While Ms. Bleich was taking Zoe and a second Shih Tzu named Anya for a walk at Woodside Elementary School on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 28, a much larger reddish-brown dog, perhaps a pit bull, escaped its owner's control and attacked Zoe and killed her, Ms. Bleich said.
"It happened in a nanosecond," Ms. Bleich said in an interview. "I kicked (the attacking dog) and it didn't feel a thing. ... I was kicking and I felt like I was kicking in slow motion."
It almost didn't happen. "I wanted to (leave) but the kids (her dogs) wanted to go further," she said, recounting the chronology of the incident.
Ms. Bleich had conversed briefly with the man, who was struggling to maintain control of his dog, she said. The dog was 2 years old and had never been outside, the man said. "I don't think he hurts small dogs," he added.
The dog had a huge head, Ms. Bleich said, adding that the owner was a "slight man" in his 60s, balding and wearing a greenish jacket. "The dog was clearly too much for him," she said.
The man had taken a seat, but the dog broke free and pounced on Zoe "in a split second," she said. The man watched the incident unfold, recaptured his dog and walked quickly away to the school parking lot, she said.
"You killed my dog!" Ms. Bleich said to him as he passed her, a whiff of alcohol trailing him. The man didn't turn around but said, "I'm sorry," over his shoulder, Ms. Bleich said.
Deputies from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office are looking for this man, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Ray Lunny.
"I cried and I cried and I cried and I almost fainted and threw up," Ms. Bleich said recalling the incident. "I haven't been sleeping. I just wake up every night and it's just a nightmare. She went with me everywhere I went. I talked to her all day long."
"I want her death not to be in vain," she said. The dog's owner "needs to stand up and take responsibility because my dog deserves it."
Zoe has been cremated and his ashes are in Ms. Bleich's home. "When I go, we can go together and rest," she said.