Folks, as the big dog galloped towards me with murder in its’ eyes, I recalled my father’s advice from when I was a boy: ‘Don’t show dogs you’re scared of them.’
It didn’t work back then, and it wasn’t working now.
I tried to look bored, but the mongrel wasn’t buying it. Dogs aren’t dumb, they can tell if you’re terrified, whether you’re showing it or not. Plus, I don’t care who you are, when a Bull Arab, Great Dane, pig dog, chainsaw cross is lunging towards you, well, you’re going to be a tad anxious.
In spite of channelling my inner Ice Man and outwardly appearing cool, calm and unconcerned, on the inside I was shrieking, ‘Holy Tapdancing Buddha! Look at the size of this mutt! I’m going to die because I wanted some fresh air, exercise and a newspaper!’
The footpath was devoid of weapons, and frankly, even MacGyver would have been hard-pressed to defend himself with a mobile phone, an empty wallet and a rolled-up newspaper.
As the snarling hellhound neared, I ripped out my best Wal Footrot impersonation and yelled, “Getouddaofityamangymutt!” The dog stopped dead on the spot but appeared to be sizing me up while it continued growling.
Happily, before my upper body was minced, the owner waltzed over and bought the mutt to heel; eventually. My high-pitched squeaks to keep his dog penned inside the yard in future were met with mocking laughter.
That got my hackles up.
The reason we no longer walk our small terrier in dog friendly parks, and beaches, is because of idiots like him. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to step in between our pampered little pooch and some unrestrained, free-ranging mongrel, while yelling out to Long Suffering Wife how this wouldn’t be a problem if we’d bought a psychotic Doberman.
But, last weekend our daughter and her boyfriend rescued a puppy from the RSPCA and, if I’m any judge, it’ll soon grow into a shoulder-high monster. And when it does, I’m going to let it drag me around our suburb.
We’ll see who’s scared then.