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an interesting walk.

August 24, 2014

I went for a walk through various nearby neighborhoods last evening. That in itself is not unusual. But two odd things happened.

Early into my walk, as I was headed down the sidewalk of the street I live on, I saw two Mormon missionaries on their bikes, a little ways off, but coming toward me. One of them was on the sidewalk.

I thought to myself.. I am not going to be forced off the sidewalk by this guy. I am going to continue walking forward. I’m going to back him off. It helps that I am a guy who is 6’3″, and weighs over 220. I’m obviously somewhat out of shape, but still, I’m big. Plus I have a completely bald head and a slightly unkempt goatee, and can look severe.

Shortly after I was thinking to myself about how I was going to stay on the sidewalk, and make the guy move if I had to, especially since there were no cars passing by that had forced the guy onto the sidewalk, and that bicycles are not allowed on the sidewalk.. right after I was thinking these things, the second Mormon missionary rode his bike up on the sidewalk too.

Then something interesting happened. A few seconds after the second missionary drove up onto the sidewalk, he slammed into a mailbox. Here in Boise, mailboxes are mounted on sidewalks, and even pedestrians have to be careful not to walk into them.

The missionary hit the mail box hard, and fell off his bike. He wasn’t seriously injured, but I felt vindicated.

I don’t pick fights, and I don’t start trouble, so I did not say, “Well stupid, now you know why you aren’t supposed to ride bikes on the sidewalk.”

Instead, as I walked past them.. I had to walk on the street now, since the guy’s bike was on the sidewalk.. I said.. yeah, those mailboxes are easy for people to walk into. Even worse if you are trying to ride your bike on the sidewalk.” And I didn’t say it in a mean voice. But I sure did not smile or look friendly as I said that. I didn’t look angry, just kept my face blank, and walked on.

Second thing happened about an hour later.

I was walking through a rougher neighborhood.. not a dangerous one really, just more run down in parts than some other neighborhoods nearby, and I noticed a block away there were two dogs loose in the street. They were acting aggressively toward the cars that were halted in behind them. Instead of walking out of the street, away from the cars, the medium size dog, and the tiny dog following its lead, stood in front of the cars and barked. This went on for several minutes. Then the dogs walked onto the sidewalk.

I could have altered my walking route so as to decrease the chance of any confrontation with the dogs. But..

I read somewhere that the best way, and maybe the only way to keep a dog from attacking is to make one’s self as big and loud and scary as possible. Raise up one’s arms in a threatening pose, yell, growl very loudly, etc. I’ve been curious to see if this really works.

So, I walked forward. Part of me thought.. eh.. like most dogs that get out, these dogs will just happily walk down the sidewalk, sniffing around in most yards, paying me no mind. But the other part of me said.. these dogs are going to be a problem. I’m going to try this trick if I have to.

Sure enough, the dogs came at me.. not at full speed, but enough to be menacing. I was not worried about the fat chihuauha (I can never remember how to spell that name).. those dogs can only do damage to ankles, unless one is stupid enough to try and pet such a dog. One of the absolute worst dog breeds.

The other dog though.. could definitely take a chunk out of my leg. Not that big a mutt, but big enough, and aggressive.

It came at me slowly and barked at me a lot.

I raised my arms and growled and snarled as loud as I could. I stared the dog down. I yelled, “bad dog” and “go home,” at the top of my voice.

I scared it off a bit, then it tried to circle around and get at me from the side. So I had to circle around too, and keep up my act.

It worked.

Was I scared while I was doing this? Yes, but I was angry too. I’m not at all an adrenaline junky, quite the opposite, but I found the situation exciting as well as scary. And I really wanted to dominate that dog.

I scared it off sufficiently that it ran far enough away that I wasn’t really worried about it. After it got far enough away to suit me, it turned around to face me and bark some more. It had to have the last word.

But I’d already won. The little dog, clearly noticing that I’d successfully scared off the bigger dog, followed the big dog as it headed away from me.

I turned my back on the dogs, and walked slowly away, but listened very closely to make sure I would hear quick little feet headed my way if they came at me again. I figured I might have to repeat my act. But I didn’t.

I walked home feeling victorious, somewhat shaken and surreal, and also lucky. I’m glad it wasn’t a full-blood pit bull, rottwelier or German shepherd that I was dealing with. This dog was bad enough.

I really felt in an odd mood the rest of the way home.

This scaring dogs trick.. I can’t guarantee if it will work for you, but it could be the only thing that might work.

If you run, that kicks in the dog’s instinct to chase. Backing away slowly and not making eye contact.. that might work, but it shows submissiveness, weakness.. this might be a good idea, or a really bad idea.

Yes, it was risky and stupid for me to try this trick on a potentially dangerous dog. Things could have gone differently, and I could have found myself now sitting here at home with some serious injuries, and one or both of my legs in stitches and bandages.

Moral of the story.. if you see a loose dog, and it is far enough away, and hasn’t spotted you, alter your route. If you can’t alter your route.. this trick might not work for you, but maybe it will. Think on it.

Hopefully in the future those idiot Mormons on bicycles in my neighborhood will avoid riding on the sidewalk unless absolutely necessary. I’ve previously seen other MOPS.. (what my brother calls them.. Mormons On Patrol) riding on narrow sidewalks right next to wide and empty streets. No reason for this.

…And hopefully I will be smart enough to alter my walking route, instead of putting myself in the path of aggressive dogs.

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