Morally, I do not advocate kicking a dog, but sometimes you just have to.
Before you call the Pet Police, you should know that this particular German Shepherd sprang over two fences to get to me and my wards (Noah, my warm-up buddy, Libby, on roller blades, and our canine houseguest Bailey–the chocolate lab I may not give back when her owners return).
The German Shepherd bolted down the farm road towards us. I had seen this dog before, violently tugging at its leash whenever the owner walked past any moving object, and I’ve always felt sorry for the slim owner, who can hardly control the dog. The owner will literally cut across muddy fields to avoid any contact with other people–just so the dog won’t go berserk.
Meanwhile on the farm road, the shepherd rushed towards us, as if in slow motion.
Because I had recently played a game of “Worst Case Scenario” with the kids, I knew that when being chased by a wild dog, you must put something between yourself and the animal. The only things I had available were my appendages, but I was wearing gloves, so I felt brave.
I stopped in my tracks and confronted the animal by yelling and waving, while Noah & Libby took shelter behind me. There was some snarling as the dog charged at our dear Bailey, and soon, Bailey was behind me too, and I was kicking at the shepherd. Clearly, a case of self-defense.
Then I discovered something surprising: whenever I kicked the dog, it would lay down on the ground and expose its belly.
This wasn’t exactly menacing.
Whenever the dog sprang up, it began nipping at Bailey’s ears, which irritated me. Who WAS this dog to pick on sweet Bailey? It was like the shepherd was bullying one of my own children.
I took off Bailey’s heavy chain leash and whacked the shepherd on the nose with it whenever it nipped. I was also firmly giving commands in German the entire time, until my throat was raw. Either the dog couldn’t recognize the command through my thick American accent, or it had not been trained at all.
I tend to think from the glazed look in its eyes that it’s NOT been to obedience school.
At one point, I yelled ‘down’ and both Bailey and the shepherd dropped to the ground, paw to paw, and stared at me.
I clipped Bailey’s leash on the wild and decidedly Un-German Shepherd and had Noah & Libby bring Bailey back home, though the sweet girl didn’t want to leave me.
Thus, if you had looked out your window last Sunday, you would have seen me tugging, yelling, kicking, and pelting a crazed Schäferhund through the village. Because naturally, there was no way to get from the lane behind the garden (with the pitifully short fence) to the front of the house without cutting down a side alley and traipsing up the Dorfstrasse.
Did I mention I was wearing my running tights, skirt with the awesome reflective logo and purple shirt? I wasn’t exactly blending in with the local populace.
Using my terrible German, I explained to a rather confused old lady that the dog jumped the fence in the garden. I didn’t know the word for ‘kick’ or ‘hit it with a chain,’ so I just left those parts out. The lady buzzed upstairs, and some guy in a soccer shirt took the dog and put it in a kennel, which rather resembled a jail cell.
No wonder the dog was crazed.
You should know, I never kicked the dog hard enough to make it yelp or to break anything–it was a warning kick, letting it know who was Alpha, because I will defend those I love–including labradors.
This morning, Bailey and I ran down the muddy, puddly road and past the garden, where, to my delight, a seven-foot wire fence had been erected.
But I feel badly for the shepherd. Clearly, she needs a lot of exercise and a lot of discipline. Because she DID ultimately submit, and since she wasn’t actually piercing our jugulars, I think she has the potential to be a good, fun dog. I guess I’m a sucker for dogs who enjoy running!
Because Bailey has been trained to come back when I call, she can explore off-leash as we run through the countryside together. Running with her is a joy because I know she’ll obey me. And the more a dog obeys, the more freedom it can have.
This is a good analogy for us all. Exercise and discipline are things that allow us to ENJOY life better. Otherwise, we’re constantly pulling at the leash, dealing poorly with the stressful situations that make up our daily lives.
Stress, as my sage husband says, is a reaction.
The German Shepherd could attest to that.
Which is why, you will find me running through rain, mud or snow. It’s not because I’m great, it’s because without it, I would feel constrained and stressed, which is not how I want to live.
It’s not how anyone should live.
And now, I’m trying to persuade my husband that a Chocolate Lab would be the perfect Christmas gift. I’d love a running buddy, now that I have time to train one;)
(Was that a subtle enough hint, honey?)