You know, some days seem harder than others. Walking in faith is a concept that I like to believe I hold, but all too often even the simplest things can throw me off the path. Sometimes it’s my own stupid fear, other times it’s a curious German Shepherd who wants to say hello..or…Grrr… I’ll share a story…
Most evenings, weather permitting, I take a walk in my neighborhood with my dog Sumo. He’s a Shiba Inu, 35 lbs or so, looks like a fox. I’ve come to learn it’s HIS walk, not mine and I’m just along for the ride. He knows every house and where every dog lives on the path. He knows which ones are tied out on lines, which ones are behind fences. As we approach each house that has dog interaction potential, he eagerly does this obnoxious loud breathing so they can hear him just in case they are around.
Now the funny thing is, he’s the most gentle dog off the leash. But, when he’s on the leash he is more aggressive. My guess is it is because when he was a puppy, he got attached by a pitbull when we were on of our walks. The dog charged us from his yard, crossing the street to reach us. At first I thought the dog was going to be nice until it growled meanly, jumped on him and grabbed him by the neck. I kicked the dog away from him, his owner yelling in tow but a few minutes too late. Everything ended up fine, but I think it marked my dog’s memory and he’s on guard now when walking on a leash. Off leash he’s a different dog. And, I’ve tested this theory a few times letting other dogs approach. It always ends with me stressed out, pulling him away from the other dog and wishing people would keep track of their dogs. Granted, we are walking by their yards, and they are just doing their job. I get that. But the street I walk on is somewhat busy with surprise curves and when the dogs are loose there is a chance they will get hit. I’ve lost two beautiful German Shepherds to this street already, and I don’t let Sumo roam free for the most part.
So, fast forward, I’m on another walk. And I get to the top of the hill which is the turnaround point. It’s a perfect night – because ALL of the dogs were not out. Of course, Sumo is disappointed, but I’m not! So we turn around, start walking home, down the long hill making good time. Sun is setting, there’s a cool breeze in my face. As I approach a couple of houses where dogs live side by side… I hear the owner yelling….”PEEEER….CEEEY….PEEEER…..CEEEY”…
Oh crap, I think. That’s that damn German Shepherd. Crap crap crap…. So I slow down, cause I haven’t hit the corner where the dog could see me. We haven’t met Percy up close yet, just from a distance. But I can hear the owner calling his dog. Gee whiz…it was a NICE walk up until that point. So I stop in my tracks. I’m not sure what to do. I have to walk by this yard to get home. I’m nervous because I don’t want to be stressed out with an angry dog interaction. But I can’t just wait this out.
“You’re being ridiculous” I said to myself. Just walk and work it out. “Oh Kay”… I walk onward. Then I look up and there’s freaking Percy. Shit shit shit… And he’s looking at us, from across the street, out of his yard and in his neighbor’s yard right on the edge of the street. So, I stop walking, pull Sumo to my right side away from the dog (of course he’s pulling hard to get to the dog – wheezing like crazy cause I adjusted his collar to be tight under his chin for best control) and yell “GIT” in my deepest voice several times. He just kept looking at me, making small advances toward us… Meanwhile back on the porch the owner is yelling “PEEEERCEEEY GET OVA HERE…COME….COME RIGHT NOW.” Clearly Percy doesn’t give a f—.
Now, I’m trying to maintain some semblance of control and not project fear which I know Percy senses. So Percy advances even closer and starts to cross the street. I yell and take a few aggressive steps toward him with a NOOOOO..GIT. He stops and turns back a little. Huh, I think. Meanwhile, in my head I’m praying “Ok Angels, I need you here, help me get this dog to retreat… I don’t want to see him get hit” because cars were coming up the road on his side. I have an affinity for Sheps, we raised several litters years ago. Last thing I want to see is a dog get hit in front of me, it’s heartbreaking.
So I decide “F— It” in my head – now I’m pissed off. The owner clearly is not in command of his dog. I’m in command of mine even though he wants to check this dog out more than life itself. I just wanted to take a stupid walk… So I just start walking angrily…Percy starts to come back at me…and then I give one last aggressive GIT – GO HOME while walking – and then, as if a magic wand was waved (or some big scary monster behind me), the dog did a double-take, turned and started jogging home. I did get a second look and pause, but he then he jogged home to the porch to his owner.
The owner gives me a big wave, shouts an apology… I say thanks and walk on. And yes, I did mutter a few choice words under my breath.
PHEW….interaction avoided. What just happened I thought? Now that the moment has passed, I feel my nerves jumping around.
As I finished out the walk, I was thinking about what made Percy turn away all of sudden. Was it me? Did my Angels step in and help? I suspect so. Be even beyond that, I think it was a walk of faith. In stepping out of my fear, I walked into the solution I needed.
How often do we do that – not step out due to fear? It could be big or small. Stepping out is the key. No matter what the outward appearances are. Who are the German Shepherds in your life?