Sunday, October 5, 2008

Frightening Moment on the Trail

Let me me start this post off by saying one thing: I love animals, and I love dogs. I like to run with them, wrestle them and play with them at any time. Unfortunately a dog was at the center of one scary trail incident this afternoon.

For days, I had been looking forward to this run. My schedule had been built all around it. I even did some studying on a Saturday night just to spend some significant trail time up at Tilden Regional Park this morning. Tilden has a maze of trails and I'm still getting my bearings doing many exploratory runs with a map close by at all times.

About 20 minutes in, I passed by a picnic area with a young couple laying on the ground with what appeared to be a bull Now, bull terriers are so-called fighting dogs and with the wrong owners can be quite dangerous to humans, in particular children. It's up to the owner to raise these dogs carefully and with lots of attention.

So, I'm trying to run by as the dog all of the sudden decides to charge me. Teeth showing, saliva coming out of his mouth, it's running towards me fast. I decide to stop and stand my ground. What was frightening wasn't the dog as much as the owners who looked terrified and just froze. The dog reached me and I could feel his wet mouth brush up against my leg.

Thank goodness, it didn't bite. You could see the sense of relief on the faces of the young couple. One of them came over and removed the dog from my general vicinity. They apologized profusely, and I could tell that they were still in a bit of a shock.

I've had dozens if not hundreds of dogs run towards me or bark at me while out running. They have barked, tried to play and do all sorts of things. But this was different. The wrong dog in a wrong owners' hands can be a dangerous thing. I got lucky.


Peter Lubbers said...

Glad it turned out OK. I think you did the right thing by not running away.
Take care,

Scott Dunlap said...

Yes, never run! That means you're lunch. Glad you just got gummed. ;-)

Be sure to ask Bev Abbs about dogs next time you see her. She got seven stitches trying to outrun a mutt in Costa Rica (she went on to win, natch).


Jean Pommier said...

Ouch! Yes, like Scott rightly said, that reminded me the fear when approaching villages in Costa Rica.

But actually, my worst story happened in a public park in Paris. While running, I crossed a skinhead with his pitbull and I thought he had him on leash. A few seconds later, I felt the two paws of the dog pushing my back and, thank God, this made me bend forward so the dog only grabbed the top of my t-shirt near the neck. The t-shirt had holes in it and I had a sweat shirt on top of it! I screamed and sprinted away, really scared. And really upset against the guy, but I decided to escape rather than confronting him. And his dog, knowing pitbulls may be more dangerous than an arm...

Now, that may be the reason I don't really want to see a bear on the trails (never saw one yet, just the RDL award! ;-).

Take care,

Farther Faster

John Tackett said...

Based on your descrption of the event, sounds like you are in the East bay area of San Francisco. I grew up in Oakland and would explore in Joaquin Miller park as well as Tilden. Beautiful area and great view of the bay, especially when the fog starts to roll into the Golden Gate. Now live in Atlanta, but I miss the bay area. Will be in Sacramento in December for the California International Marathon.

John Tackett
Peachtree Tri Club, Atlanta

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

crap, one of my fears is that I'll be hiking with my kids and one of them gets mauled by a pit bull.

i see maybe 1-2x / year someone mauled by a pit bull, but not bad enough that they had to go to the trauma center. sometimes I suspect they're into fighting them.