My neighbor, Sara has been my running buddy for the last 2 months or so. It is so nice to have someone to run with (hopefully I can talk her in to training for a half marathon after I have the baby). Besides having someone to motivate me and talk to along the run, I have another reason for really liking having Sara run with me – to help me in case a dog gets out and charges us. There is a mean, HUGE German Sheppard that roams our neighborhood from time to time, tormenting the poor dogs behind fences along the green belt, including Sara’s dogs. Before our run last night, Sara mentioned that he was out. So I altered our regular course to avoid the areas where he is most often seen. Yes, I have Lola on every run, but I often doubt that she would do much more than try to lick the other dog to death and play.
Why do I have anxiety about being attacked by a dog while running? Let me tell you a little story.
Flash back approximately 6 and a half years. I was in college, living with some sorority sisters – Kristi and Sarah. My pants were beginning to fit a little snug, so I had started running, a quick fix to unwanted weight gain, I had learned. I ran through safe neighborhoods in the safe college town of Stephenville, Texas. It wasn’t dark out when I ran, so I never spotted any UFOs (let me know if you don’t get that joke and I will explain).
One particular night…
I’m running… I’m taking in the scenery…I’m running…I spot a man working on his truck in his driveway…I see his dog…I think to myself, “Gee, I hope that dog stays put. It doesn’t look like it is on a leash”…I’m running…I see the dog come running from the yard TOWARDS ME!...Commence freaking out…What do I do??...Dog is right in front of me…What do I DO?!...Dog is making noises. Growling maybe?...Why isn’t that man calling his dog back? WHAT DO I DO?!...I see the dog open his mouth and lunge for me…I turn around – as in a 180…The dog has bitten me. ON THE BUTT! And then he(I’m SURE it’s a boy dog) just merrily runs back to his yeard.. I see the man look up from his truck. No apology. No “Are you okay?”…Do I go yell at the man? HECK NO! I am going no where near that dog again…I keep running…I stick my hand just below the waste band of my shorts, on my outside right hip (aka my butt)…I pull my hand out and examine the fingers for blood. I am not bleeding. How am I not bleeding?...I run home. Sarah is at her boyfriend’s house and Kristi is at class. I need someone to look at my butt to see if the skin has been broken. What if I need a Tetanus Shot?...Oh, look. Kristi’s boyfriend Ryan is here. Ryan will look for me…”Ryan, I was bit by a dog on my run. Can you look to see if it broke skin? It bit my butt.”…Reluctantly Ryan looks, more than slightly embarrassed, but all he sees is a little pink mark. “It doesn’t look as bad as you say it was, Cheryl”. Whatever…By the time Kristi gets home it is black and blue – and you can clearly see that it is a dog bite in the bruise…No, it was not a tiny Chihuahua as someone once suggested. It was a huge, ginormous, ugly, mean, take-no-prisoners-kind-of dog. Or a Boston Terrier. I’m not really sure, actually.