When the dog bites….

    I was driving home from work on Friday and just turned into my neighborhood when I saw a little white dog run across the street a few blocks ahead of me. As a devout dogaholic and previous owner of a doggie rescue, I immediately went on high alert. The dog looked lost as he randomly ran in the street.

    When I got closer, I saw an SUV along the side of the road looking toward the dog. I pulled up in front of the vehicle, hoping that the precious little dog was their pet. The SUV pulled up beside me. There was a young couple inside (about my age), and they asked me if that was my dog.

    “No,” I answered, “Isn’t it yours?” It wasn’t. We all looked in the direction the dog had run and wistfully in the direction of our homes. I sighed and unbuckled my seat belt. “It’s okay,” I told them, “I’ll help the little guy.” They sure looked relieved and grateful as they drove off to start their weekend.

    The mailman just happened to pull up along the curb. He watched me get out of my car and asked, “Is that your dog?”  I answered, “No, but I’ll see if I can help him, poor thing.” The mailman looked relieved and continued on, happy to finish his route and start his weekend.

    I was on my own, just me and the sweet little dog. I sat down on the sidewalk, in spite of the fact that I was wearing my favorite white capri pants. I spoke to him, softly and quietly, to reassure him that I was here to help him get home so he could start his weekend. He slowly began walking toward me, and I continued to speak soft words of reassurance.

    All of a sudden an older woman (about my age) came across the yard and started calling the dog. It that instant that helpless little dog turned into Cujo. I’m not kidding. He started barking, snarling and running in a huge circle around me. Shocked at the sudden transformation, I asked the woman if he was her dog. “Yes,” she replied, “And don’t walk away from him; he might try to bite you.”

    Well, that’s a fine howdy do and thanks for your concern. Sheesh! I stood there, immobilized, while the woman ran around in circles, chasing her dog and trying to get him in the house. The situation went from being strange to absurd as the two of them ran around in circles in the hot sun. In the meantime, the circle was getting smaller. And tighter. And the psychotic little beast was getting closer.

    Finally, her daughter pulled up and opened her car door. The woman assured me that the dog would get in the car because he thought he was going to go for a ride. Geez, I thought my Italian Greyhounds were high maintenance. He ran up to the car and just before he jumped in, I sighed with relief and turned to walk away. My bad. At that moment, he saw his opening. He changed direction, lunged at me and bit me on the ankle. That’s how I started my weekend.

    There are a lot of important lessons in this story. First of all, just because you think someone needs your help, they may not agree. Next, if you find yourself in a ridiculous situation, you may want to think twice before you turn your back on it. You never know who may be nipping at your heels. Another thing is that size doesn’t matter. A nip where the Achille’s tendon attaches can hurt. I guess we all have our Achille’s heel, and my devout passion for dogs is one of mine, although I wouldn’t have it any other way. Finally, and the most important point, is that I’m glad he’s not my dog.

Giovanni and Chocolate Guido….they may be high maintenance, but they sure are sweet!

Be healthy!
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP

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