Right on the top of my mind as I write this — Florida friends, I hope you all are safe from that hurricane!
Maggie and I had a bit of a close call this morning. We were out for a walk, and as we rounded a corner, and were suddenly faced with another woman walking two big dogs. She was walking one dog on each side of her (in front of her) and the one on her left instantly barked, growled and lunged.
I reacted, jerking poor Maggie behind me. I didn’t give her a command, I just reacted to get her behind my body and out of that dog’s line of sight. Or I think that’s what I was doing — it was pure instinct and happened in seconds. It was way too close. I didn’t hear or expect anyone there, and she obviously didn’t hear me and Maggie. However, I did have Maggie at my side, I never release her to smell and do dog stuff until I see a clear path. I really can’t say if she had her dogs under control. What I do know is that I’ve seen her waking one dog — an older pit — for years and while she always crossed the street when she saw me, but her dog never reacted. Nor did he today. My sense was she always crossed the street as a precaution or because some people are afraid of any and all pits. I really don’t know.
But I guess the other dog, the one on her right, was new (she told me that), and she didn’t expect this reaction. And while I didn’t hear her coming and she didn’t hear me, I’m betting that dog probably knew we were coming for long seconds, but she doesn’t know him well enough to realize he was loading to attack.
Fortunately, she was able to wrestle that dog back enough that I could cross the street. Once I did that, she turned the dog on a street going away from us. All of which was the safest way to handle it so the dog didn’t go right back into attack mode.
I believe she was caught off guard and will find a way to handle it. If I hadn’t seen her for years consistently and thoughtfully walking her first dog, I’d be more annoyed. And she didn’t hesitate to apply real force to stop the dog, but she didn’t freak out or scream at him which would only have agitated the dog more, which I also respect. This was just an unexpected situation and could have ended badly, but since it didn’t, we both learned something so it won’t get to that point next time.
On the other hand, our walks are usually uneventful :-). There really isn’t even a message to this story, it just scared me (and Maggie) for those few seconds, but it was the first time I had it happen with someone who I think is a responsible dog owner. It really illustrated to me how easily things can go bad even with good owners if we’re not paying enough attention. It’s scary how easily it can happen.
How’s your week going?