Check out the other show-er and tell-ers over at Mel’s.
I’ve talked before about walking, and how much I get out of it. What I didn’t mention is that I cannot take Miss Famous on these walks due to the loose dogs in the area. Miss Famous is a leash dog (she’s citified, through and through), though we are in the country now (country-ish may be more accurate), but other dogs around here are not leash-bound, and I am not so sure how they would respond to a sweet l’il thing such as Miss Famous. So, much to her chagrin–and mine, Miss Famous stays home when I go traipsing around in the hot, hot, hot evenings. Well, maybe not so much to her chagrin. 🙂
The problem is, these dogs are not interested only in bothering other dogs. Oh, no. They love to barkety-bark-bark at any passer-by, come out to the road to “greet” walkers, or bike riders (which I do as well at times). And one just never knows. I know that one never knows, as I have been twice bitten. Once a few years ago on my leg by a close neighbor’s dog, whom I knew, and who knew me. The other time, in high school when riding my bike far-ish from home (on the rump!–that time I turned around and went back the long way rather than continue to face off the growling beasts). So I don’t take it lightly when four or five dogs come out to “welcome” me to their corner of the world, and I don’t always believe a wagging tail.
On my current route, there is one particular house with the gate always open. The dogs would always come out to the road barking, barking. Initially I had only been by this house on my bike; though it was uphill, I was still able to keep a good enough pace to keep said dogs at bay. When the time came that I wanted to increase my walking route, I decided to follow my mom’s and her walking partner’s advice and bring an umbrella with me.
You see, an automatic umbrella CAN be a cynophobe‘s best friend.* Many dogs will turn and head the other direction when the umbrella is opened in their direction. The story I would like to share today: there is a particular group of dogs, I’m not even sure of the number, five to seven?, that come out to the road, surround me, whether on bike or on foot, and generally act all barky and brazen. They actually scared the snot out of my niece not long ago and had her in tears (she was without umbrella, however!). So, it was with no small amount of trepidation that I approached them with said umbrella (fully prepared to race back down the hill from whence I came if the umbrella treatment didn’t actually work). Out they came of the open gate. As they approached, zip! went the umbrella, and these brazen pooches retreated as if I had hurled rocks at them (actually rocks probably wouldn’t have worked nearly as well). They still were not so sure about me and started creeping back in my direction, so I engaged the umbrella again and away they went as if I had shot at them.
These dogs and their house are on my regular route and I walk or ride by them frequently. I’ve only had to open the umbrella once or twice more since then. Now the silly dogs don’t even come out of their gate until I am well past their property, with only an “uh-UH” or two from me to keep them in line. Heh. I guess that’s because my umbrella and I are so badass.
*Now let the record show that the umbrella technique has never been proven on any truly vicious dogs, so please don’t hunt me down if you go after Cujo with nothing more than a flimsy parasol in hand and get eaten up, ‘k?