Sunday, October 09, 2011
Not much on any import, obviously. But I now have a few potential lessons learned.
I did my daily bootcamp exercises - 1 from the 28 day bootcamp workout series and 1 from the New You bootcamp workout series - and did a 4 Mile Walk Away the Pounds Express walk from my Leslie Sansone DVD collection. As I often do after a long workout, I headed outside to do a couple turns around the house to cool off a bit. Only I didn't just walk up and down the driveway a couple times, I headed up the driveway, just as I was, in leggings and a T-shirt drenched in sweat and just kept walking. At first I didn't notice that it was really cold out. I was still hot from the workout. By the time I had gotten far enough around the route I had picked to realize, it was further to go back than to go on. So I went on, getting colder and colder despite picking up the pace more and more. As I got home I saw the thermometer on the house read about 45 degrees F and it was doing that heavy mist thing we get here in the Pacific Northwest on autumn mornings, making it even colder feeling. I was so chilled that the hot shower didn't even seem to be enough to warm me up. I'm feeling better now, but it took a while, several layers of clothes and a hot drink.
Lesson learned - no matter how warm I think I am, I should grab a jacket on the way out if I'm going to leave the driveway, even if that means going back in to get it. Just consider that a few more steps on the step meter and a bit of prevention. I can always wrap the jacket around my waist if I'm still too hot.
Part 2: I decided to go back out this afternoon for another walk, this time off to the library to drop off some books. The Interurban Trail runs near my house and goes most of the way to the library. At the point where I get onto the Trial I saw a family coming up toward me and an unleashed dog trotting ahead of them. I figured it was their dog and didn't really look on it as a problem. A lot of people walk with their dogs unleashed. As the dog passed by me it sort of sniffed at me, then it went on, then turned around right at the junction point and just watched me walk away. I didn't think any more of it until I had done my errand and come back.
As I neared the junction there was a group of boys hanging out there on bicycles and skate boards. They moved off down the trail towards me as I neared that point. The last one of them was being followed by the dog I had seen before. One of the boys yelled back to that last one "Look out! A pit bull is following you!" and I realized that the dog was indeed a pit bull. I'm not one of the "all pit bulls are evil" believers, and he didn't seem to be chasing the boy. He was just sort of following along behind him meandering with a little curiosity just like when i first saw him. I figured the dog and I would just pass each other like before and that would be that.
As I came up toward the junction point the dog suddenly started to growl and bark. I stopped right where I was and tried not to display any fear. I talked quietly and calmly to the dog. He got nearer and nearer, still growling and barking. He wasn't entirely aggressive, it was more like he was trying to tell me something VERY important and this was the only way he knew how to do it. I never did figure it out, though. At one point he started to back off and I slowly moved forward. He rushed forward at me again, but didn't try to bite. He just kept barking and growling. All this while, a lady with a large rottweiler on a leash and a young child on bike and another young one in a wagon were coming up the trail towards the junction from the other side. "My" dog was suddenly distracted by the other dog and I was able to move away towards the junction with the street. I warned her that the dog had been scaring me and I could tell she wasn't sure how to respond either as she didn't know how the two dogs would interact. Just then, thankfully, an older kid on a bike came up the street with another unleashed dog that joyfully started frisking around "my" dog. The boy tried to herd both dogs away. He said it wasn't his dog but he knew it and who it belonged to. The poor lady had sent her little boy on the bike off down the street away from the scene, but was having trouble coping with both the wagon with her other child and the Rottweiler at the same time. The Rottweiler kept trying to jump at the other two dogs and she was having to keep it on a very short leash. I took the wagon handle so she could concentrate on her dog and we both moved away as quickly as we could without appearing to rush or run. A block further on I gave her back the wagon and we parted without any further issues.
I was definitely sweating when I got back from that walk, but it wasn't from the exertion. I've never been in that situation before or felt nervous about any dog I've encountered on that street or on the trail before, except when I've been walking my Aunt's Japanese Chin, At those times I head in a different direction if I spot ANY unleashed dog, no matter what size, because I don't want trouble. In this case, though, I was as nervous for the other lady and her kids as I was for myself. It was just one of those situations that could have very quickly gotten nasty.
Lesson learned - actually carry that pepper spray I keep in my tote bag for emergencies and maybe the airhorn as well. I stopped carrying the pepper spray in my purse when my work took me into courthouses on a regular basis - I didn't want to forget it was there and have it found while going through security. I've never even really thought to carry it with me when I'm walking. But, next time it could BE a truly aggressive dog or an aggressive person and I need to remember that and not just trust to luck.
I guess I got off with warnings this time. I'll pay attention to them and be more careful of both my health and my safety in future.