Sunday, March 7, 2010

The day a guy in a mini van saved my life

A couple of years ago I signed up for my first doggie class with Cailey, our clearance puppy.  It was a class in my town and, according to mapquest, it was only 3 miles away from the house.  I was excited, especially since it was summer time and I could walk there.  This was before we had GPS and iPhones, but I googled the address and figure out an easy route that would allow me to walk to class on sunny summer days.

A Wednesday before my class started Jon was meeting up with the rest of the managers in the company for a retreat and dinner, so I decided to test out my route before the class started.  I put the leashes on the dogs, packed some treats and water into a backpack, turned on my iPod and googled the route again.  It seemed simple enough, so I left the directions at home and took off.

The roads leading to the park where the dog obedience class was held were busy and I was annoyed with the traffic.  Cailey and Travis were being very rowdy and were behaving horribly on a leash - the primary reason I was taking this dog obedience class in the first place.  I was frustrated and annoyed and noticed that the street coming up was the street I needed to take to get to the dog park.  I took a right and continued on my now-merry way.  The road wasn't busy at all, the pups were getting tired and behaving much better on a leash, and the scenery was amazing.

I walked a couple of miles before I realized that there was no dog park in sight.  In fact, the park I was looking for was supposed to be only about a half a mile after the turn.  I shrugged, to myself, and turned around.  I figured that I took the wrong turn on to the street and walked the 2 miles back.  The sun was beginning to set, but I was determined to get to the park.  Besides, if it got dark before I got a chance to walk back, I could just call Jon and have him pick us up on the way home from dinner.

I finally got back to the intersection and continued walking on the right path.  It was minutes before I saw the park in the distance.  Cailey, Travis and I walked excitedly toward the entrance which was only feet away.  The rest of the story went by in slow motion so bare with me.  This whole thing happened in approximately a minute.

I first noticed the dog across the street without realizing that it was not behind a fence.  It was a doberman, a rather large doberman.  The dog had its eyes locked on me and my two hamsters dogs.  I noticed that his ears were pointed, his lip was curled, and his tail high up in the air.  I knew from watching way too many dog shows that the dog was going to attack.  At this point I was hoping that there was an invisible fence; unlikely since there was a real chain-link fence just a foot behind the dog.

I thought back to a conversation I had with someone just days ago.  This person and her dog were attacked by another dog on their walk.  A trainer had mentioned to this person that she was lucky that she didn't step in when the scary dog attacked and almost killed her dog because it is far more dangerous for a human to get involved.  There was mention of horrible attacks to humans, torn limbs...well, you get the point.

In any case, here I was, watching this huge doberman decide to charge us and the only thing on my mind was, "It's either me or the dogs."  The doberman began to run toward us, across the empty street.  I was stopped dead in my tracks, watching this dog running toward me.  I kept trying to figure out if I should drop the leashes and bolt or prepare for a fight for my life.  Would I choose my own limbs or the dogs?  I was almost sure that if the doberman got to the dogs, they'd be dead.  They weighed just under 18 lbs each, while the doberman was an easy 100.  I won't give you the details of my weight, but I was pretty sure that if the doberman attacked me, I'd survive.  I probably wouldn't keep all of my limbs, but I would survive.  Meanwhile, poor innocent Travis and Cailey would die.  I stared at the doberman, who at this point, was just starting to charge at us.

I am guessing that at this point my face was stark white.  I had tears running down my face.  I was terrified.  The doberman had just stepped off of his lawn and onto the empty road.  Out of nowhere, a minivan hit the dog.

The minivan wasn't going much faster than 20 miles per hour, but the guy had been staring at my teary white face.  He halted to a complete stop when he hit the dog and hurried to the doberman.  The driver was screaming something about staring at me and missing the dog stepping onto the road.  I was still in complete shock, staring at the scene unfolding in front of me.  Even Cailey and Travis didn't make a peep, but stood behind me and watched.

The owner ran out of the house, screaming something about his poor dog.  The driver ran toward to dog.  The doberman stood up and shook his head.  The owner ran toward the dog, who was now high-tailing it toward the house.  The owner followed.  The driver followed.  I stood on the other side of the road, clenching the leashes in my hand, stark-white.

The dog ran into the house.  The owner followed the dog, screaming.  The driver followed the owner, apologizing.  I stood on the other side of the road in complete shock.

I couldn't figure out what to do.  I felt bad for the owner and the dog.  I felt horrible for the guilt the driver was feeling.  I felt thrilled to have all my limbs and 2 live dogs.  I blinked at the scene and then turned and continued walking toward the dog park.  Once there, I called Jon to pick us up.

I took the dog obedience classes that year and the year after, but I have never walked the path to the park again.  I've driven past the house, watching to see the doberman outside his fence, but he is always safely behind the chain links.  I always secretly thank the poor driver that hit the poor innocent doberman.  I know it's crazy, but I owe him my life.

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