Yesterday I took a leisurely ride in the early afternoon. I suppose I rode about five miles, over to my father’s neighborhood, then up and down the side streets north and west of my father’s house, and back to my own house—a very level route.
One one of the side streets in a very quiet part of the neighborhood, I heard a dog bark from a back yard behind a home I was about to pass, looked up and saw the dog in a fenced-in backyard, and thought, “Hmm—that fence probably isn’t tall enough to keep that dog in the yard.” I had barely completed that thought when the big, barking Great Dane easily jumped the fence and began running right at me, growling angrily all the way, his fangs bared, drooling and snarling as if I had just kidnapped his master’s toddler son. Okay, I don’t know if his fangs were bared, or if he was drooling or snarling, and I suppose it is presumptuous of me to assume that this animal was actually angry (perhaps he only wanted to greet me more formally), and I have no idea whether his owner has children. I can’t say for certain that it was a Great Dane. A big dog was chasing me.
The next few seconds are a blur to me, but I remember pedaling frantically, upshifting as rapidly as I could, with the dog keeping pace right behind me until I had gone most of the length of the block. He finally gave up the chase, and I relaxed, my pulse pounding, rapid-fire, like the dual kick drums in one of those thrash-metal bands my 17-year-old son is so fond of. As I stopped for a drink of water, I sent out a very strong thought to the dog-owner: “Sir: Your dog is four feet tall. Your fence is only four and a half feet tall. Might it be time for a trip to Clue-mart?” Next, I thanked God that I had not been bitten or otherwise injured in the process of evading the monster. After that, I decided that I would soon Google a bit to find out what other riders do about dealing with dogs.
But when all was said and done, I was actually quite proud of myself for having outrun the beast, and grateful that I was on my bike and not on foot, in which case, I feel quite certain that there would be some semi-digested portion of me in a pile of dog poo in that back yard.