I have a feeling that this blog may not be particularly popular with animal lovers, but I have a “pet-peeve”. Now I have nothing against pets–in fact I had a dog for 13 years who even traveled with me from Israel to the US and spent his last couple years here with me. Right now we have Vanilla the guinea pig–her partner Mocha (an Abyssinian guinea pig succumbed to illness a couple years back).
But I am angry, and my confidence is shaken. Two days in a row I’ve been chased by dogs when out on my daily walks. Now this is not generally a common occurrence–in fact the vast majority of canine owners keep their pets on a leash outdoors, or at least have them close enough or well enough trained not to bother passersby.
But I have a history of being chased by dogs. As a youth, I ran marathons and at that time dog owners did not have a high level of awareness about keeping the dogs under control. Since I lived in a city (although I am somewhat leery of calling Winnipeg a city), inevitably I ended up interacting with the canine world. I was bitten, chased, harassed, barked at, and scratched. One time, when a particularly large canine individual came at me in attack mode, I actually climbed up on the hood and roof of a parked car–much to the chagrin of the angry owner. But I was able to outrun him as well.
In my neighborhood, we did have a dog owner on our street whose dog would wander around and sometimes act threateningly towards our children. The same dog, often loose in his own front yard, tried to bite me once en route to my path and got a mouthful of keys. That was enough for me, and since the owner showed neither remorse nor attempted to display greater responsibility, I called the “pound” and was told that someone would have a talk with the owner. This, along with the inherent threat of having the dog impounded seemed to work, as the dog has never been observed on the loose since.
On Friday afternoon, returning through my neighborhood and climbing uphill after a 10 km walk, as I minded my own business on the sidewalk and listened to the calming tunes of Simon and Garfunkel on my iPod, I looked up to see two dogs racing towards me. One was coming right at me, while the other one–clever in his evilness–was seeking to outflank me from the side. I could feel the immediate adrenaline–the flight or fight response as I quickly realized there was nowhere to go, and that I would be unable to outrun this pair at near exhaustion after my walk in the heat. There were no rocks nearby, no sticks or tree branches–I was in a defenseless desert.
With no choice, I steeled myself for impact and readied myself to try and kick my way out. Suddenly, a couple appeared at the entrance of one of the houses down the street and must’ve shouted to the dogs. I could hear nothing except “The Boxer” directly in my ears. Of course I hadn’t even had time to take the speakers off. As abruptly as it started, the dogs veered around and raced back to their masters who quickly ushered them into the house and closed the door, without uttering an apology.
So I thought this was a completely isolated and highly unusual incident when I set out for another walk down a different part of the trail yesterday. On my way back down the linear trail the path took me on an underpass along the Creek. Suddenly, on the trail itself I saw two lone dogs trotting in my direction. Now while they weren’t running at me as I experienced the previous day, I did notice that the lead dog appeared to be a pit bull. Indeed, as the dogs approached, I saw that he had some kind of muzzle apparatus over his mouth–that I wouldn’t have trusted for a second. My strategy this time was to keep moving slowly and not make any sudden movements that might startle these dogs. There were a few nervous seconds, but they passed me and although the second dog made a bit of a wide arc and seemed to show some interest in following me, they eventually turned towards the creek and disappeared.
It could’ve been worse, much worse.
So what do I do now? Do I ignore it and chalk it up to statistics? To rotten luck? Or do I go out and purchase some kind of pepper spray–which hopefully, I would never have to use?
I thought that when I was discharged from the military that I would never have to hold any kind of weapon again. So do I now become some kind of “pet-peeve vigilante?”
Suggestions and recommendations are most welcome; truthfully, I really don’t know what to do.