A couple of weeks ago, I was going out to my garage-parked car with my briefcase, a cup of coffee and our American foxhound mix Lucy, who was on a leash. I bring her to my daughter's house most mornings where she gets to play with her dog.
As is my normal routine, prior to putting her in the car, I opened the garage door leading to our alley and before I knew what had happened my dog bolted out of my grasp and was in an all-out fight with a pit bull who was also leashed and walking with its owner down our alley. I found out that the dog's owner is not a resident of our immediate neighborhood.
Before I knew it, I had dropped everything I had and found my adrenaline-charged self prying my dog out of the jaws of the pit bull. The short version of the story is that my dog survived, but not without a trip to the vet, numerous scratches and lots of pain. With the help of her loving family and some antibiotics she will be fine. The incident was disturbing in many ways, most of which became clear to me after it was over.
My dog does not have an aggressive personality. However, like most dogs, she will go into protective mode if threatened and a growling pit bull a couple of feet from the apron of our garage constituted a major threat to her and me. She reacted as most dogs would, probably even protecting me over her, and I feel very lucky that neither one of us were hurt more seriously.
In hindsight it would be easy to say I reacted foolishly, but I am sure I acted like many of us would. I was so startled that when adrenaline took over I pulled my dog away with my hands inches from the pit bull's mouth. The reaction of the owner of the other dog was to shriek at the top of her lungs.
I feel strongly that the woman walking this dog had no business in our alley. Use the sidewalk. If you have a dog that is potentially dangerous, put a muzzle on it. Alleys are an extension of our yards. There are no sidewalks there. Respect the fact that we, as homeowners, should be entitled to a bit of privacy. I don't want to have to worry every time I open my garage door that I have to brace myself for the "surprise" that might be out there. I don't want anyone in our alley for any reason unless they belong there. Especially someone with a potentially dangerous dog. I don't linger in your alley ... please don't linger in mine.