through the tiny slit of the closed elevator doors. Had the man not acted so quickly, the dog truly would have likely been decapitated.
Thinking that her dog had indeed been decapitated, upon the owner's return, she was elated to see that the dog was not only alive, but alert and responsive, only moderately bleeding from the mouth and terrified. Ultimately, aside from a few damaged teeth that had to be removed, the chihuahua escaped the incident unharmed.
That is one lucky dog to have been saved by a man for whom the dog showed blatant aggression. I hope she learned a lesson!
Roger L. Welton, DVM