Mean Things Come in Small Packages
I don’t know what’s going on with the Universe right now, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the tides and the moon and waxing and waning and the frogs in the pond in front of my house because I have been attacked by not one, but two dogs in the past 5 days.
And the humiliating thing is that they’re not even dog dogs. Each was a little rat-yapper, adorable and cuddly on the outside, and vicious, maniacal, bad-ass dog wannabes on the… well… outside.
In order for you to understand my seemingly irrational fear of these 4-pound monsters with sharp, sharp teeth, I need to take you back to the summer of 2004, when Justin and I lived in our first horrible apartment together in Valdosta, Georgia. It was the kind of place where we could hear our neighbors screaming at each other in thick, southern accents through uninsulated walls, and where large, burley men named “Chops” drank beers from coolers in the back of their pickup trucks in the parking lot.
It’s important for you to know that I am not even exaggerating a little.
And Chops was actually a really nice guy. He almost always offered me a beer.
One particularly beautiful day, I decided to take a walk through the ‘hood. (In retrospect, this was not my most brilliant idea, considering we lived on the edge of exactly that — a ‘hood.) I passed a home with two adorable black and brown daschunds (those ridiculous but oh-so-cute little wiener dogs) playing in the front yard. I noticed that one was tied up and the other was not, and it occurred to me that the untied dog was probably a stray.
Now. I’m the type of person who, if I encounter a stray dog that I don’t deem dangerous, will try to “save” it and find its proper owners. So I crouched down on the sidewalk, a good 20 feet away from the stray, and extended my hand, palm-up, as an offering of peace and friendship — the human equivalent of an offered butt to sniff.
Come here, little fella. Let me see if you have a collar.
The dog’s response?
His hairs immediately stood in a straight line down his back — a line I call the line of meanness when it comes to angry dogs — a line that says, you probably shouldn’t f*ck with me right now because I have a line of meanness running straight down my back that displays my unmistakable ferocity to would-be predators.
Then he bared his teeth. A mouth full of sharp little angry alligator teeth that — I’m not going to lie — would most definitely hurt if they were to chomp down on… say may ankle, since that’s about as high as he could reach.
And then? Then he barked. Well. It wasn’t so much a bark as a yap that just wouldn’t stop, and it struck me as ridiculously hilarious that this little turd of a dog responded to my mild approach in full-on attack mode.
It was like this, except meaner. Much, much meaner.
But here’s where it gets embarrassing. The second the chuckle escaped my lips, the dog took off, headed straight for my face. Apparently, he did not find it amusing.
So, I reacted with my gut, and I ran. I ran back the direction I’d come, and that little effer chased me down the street. Once he felt I was a suitable distance away from the house, his line of meanness flattened out and he returned to his docile playmate, still tied up in the yard.
What. The. Hell.
That did not just happen. I turned around, determined to pull up my big girl panties and pass the house unscathed, but the second he sensed my approach, up went the hairs and out came the teeth, like I’d angered the Hulk or something in wiener dog form, and you know what I did?
I went down another block to pass the house.
It was an emotionally traumatic experience.
So, fast forward seven years to my latest encounter this past weekend with the yappy little mutt of my neighbor’s who, while he appears ferocious and hyper as little dogs go, is usually very licky and wiggly when you actually head over to play.
But not this time.
This time, for some inexplicable reason, he found it pertinent to latch himself to my arm using only his teeth, and let me tell you — it hurt like a sonofabitch.
I impulsively dislodged the dangling black critter’s teeth from my flesh and continued next door to complete the task I’d set out to start, which was letting my other neighbors’ dogs outside while the owners were out-of-town — much nicer and gentler dogs in the form of a German Shepherd and Chow-mix. Then I headed home to Justin’s graduation party and dulled the pain with Cabernet and Southern Comfort, though not at the same time.
The bite left a small wound and a bruise that has since turned a lovely shade of yellow and will probably leave a scar as a helpful reminder that tiny, vicious dogs are not to be trusted.
And just in case I didn’t get the message, I was walking Mara across a dam in our neighborhood yesterday, when from out of nowhere this little yapper was suddenly about 10 feet behind us and closing in quick, the line of meanness prominently standing on its deceivingly adorable and fuzzy little back.
Startled, we turned to face it head-on.
Luckily this time, I was prepared. I was prepared with a beast who had 50 pounds on this thing easy, and all Mara had to do was take one aggressive step in its direction in my defense, and it immediately pulled a 180 and ran off from whence it came.
Now I’m pretty sure I can never leave home without her.
*Disclaimer: I do NOT think all small dogs are mean. I have met plenty of friendly daschunds and other yappers who haven’t attacked me. It just so happens to be that those are the only kinds of dogs who have attacked me, hence the generalization.