Extra! Man bites dog! Cat saved! Pants ruined!
by John Kelso - Austin-American Statesman
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Here's your story: "Man bites Boston terrier, ruins pants."
Former City Council Member Louise Epstein was walking her West Highland
white terrier, Mr. Nickers, Sunday afternoon outside her Northwest Hills
home when the trouble started.
A wicked commotion was coming from her neighbor's xeriscaping, where two
loose dogs were attacking Louise's 14-year-old cat, Mrs. Buster. A
little 15-pound Boston terrier named Piglet had the cat's head in his
mouth. On the back end of the fight, a 40-pound mutt with perhaps a dash
of pit bull in her was pulling the cat's leg out of its socket.
This was a job for Superman. Make that Boston Terrier Man.
"My cat was being drawn and quartered," Louise recalled. So she began
screaming. So here came her action figure/financial planner husband,
John Henry McDonald, 56, flying out of the house to put a liplock on
that little black and white Beantown dog. To Louise, John Henry looked
like a human highlight film.
"He just ran out of the house, khakis and all, and threw himself like he
was catching a football that was about to hit the ground," Louise said.
"He just dove on top of that pile. He threw himself on that twisting,
screaming (pile of) different furs and sunk his teeth in the back of
that dog's neck."
The dog wasn't hurt. The cat is recovering at the vet's. John Henry got
bit on the hand. "It ruined my khakis. Blood everywhere," he said.
John Henry and the cat are now on the same antibiotics. The offending
dogs are both locked up at the pound.
I can hear it now from the other dogs at the pound. Other dogs: "What
are you in for?" Boston terrier: "Nailing a financial planner."
Louise found the incident out of character for her bow tie-wearing
husband. "You've got to know what a clotheshorse John Henry is," she
said. "When his car was in a flood, people asked what kind of shoes he
But on this day, John Henry was ready to mix it up. The Boston terrier
clearly was no match. He was "a small dog, I'd say about a foot high,
short-legged," said Ron Sherman, a neighbor.
It all happened so fast. "It's the old 'man bites dog,' " John Henry
recalled. "That's all there is to it. I was thinking, 'What could I do
to get the dog off the cat?' So I thought I'd bite the dog, and that's
what I did. I think it confused him. He let go of the cat." The larger
dog was no problem. She left the fight when John Henry arrived.
On Monday, the Boston terrier was being quarantined for biting John
Henry. Shouldn't John Henry be quarantined? What if he gives the Boston
So what does neck of Boston terrier taste like? "Chicken," John Henry said.
John Henry picked the back of the dog's neck to bite because it was
"handy." There were probably other handy parts of the dog, too, but
you'd have to close your eyes before you bit them.
John Henry went to the Seton Northwest emergency room to get his hand
bite treated. When word got around that he'd bitten a dog, that led to a
smart remark. "Everybody wants to be a comedian," John Henry said.
"There was this tech. 'Hey, Cujo,' he called me."
He is a little worried about his image. "All of a sudden I'm terrorizing
this terrier," said John Henry, who has a company called Austin Asset
Management Co. "I can see it now. '******* financial planner bites
little puppy.' "
Louise said John Henry was pretty riled up when he saw her cat's head in
the Boston terrier's mouth. "The only reason he didn't kill that dog
instantly is, our friends just got a Boston terrier, and he thought it
was their dog, and it wasn't," she said. "That's the only reason he
didn't keep on chewin'. I guess this explains why he eats whatever I
So what's the proper attire for biting a dog? "I was wearing my
dog-fighting outfit, as a matter of fact," John Henry said. "It was a
white shirt, a blue cardigan sweater, nicely matched, the khakis and the
saddle shoes," he said.
John Henry said the key to his success is that he bit the right dog. "If
you have a choice between biting the pit bull and the Boston terrier,
bite the Boston terrier," he said. Unless there's a Chihuahua.
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