AN AFTERNOON walk turned into a nightmare for 84-year Max Francis and his three-year-old shitzu cross, Buddy, when they were savagely attacked by a large dog.Mr Francis and Buddy had just left their Meadow Gardens retirement home in Cooinda Drive, Delacombe, on Tuesday when they were approached by a young girl and what looked to be her golden retriever dog.Even though the dog was on a lead, he leapt at Buddy, grabbing him on the back.The golden retriever's young owner was unable to restrain her dog and ended up face-down on the ground.Mr Francis said the attack happened so quickly there was nothing he could do to stop it.''I couldn't pick him (Buddy) up, the other dog charged so quickly,'' Mr Francis said.He said he was surprised and frightened at the ferocity of the golden retriever and believed he meant to kill the smaller dog.''A young couple came out of their home and I ended up on my back on the ground.''Mr Francis managed to get his pet back to his unit but the dog was clearly in a lot of pain.Buddy was taken to a vet and treated immediately.He underwent a two-hour operation and the vet told Mr Francis his dog was lucky to be alive.''The vet said his liver and kidneys had been pulverised in the attack and he's not out of trouble yet,'' Mr Francis said.Mr Francis sustained deep lacerations in the frenzied attack as he tried to separate Buddy from the larger dog.He was treated at Ballarat Base Hospital, receiving stitches to his thumb, the back of his hand and forearm.Mr Francis has not heard from the owner of the other dog since the attack. The Francis household has owned Buddy for two years, and were looking forward to taking him home, where, according to Mr Francis' wife Alice, he rules the house.