Tonight, I decided to take Lily for a bonus walk--just a little leg stretch and sniff around before we were in for the night. We scooted along happily down the street, and then we turned around and started to scoot back up the street towards home. And then, we saw them. We were right across the street from them at the same minute we saw them. Two very large American pit bull terriers--they were big and muscly...they might have been a mix, I guess--crouched down next to the garbage cans and recycling bins at the end of a driveway with a very large and very dark house. Watching us. Kinda crouched down, and swaying back and forth a little, and watching us.
Oh, shit. In the back of my mind I thought, "Oh god, I hope there's an invisible fence that I never noticed there." See? The flaws in my panicked thinking are evident now--I would be unlikely to notice an invisible fence. But, I had never even seen DOGS anywhere around that house before, so I was kinda stunned. Period.
And then the two very large American pit bull terriers started trotting across the street towards us because we were keepin' on truckin', if you know what I mean.
Double oh, shit.
See, there were two of them. One of them off a leash would not have filled me with joy. But, there were two of them off leashes with no humans zero humans except me in sight at the time and a big dark house behind them. And: I knew I was NOT supposed to be scared because dogs smell fear. And I also thought, "Geez, these dogs are probably nice friendly dogs with people, but I'm not sure how they're gonna be with another dog and particularly with Lily."
And, here's the little problem: Lily is not immediately overjoyed to meet another dog. She WANTS to meet other dogs, she YEARNS to meet other dogs, once she has met another dog for the first time, it's cool. But, something--probably getting beaten up and almost killed by other dogs when she roamed the streets of Mexico--gets in the way of her being immediately friendly on a first meeting with another dog. Lots of stuff helps--if the other dog is with a friendly human, the dog is immediately okay with Lily because she immediately loves all humans. If the dog is on its own, she can act kind of pathetically aggressive in a "small man syndrome" kind of way. And, she acts kind of aggressive while kind of hiding behind my skirts. I like to give her a pep talk with a lot of "Here's a friend" when she meets another dog. And, I like to stay calm. And I was finding it hard to use either strategy tonight.
Shit. I was scared. And, I hated myself for being scared and for not immediately knowing what to do. There are no houses on the side of the street where I was. There were no houses with lights on close by. Stuff started happening really fast.
The two dogs ran over and Lily made a small growling noise that was kind of like, "Urrr, you're a little close." And one of them whipped its head around. And, I found my deepest, loudest voice and I said, "NO. Go on home now. GO HOME. That's right. GO HOME." And, one of them walked 10 steps away and was heading across the street. And one of them started to circle behind me. And Lily sat down with her tail between her legs and her head down, pushing really hard behind my knees and trying to hide which would have made me horribly sad if I'd had time to look at her much. And then the other dog started to come back.
Headlights started coming towards us all--it was dusk, almost dark. And both of the big dogs walked into the middle of the street and stood there, staring at the oncoming car. And, I picked up Lily and I walked into the road because I didn't want the dogs to get hit and I held up my hand and pointed at the dogs in the road. And, the driver slowed to a crawl and crept past the dogs, waving gratefully at me. And suddenly I thought, "What the EFF am I doing saving the dogs? I mean, that's good, but WE need saving." By that time, the car was down the road and the dogs were coming back to us.
A truck started to come and this time, I was just effin' lucky. I was gonna stop it and ask for help (no matter how feeble that made me feel), but it stopped. It stopped, the guy got out, one dog ran away, one dog stayed in the road, and the guy said, "Holy shit. It's the dog. It's okay. It's okay. Oh, god. How did he get out?" And I think I said,"Peep." And he said, "Okay, you guys just go on home, and I'll take care of Blood-Letter" (not dog's real name...it was probably Cuddles...memory is dim and blurred). And I said, "There are two." And he said, "Oh. Izzy's out, too?" And I said, "Glarp." So, he said, "Just walk on home and I'll take care of these guys."
I started walking home, carrying Lily, and Blood-Letter (Cuddles) started following me. And, the guy called out to Blood-Letter, "Yo! Blood-Letter! Come here!" and Blood-Letter kept following me. So, the guy said, "Yo! Why don't you carry your dog toward the truck? I think Blood-Letter will follow you." So, kinda like a robot I turned around and walked back to the truck carrying Lily. And, Blood-Letter followed me. And the guy said, "Get in Blood-Letter!" And Blood-Letter did not get in the truck. So the guy said, "Why don't you and your dog get in the truck and I'll drive you home?" And I said, "Thanks" and I vaulted up into the truck, still carrying Lily.
And he said: "They don't live here. They're visiting. I don't know how they got out. This sucks. I don't have my cell phone or anything."
And I said: "Uh-huh. I live right here."
And he said: "My name is X and my girlfriend's name is X we live back there."
And I said: "Thanks for the ride. Nice to meet you. I hope the dogs are okay." And Lily seemed to be kind of glued to the seat and not thrilled about exiting the vehicle, so I leaned over and carefully scooped her up.
I feel kind of ratty that I got scared. I don't think they were evil killer dogs--if they were evil killer dogs, I wouldn't be writing this post. I'd be in the emergency room. Lily would be at the vets. But they were big, and they were together, and they were loose. And...there are dominance issues with loose dogs without their humans around. And...there was the moment that Lily went "Urrr..." and the moment that one of them snapped his head around, and the moment that Lily crushed up against the back of my legs, and the moment that one started going away and the other started circling back behind me.
I'll be over this soon. I'm kind of hoping I'll be better prepared next time, 'though. Any suggestions if this exact situation repeats itself?
To sum up: Sometimes I wish I was bigger.