Yesterday I enjoyed a rare treat: a morning run. I had taken the morning off of work because I had an appointment. When I found myself home from the appointment by 9, I decided that I should fill my extra hours with a quick run. I laced up my shoes and headed down a street that I’ve run on many times before.
I ran 1.75 miles out, then turned around and headed back toward home. A mere mile from home I saw two dark figures about a quarter of a mile down the road heading toward me. I kept trotting along, squinting in an attempt to figure out what they were. When they were within a tenth of a mile I realize they were Dobermanns, two of ’em, big ones.
Once my neurons got that message to my brain, I realized that I should probably stop running toward them. I stopped running, but they continued on toward me. I stepped off of the sidewalk onto the grass hoping that the dogs would run right past me. They kept right on a-coming, fast. In a split second, the dogs were right up next to me. One of them took no notice and started sniffing a bush. The other one started sniffing me and barking. I tucked my fingers into fists and pulled my arms up to my chest. “I’m nice!” I told them. I’m pretty sure my eyes were shut and I slowly turned my face away from the dog.
Luckily, they were on a mission that did not involve mauling me. After a few good sniffs and a few more barks, they continued right on running down the street. As soon as they had turned a corner, I took off running too. I was out of breath, my heart was racing. Did I almost die? It didn’t matter, I was high-tailing it out of there before they changed their minds or did an about-face.
When I got a little ways down the road, a woman in her car flagged me over. She told me that she saw the whole thing happen, and she called 911. (I’m so glad that no rescue workers were needed.) She said that she had tried to signal for me to get in her car, but she was too far ahead of me at the time and my brain wasn’t functioning. I’m very thankful that there are good samaritans in this town. I had my phone, but I honestly thought, “Well, what am I going to do with that?” while the dogs were pondering devouring me. Calling 911 hadn’t even occurred to me.
What should I have done? I sometimes run with pepper spray, but this time I didn’t. I also worry that the pepper spray would have aggravated them.
I could have run across the street. The dogs didn’t seem interested in going anywhere near cars, so that would have been safe. I could have screamed for help as there were a few other people in the vicinity (runners, people mowing lawns), but if the dogs went for me, I don’t know what those people would have been able to do.
To summarize: I went running, two big dogs ran up to me, they then ran away from me. I did not get hurt, but I did get scared. When it comes to fight or flight, I chose to stand there and do neither.
What the appropriate course of action when you are confronted by a potentially mean dog on the loose? Has this ever happened to you? 5 cool points to anyone who knows the name of the tv show that inspired the title.*