Release the Hounds


It has been well-documented by now (by me) that leaving my house is an accomplishment that is my equivalent to the moon landing. Any minor annoyance, problem or pitfall is like an atomic bomb blast to the mind.  My brain is choked by mushroom clouds. Today, my pitfall was a four-legged kind – or should I say a forty-legged kind – because it seemed like every dog in a four block area was after me.

Let me preface this by saying that I am an animal lover; and on most days the feeling is reciprocated. Dogs usually don’t bark at me.  It’s just the opposite: they come up to me seeking affection or start following me around. This may be because I like to keep baloney in my pants, but I can’t be sure.

So, what happened today?

Beats me.  I have no idea.  All I know is the minute I set foot out my front door, a dog alarm went off.  The hounds were after me.

Angry Dog 5

Stay Calm.

I tried to stay calm. After all, it was only some barking in the distance. I zipped up my jacket (as if a thin layer of material would stop advancing pointy teeth,) pressed my earbuds deeper into my auditory canal and blasted my music to drown them out. That didn’t work.  That only made me paranoid because I no longer could tell from which way the barks were coming.  What if they were right behind me?  What if they were at my heels?

Dog Bite 1

Take Action.

There was no way that I was going to give in to my fear – even if this time it was real. I turned the volume of my ipod down because the Ramones were making my ears bleed. Again, I could hear the barking. I forged ahead, taking long, steady strides that I hoped would look confident and forceful, and would keep any potential attackers away. I don’t know if worked or not; but I did hear a guy laughing at me from inside his house. Apparently, my long, confident steps make me look goofy; so I slowed down to a more human-like pace.

Angry Dog 1          Angry Dog 4

Rounding one corner, I saw Diablo.  I knew him by reputation.  He was always kept penned up. You didn’t wander into his yard. People have disappeared there. Next I saw Fang. He was on his chain.  I breathed a sigh of relief as my anxiety was reaching critical mass.

Drop the Bomb.

And then it happened – about a block from home. The door to a house swung open wide and an angry, white dog burst forth, dragging its tiny owner with him.

Angry Dog 3

“Stop!” she yelled, but the dog wouldn’t stop. It’s mouth was open.  It’s teeth were glistening in the morning sun and headed in my direction. I quickened my pace as the owner struggled to keep the dog from turning me into brunch. I sped up, telling myself to visualize nice, friendly dogs and that would calm me down.

Lassie? Scooby Do?  No – all I could think of was Cujo.  I started into a slow jog.

Finally, the owner hit a tree, and she was able to wrap the way-too-long leash around it. Seeing this I stopped, just as four Pomeranians in the house at my corner started yipping and trying to leap over their fence. Again I picked up my pace.

I got away.

A crescendo of barks echoed across town, as if they were scheduling a secret dog meeting later that evening to plan their covert attack when I am asleep. I made it home in one piece, though today’s walk did elevate my heart rate more than usual.

Do I still love dogs?  Yes.  But I will tell you one thing: tonight I will be making quadruply-sure that all the doors and widows of my house are locked tight, and I leave all the baloney outside.


About Joe

Freelance designer and writer whose goal is to help others by writing about my experiences with fear and anxiety (agoraphobia), health struggles (cancer) and my wonderfully-happy life as a husband and stay-at-home dad. I want to empower everyone to have a happy life.

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