I’ve been running, walking, and biking with my dogs since we first got Sully 3.5 years ago. Every time I’ve gone out with them, I’ve played out the worst case scenario in my head.
What will I do if a dog breaks through a window, gets away from his owner, or jumps her fence? I have to protect my dogs, I can’t let them go after the other dog, and I definitely can’t drop the leash and let them be loose.
Early on in our running career, I decided that the best course of action was to engage the dog myself before it could get close enough to whichever dog I was with to start a fight. My plan has always been to catch the attacking dog on the way in with a roundhouse kick to the head, then do whatever I have to do to keep it away from my pup.
This was all a hypothetical situation……UNTIL TODAY
I know the dog well. He is often tied to a large tree in his backyard when I go by his house. He goes bat-shit crazy whenever he can see me over the four-foot wooden fence that his owners recently built. I, purposely, avoid running on that street because my dogs are fine with other canines, as long as they don’t show aggression at us, and I do my best to minimize the risk when we are out. I also have formed an opinion of this dog’s owners. They are irresponsible and do not properly manage their, obviously, very reactive dog from what I have seen.
So, today, I decided to take Boo running instead of Sully or Mama Coral(more on that shortly). As I rounded a small bend leading up to the corner where this dog lives, I see him in the front, unfenced, yard. I stop immediately. At first glance, it looks like he is just running around with no lead or leash, but a few seconds later I see a child of seven or eight emerge from behind a hedge, holding a retractable leash attached to the dog. Next, I see the mother and a little girl follow him into the open garage with the dog and I think to myself “Ok, disaster avoided, I’ll give them some time to get inside and we should be fine”.
My worst fear realized
I know what’s going to happen if Boo sees him or he sees her, so I put her behind a large tree and stand over her so that she is between my legs in an attempt to stop that from happening. Unfortunately, I was seconds too late. He saw her and was quickly pulling with everything he had against a helpless young boy.
The next few moments are slow motion in my memory. The boy trying his best to keep the dog from pulling the leash out of his hand. The realization that it wasn’t going to happen, this dog was going to get free, and he would be headed right after my girl in a matter of moments…
In the next instant, it happened, he broke the leash from the boy’s hand…
I had played out this scenario in my head, daily, for the last three years and I was ready.
I had already wrapped the leash around my left hand so that there was no slack and I could keep myself between Boo and our would-be attacker. As he barrelled towards us, I extended my arm behind me, coiling my body for the attack I was about to launch. I planted my left foot in the ground as he was a few yards away and took aim at the side of his head with my right.