I know it is not a good idea to protest too much, but I must protest that I am an avowed dog lover. I have an obsessive love of dogs that borders on mania. When I was in primary school, aged about 10, the teacher lightly scolded me because I was drawing pictures of dogs too much.

Well, this week, I met a dog that didn't return my affections. He seemed eager to taste my blood. I had gone to a neighborhood for the sake of taking a long walk to unwind after a few days where my nerves had been taxed. Tis a leafy estate with many trees surrounding the houses. People come to walk their dogs there, as it has the feeling of a private park, and I usually enjoy pleasant interactions with pampered pooches. 

This day I'd been walking for quite some time, and I had taken delight in the spring blossoms, the blue, orange and violet buds that were bursting forth like natures fireworks.

Suddenly, behind me, I heard a skirmish of paws frantically scraping the ground and through an involuntary reaction, I turned and saw a dog with teeth completely bared.  He charged right at me. His enormous jaws were yawning, a land shark to be sure. He looked like "Taz", the cartoon character of a Tasmanian devil, but seemed to be a pit-bull mix. I screamed, ran for my life, and thought about climbing a tree. 

I ran to a tree and started running around it, with the dog in hot pursuit. I put the tree between me and this hound, and tried to lurch in the opposite direction to him. It was quite a dance; me on one side of the tree and he on the other. He was extremely overweight and looked desperate for exercise. So he jumped slower than I.

Then a harassed dog owner came upon us. Clearly the dog had gotten off his leash or "lead" to use British English, and the downtrodden owner was struggling to get her land shark back. He wouldn't obey her loud commands, and she was staying a bit back from the jig I was doing to avoid him. Suddenly I thought to pray, "IN THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS, DRIVE THIS DOG AWAY FROM ME, IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION TO ME."

The beleaguered owner heard me cry out, "JESUS, JESUS", and saw their dog - instantly - give up his hunt for a chunk of my skin, while he turned and scampered away from me. She gave me a pained look, and ran after him, calling at him to come back, but he was not going to heed her for a minute. I saw her chase him way off in the distance. I had a very peaceful, relieved feeling, the balm of grace poured over me, and I thought that this was surely an occasion when a dog, a dumb beast, did not obey a human, but obeyed when Holy Name of Jesus was invoked so that he might be redirected from attacking me.

* * *
Classic Painting of girl with dog by John Singer Sargent. 


  1. Mary, also say a prayer for the owner. Sometimes the negative characteristics of dogs, regardless of the breed, are accentuated by lousy owners.

    I am glad you are safe. I had two feral pit bulls comes after my son and I spring of last year. I stuck him up in a tree, put on my tree cutting helmet, took out my serrated pruning saw and adopted the pose of a Roman Legionnaire, the left arm being offered as the shield. I stood my ground in the shadow of a tree, knowing that if I panicked they would take me down and kill me. The dogs sensed I was willing to fight and backed off. Truthfully, I think my guardian angel and my son's played a role in chasing them off, as the female suddenly yipped, turn and fled, after which the male followed.

    I grew up with dogs that I hunted with, played with, explored with, etc. I have run into more unfriendly dogs in the last 20 years than I ran into in the first 30. I think it represents the state of our world.

    1. Dear James,

      You are so right that prayer needs to be offered for the owner.

      I agree wholly with you that dogs have taken a more vile demeanor as they reflect society.

      Dogs are like the true Dorian Gray portrait of their owner; the owner hides their true personality behind a facade, but the dog becomes an expression of the owner's worst attributes.

      I'm so glad you shared your story with us here in the comments. While it was a very serious incident, I had to laugh at you being like a Roman Legionnaire. You and your son's Guardian Angels were protecting you, too, and this prompts me to pray to mine more.

      God bless you and yours

  2. I had a frightening experience with a loose dog about a month ago. About sundown, I was playing ball games with my young grandchildren in their front yard when a dog approached, baring his teeth and growling at the oldest, an 11 year old. He wasn't too afraid but tried to frighten him away. Fortunately, the owners, who were driving around the neighborhood searching for this dog. arrived and the situation ended after about 5 minutes. But my reaction was a bit panicky, and so the situation was probably made worse by that. I realized it by the way they explained it to their parents later. I will remember to pray if I get in that situation again!
    I'm glad your prayer averted a bite!

    1. Dear Mary Kay,

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I think it was natural for you to be panicky, although you say in your humility that it may have made things worse. I think the flight or fight response can be hard to prevent in oneself; the body starts producing adrenaline. You are wise to prepare to pray if you are in a situation like that again. God bless you and your grandchildren.


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