Saturday was a gorgeous day. The sun was out, the temperature had climbed into the low sixties, there was a nice breeze in the air and the humidity was the lowest it’s been in months. So of course, Dave and I had the same idea as everyone else: go outside. And since Buddy had just recently become blissfully cone-free we were eager to let him run and romp in reward for the weeks of discomfort he’d braved. So we put on the leash, packed up his ball, treats and water, and walked to the park.
It was deceptively empty when we got there. It usually is. So we let him off the leash and let him run. For a few minutes, it was heaven. Him running his little heart out, his little ears flapping in the wind, that look of unadulterated joy on his furry little face. Lovely.
But then (of course) some kids showed up on the play ground. Which wasn’t that big of a deal since we could just move further out into the field. So we did, and we continued our game of fetch.
But then a guy showed up with his two dogs and we got wary. They were normal sized dogs, technically. But a normal sized dog is still a giant in comparison to Buddy so we always have to be careful.
But at first it seemed like he was just going to walk them through without actually coming into the park. So we just kept an eye on them and threw the ball a little closer.
But then he let one of the dogs off the leash. Again, at first it seemed like it might be ok since the dog was staying within a few feet of him. Some people train their dogs well so there’s less cause for concern. This dog was not well trained.
I was just bending down to put Buddy’s leash on as a precaution when I heard Dave yell out a surprised “Hey!” I looked up and there was a split second of seeing this dog (which seemed like a Husky mix of some kind) barreling towards me as fast as its rather sizable legs could carry it before Dave’s leg blocked my view. He threw it out linebacker-style in an attempt to deflect the dog from getting to Buddy. I instinctively grabbed him up in my arms.
He let out a loud yelp and in the confusion I didn’t know if it was from me grabbing him or the dog hitting him because a fraction of a second later the dog had bounced off of Dave’s leg and hit me in my back as I turned. I didn’t think about it, the only thing in my brain was “get Buddy in arms and up off ground NOW!”
That might have been the end of the crisis except that this dog (who we learned was named Max when his owner called him and he totally ignored it) was a very good jumper. So he jumped. And I turned, to keep Buddy away. Then he jumped again, and I turned again. And so it continued- Max jumping wildly, me twisting and turning like a ball carrier trying to evade a tackle. He was impacting pretty hard each time he jumped at me. Buddy’s leash was dragging on the ground, getting tangled in my feet. Dave was desperately trying to get a hold of Max and failing as he jumped and got on the other side of me.
Max’s owner, apparently in disbelief that his dog could possibly do any harm to my tiny bundle, kept calling out “He’s friendly!” As if that meant that Max- who was at least 20 times the size of Buddy, at an extremely conservative estimate- wouldn’t hurt him by accident. He’s tiny, as I’ve said many times. Not to mention that he just had major surgery. Needless to say, friendly didn’t mean jack to us at that moment.
So I started booking it to the other side of the park. I didn’t look back to see if Max was chasing us, I didn’t try to explain to his owner that I really didn’t mean to be rude, I just ran. When I heard the din die down I looked back and saw that the man (who was looking rather bewildered at the whole thing) had finally gotten a hold of Max and Dave was walking after me.
As my heart started to slow I remembered that I’d heard Buddy yelp so I checked him to make sure he was ok. I pulled on his legs, checked his face and undercarriage. He acted normal so I started to breathe again. I didn’t put him down and let him walk on his own again until we’d left Max safely on the other side of the block.