Friday, August 5

Close Call Teaches a Lesson

Most of my riding is in the suburbs. Dog problems are rare around my neck of the woods, and particularly on a day like yesterday when the sun is really HOT. In over 13000 miles of commuting, I have only experienced two dog incidents and the first one wasn't really serious at all. Yes, I get barked at, but mostly, the barkers are penned up in yards and mostly the barking occurs in the morning. Yesterday, got a little scary, so I've taken steps.

Crime Scene
Inky Stands in for the Scofflaw
I was riding just north of the lighthouse mailbox when some kids and a "mutt" came along. With no warning, the dog decided to come after me, right in the middle of the street. My initial reaction was to attempt to swerve right to avoid catching the dog in my front wheel. Then the dog came after my exposed left calf. I have rarely experienced so much dog slobber so quickly. Fortunately, the dog then called off its play attack and the slobber dried quickly in the 108F heat.

This time I got lucky. The dog didn't sink its teeth in. It would not have been pleasant to get bit. Sometimes a close call prepares us for the future.

So, what have I done? Well, to start with, I've programmed all the local animal control contact phone numbers into my cell phone. I figure if I ever DO get bit, I'll try to take an ID shot of the animal and then immediately call animal control.

Easy Peace of Mind, or at Least it is SOMETHING
What else did I do? Well, I stopped on the way home to catch some breath, imitate John Romeo Alpha, and take a bike shot.

Bike Cheesecake
My List for Non-functioning Traffic Signals
For the record, had I had effective dog repellant, I would not have had the time or presence of mind to use it. At least I can call the dog police AFTER an incident and get the dog under observation for rabies.Besides, such incidents are so rare that I'd HATE to lug stuff I probably wouldn't use anyway. It'd be almost as bad as lugging a 357 magnum along just in case some motorist gets out of line.


Oldfool said...

I carry a stout oak walking stick at all times. I make it ready anytime I even see a dog. It seems, in most cases, to be enough but I have had to use it. It would not even slow down a pit bull and the assholes that live here seem to like them as dogs of choice but a solid thunk to a stupid dogs skull works.

Anonymous said...

That mailbox sure is sturdy.

A dog once latched onto my calf for a few pedal rotations, when riding home from school. When Mom saw my leg she hustled me over to the house and gave the dogs' owner her 2cents worth. From then on the dog was tied up around the times I rode home from school, but Mom gave me permission to pick up a rock and throw it at the dog if I ever saw it coming at me again. Yea for Moms!!

KD5NRH said...

The .357 will work fine on dogs too. Dog spray won't do squat to a car unless it's a convertible.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Slobbered! We have an active and apparently effective animal control dept in PHX that seems to keep the curs somewhat under control. Also in the hot summer the dogs seem to have the sense to rest in the shade during the hot part of the day that I prefer to ride in.


Doohickie said...

The most important thing I bring is my wits. I try to survey the neighborhood as I ride through to identify any potential threats. Maybe I won't notice every loose dog, but there are some streets where I just feel it's better to expect the dog. My "dog repellent" is my water bottle. If I think I'm in dog territory, I take a drink and have it at the ready. So far, every dog I've squirted with my bottle has broken off the chase. The bottle is quickly accessibly even when I don't think a dog encounter is imminent.


Doohickie said...


I always felt a gun is a poor solution when there are lots of other options. Would you really want to be <a href='">this guy</a>?


Steve A said...

Unfortunately, being a half wit, I'm at a disadvantage compared to many. My water bottle also doesn't squirt. It only pours. By the time I could direct water on to the dog, I could only deter the third or fourth bite. What's more, I forgot my primary defense of "Get off the couch!" The "lesson" in the post title was not for dramatic effect.

Chandra said...

A very loud, "STOP", "NO", might do the trick with many a dog.

Peace :)

Justin said...

I had a dog that loved to hide in the grass along the path I ride on - until I managed to get one solid kick under his jaw when he came at me one morning; he had miscalculated his jump and I nailed him. His bell must have gotten rung pretty well, because I haven't seen him since. I do carry repellent, but I have not had any need since my canine nemisis dissappeared.

KD5NRH said...

Beats the heck out of being this kid:

Steve A said...

I was relieved there were no photos. I was truly lucky. Loose dogs are uncommon along my commute route, but I should be at least as ready for them as the much less common crazy motorist.

cafiend said...

I bought a semi-automatic BB pistol to carry on my commute during a time when I had to deal with a neighborhood pack of dogs. They would work from both sides of the narrow road, from the cover of undergrowth. They did not back off if i yelled. Water did not have the range and power to thwart all of them in the small amount of time they gave me. Fortunately I never actually had to fire at them.

I would keep the pistol in my bag until I got close to their area. From there I would carry it tucked in the side straps of the bag. As so many such weapons are, it looks convincing. Motorists seemed to give me a wider berth with it on my hip. However, once the dog situation cleared up, I didn't want to deal with the weight and bulk of the weapon.

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