Javelina Attacks Girl Saving Dog



“Javelina attacks!!”
“Cute creatures pack a mean wallop, hikers beware!!”

Summer 2018
Susan Hayes

Charlie Angell led my friends and me canoeing down the Rio Grande for a lovely half day trip. On the way we spotted a little herd of javelina frolicking in the canebreak.

While I was taking a video (clip above), Charlie advised us to keep quiet. “Javelina are nearly blind but they will rush at sounds they perceive as threatening.”

We finished our trip and headed back to my friend Steve’s place outside of Alpine where I had left my dog, Jessi, while we went down to the park.

The next morning, I crawled out of bed and pulled my cowboy boots on with my pajamas to walk across the courtyard to the next house over where coffee could be had.

Jessi, a lab-catahoula mix, shot out the door like a gunshot barking all the way. I trotted after her, but picked up the pace to a full run when I heard Steve shout: “Jessi, get back!”

I rounded the corner to see a herd of javelina swirling around her, three adults and two juveniles, hair standing up nose to tail on both javelina and dog. Charlie’s warning — “they will rush at sounds” — was my first thought, followed by the realization that my dog was about to get killed, worst case scenario, or if I was lucky, merely gored and I’d have a huge vet bill and a big dog in a cone of shame for weeks.

I half-shouted, half-herded Jessi getting her about 25 feet away from the snarling herd, trying to keep one eye on Papa Javelina who was pretty determined to protect the offspring.

For a split second, I took my eye off the javelina to reach down and grab Jessi by the collar.


She pulled back out of my grasp, an intense musky odor hit me, and then BAM! something else hit me in the back of the leg. I turned to see Papa Javelina trotting away, took two more steps pushing the dog back and grabbing her. Two more steps and I realized my PJs were wet with blood now running into my cowboy boots.

Steve called a neighbor trained in trauma care to help with first aid. I was lucky. The tusks had not ripped down to the muscle, but a chunk of flesh was fileted open, paired with a smaller laceration on the back inside of my thigh. Instead of spending a Saturday morning relaxing, I spent it at Big Bend Regional getting the wounds deep cleaned, nine stitches, and the promise of a big nasty scar.


Makes for a great story, yes, but I was lucky. That evening, the neighbor rightly admonished me for not watching the dog more closely and for intervening. The gouge was awfully close to my femoral artery, and emergency care is often far away in the Big Bend.

Had that artery been ripped, then I may not have had enough blood to make it to the ER.

Sweet Jessi is OK.