27 April 2016

Emergency evacuation plan.

I love our market across the street. It's owned by a very nice Korean family, and no one in the family even looks up from their soap opera behind the counter when I show up in pajamas at 10pm to buy a pint of Ben and Jerry's. Which seems to be priced randomly depending on who's working. Everyone in the neighborhood goes to the market for beer and coffee and candy and baking soda.

Mornings at the market are coffee stops for everyone off to work, or breaktime for the sewage guys in the giant sewer sucking truck. Kids stop in on their bikes, maybe to buy candy for school? Or beer? Not sure. I live on a busy little street. This morning when I was coming back from our walk, we rounded the corner just 3 houses til home, right across from the market, and a doberman tied outside took a good long look at me and the dogs and started chewing on it's leash.

Dobermans scare me a little. I've had 2 very sweet ones in agility classes, but something about dobermans still gives me the heebie jeebies. I'm kind of a dog weenie, living in my little dog and border collie filled world. I figured though, he's tied to a post in front of the store. We're only 3 houses away, 30 seconds. How fast can a doberman chew through a leash? And he's probably friendly, right? People don't tie full on Cujo dogs to posts in front of the market, do they?

He had on a big thick prong collar and a harness, but loads of people in my neighborhood use prong collars. Even on yorkies. Stabbing your dog's neck with sharp pointy things is a very popular dog walking method around here. I know one reason, I got kicked out of a popular and cheap dog training class at the local pet store once for not being willing to use one. All kinds of dog training methods around here. So whatever. And at least he was tied on to the post from the harness.

That look and the leash chewing, though, gave me pause. Pause enough to consider, can I make it down to my driveway, just 3 houses away? In case he really does want to go after us? Or do I need to reverse right now and walk all the way back around the block. Which takes about 13 minutes when Ruby's with us. I had places to go. People to see. 3 houses, that's as far as I needed to get.

Calmy and swiftly, not even looking at him, we keep on moving towards home. We almost made it. But guess what? Here's a good quiz question. How long does it take for a doberman to chew through a leash that's tied on to a post? Surprise if you thought more than just a few seconds. Because just before we reached our driveway, here he comes.

I heard him before I could see him. There was a beer truck parked taking up half the street, and a bellowing loud barking started that I knew was him. And when I turned around, here he comes from behind the beer truck.

He didn't look happy. He sounded loud. And he was moving really fast.

Loose dogs in our neighborhood are pretty common and rarely are they out to get us. On the other side of the street, we regularly run into the german shepherd that runs out the door at the pot grower's house, and there's the lab that jumps out of the front yard with the teensy short fence. There's a boxer that sometimes goes awol, and don't get me started on Rio next door. I have beat off a pit bull once with a board I found in the street, but that was years ago when a meth addled pro surfer lived on the corner and that dog went away with him. Otherwise, our neighborhood is pretty chill. Our block has a fireman, a bus driver, a cop, a guy who works at the dump (that would be my husband), a mailman, a nurse, a librarian, UCSC students, junior college teachers, drug dealers, pot growers, a contractor, a photographer, an electrician, retired couples, hardworking single moms, families with tiny kids, dirt bike dudes, computer guys, millionaires slumming it renovating a beach shack, and homeless people who collect our cans. Those are just the neighbors I thought of first. It's a pretty ok neighborhood.

Lots of them have dogs. Most of them aren't trained. They're big and they're small, a lot of them bark, some of them are leash reactive. Some of them are super sweet. Some are asshats, especially the blonde chihuahua down at the end of the street and the aussie the retired lady with the plastic flowers in her front yard is always yelling at. There's the black dog that pulls his kid on a skateboards really fast. Shortie and Rio never wear leashes and always run smack into the middle of my dogs. We just deal with it. That's our neighborhood.

The doberman, though, he was new and he was coming at us and I wasn't getting a good feeling. He was the red and tan kind, and had big floppy ears. But he really wasn't cute. He was on a mission.

Luckily I have a plan for when this happens. In general, I don't plan ahead. When the big one hits, or zombie apocalypse, or some kind of religious armageddon, we have exactly zero jugs of drinking water and non perishable canned goods stored in the garage. My bank account does not reflect a lovely retirement nest egg for my golden years of retired agility lady in a fancy RV who goes to trials every weekend and posts margarita selfies on facebook. I don't know what I'm having for dinner tonight.

But I do have a plan for bad dog attempted attack on my dogs. I think about it every time something like this might happen. But rarely have I had to actually do it.

Even though it was a busy morning with cars going by, I let the dogs go right when the dog got to us. Ruby first, then Gooey, then Banksy. Ruby may not be able to see, but she knows that walk around our block by heart and can easily find our driveway by dog GPS, so off she went. Gooey, ambassador of good vibes for many wayward dogs, ran right out into the street. Banksy I put on a lie down on the sidewalk and I grabbed up Otterpop and held on tight.

Otterpop is a catalyst of badness. Her brain goes to the dark side in situations like this and all 12lbs of her has no problem launching a full assault on whatever level of attack an asshat dog has planned. She is very, very, not useful in situations like this. Luckily she is extremely portable and likes being wedged under my armpit.

I moved right towards him, shoving my inner dog weenie to the back of the bus to muster some bravery at the charging doberman. "Hey good buddy! Hi good boy! Whatcha doing?" seemed better than yelling at him because he was pretty riled up already. Maybe the happy words would throw him off kilter a little.

I think this scattering of dogs also threw him. Where four were now was just Banksy laying in the sidewalk, my snarling arm bundle, and a donut spinning Gooey. So he barreled in towards Banksy. She looked terrified on her lie down, she's so nervous of big dogs I think her energy and crazy eyes can be a spark for bad situations, it's happened before. Bless her little trained heart, she just layed there staring at me, Otterpop in my arms starting to lose it and I pushed back into him to move him back as Gooey did a flying drive by. I was really, really hoping he wouldn't try to take a chunk out of me, and that nobody was going to get hit by a car, but I think if he was going to bite, he would have done it on the first pass. And the cars were slowing down for the spectacle.

Everybody loves Gooey, usually. He has some kind of magic power that can deflect weird dog energy and this dog looked baffled for a minute, like was he supposed to chase Gooey who was by now running back into the street. It all turned into mayhem, he'd go for Banksy, who now got up and looked completely confused and snapped at him, or go for Gooey who was just doing donuts in the street. The street! He never gets to run free in the street! Yay! Gooey lives on planet oblivion sometimes. Still no biting, just charging. This was a good thing. He might have been a loud asshat who didn't like my herd of dogs walking by but it looked like he didn't want to attack any of us.

But then he came in and started circling us and growling like a big red shark. This was unnerving.

Ruby was nowhere to be seen, but she's a pro at finding our driveway, so I wasn't worried about her. Gooey officially lost his mind but in some ways, I think that was helping, the big dog didn't have a clear target of who he should be going for. The funny little dog running in and out of the street, the ballistic missile in my arms, or the confused border collie standing up and lying down with a completely terrified look on her face. I just kept telling him how lovely he was and firmly suggested he go home.

Finally his guy came running out of the store looking like OH SHIT. He made a run for it and the dog took off. So then we had much dog chasing in the street. Banksy went back in her lie down, Gooey ran back to me and I hung on to Otterpop for dear life. I didn't want to attract his attention back to us and bring him up our driveway where I was hoping Ruby was, so we just stayed put. After a few minutes of doberman chasing, I couldn't stand it so I yelled to the guy, "Just stop chasing him! Stand still!"

He sat down on the curb. Traffic was stopping for the various dogs. The dog came eventually came back into him and he captured it.

"Hey!" I yelled. "You know your dog just went for all my dogs?"

The guy was freaked. He just grabbed the dog by the collar and took off the other way. Left the end of the leash tied to the post. It's still out there.

We dodged the doberman bullet. I'll keep my eyes out for him. And next time we come around that corner and get the stink eye from a dog tied outside the market, maybe next time we take the slow way back around the block.


Anonymous said...

fucking hell. so very glad there was no rending of doggie flesh or your flesh. just going out the door can be life threatening these days...
remember supertramp? yeah, take the long way home.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This made my heart race.

Terry A said...

scared the crap out of me just reading it. well played, tho, laura, well played. everyone safe.

Sobaka said...

That's a good plan. It's very complicated when you have multiple dogs (targets). Generally I only have one or two dogs, and my strategy is to pick them up and/or keep myself between my dog and the Bad Dog. That's hard enough, and I still end up with Bad Dog jumping all over me trying to get to my dog. Very good strategy and quick thinking on your part, and very good of Banksy to lie down and stay. I'd vote for walking around the block next time. It would probably have taken less time than the circus you described. :(