Tuesday, June 19, 2007


For more than a year now, my neighbor Beverly and I have taken a walk around our neighborhood every morning. We usually leave our houses at about 6:10 a.m. I bring Maggie, the beardie, with us (armed with plastic bags to scoop up any you-know-what she may leave behind) and we set off down our street.

During the school year, Maggie loves to greet every little (and not-so-litte) child waiting at the various bus stops along our route. After a few months, the kids got used to seeing us and some of them even waited eagerly to give Maggie a pat and say "good-morning."

Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? Well, to be truthful, I've always felt a bit of nervousness walking Maggie. There are lots of dogs in our neighborhood and, on many occasions, I've seen them loose, just running around. In fact, one morning, a Pit Bull, complete with long chain dragging behind him, sauntered out of the woods near the creek and accompanied us on our entire walk! This was before I started bringing Maggie along, thank goodness ... because as mellow as this dog seemed to be toward us, who knows how it would have reacted had their been another dog along.

As we walked our route for several months, Beverly and I didn't really encounter any other dogs. I'd see other neighbors out walking their dogs at various times during the day and I started to feel bad that Maggie was left at home.

When I first started to bring her, I'd also carry a squirt bottle of vinegar and lemon for protection, but after a few months without anything strange happening, I felt confident enough to even leave that.

We've been cautious, too. In fact, eventually we forfeited some cul-de-sacs because we knew dogs were down there and we just didn't want to risk an incident. I've always brought Maggie home before we finish our walk completely, as there's a large, old black dog that is supposedly held in by his "electric" fence, who always lurches out, storms down his front yard and barks ferociously at us. Further down the road is a tiny, but determined, little white and brown barking dog running around without a leash. His name is Cinnamon and, usually, in his defense, his owner is outside with him, at least, but I've not ever wanted Maggie involved in that, either.

So this morning, all seemed calm and peaceful as usual. We waved to the neighbors who passed in cars. We breathed in the heavy scent of honeysuckle vines. All seemed fine. As we were chatting leisurely, Beverly abruptly stopped in her tracks. I thought she had twisted her ankle or something, as she said in a strained voice, "Oh my gosh!" I hardly had time to look up, when two enormous German Shepherds seemed to come out of nowhere, barking and heading straight for us! We didn't have time to think! (Or at least I didn't! Beverly stood stock still, like someone is supposed to do when faced with a shark in the water!) One of the big dogs (seemed to me to come up to my hip)ran toward Maggie and grabbed her tail or her leg, I don't know which, because she yelped and pulled me. I fell into her, making her yelp more ... and then I tumbled onto the street! I skinned both my knees, cut my hand and got a blood blister on my third finger.

Maggie didn't look back, she just kept pulling me forward and, fortunately, the dogs didn't go any further! Just as suddenly as they had appeared, they turned and went back up to their house!!

Beverly and I have seen these dogs on many occasions, but always they're barking from behind their fence, not running loose! Talk about territorial! The only thing I can think of is that the owners must be letting them out front now that school has ended and there are no more children at the bus stop on their corner.

Maybe the dogs were only being curious. They certainly could have mauled Maggie completely, had they wanted to ... they didn't even break her skin. But I realized that having vinegar and lemon wouldn't have helped. It all happened too fast. There was no planning ... no defense. Maybe continuing to move forward was a poor decision? Who knows!

sigh All I know is, it's a sad day for Maggie and for me, because now that my fears have been realized, I don't think I want to take her out again with us.

I've been debating calling the people and letting them know what happened ... any thoughts? Please let me know what you'd do!