When Dogs Attack

Let me start of by saying that a) I love puppies and b) I am starting to love running. Especially running outdoors.  I’m going from a 5k to a 10k, which for a gal who refused to put on running shoes three months ago, I’m thinking this is a pretty good thing. Hopefully, I may even be ready for a half marathon in the Fall. Keep your fingers crossed y’all!

And I really love doggies. I do.  Pretty much all kinds. But I have always been a teensy weensy bit scared of doberman. Growing up, my best friend’s next door neighbor had two vicious doberman.  We would hide from them because they were the attacking, dangerous, crazy kind of doberman.  Their barks would even send us running. (We thought *for sure* the dogs would get past their electric  fence and come and chew our faces off!) Turns out we were quite justified in our fear.  In a freak accident my best friend’s sweetest, most adorable, kindest, cutest, all around terrific dog Frankie got attacked and killed by the next door neighbor’s dog. (In a moment when the doberman next door did his most awful, best impression of Hannibal Lector.  It was HORRIBLE!!!!)

So how does this all go together? Let me explain.  I live in great place. I get to run by along the Bay surrounded by water, grass, and public parks and it is REALLY a safe city:

This is what it looks like where I run:

 Pretty right?? Also, very safe. Lots of families. People out and about.  Perfect for runners!
Except for one thing.  A DOG ATTACK!  On Saturday morning, I’d reach mile 3 of my four mile run. I was in a very safe party of town–near the above pictures.  Luckily, I was running without ear buds in, so I could hear the barking as it came towards me.
SMACK!
A huge doberman came running at me, trailed by a little Scottish terrier yipping at it’s heels.  No leash, teeth barred, possessed look on the doberman’s face.  This was not a dog looking to make friends.  This was a dog in full-on attack mode. And I, running in my hot pink shorts, was the victim.  As the dog jumped at my face I did what any sane runner would do. I froze. I did not make eye contact.  And when that didn’t work, I screamed for dear life. And tried to cover my face with my hands. The dog snarled and bit at my shoulder and my face. Scratches covered my stomach from the dog’s unclipped claws. (Not to mention lots of dirt and mud.)
I yelled at the owner, a middle age unkempt woman totally clueless to her dog’s vicious assault. She laughed and said the dog wouldn’t hurt me.  Excuse me lady, but I can tell the difference between a dog playing and dog wanting to kill me.  Already the dog had drawn blood and I just prayed it wouldn’t take a hunk out of my shoulder.
Then…
SWOOSH! The dog ran towards a stroller a little distance away and the owner chased after it.  What did I do? Well, I yelled a warning and told the owner to get that dog on a leash!! Then I turn and ran in the opposite direction, the coward that I am.
Did I call the cops? No. I certainly would have if the dog had actually bit me.  But at that moment I was so shook up and so worried about the dog going for the stroller, it didn’t occur to me. Plus, I was covered in dog scratches, dog hair, mud, and blood. I kinda only had one thought. I wanted out! I was a mile away from home, bleeding, and gross.  I need to get home and clean up.  So that’s what I did…  And the strangest part? There was a dog park only blocks away where the crazy lady’s dogs could run off-leash legally. (Part of me wonders if they got kicked out!!) I am just grateful that I was okay.  Y’all, that was close and I was *really* lucky!!!!
Even though there are leash laws, there are always negligent owners who think they know better. It is best to be prepared.
Check out these tips for safe running:
  • Do not run with earbuds in! Although running can be more fun with music, you can’t hear your surroundings! If I had been listening to tunes, the dog most certainly would have bit me.
  • Always have your phone when you are running. Make sure there is an “ICE” contact saved.
  • Always tell someone you are going for a run and make sure you have something on you with your name and address.
  • Never run when it is dark out or in isolated areas.
  • Wear bright clothes (like my hot pink shorts), so that you are visible to others.
  • If attacked by a person or a dog, always remember to SCREAM at the top of your lungs, so that others know you are in danger.  In the case of a dog attack, first try to be still and quiet and, if that doesn’t work, call for help.
  • If you are attacked, be sure to call 9-1-1 for help.  Also, get all the information on the dog owner and make sure everything is reported. You will need to be sure the dog is up-to-date on all his shots and you will not get any infections or rabies.

Don’t worry, I’m going to keep on running! I have to get to my 10K and Half Marathon! But I am very grateful that I’m okay–and will always be a conscientious outdoor runner.

Do you have any running horror stories?

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