There goes the neighborhood

13 July 2019


Hello Gus,

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that your magnificent Dobie is no longer on my friends list.

For the second time, I was on my bike when s/he (I forget!) came after me. The first time, an older woman my age had her on a lead, and held tight, and I squeaked past, stopped, looked back, and realized that yes, this was the not-quite-new neighbor Gus’s animal.

This evening around 8:30 I rolled by in daylight, and as I passed the duplex I heard a feminine voice yell “hey! Stop! No!” or something like it. I braced myself, and as sure as can be, yr black bullet shot past me, wheeled around and began to snap at my front wheel, then backed off barking madly.

I tried to be a good human, hopped off the machine (thank god I didn ‘t have my helmet on; dogs are TERRIFIED of people wearing them, I’ve found. Going without is an extreme rarity, owing to the TBI history my husband Charlie suffers from), and began to talk soothingly to her/m, and she approached me warily, but allowed me to pet her on the head, and scratch her ears, while I remained in my Coward Crouch, holding the handlebar.

Then yr mom (as I found out) came up with her phone in her hand, apologizing, and I said it was time to deal with the issue.

“Now?” she was surprised.
“When else?” I said. “Get on the bike and ride up the street.”
“?ME? I haven’t been on a bike in…” something something.
But she handed me her phonething and I watched with some horror as the dog attached the front wheel of the bike, biting it(!) and at that point, upon turning around the bike, with the dog barking madly and jumping up on her, she said “She’s going to knock me over”…and so, walked the bike back to me.

By this time we had two bemused walkers (neighbors?) who were looking on, while I asked if there was anything wrong with saying “NO!” or “Bad dog” or hinting that this behaviour is unacceptable to “the boss”.

Who is the boss?

Will the boss consider a muzzle?
I realize that this might disturb the wearer.
But I have already experienced riding into a parked car, avoiding a dog, and ruining my face temporarily.

I also sport a fine set of five holes in my leg from the pit bull in 2009.

So I tell people: “I just have this irrational fear of dogs…. Could you just hold him for a second while I get by?”
On the other hand what about just waiting awhile, she’ll grow out of it? It’s just a phase.
Children have been known to ride up and down Wood lane, so I ‘m sure there will be more tumult. Every year people are bitten by dogs, but mostly these events go unreported.

I had so looked forward to um… getting to know you. Now I’m getting to know your dog, and your mom.

Care to talk? Or take yr dog out for a bike ride with me along? There’s got to be a reasonable friendly solution. But I don’t want to have to stop, dig out a can of mace, and then ride carefully past your place, since I use a bike daily, 2x daily, 3xdaily, for errands.

Yrs for as long as you live on our street,


Jacquie Phelan Former vet tech, former race champion, current old lady



~ by jacquiephelan on July 14, 2019.

5 Responses to “There goes the neighborhood”

  1. Remember those compressable Silca frame pumps? The y-shaped tip of that pump used to make a great weapon for conking dogs on the head, who were nipping at my feet and tires. They never did it again, once they were crowned by that pump head.

  2. I’m so sorry that happened to you!

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to be afraid of dogs, especially when owners don’t train their animals to be obedient. I myself was bit in the face by a dog when I was a kid. I’m not afraid of all dogs, but I will exercise caution around unfamiliar ones.

    Take care of yourself and definitely defend yourself when you have to. 💕

  3. old lady, never

  4. Dobie

    I think long exposure to a the moving bike wheel at home with positive reinforcement for ignoring it (may take a while) could help, but I am no Dobie whisperer.

    I recall spraying a chaser nipping at my heels right in the face with my water bottle which was enough to break the infatuation with the chase. But a Dobie at someone’s house was biting at my feet upon approach to their front door, and snapped a shoelace, so I think they are THAT WAY perhaps more than other breeds. I do like the longhair ones, though.

  5. I think they reflect the owners, that canine instability is linked to a certain hominid fear of being exposed, I’m afraid to be honest with myself about myself, so I wear both internal and external masks. The dog sees through my self inconsistencies. All that lying in and lying out is really rooted in fear of what others will think of me, fear of what I think of myself. The dog translates fear and desperation from owner and does what dogs do in such circumstances. Attack. You can’t cure the dog when the affliction is the owner.

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