March 09, 2003

Run, Forest!

We were taking our late afternoon puppy walk (which we really know is for the sake of the wife, but dog goes along with this charade) making the loop around the edge of the pasture. This is an easy half-mile walk that follows an old postal road (built in the 20's, still known locally as the 'New Road')up the valley and returns to the house along the creek side of the pasture. There's not 10 feet of elevation change going this way, and at our usual 3 mph pace, this 10 minute walk is generally a peaceful end to the daylight hours here.

We were about half way down the New Road when I saw two black shapes coming down off the ridge almost to the edge of the pasture. I called for Ann, who was walking behind me, to turn around and I called Buster to COME! So much a follower of his nose, there would have been many times he would not have seen them, and we could have turned him around toward the house. Not this time. He had spotted them across the pasture, and he lit full out after them.

As Buster raced toward them, on the bare slope of the ridge, I could now see: these were dogs at least our dog's size (90-100 pounds). Looked like Rottweilers, never seen them before, and if there was a fight, and if these were of a mind to, they could have done some real damage to our buddy Buster. He's still not 100% after his recent unknown condition that has left him with pelvic girdle weakness and with a painful right hind leg. Not only that, he's a pacifist dog, a Floyd home-schooled type, and doesn't believe in violence. It wouldn't have been a fair fight. I had to help!

So, the next thing I know, I find myself running out across the pasture clomping in my hightop rubber barn boots, down into the creek, up the steep slope pushing my way through the briars, calling oh-so-futilely for Buster to come back. Last I'd seen, he and one of the dogs were circling each other menacingly and then all three of them took off up the ridge out of sight. So straight up the 30 degree grade I go like a cross-country runner half my age, oblivious and full of adrenalin, not having a clue what I am going to do if confronted by two hundred pounds of Rottweiller who are attacking me and/or my dog. I didn't even have my usual hiking stick!

By the time I reached the lower logging road where I last saw the dogs running, oxygen debt had caught up with me. Buster! WHEEZE! Buster! WHEEZE! This is what is meant by suckin' wind. Should I encounter mad dogs at that moment, I would've just had to lie down and be dog food.

While I was wheezing and gasping in place, Buster appeared and he was speeding toward me, down the road, his nose to the ground. He raced past me, down the path I had just taken, back down toward the creek, following the scent of three dogs and one rubberlegged geezer in rubber boots. So, down the hill I go, back through the briars, hollering praise to Buster for coming back. "Good Boy, Buster, lets go get a treat!" This will usually turn him in his tracks from whatever he's doing.

Not this time. Just as it looked like he was going to go home with me, he turned around and headed back up the hillside again. I didn't even bother trying to follow him. The legs refused. Meanwhile, Ann had run back to the house and was now hurrying anxiously up the pasture with my .22. (Nevermind that the clip was not in it.) Buster saw her coming, and he came back down the hill, and we wobbled home together just before dark. What a relaxing way to end the day!

Haven't seen the strange black dogs since. But we may want to carry the rifle on our walks for a while... this time, also bullets. And you know, I never was sore like I expected to be. The ol' boy ain't dead yet.

Posted by fred1st at March 9, 2003 06:42 AM | TrackBack

Great story! Oh the suspense, when these canine critters of ours square off with others of their kind. I've been there. Glad everybody's okay. I think I also enjoyed the story because, at 50, I too would have been a "rubberlegged" and winded geezer, had I been in your shoes. Er, rubber boots.

Posted by: peggy at March 9, 2003 08:13 AM

Your day was WAY more eventful than mine. I'm glad everything ended well!

Posted by: ron at March 9, 2003 02:35 PM

Glad all's well! And you're an awfully good Dog Daddy to so unhesitatingly engage in all that impromptu sprinting about in the wilds in your rubber boots. Kudos to you!

Posted by: Artichoke Heart at March 9, 2003 06:11 PM

I believe I recall those boots. Pretty darn hard to run in, I imagine. Glad all is well.

Posted by: sainteros at March 9, 2003 10:03 PM

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