Sunday, March 08, 2009

The River, the Old Man, and the Vicious Dog

I think I could definitely classify today's run as an adventure. A slow run down to the Saco River and back turned out to be one to remember. Like yesterday, the weather today was perfect. I was stoked to set out in just shorts, a t-shirt and Moeben sleeves and enjoyed the lighter weight and freedom the warmer weather clothing provided.

Funny Elderly Man
As I made my way down to the river, I saw several people out and about, going for walks and also enjoying the spring weather preview. I turned right on the road that paralleled the river, and saw an elderly couple up ahead. The man was hunched over and used a cane to help him walk. As I got closer, he lifted his cane and shook it at me.

"How about that crazy runner fellah' who runs barefoot through the snow?!", he yelled in a thick Maine accent. Good, I thought I had done something wrong. He was referring to this guy. I laughed and agreed that the guy was indeed crazy. The image of this friendly old man waving his cane at me kept me laughing for the next few miles.

The Bad Dog
I moseyed along and started getting a bit tired and hungry when I was a few miles from home, but received a big shot of adrenaline as a very large dog started charging at me. For a second, I didn't think much of it. Dogs bark at me all the time. But it became very clear this dog was different. It's teeth were bared, the hair on it's back was straight up, it's bark was sinister, and it was running full speed at me and not slowing down. Crap.

I stood my ground and raised my arms to make myself look bigger, yelling repeatedly "GET BACK!" in a loud, deep voice. This froze the dog about six feet from me, but the teeth were still bared and the dog was still barking ferociously and non-stop. It would try to inch closer, and I would raise my arms higher and yell louder to get it to back down momentarily, and then it'd try again. Where the f%$& was the owner?! I was hoping someone would come out of the house the dog ran from and call the dog off, but no car was in the driveway.

I quickly formulated a two-part plan: First, reach down and grab a handful of icy snow and squeeze it into a hard-packed ball. Second, begin circling the dog to get between it and it's house. I've heard this puts dogs on the defensive and they get stressed when you get between them and their property. Now was a good time to find out.

I reached down and grabbed some icy snow, and cocked my arm back. The dog then backed down and took off back towards the house. I didn't have to circle. Whew.

I ran the last few miles home on sheer adrenaline. As soon as I got home, I got in my car and drove back to the dog's house, got the address, and reported the incident to the Sheriff's office. I must say they were great and they took my report seriously, even though I wasn't attacked physically. They promised to come out that day and talk to the owner. I think I'll run with my pepper spray for a little while for added piece of mind.

That aside, a great run. Finished the week with 49.5 miles.

Ran 15.3 miles @ 8:56/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 141/161
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 40s to lower 50s, partly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, Moeben sleeves.


Blaine Moore said...

You did the exact right thing, including calling the sheriff on the dog's owner. Glad that you are all right and that you didn't have to hurt the dog.

When I was in college, there was a guy about half a mile from my apartment whose dog would run at us, and I kicked it after it bit me once. The guy threatened to call the police on me, but I told him to go right ahead and ran back and called them for him.

He kept his dog under control when we ran by over the next few months, but then I took off for 6 months and while I was gone the dog had to be put down because it attacked a kid on a bicycle.

That is completely and utterly the owners fault; the dog was only doing what dogs do.

Jamie said...

Blaine, I agree. I don't blame the dog, just the owner. At least there is now a record of the dog being aggressive, and the owners have a chance to rectify the situation and nobody got hurt.

UltraFlash said...

Yeah, but I find when you call the cops on someone that just gets them that more angry at you. The dog has it out on you now. He will have the last bite. Change your route forevermore. Weenies.

Jamie said...

Let'em get mad. Dog is on record with the cops... And if nothing else, I have plenty of deer slugs left for the 12-gauge. Kidding, kidding... :-)

Laurel said...

I have had the worse luck in the world with dogs while running. Maybe it's because I tend to freeze when they come running at me, I'll have to try not to do that. I was running in the same area later in the day, glad you got to the dog first.

Thomas said...

I usually find that shouting "NO" very loudly puts off the vast majority of dogs.

It helps to have a police force that takes these matters seriously. The police here didn't even intervene when I got actually bitten by a dog a couple of years ago!

TheDowneastDog said...

Great post about the old man and the dog. I had the same thing happen to me once while I was running. A big dog charged across the yard and I turned directly to it, raised my body to make it as big as could be, and bellowed, "NO!" in a deep voice. Then I stood there trying to decide what to do.

When I finally and slowly turned to keep running, the dog began to lunge and then started to cry in pain, biting at his hind end and running towards the house. He'd stepped in a bee's nest! Just then the owner appeared in the doorway and I'm sure she wondered what I'd done to her dog. On the return by the house I carried a big stick and am still nervous going by to this day.

sn0m8n said...

Good thing you weren't wearing your Milkbone underwear.

middle.professor said...

Running in Falmouth is such a stereotype - all the dogs follow you from one corner of the yard to the other, but never, ever cross that invisible fence. So don your milkbone underwear and come run this way!

In extreme SW virginia, in the heart of appalachia, there are no invisible, or visible, fences. The dogs are all pretty nice though. They follow you for a while, get bored, then go do something else. Maybe they like the short shorts.