Four-Pound Pom Plunges Tiny Teeth into Player's Pinky

February 20, 2008 at 05:49 AM · OK, I'm trying not to panic, but this morning at 4 AM I was awakened suddenly by my four-pound Pomeranian attacking my right hand. Something must've spooked her, because she bit my right pinky finger. Punched a hole right into the pad, and poked two more little holes right above the fingernail. Apparently she also bit my inner forearm because there is a 2" bruise there as well. (I don't remember that at all, but I was probably so stunned from the bite on the finger that I didn't notice anything else. I saw the bruise later that morning.)

So, what's the problem? Besides being fairly swollen and painful, the fingertip is completely numb. I can't feel a thing. More specifically, I can't feel the bow when I try to play.

I went to the doctor to have the finger looked at and check about a tetanus shot (had one in '04, so I'm good). He prescribed an antibiotic and pretty much said "well, there's lots of nerves in there and they're really tiny, so we'll just have to wait to see if there's any nerve damage." Uhhh...ok?

So, my question is: anyone have a similar experience? Tell me about it. Did the numbness subside? Or, if not, was it a big deal to get used to having no feeling in a fingertip?

I know it could have been a lot worse--it could have been a finger on my left hand, or it could have been my face, but I'm still feeling pretty upset about it. Stupid canine.

Replies (32)

February 20, 2008 at 07:00 AM · Jewish Hospital down the road here has the finest re-attachment team in the nation. Finger re-attachment. I'm sure they could get the feeling back for you. They might ask you to cut it off first though. Take the dog to the pound. Say you found it somewhere and it acts rabid.

February 20, 2008 at 06:57 AM · Jim, you're always so charming and tactful, hahaha.

February 20, 2008 at 07:11 AM · Put a sign with a skull and crossbones on it and set it loose.

February 20, 2008 at 06:59 AM · I cut my right pinky years ago by putting my hand inside a glass while washing glasses, and the glass broke. I had a rather nasty inverted V-shaped cut from the top knuckle to just under the fingernail bed, on the outer side of the finger. I ended up getting several stitches. I completely lost feeling from the first knuckle up to the tip of the finger. However, over time, the nerves have recovered somewhat - it still feels a little numb, but I do have some feeling back. You do get used to it (but it takes a while!).

February 20, 2008 at 01:56 PM · Hey Kristin,

When I was in undergrad I cut my left thumb almost completely off, and half of it is still completely numb (and the knuckle doesn't move right). It's actually a blessing in disguise--once you get used to the feeling (that takes time, and I would recommend some VERY slow technical exercises once you're all healed up, like some Kreutzer or something) it significantly reduces the amount of tension you can hold in that hand. For me, my shifting improved dramatically because my thumb can ONLY act as counterweight now--for you, you might find that you can actually do MORE with your bow since you're not squeezing it. Hopefully your nerves will be OK--but if not, you will learn ways to use other parts of your right hand to 'sense' where your pinky is and what it's doing. Best of luck to you!

February 20, 2008 at 02:23 PM · Once, a terrier sunk a fang in my foot, between the big toe and the 2nd toe. The fang missed the tendon, and sunk into 1/2 inch of flesh. My foot swelled up to twice the normal size, turned purple, got totally stiff, and hurt like The Dickens. I limped around for three weeks. Bleh.

I am glad your bite was not on your left hand. Take it easy, and you should heal fine.

I prefer cats myself...

February 20, 2008 at 04:05 PM · I managed to sew my left hand pointer finger through the nail and pad (machine needle went through the nail twice, actually). The needle broke in half. It hurt like heck (my husband passed out!) and then healed up. When I started playing hard core in grad school six months later, I experienced dehabilitating pain in that finger. Xray showed that I had a 2mm piece of needle floating around in the pad of my finger. The scar tissue around the bit of needle was pressing on the nerves. Doctors managed to fish it out with a scalpel and needle...again, hurt like hell but it healed up with no sensation loss. I do have a little nob of scar tissue at the tip of the finger. I wouldn't say it bothers me anymore. Best of luck with yours!

February 20, 2008 at 09:54 PM · Let's try to help Miss Mortenson, not give our own personal accounts.

February 20, 2008 at 10:23 PM · I do not have sensation on the tip of my left index finger. I haven't for many years after an accident. I won't go into details, (though it was gross, and involved alot of expletives that I won't print here), thanks Brian.

It has not given me any problems in articulation or overall feel. I don't even really notice it that much.

February 20, 2008 at 11:09 PM · "Let's try to help Miss Mortenson, not give our own personal accounts."

Brian, let's try looking at what Miss Mortenson's question was:

"So, my question is: anyone have a similar experience? Tell me about it. Did the numbness subside? Or, if not, was it a big deal to get used to having no feeling in a fingertip?"


February 20, 2008 at 11:15 PM · How`s its bach?

February 21, 2008 at 04:25 AM · Not as good as its bite, apparently. ;-)

I'm going to play tomorrow, no matter what, and will report back. (bark) And, fwiw, I don't mind hearing your horror stories--makes me feel better about mine.

Anyone want a free Pomeranian?

February 21, 2008 at 04:54 AM · free?

ownership seems to have a terrible price...

February 21, 2008 at 12:52 PM · Ow! Sympathies!

I'm with Anne on the cat business.

February 21, 2008 at 02:18 PM · At 4 LBs, I would think it is very young. They are so cute (Sorry). I am sure it will stop biting in a few months. Were its teeth coming in? Our dachshund bit me when he was very young. Hurt but no big deal since I don't play violin.

February 21, 2008 at 02:42 PM · Didn't read the question, Emily. Dangit, I've been caught again.

If you don't want it, I'll take the Pomeranian!

February 21, 2008 at 06:01 PM · Hope things heal quickly and good luck with the concert.

February 21, 2008 at 06:22 PM · So sorry to hear about your injury, I hope you make a speedy recovery.

My theory with dogs is that the smaller ones (like a Pomeranian or Dachsund) tend to suffer from Napoleonic complex and are in my opinion more aggressive/obnoxious as a result.

February 21, 2008 at 07:51 PM · Easiest solution is kennel the dog at night. Yes, it will whine and bark and be obnoxious for a week or so but considering the little sh*t bit you...

I'm not a fan of Poms or weiner dogs either because they do tend to bite more often then other small dog breeds. My sister has a Yorkie that is vicious. I wouldn't sleep with that little dictator loose in the house either. He'd go for the jugular though, he wouldn't toy with a finger tip.

Miniature Schnauzer...the world's perfect dog.

I'm sure with time your wound will completely heal. Dogs and cats carry alot of bacteria in their mouths, we all know where they prefer to lick, and as a result when they do inflict a bite the human body has to fight off the threat of infection. As long as your pooch is up to date with its' rabies vaccination and your tetanus is current...the wound just needs time to heal.

February 21, 2008 at 07:52 PM · UPDATE: OK, I guess a little background is in order. First of all, Buffi was a 6-year-old Pom, not a puppy. She's just little. We were given her by a friend of the family whose mother-in-law had to go into a nursing home. Buffi had been the only dog, and the "alpha bitch" for all her life. Apparently she also had "nipped" before, but the people who gave her to me thought she'd only done that when her owner tried to take something away from her. She'd never been put in a crate and really hadn't been socialized well. Our friends thought we'd be a better fit for her because we only had one other dog, whereas they had about six. It seemed a natural choice, since our other dog is also a Pom, though a pound bigger. Difference was, we got our Pom as a puppy, and she was raised as the "little sister" to a Golden Retriever! So, basically she acts like a Golden..."What can I do to make your life better???"

After another not-quite restful night of being growled at, I called her former owner (the DIL, not the one who went to the home) and gave her back. She completely understood, and came by to get her a bit ago. She will either keep her with their dogs and try to get her to "learn her place" or she will contact one of the Pom Rescue organizations for someone to rehabilitate her. I think that's best.

My finger is still swollen and numb, but I played two Kreutzer etudes and didn't drop my bow. It's gonna be OK.

P.S. I'm changing my profile picture for the next few days so you can see the little minx.

February 21, 2008 at 08:27 PM · I am relieved that you removed the dog. I've seen this type of situation many times and my experience has been if a dog bites once, it will bite again...and again...and again. Improper socialization is usually at the center of a dog like that. You did the right thing. :)

Kristen...I can see the lust for blood in her eyes. ;)

February 21, 2008 at 08:56 PM · It sounds like you made the right decision. If a dog bites in a totally unprovoked way like that then it obviously has some serious issues which need to be addressed with training. Or else if all fails it should be euthanised before it bites someone else or mauls a child.

If the puncture marks are still swollen, you could get some high percentage Manuka honey and put it on a dressing of the wounds. Apparently it works wonders on this kind of injury.

February 22, 2008 at 01:05 AM · Any opinions on hand insurance, pros and cons for this type of incident?

February 21, 2008 at 09:14 PM · "It sounds like you made the right decision."

I missed it. What did she do, have it put to sleep?

February 21, 2008 at 10:05 PM · I think she was either going to try to rehab Buffi herself, with their dogs, or send her off to camp with one of the Pomeranian Rescue organizations that are used to dealing with problem pups.

Hand insurance? I don't know how valuable the right hand pinky is, really. And in my case, I'm pretty sure my homeowner's is sufficient... ;-)

February 22, 2008 at 12:01 AM · Had my left thumb base joint injected with a thick long lasting cortisone yesterday by my skiing buddy. Oh, yes, he heads up the orthopedic

doctors at the hospital. He's good. Turns out there's mild arthritis in the joint and Ty got this needle deep in the joint and squirted away.

Thumb will be painful until the cortisone does it's job. He said once pray for pain, the more it hurts the more the cortisone is working.

If a dog bites simply squeeze it's jaw and nose until he/she squeals with pain then let go. That,

I learned teaching support dogs, is the only time creating tempory pain is justified. Trust me, it worked on more then a few dogs, the biting stopped quickly, no physical harm to the dogs, and they then loved you as the Alpha dog

and respected you also.

February 22, 2008 at 01:07 AM · I`m gonna practice on Junko...

No flowers please. Just a donation to prunaholics anonymous.

February 22, 2008 at 03:37 AM · >"It sounds like you made the right decision."

>>I missed it. What did she do, have it put to sleep?

Jim, she gave the little bugger back.

Well, I'm not a fair person to comment here, as I'm a cat person, but ((looks furtively around for dog lovers)) good call. And here's hoping for quick, full recovery on the finger. But just be patient, b/c scar tissue by nature is thick and rather numb-feeling, and likes to hang around. Mother Nature's way of keeping us safe, I suppose.

February 22, 2008 at 04:12 AM · I'm a dog lover myself. My favorites are extruded pink meat. Perhaps something like that would be best for the Pom. (Mustard and onions, please).

February 22, 2008 at 03:42 PM · I hope your hand is healing well.

Little dogs are such a pain because their owners are more likely to let them get away with crap they'd never tolerate in a larger dog all in the name of "well, it's cute".

Every time my boyfriend's yorkie jumps up and down around people or nips I ask him if he'd like a Rottweiler doing that... if the answer is "no" then it's not acceptable dog behaviour, period.

sign me, cat person but going to get a Saluki because they have catlike personalities and I can actually go walking with one ;)

February 24, 2008 at 02:14 PM · My finger is almost un-swollen now, the feeling is almost back in the tip, and the bruise is fading. I'm switching my picture back to the "real" me--no more picture of the dog. That chapter's closed. Thank you, everyone, for your concern and wonderful stories!

February 25, 2008 at 05:29 AM · I'm so glad you're better!

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