The first blare

On day six, I blew my horn.

On day five, I encountered the dog that pushed me over the edge, to equip myself in case of attack. Whence last I saw that dog, busy 46th Street was closed for construction, and he had no traffic to keep him from pursuing me from his side of the four lane road.

That day, he entered the road. I stopped, turned to him, and yelled as loud as I could, “Stop!” He stopped momentarily. As he was resuming his pursuit and I was still yelling, his owner appeared and called him back.

46th was recently reopened. The speed limit is 45 mph. When he (with both dogs in this piece, I don’t know their sex; I call both “he” because I don’t like calling a pet “it”) spied me, he went to the edge of the road, barking his lungs out. Thankfully, car after car zoomed between us, he stayed put, and my horn remained clipped to my waist.

The next day, my sixth carrying the horn, as I ran down Marilyn Street, more than five miles into my run, I recalled that a small dog sometimes runs out after me. Sure enough, there he was, and out he came.

I quickly slid the horn off my waist, put my finger on the trigger, and waited for him to approach me. As I continued to run, he got within ten feet of me. I let loose.

I gave him a one second blast.

And what did he do?

He stopped.

His ears went erect. He looked at me funny. He didn’t seem dazed, but he definitely looked confused.

Soon, I was past him and he resumed running. Now, however, he didn’t approach. He ran parallel to me, remaining on the edge of the street.

He returned to barking. I kept the horn pointed at him, my finger on the trigger.

Calmly, I kept saying to him, “Staaay. Staaay. Staaay.”

Finally, either he tired of the game or we got to his boundary (which should include the street, for Fido’s sake!). I holstered my weapon and finished my run.

Now I know the horn achieves what it advertises … at least on this dog.

I’ve vowed never to use the horn unless a dog enters the street. I’ll keep the vow but, having felt the power of my horn, I now have an itchy trigger finger.

Mind your dogs!

This is my fortieth year as a jogger. I’ve finally been frightened enough by dogs chasing me into the street that I am doing something to protect myself.

Small dogs don’t scare me. Though they never belong in the street, I figure if they get too close I can kick them. I don’t want to kick them, but I will if I have to protect myself.

Most of the dogs leaving their yards are small ones, which happens virtually every week. But twice this summer large dogs have come running at me, at full speed, barking fiercely. And both were showing their teeth.

I always stop and turn to the dog. I holler as loud as I can. “Stop! Go home!” I holler toward the house: “Get your dog! Your dog doesn’t belong in the street!”

These two times this summer the dogs have been large, I had never seen them before, so I wasn’t surprised their owners immediately appeared from behind their homes. I guess the dogs either got out by mistake or they were taken by surprise that they took off into the street. Thus, on the one hand, I don’t think it is the owners’ practice to allow their dogs to run free, but, on the other hand, they allowed them to get loose and, when they did, they ran into the street and after me.

Thankfully, in both cases, two positive things happened at once. When I turned and hollered, the dogs slowed down. They didn’t stop, and they kept barking and showing their teeth, but I felt more in control. Secondly, as their owners called for them, both dogs retreated.

I hollered to both owners: “Please mind your dogs. They don’t belong in the street.” One responded with his apology. The other did not. As I turned and continued my run, I shook from what could have occurred.

So, I’ve been thinking: at any given time, a dog could come at me, not back down, not have an owner there to call it, and attack me. And I could be in a world of hurt. I could even be killed.

I read of the attacks, every year: joggers who lost their lives at the mouths of vicious dogs. In my forty years of running, I’ve arrived home under my own steam every single time. I desire to continue my winning streak.

I told Julie of my fear. I asked her if, the next time she placed an online order, she might purchase me some pepper spray. I checked and, yes, it is legal to carry it and use it on human or animal in self defense.

Bless Julie’s researching heart, she came back to me after a bit with another suggestion: a horn.

The concern with pepper spray is twofold. First, the human or animal has to get close before you can spray at them. Second, you have to aim well, to hit them in the eyes.

With the horn, you can begin to blow it immediately. And you don’t have to aim it. And it could alert others to possible trouble.

The horn is on order. By the end of this week, I will be clipping it to my waist next to my phone, which is my constant jogging companion.

How long will it be before I find myself in need of using it?