A word from Lolli: This post was written by my husband, CandyMan. I haven’t seen him enjoying anything lately quite as much as tonight, when I suggested that he write today’s story in a blog post. Enjoy!
When we were in college, we discovered a new show – “When Animals Attack.” It was the cheesiest collection of bad home movies with animal encounters and reenactments with over-sized stuff animals.
What made it even better was that they did parts 2, 3 and 4. We had a couple friends we would get together with and watch these paragons of veterinary nightmares.
Well today, as we were preparing to leave for a picnic, a rather unpleasant bull terrier made its way into our back yard, urinated in every corner of the garden and decided to hang out.
I went out to chase him away and found myself hightailing back into the house as fast as I went out. He was ticked at me and not afraid to show it. I grabbed a broom to shew him away and that made him even madder. Once again, I was chased back in to the house as he charged me with no intention of stopping.
So there we were, helpless to defend our home. Wondering where this 14-inch miniature canine monstrosity came from. And, how long he planned to commandeer our back yard.
We’ve never had strays in the neighborhood before, so this was a but unnerving.
After a little bit more tearing up the grass, he trotted around the corner and was gone. (he peed on the corner of the fence too as he left).
I was concerned about who he might run into next, so I donned my trusty sandals and headed out after him. What my plan was, I don’t know. “What am I going to do if I find him?”, I think to myself. He had just chased me off 2 times and forced me to retreat into my home. Where was I going to run to if we were on equal ground outside? Unfortunately, this line of thinking didn’t occur to me until it was too late.
So, in hot pursuit through the flooded alley behind our home (see Lolli’s posts about mold), I contemplated how I would handle an encounter. This dog didn’t seem like a jumper and I could probably scale one of the neighbor’s fences in a tight spot. If nothing else I could dangle from it until my irritated friend got tired and left. But what was I hoping to accomplish?
I had about a minute and a half to follow this flawed and incomplete train of thougnt, before it derailed as I rounded the corner. There I discovered my prey. Little did I realize that the hunter was about to become the hunted.
We live in a row of townhouses 8 units long. I was at one end, our house is next to the end on the other end. Of all places, this #?!%$@%# dog was hanging out in our front yard. How did he know I lived there? Did he count houses as he ran through the alley thinking, “it’s the guy that lives in the next to the end townhouse. Go ring his doorbell and get him.”
So again, not having thought through my situation, I decide to yell at him. Kind of like that scene in Jurassic Park where Sam Neil waves the flare at the T-Rex, then Jeff Goldbloom does it. I was definitely the Jeff Goldbloom in this one.
So I yell at him. First mistake.
No actually second mistake. The first mistake was to put my shoes on and go searching for this mutt.
As soon as I yell at him, he looks up at me. I guess he recognized me, because he came charging at me like he remembered me as the guy who cut him off in the parking lot at Macy’s and then took the last empty parking spot.
As I stand there in a canine enduced, catatonic, deer in the headlights kind of stare, I finally complete that flawed, incomplete train of thought that I had forgotten as I rounded the corner in pursuit of vengence. “What am I going to do if I find him?”
Well, the question should have been, “What am I going to do if he finds me?”
As he charges through the front yard of 6 of my 8 neighbors, I do the only thing a man can do in this situation. I hide behind a railing.
Now let me clarify. This railing is one of those thin, 3-foot high wrought iron black rails that are good for only two things – 1. Rusting and 2. collecting spider webs in between the rails. Seeking refuge behind it makes about as much sense as playing hide and go seek on a football field. He could have easily squeezed through to get me or gone around.
With my heart racing, I try to maneuver around the railing. As he arrives at the top of the steps waiting to pounce, I hedge my bet and throw one leg over the railing. Now I’m in position to easily dismount to either side, depending on his next move.
(dog’s thoughts) “Is he going to the left or the right?”
(my thoughts) “Is he going to the left or the right?”
So there we stand, each waiting for the other to make his move like a 189 pound college junior, hoping to win the state wrestling championship on the slip up of his opponent.
As I weigh the situation, I can’t help but review in my mind the number of times I have chased my children around the bed in my room with the same logic. Dodging in one direction to fake them out, only to catch them on the other side once they have overcommited their inertia.
As I scan the neighbors houses looking for a place to escape to like a refugee in the middle of a war, no one comes to my aid. In fact, there’s not a single person outside anywhere. That’s probably good for 2 reasons. 1. Nobody else will get hurt and 2. nobody saw me scampering up on a railing like a cat trying to get out of water. (I have a reputation to protect).
Unbeknownst to him, had he wanted, he could have held me there for weeks. I wasn’t about to try to out run him and had no other plan. The only weapon within arms distance was in my front pocket. My Blackberry. I could email for help, but that might take too long. I could call Lolli for help, but that would put her in harms way.
So, down to my last option, I do what any self-respecting, Russian speaking, college graduate, father of 5 would do in my situation.
I call 911.
And…they answered immediately.
I give them my details, address and general situation. It was at this point that I realized we were dealing with a criminal dog, because he took off running. I start breathing a little more easy as I dismount the railing.
After a few more minutes the dog ventures far enough away that I can make a quick dash for my front door.
Once I make it inside, I am tearfully reunited with my adoring wife and traumatized children. I assure them that I am OK. They believe me.
Fast Forward a bit. We continued to pack for the picnic and start loading the car when the police arrive. They sent 2 cars to handle this. I guess they take bull terriers chasing people up on to railings very seriously in this county. Thank goodness.
Unfortunately, by this time, the dogs were long gone.
As we leave for the picnic, now an hour later, I decide to take a short trip through the neighborhood in search of the predators.
There, in an unsuspecting victim’s front yard is the dog and his buddy (I forgot to mention that there was another dog with him, but as he showed no aggression toward me, I take no pleasure in slandering him in this blog.). They are hunting around.
I slam on the breaks and call the police again. This time, they send the Animal Control Unit. While we are waiting, I warn 3 fun loving Latinos on the side of the road of the impending doom that awaits them if they ignore my warning voice. Two of them take refuge in the house while a third climbs to the top of their drywalling van and scouts out the situation.
The Animal Control Unit arrives and drives right past us even though we try to wave him down. From here, it’s a story of dedicated citizenry working along side our men in uniform to save the day and restore order to the community.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation and being keenly aware that the black dog poses no threat, we track down the officer and alert him of the bull terriers location and direction.
We drive to the next court and the officer follows us where we find our target.
He was clearly feeling a bit lost at this point. The pictures tell the rest of the story. We watched for 20 minutes as this officer exercised the patience of a loving father while following the dog up and down the sidewalk. Never able to get close enough to loop that awesome, cable endowed ball retriever around the dog’s neck. I think that dog had seen one of these before and knew he had to keep his distance.
After 20 + minutes of this stuff, I am thinking, pull out the stun gun and zap him. I guess he has more restraint than I do. Unable to convey my thoughts to him via my sketchy at best telekenisis, we decide to leave for the picnic.
Now it’s closing in on 6:30. We still have to get charcoal and chips. By the time we do, we begin to wonder if paying the park entrance fee is worth a couple hours at best before they close.
So, we begin the reenactment of the Berenstain’s Bears Go on a Picnic. We try another park – all the pavillions are full. We drive around looking for any place that stays open long enough for us to grill, eat, play catch and go home. No luck.
Defeated yet for a second time in as many hours, we decide to go back home. So here I am cooking our dinner at about 7:45.
If you are familiar with the above referenced book, you probably remember how all through the book the father persists in dragging his family all over creation in pursuit of the perfect picnic spot. In the end, mom hikes them back home where they enjoy a wonderful picnic lunch at their kitchen table.
The book end with these words as they arrive home:
Father Bear: “Now that’s the kind of spot I mean.”
Junior Bear “He did it mother. Did he not? He found the perfect picnic spot.”
We never found out if he caught the dog. We had hot dogs for dinner.
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