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Geese in flight and dogs that bite

Cookie’s bite is worse than her bark.


She’s not big but her teeth are sharp. In fact, the wound on my leg, only 3 or 4 inches above my ankle, has festered into a deep red around the black center.


Assuming Cookie lunged at my appendage while standing flat-footed, her mouth is only about 7 inches above the ground. Which makes her a dwarf to my giant.


As you can imagine, my introduction to Cookie was less than ideal. I had just started running down my street one morning recently and soon saw a possible obstruction in my path.


Cookie’s owner was checking her mailbox while Cookie had stretched her leash across the street. I was trying to figure out how to get past them without hurdling the leash.


As the owner was absorbed in her mail, Cookie spotted me coming toward them at a — for me — rapid pace. Her high-pitched bark warned me to get back, but, like a foolish human, I kept coming.


Then Cookie began a counter-charge, moving toward me with fire in her eyes. As I attempted to feint around her, she moved in for the kill.


Before I could avoid her advance, Cookie rushed in toward my defenseless calf. I made a feeble attempt to float like Ali’s butterfly but she stung me like a bee.


By then, Cookie’s owner was aware that something warlike was happening. She pulled on the leash to retrieve her pugnacious pug. 


“I’m sorry,” she said. By then I was in retreat, throwing up my hands and thinking, “Control your dog.”


At the time, I didn’t know if Cookie had inflicted me with a bite wound or had scratched me with her claws. I saw a bit of blood on my leg but nothing to make me fear that I was bleeding out.


As I was running, it came to my mind that in my 76 years I had never been bitten by a dog. That despite being a road runner/walker since boyhood.


I’ve had my close calls. Years ago, I would run a route in the country that took me by a home with a short but aggressive dog that would run out to the road barking and flashing its teeth. I learned that before reaching that home, I should grab two handfuls of gravel to defend myself.


In more recent years, I was running in a city neighborhood when I saw a man mowing his yard with his young son in his lap and a short bulky dog trailing him. By the time I came near, the man had stopped his riding mower and gotten off.


I turned a corner and was running toward them when the dog attacked with shark-like teeth bared. I was backing up across the street, raw meat waiting to be devoured by one leap from the mongrel.


But just as I was about to fall backward and accept my fate, the dog felt satisfied that his job was done and trotted back to his master, who apologized profusely. “Well, he didn’t bite me,” I replied meekly.


Back to Cookie. Later that day I saw the two back on the street for their afternoon constitutional. I drove up in my car, rolled down the window and said, “Your dog bit me.”


Again she sought my forgiveness and said she didn’t see me until Cookie was after me. I told her I wasn’t angry, that Cookie was just defending her owner. 


But I did want some peace of mind. “Is Cookie up to date on her rabies shots?”


“Oh, yes,” she said. “The vet has her papers.”


Cookie’s owner explained that they got her during COVID when everything was closed down and didn’t have a chance for her to get used to other people. Now Cookie is intensely protective of those she’s familiar with.


I understand completely. She’s just acting out what she’s learned from circumstances.


I looked at Cookie in her owner’s arms through the safety of my car window. Beseechingly, I said, “We need to become friends.” That hasn’t stopped me from adding to her name. I now call her Cookie Monster.


Larry Penkava is a writer for Randolph Hub. Contact: 336-302-2189, larrypenkava@gmail.com.