Now before I begin this rant,I will make all of my disclaimers on man’s best friend. People love their dogs, there are a lot of loving dogs, there certainly are loyal dogs especially when you look at law enforcement and see the love between master and best friend. My experience with the visually impaired has taught me the value of guide dogs. Dogs are great…………for most people…….except people like me. Don’t get mad at me. Don’t berate me. It is just that dogs in general do not like me. I thought they did until I began to realize that they really didn’t and could sense my fear and trepidation. Now you ask,” Pat- you are the outdoors guy?” “How can you not have a dog out in the woods with you while you ride, hike or snowshoe?” Seems likely that I would have a dog -right? Well let me tell you why I do not have one and it is not anything against dogs or dog owners. Ok Dave?
Years ago, I used to sneak through my neighbor’s back yard waiting to hear the panting, hot breath of Buster the boxer as I came in from the old neighborhood. If I could get the jump on him, I could stay ahead of him until I yelled for my mom at the top of my lungs,” Mom!!!!!- Open the door!!!!” My mom would open the screen door and I would dive into the kitchen and Buster would bang his head on the screen and bark until my mom told him to get lost. This was a ritual every day and the neighbors would understand but didn’t pay too much mind to control Buster until the day that a car controlled him out in front of our house on Siebert Road. Too bad for Buster but a sense of relief for the rattled kid.
Fast forward to my road riding days. I had two routes that had canine adversaries on the way. One was a rather large St. Bernard on the road to Brush Creek Park. It was a farm dog and for some strange reason, it liked to rush into the street and chase bicycle riders. It would not bite but delighted in trying to bump you off of your bike with it’s bulbous, monstrous head. This was un-nerving because a crash on a road bike is not fun especially when you are knocked sideways by a beast of a dog who was bred to rescue people? On another route, the Freedom Road route there was a very savage Doberman Pinscher. This canine predator was also a farm dog and was pretty intelligent as well as vicious. This is where I thought I tasted like chicken because he always went for my legs. The tactic for me and also told to my friends, was to charge the downhill before the farm and get a good start up the hill because the Doberman would try to head you off at the pass. I can remember time after time racing down the hill, looking for him to my left, seeing him, sprinting up a rather steep hill to try to outrun the animal. Every time it seemed he tried to cut us off higher and higher as he was getting the idea that we slowed down at the top of the hill. I had a few close encounters with him as I barely escaped his open jaws and menacing teeth. Another menacing Rottweiler always came charging at us out of a graveyard up near Mars,Pa. I often thought it was Satan coming to get us as I checked my head for the number “666.” Always got the jump on us out of the tombstones. Very eerie.
A few years ago, I was running on the local golf course when a Rottweiler came charging after me as I saw his owner in the distance. They had been walking on the course and when the dog saw me he bolted in a dead run towards the 58 year old kid. He jumped up on me as his owner was yelling. I was startled and kept saying,” Now nice dog. Lets go to your dimwitted owner and see if he can get you off of me?” He kept jumping up and barking until I got within 5 feet of his owner and then he turned and bit me on the arm. Fortunately it was winter and even though he broke skin on my arm, he had to bite through some clothing. The owner wrestled him down and when I asked about his tags, he said they are all up to date. He gave me a very muffled “Sorry man” and then took off with his beast into the distance. My wife was appalled that I didn’t get his name but I figured I was ok and proceeded to treat my wounds with peroxide and hit the shower.
When I go to a party, it is amazing how the dogs of the house sniff my crotch. WTH? Why is it always me when there are perhaps 20-50 people at a party? My wife says the dogs can sense fear and they sure can sense it in me. I go mountain biking with my friends and when we come up on some hikers walking their dogs, they always go after me. My friends all get a kick out of it and they feel safe because they know they can ride on because the dog will always go for Pat. See, I must taste like chicken. So when my wife says that we should have had a dog for my son Jack, I always state that it was a pre-nuptual agreement not to have a dog. I know that boys like dogs but I am sure that I would have been the one feeding the dog, walking the dog, and picking up the discarded cigars after the dog. Yes, my wife would have done it, my son would have done it for a while, but I would have had my fair share of droppings retrieval and walking a beast who probably would have growled at me daily in my own house.
So if you see me some time and I sheepishly reach out to pet your dog and say the obligatory,” Hi there- nice doggie, hahahahahahah.” You will know that I am nervous as hell and that maybe you should pity me and keep your dog in the garage or something. Sorry all you Facebook dog people. Nothing against dogs. They are great for most people. But when you taste good to them, you are living a life with one eye open all the time. Thanks for understanding and thanks for reading as always. “Hey mom-open the doooooooooooor” Boom!!!!!