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Day 115: Close Encounters of a Frequent Kind. September 19, 2007

Posted by Joe in animals, frustration.

Wednesday. 4 Miles in 43:57. I was doing well, and was planning on running 5… until an angry dog came charging out of a yard unleashed. This was by far the most aggressive/scary dog. It looked like some kind of a Pit Bull. I slowed to a walk and avoided eye contact, but the dog continue to bark at me, and my legs in particular. Very close. Honestly, I was pretty scared. This dog would chew me up if it wanted to. It really threw me off. I stopped my stop watch and walked slowly for about 30 seconds and the dog eventually went back to its yard. I started to run again, but the dog must have been spying on me because it came bulleting back. I stopped, the dog stopped, and went back. I finally rounded the corner and started running again. After this I just wasn’t up for running a fifth mile.

I am pretty frustrated with the frequency of of these kinds of encounters, and am waffling between making a call to the cops and asking them to remind my neighbors to leash their animals (which makes me feel like a cry baby), and carrying a can of mace (which I fear will result in a different kind of encounter with the animal’s owner that will take up even more of my time should I decide to mace a dog). I’ll think about it while at work and decide later.

On the upside – the run felt good, and I have avoided injury from animal or exercise during the first (almost) four months of running.



1. Running Ragged - September 19, 2007

I totally feel your frustrations. What really can a person do without sounding like a cry baby in situations like that? I have had (mentally) so many conversations with the owner of a dog that likes to come and “greet” me like the one greeted you.

Do you send them a letter asking them to keep an eye on their dog or get an invisible fence, do you stop by their house on a non running day and see what time of day they keep their dog in the house, do you carry mace and possibly make the situations worse, or do you just wait until you get bit before you say anything?

I am curious what would be the right thing to do and what you come up with, because I am at a loss.

I am glad that other than your encounter you had a good run! Keep up the great work!

2. Tim Ellsworth - September 19, 2007

I’d go with the mace, and to heck with what the owners think. If they don’t want their dog getting sprayed, they need to keep it confined.

Last month as my wife, kids and I were walking our dogs, an unleashed dog sitting in a yard decided to attack my dogs. I was able to kick him square in the jaw — hard. So hard that I sprained my foot. I may have even broken the dog’s jaw. It’s the hardest I’ve ever kicked anything in my life. At this, he turned and ran back to his house (shaking his head the whole time), and the incident was over.

At first I was worried about a confrontation with the owner, too, but I quickly got over it. I was in the road and not on his property. He’s the one at fault, not me.

3. Joe - September 19, 2007

I am not worried about confrontation as much as I am wanting to avoid a lengthy “discussion.” Time my friend. Time. Plus, I need to let the cops know because I don’t want my wife and kids to get mauled while out walking through the neighborhood.

4. Tony Kummer - September 19, 2007

Hey Joe. I ran across a skunk last night on my run. Big bushy tail and all. Luckily it ran under someone’s driveway culvert. I was about 5 yards away before I saw it.

About the dogs. My oldest son loves to hear my running heroics. He even comes along on the bike.I’ve always wanted one chance to kick one in the face. Call it dominion.

5. Joe - September 19, 2007

I have met quite a few dogs on in the past 4 months, but this was not a dog one would kick without losing that fight.

6. Dan Barnett - September 19, 2007

ditto on the mace. It could open up a witnessing opportunity. 🙂

7. Raymond - September 20, 2007

Hey Joe,
I feel for ya, man. Encountered a vicious dog when I used to be a paperboy in junior high. It just charged out of the bushes and snapped at my legs, causing me to splatter the morning paper all over the driveway. Hehe…

You inspire me. I just ran 5 miles for the 2nd time in my life, and I plan to keep track of these numbers religiously:

8. Raymond - September 20, 2007

Have you thought of running on a track instead of in the neighborhood? I run at a local junior high track. No disturbances.

9. Joe - September 20, 2007

No, I can’t run on a track like that. I t would bore me into quitting. I like running through neighborhoods.

10. Raymond - September 20, 2007

What about any knee injuries from pounding on pavement?

11. Joe - September 20, 2007

Nah. I have never run in my life before this – and I have experienced no problems. I do not push myself too far and I am careful to watch how I am running (form). My understanding is that running on pavement (or running in general) should not cause injury, but that running improperly is what creates trouble.

12. Brian - September 20, 2007

Sounds scary… Only dog I have ever encountered while running was, luckily, chained to a tree, and it scared the bejeezers out of me. Hopefully we both won’t have any encounters beyond growling and barking…

13. jason - September 21, 2007

Dude, dogs while running suck!!! If they don’t bark at you, they’re busy getting in your way. I’ve only had one real encounter and it wasn’t that bad, but I’ve considered carrying the spray. People just don’t understand that they need to keep their pets leashed.

PS. I’m a dog owner and I love her.

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