The Hess Report

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Dogs of Morning 

Piper sleeps on a little doggie bed in our room. She has a favorite blanket. It's very cute. When we first got her, she would wake up when I got up for the day, which is usually pretty early. After about a week of that, though, she got used to it and began to blissfully ignore my morning routine.

Yesterday morning, I was awakened just before my alarm went off by a soft click-clicking, coming from the hallway. It took me a second, but I recognized it as Piper's claws tapping the hardwood as she trotted around the house. Unusual. Intruder alert? was my first thought, which it always is, but that was quickly dismissed. Piper would have been barking her head off. The second thought was: she has to pee. Crap. It's been dipping to the mid thirties overnight here, and while that will be welcome come the end of January, it's still a pretty chilly thought at the end of October.

I got up, grabbed her collar and leash, and threw on my coat. She was happy to see me out of bed, and zipped to the front door, wagging her tail. Once she was leashed, we went outside. Walked around a bit, and all she did was sniff the cold air. Walked across the cul-de-sac, which I hoped would induce some doggie-urination so we could get back inside. No luck. After a few minutes, I said, "Let's go girl."

As soon as we returned to our yard, I heard my neighbor's voice, calling to her dogs. They were out in her back yard, which is fenced. She has, um, a lot of dogs. Many of them large. They're all friendly to me, except Leisel. She doesn't like people all that much.

That's when I noticed that Leisel wasn't with the other dogs. She was in the front yard of the property that adjoins ours, and running straight for us. Fortunately, I had left the main door to our house open, which meant I only had to pull open the storm door to get us inside. "Piper run!" I said, and gave a yank on the leash. She had seen Leisel, though, and wasn't about to run, so I had to kind of drag her sideways. For some reason, little Miss Piper-Pants, who weighs all of seventeen pounds, thinks it's a spectacular idea to attack big dogs when she sees them. And she wanted a piece of Leisel.

Now, I'm not sure if Leisel was just eager to make friends with Piper, or to take a shot at me, or whatever. My real concern was that Piper would attack Leisel, and Leisel would grab onto Piper and turn her into Swiss cheese.

In the next instant, I got a good visualization of throwing a solid back kick and connecting. If you hit a human with a good one straight through their center of mass, you'll most likely crack some of their ribs. A dog would probably be different, because they're significantly more flexible, and a charging dog doesn't really present you with a rib target anyway. You would have to be dead on, or hit them with a crossing kick, which didn't occur to me at the time.

Of course, I didn't want to kick the neighbor's dog, because I like my neighbors as much as I don't like hurting animals, which is quite a bit in both cases. But the flash visualization was a good sign, because it's like the one you get when playing football or shooting or laying down a line in a sketch: when you see it in your head properly the instant before you do it, it usually happens just the way you pictured.

When Leisel was two yards out and charging, I gave a kind of barking shout at her. Her and Piper both yelped, and Leisel cowered and backed off for a second, giving me enough time to get inside. Whew.

Once we were deleashed and defrocked, Piper didn't seem to care or think twice about it, but my body had been ready to fight, so I was all jazzed and jittery. I freaking hate that.

So back to my original puzzlement over what woke Piper, seeing as she didn't have to pee or anything. I'm guessing that she heard Leisel running around outside and got up to investigate. Well, good for her. I've found that I sleep a little more soundly with the pooch in the house, as I'm now fairly confident that she makes a great burglar alarm. She's not big or loud enough to intimidate an intruder, but she has much better hearing than I ever will, and that would give us an extra minute or two in case of emergency. I can have the Saiga out, loaded and chambered in just under twenty seconds, so that works just fine for me.

Good doggy.

Dogs....A wonderful added demension to the human race.
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