Friday, December 3, 2010

Coffee cup or lifesaver? (Or the tale of a dog walk gone wrong)

A coffee cup like this can be really handy when a dog attacks
Every morning, I walk with Liam. I carry along a cup of coffee to help me wake up. Until this morning, that has been its only purpose.

Now, I may add "weapon" to its list of intended uses.

Today, a crazed mixed-breed dog came roaring across the street at us. This dog was quite large, probably close to 70 pounds, and he meant business. His hair was up, his tail was down, and he was nearly silent. He was in a low run, aiming right for Liam.

Even though I had only been awake for 10 minutes, I had pretty quick reflexes (if I can be forgiven for complimenting myself). I hauled Liam up by his harness and held him in my left hand. This is one of the main reasons Liam wears a harness: it makes it much, much easier to pick him up.

I pick Liam up often, especially when we're dealing with unfamiliar dogs. Why? Because, typically, a dog will stop charging when Liam is up in the air. Most dogs realize they have to deal with me at this point, and they back off.

This dog, however, was on a mission.

So on to Phase 2. I started yelling, as loud as I could, "No!" "No!" "No!" This likely doesn't make my neighbors happy, but this approach also has worked in the past. Most dogs know at least this one word.

But I again had no success. By this time, the dog was at my feet, preparing to lunge up and bite Liam while he was in my arms.

So then came the nuclear option. I threw the steel cup full of very hot coffee at this dog.

I was worried I wouldn't have good aim, but since he dog was close enough, it wasn't difficult to score a direct hit to the muzzle. When the dog had a good whack on the nose with a very hard mug, and had a mane full of steaming coffee, he stopped.

His owner came out to retrieve him, likely drawn by my yelling. I tried to talk to him about this dog, and what had happened, but I didn't make any progress. I wonder if he'll notice that his dog smells like coffee with cream.

I've said it before on this blog, and I'm sure I will say it again:  If you have a dog-aggressive dog, please keep the dog under your firm control at all times. It only takes a moment for something like this to happen. In the interim, I am considering bringing coffee on my afternoon walks as well. We may need the protection. And I may need to buy a new mug. It looks like mine is dented.