August 19, 2010

Three Dog Morning: Joy To The World

After a long road ride the other morning, I wanted to see if I had any juice left in my gambe (Italian for "legs"). I explored my Russell Station Road “extended loop,” which cuts over hilly dirt roads before connecting to 2nd NH Highway and back onto the R.S. Road.

There are few houses along these dirt roads but there stands one, which is decorated by hyper-protective dogs. On the way out, I was relieved the barkers weren’t in their yard. I relaxed into my run, a Galloway-style 5:1 (run:walk), felt awesome throughout, and glided up inclines. I was in the zone. Then came the three dogs

"... Just an old-fashioned love song
Comin' down in 3-part harmony

Barking at first. Shitake! Then charging. Crap! I was surrounded. One nipped my skirt while the other “snouted” my privates as a third circled, sniffed & barked. It occurred so quickly, I failed to notice if their tails were up or down. 

Simple Tail Translation:
Up = happy dog;
Down = not so happy dog.

Thankfully, I read the September 2010 dog issue of Runner’s World (pg., 89) and employed all tactics. My four-legged run-in was without ill incident.

What to Remember:
  • Voice: Use a deep firm voice that conveys a sense of calm.... NO squealing in fear or excitement.
  • Eyes: Watch dog out of the corner of your eye. NO direct eye-contact, as it seems aggressive.
  • Position: Stand tall, face dog slowly, while calmly backing away. Do NOT turn & run, which makes you seem like prey or set the course for a chase.
  • Body Language: Stay relaxed & upright. Assume a position of authority. Do NOT shrivel or become combative.

If all else fails and you have a water bottle squirt some water in their face or pick up a stick and keep the dog out of your body territory. Just in case, I ordered some pepper spray ($10-15). (State laws might apply.) I love animals and do not want to hurt them. So this is a last resort. Apparently the spray doesn’t hurt the animal. Plus, I would only use it if I absolutely had to! (Think Cujo…)

Back to this dog story:
A guy came running out and called for his dog, a rather frisky black lab. She didn't respond. Duh-Uh!... She was off leash! I asked him if the dogs were kind and he said, "yeah, except one of them..."  Which one!?  Of course, the one who tasted my garment before high-tailing it into the woods for a chewier, crunchier rodent-style snackypoo.  

The guy scooped up his pup and headed into the house, leaving me with mini-cujo (in the distance) and the "take-me-home-please" pooch. She'd disobeyed all commands and thought it much better to be my NBF. I started to run again but couldn’t shake her.  

I am an animal magnet. Woof.
Take me home with you.
This is not actually my NBF but she looks just as eager.

I ran about a mile with her (she was bounding ahead) before I turned around to try to get send her home. Soon she set her sniffer on some spot of road-side pee-pee. More marking. (Do dogs have an auxiliary bladder for such tasks?) I seized the opportunity to huff it out of her range before she noticed. Hopefully she made her way back home... she wasn't too far.

"...One is the loneliest number...
It's just no good anymore since  

she went away
Now I spend my time just making 

rhymes of yesterday..."

Frankly, it was delightful to share some canine running company. The dog was motivating, curious, and a tireless pacer. I 'm beginning to more fully appreciate and understand the mutual devotion between dog and runner. 

Go Vasco Go Sheba, Go Tucker...

This post is for you!


pbazanchuk said...

Emily fyi:

Here in the Comm of Ma. that can of pepper spray is considered a chemical weapon and requires a special license for purchase, possession, and use. One of only 2 states in the country to require it.

Your (my) 16 yr old daughter couldn drive a car but can't legally possess a non toxic means of defense until the age of 18.

Don't take this as my support of the law as I gave a can to my daughter when she was old enough to start dating. Just thought you should know (any maybe write your state rep)

"...A firearm identification card shall be valid for the purpose of purchasing and possessing chemical mace, pepper spray or other similarly propelled liquid, gas or powder designed to temporarily incapacitate."

"Massachusetts: Massachusetts residents may only purchase defense sprays from licensed Firearms Dealers in that state, and must hold a valid Firearms Identification Card (FIC)."

kZ said...

Aww.. Tucker. A sweet post Emily... nice to hear that no harm befell you, and I love the insertion of song snippets; it's as though you're humming along there for me in the background as I read :-)


Trail Pixie Trespas said...

Hi PB, thanks for the pepper spray information...very helpful. You raise some interesting points about driving age and what one can do at age 18. I'll need to look into the MA law(s) more closely. I'm a law abiding sort. For summer, it's a good thing I'm in NH ...."Live Free & Spray."

kZ, scratch Tucker for me and sing a little tune of "Jeramiah was a bullfrog" as you hike the 50k through the whites....Be safe!

pbazanchuk said...

There's the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Use it if you need to and fight it out in court is my feeling on the subject.

Hope you're enjoying NH but then again what's not to enjoy.

PS I should have said "non lethal" instead of "non toxic" means of defense. Sorry for the literary "fox pass"