I’ll be honest. I’m not a dog person. Never have been – never will be. However, this rant, sorry I mean ‘balanced article’, is still relevant regardless of which side of the dog loving fence you sit.

So picture the scene. A quiet country lane on a pleasant spring morning. I’m 5 miles or so into one of my last long training runs before my biggest race of 2019. I see a lady with 2 dogs ahead of me. As they see me, her pets sit seemingly obediently beside her, luring me into a false sense of security, as I exchange pleasantries with their owner as I pass.

Ten seconds later I hear the sickening haggard gruff of a fast moving dog behind me. Then the barking and snapping. Oh great. The Alsatian, has decided to aggressively chase and harass me. As the dog bites my leg, my first thought is, “If this dog ruins 5 months worth of training I am literally going to kill it!”. My second thought is, “Errr, I’m not sure if I could actually kill this thing!?”

The large dog probably weighed more than me, and to be perfectly honest I think it would come out victorious in a 1-on-1 street fight. The owner, meekly calls the dog back from 50yrds away, with zero impact. 30 seconds feels like 30 minutes as I dance about attempting to defend myself. Eventually the dog becomes bored of me and trots back to the owner.

I immediately run on, wanting not only to get away from the situation quickly, but also aware I never stopped my watch and my average pace has taken a beating from this unplanned stoppage. As I checked for blood on my calf, I could vaguely hear the owner telling her dog off in the distance, “That was naughty Tiddles…”. On the plus side, with adrenaline pumping through my angry veins I smashed out the rest of my run in record time.

In short, a quick heads up from other road/path users for anyone considering letting your dogs run wild. We don’t want to ‘play’ with your animal. We don’t want to know how ‘friendly’ he is. Also, we certainly shouldn’t have to stop and walk because you cannot control your pet. The point here is, everyone has the right to jog down the road or round the park without fearing dog attack. No excuses.
And finally, thank you to the rest of you. The majority of dog walkers, who are considerate and mindful of other people. We can all enjoy this beautiful countryside together.

FYI – Don’t worry. My leg was ok. A good clean, a tetanus booster, and a sweet cup of tea sorted me out. As for the race of my life, well I’ll get back to on that in due course.

Written by Andrew Southwood (Moreton Hall Resident)