Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Run, Forrest, RUN!"

Do you all remember that scene from "Forrest Gump", where Jenny is yelling at young Forrest to run, because the bullies are chasing him?

Well, I did my own recreation of that scene Sunday evening, and it feels like my adrenaline rush still hasn't worn off...

I got home from work, shoved my phone in my pocket, grabbed the dogs, and took them for our regular, we-can't-go-too-far-cause-Mama's-hungry walk. Basically, we go down the road a bit and turn into the closest lane, which has no outlet. This is a lovely street, especially since there's little traffic on it. Oh, and there are lots of pretty horses, too.

We've been down that road at least a dozen times since I discovered it a few months ago. I'm familiar with all the dogs who live there, and have even made friends with some of them. Or so I thought...

The road, as I said, has no outlet. It ends in a large cul-de-sac, where I pet a few horses before we head back home.

This time, when we had almost reached the cul-de-sac, a large lab-mix I'd never seen before came trotting off of one of the properties to greet us. I noticed two men working in the front yard, close to the house, but the lots are very large in this neighborhood, so I'd say they were about fifty yards away from the road. The strange dog appeared very friendly, from what I could tell of its body language, and the three pups proceeded with the sniffing-of-butts ritual that we're all so familiar with. The three moved off the road onto the verge, and Harley and Tucker had just peed on a tree there, when suddenly the strange dog (whose name is "Brownie", I discovered later), charged my larger dog Tucker and bowled him over. She then stood over him and, well, mouthed him is the only way I can describe it. She definitely wasn't biting, but her mouth made contact with Tucker's throat and she slobbered all over him.


Tucker is already leery of larger dogs, and he was absolutely terrified with this kind of behavior. He screamed/yelped, wiggled out from under her and took off.

The owners yelled for Brownie and she trotted off towards the house. If I had been smarter, I would have immediately headed toward home, but I thought the situation was under control, so we kept on going to our turn-around point.

We made the circle around the cul-de-sac and started walking back toward the main road, and home.

Unfortunately, Browie was NOT under the control of her owners, and as we passed the property going in the other direction this time, she again trotted up and decided to "play". I have to call it that, because if she had been serious, Tucker would be dead now. She kept charging him and bowling him over, lipping him and drooling on him, and Tucker by now was in a frenzy of fear. He took off like a rocket, which is where the title of this post comes in. I kept yelling, "Run, Tucker! RUN!" because he could easily outstrip the larger, pudgier dog. Italian GREYHOUND, remember? Born for speed? Thing is, Italian Greyhounds are also bred to be extremely loyal and attached to their people, so instead of running straight ahead, down the road and getting away, Tucker kept running in large circles around ME, orbiting me with Brownie in hot pursuit. And he was screaming bloody murder the whole time.

He also kept running up to me for help, which is where Brownie would manage to corner him and knock him down again. By this point, he was bleeding in half-a-dozen spots from his skin being scraped against the road surface. IGs have no undercoat, just very fine hair over delicate skin, so he had no protection.

I kept yelling at Brownie, stomping toward her, but my hands were full with Harley, and I couldn't get close enough to kick her, which I was fully prepared to do if I had the chance.

The younger of her two owners came running up with a stick and tried to drive her off and back to the house, but I guess she was having too much fun running Tucker into the ground, because she ignored both him AND me, and kept giving chase, including pursuing Tucker through a scummy pond.

Harley at this point found his courage and decided to even the odds a bit and squirmed out of my hold, jumping to the ground. He started chasing Brownie and snapping at her legs. Perhaps instinct kicking in, telling him to hamstring her? I don't know.

Tucker finally managed to get enough of a lead to get back to me safely, and I quickly scooped him up and headed down the road at a rapid trot, Harley by our side.

Brownie had ignored me up to this point, and luckily she didn't decide to try to knock Tucker out of my arms or go after Harley. Her hapless owners had meanwhile gone back to the house and gotten their pick-up truck, and they physically manhandled her into the cab to take her away. No words at all were exchanged between us, because frankly, by this point all I wanted to do was get myself and my dogs home safely. I didn't even look back to see what they were doing.

Tucker was extremely hot, and he was panting in my arms for quite some time. He also was extremely DIRTY, so I had to give him a thorough bath as soon as we made it back to the house, paying particular attention to his scrapes, which I then doctored with triple antibiotic ointment.

One thing stands out in my mind about this whole debacle. Even though it was playing out on a residential road on a Sunday afternoon, not a single person came out of his or her house to see what was going on. We were LOUD, Tucker and I. Him with his dog-in-mortal-danger screaming, and I with my furious yelling. Plus, Brownie's owner added to the din with his constant calling of her. Nobody heard, paid attention, or cared.

Yes, I had my phone with me, but what good would it have done? Who could I have called? Animal Control, where you leave a message on a voicemail and they get back to you whenever? The police, when we're six miles outside of town?

Plus, we had to ACT. I couldn't just sit there wringing my hands. I had to either kick the shit out of Brownie, if I could have gotten close enough, and assuming she then didn't turn on ME, or retreat, which is what we ended up doing.

If Brownie had been more aggressive or vicious, this would have ended tragically.

And it drives home the simple fact that I need to be armed with something more than a cell phone.

I need to buy a gun.

For the varmints of both the four- AND two-legged variety.

18 comments:

Surya Purnoma said...

Yikes! I hope your baby is okay. My heart goes out to your puppy.

At least Texas is a "shall issue" state. Maybe you might also want to consider a less than lethal option like a sjambok, if legal, too. In case of unsafe backstop.

Buck said...

I need to buy a gun.

Or a large economy-size can o' Mace. Or pepper spray, either of which would have stopped that Lab dead in her tracks without killing her. My heart goes out to you for this ugliness, Christina.

Shannon said...

Yes, you DO need to own a gun - not necessarily for dog since you could carry a big stick for that...you just need to be carrying while your out walking the boys.

Christina LMT said...

Problem with any kind of pepper spray here, though, is the wind. I was outside and very windy. I and my dogs would prolly have gotten a face full ourselves.

But y'all are also correct about having a stick with me or something.

Old NFO said...

Walking stick AND a gun if the stick doesn't work...

A recommendation- http://www.priceinsanity.com/servlet/the-1066648/Cold-Steel-91WAS-African/Detail

Christina LMT said...

Thanks, Old NFO, I'll check it out. :)

Julie said...

What an awful experience - hope Tucker has recovered from the ordeal.

Not sure a gun would have helped though (and as you know i'm all for carrying) - trying to take aim at a dog chasing another dog around you in a residential area would be difficult to say the least - let alone dangerous when you consider where the bullet could land.

A big stick, however, would be a useful thing to have to hand.

Christina LMT said...

Julie, I don't think I'd have used a gun in this instance, but it did make me aware that all kinds of crap can happen, where a gun would be useful and even life-saving!
I mean, I couldn't even get a clear KICK in on this dog, I don't think trying to shoot her would have been reasonable!

A stick, on the other hand...

Plus, she wasn't trying to hurt Tucker, that was incidental. If she had wanted to hurt Tucker, he'd have been dead at that first charge, since he was on his back, helpless, and his throat was in her mouth. One good chomp and it would have been all over.

He seems fine now, but I haven't taken them out since then, so I don't know how he's going to act on a walk. :(

Suldog said...

What in HELL is up with Brownie's owners? From the general tenor, I assume they have made no contact with you to offer apologies or whatever. Seems the least they could do.

Christina LMT said...

Jim, I have no idea. I've since heard from another neighbor whose dog was "attacked" by Brownie. Maybe someone should call Animal Control...

Bob S. said...

Christina,

If you don't mind driving a bit, let me know when you decide to get your CHL.

I'll put you in contact with my father in law who teaches the class and does so for a very low cost.

Christina LMT said...

WOW! Thanks, Bob. Really appreciate it. :)

Wally said...

Having been in a really similar situation, I fired one round into the ground and the big-arse dog took off like a scalded cat. Easy as that.

..and speaking from past experience as a letter carrier - mace isn't the most effective thing on dogs...

Christina LMT said...

Thanks for the tip, Wally!

SCI-FI said...

I don't know what the proper protocol is for guns+dogs (how many warning shots are legal in Texas?), but I bet you could find a pepper-spray with enough 'OOMPH' to fire 5ft in the direction you want despite wind. (A "stream" versus a mist.) Not perfect, but it expands your options, and may be easier to wield than the walking stick.

The 'biting of the throat' thing is, IIRC, a dominance thing between animals. It was Brownie's way of showing Tucker who's boss, so to speak. As long as Tucker submitted to the threat, Brownie was content to keep playing rough, rather than actually fight. I'd call Animal Control just the same -- they don't have to go do anything to the dog, but put it in the record so these owners don't get to deny the next "first" bite.

The best solution, unfortunately, is to avoid that cul-de-sac altogether. The owners are irresponsible, or have no control of their animal, or both. Find a new street. But I'm serious about the pepper-spray. Or gun. Or extendable baton. Something that serves as a backup if 'shouting' doesn't work.

Christina LMT said...

SCI-FI, I hadn't planned on going down that way again. Better to avoid the mess. *sigh* And it's such a nice walk, too.

Keads said...

Sorry to hear about this! You might try a Kimber Pepper blaster, pretty much immune to wind; I carry one when I can't legally carry a gun.

Christina LMT said...

"Kimber Pepper blaster", check.
On my list of things to check out, thanks, Keads!