Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dog Day Afternoon

My first night in the new place, Biz-Z asked me if I was going to be around the next day to let the pest control guy in since ol' Biz would be working his first 24 hour shift at the fire dept. I said sure because (a) I'm always happy to help out and (b) I have no life. So, the next evening the pest control guy shows up around 6:30 or so, and I let him in to spray a bit in the house. He then asks me if the gate to the back yard is open and if we had a dog back there. I started to tell him that no, there was no dog here, but then I realized: I honestly didn't know. Thinking better safe than sorry, I told him "I'm not sure, I just moved in, let me go check."

I'm sure that sounds a little strange; I mean, how could I move into a place and not know they had a dog? Well, when I was first getting ready to move in The Anti-Cap'n and Biz-Z both made a big deal about the cat but never mentioned a dog, which lead me to think that the cat was the only pet on the premises. However, the cat was a big deal because it was an inside animal, whereas an outside dog might not have crossed their minds; plus, the barking I had chalked up to being a neighbors dog had sounded awfully close . . . So, while the pest guy goes back to his truck to get some gear, I looked for the gate to the back yard fence, slowly opened it, and thus had my first encounter with Sam.

Of course, I didn't find out his name was Sam until later; at the time, all I knew him as was "unfamiliar dog in my backyard." And as you might remember from my recounting of my encounter with Lucky/Charley/Killer, I have some issues when it comes to unfamiliar dogs, what with having my head ripped open by a German Shepherd when I was 4 and all. So opening up the gate and finding a strange dog staring back at me: not exactly my ideal situation. Still, I knew the pest control guy needed to get back there eventually, so I decided to test the waters. Closing the gate (which was being held shut by a stack of bricks due to latch issues), I went back into the house and approached Sam via the back door, cracking it open just a bit and sticking my hand out for him to sniff. Once my hand wasn't immediately snatched from my wrist I eased myself outside and began to let him get acquainted with me. Despite some nervousness on my part (which I was sure he could sense, which of course made me even more nervous), Sam seemed friendly enough . . . until the pest control guy came through the gate.

At that point, friendly Sam turned into psycho-killer Sam, barking, growling, baring his teeth, and rushing at the pest control guy. Cue my adrenaline rush and elevated heart rate. I called for Sam to come back over to me, even though the last thing I wanted was for the slavering maniac canine to venture in my direction, but Sam tucked his tail between his legs and came back over to me, all signs of aggression gone. Then the pest guy moved towards us, and the psycho pooch rose again until I got his attention. This cycle repeated several times, my efforts to calm Sam hindered by the fact that deep down I was sure that if I got between him and the pest guy he would decided that I was in cahoots with his target and then turn on me as well. But, I kept plugging away, keeping Sam distracted enough to let the pest guy spray around the house. As he finished, I let out a sigh of relief, knowing that he would be leaving and I wouldn't have to play the part of backyard rodeo clown anymore.

Then the pest control guy turned his back on Sam, and I discovered that I had only though I'd seen full-on psycho pooch before.

As soon as the guy's back was turned, Sam took off after him like a shot, his aggressive behavior cranked up to 11. The pest guy whirled around, his tank and sprayer thrust out in font of him as a shield. I tried calling Sam, but it was no use; he was caught up in the mist of The Red, and all he cared about was the intruder in front of him. And as much as I wanted to help the guy, there was no way on God's green earth I was moving close to them; remember, I once froze up because a strange dog licked my hand while I wasn't expecting it -- there was no way my body was moving anywhere near those snapping jaws.

Luckily, the pest guy was able to back out of the gate and get it shut again before Sam actually jumped at him; as soon as the guy was out of sight, Sam instantly reverted to friendly mode, trotting over to him with a happy look on his face, like he deserved a reward for driving off the bad guy. I, in turn, was wondering if my lack of cell service would make it impossible for me to call 911 in case my pounding heart did indeed burst from my chest as it had been threatening to for the past several minutes. I went back inside as quickly as my shaky legs could take me and then headed out front to apologize to the pest guy, who is apparently used to such encounters, having been attacked by a Rottweiler a week earlier.

Note to self: never go into the pest control business.


Anonymous said...

Completely understand the fear. I still get rigid when I hear a bark and I am not surrounded by walls of some kind. I think I was 8 when I was attacked by a big dog (not sure of the breed). I have a scar under my eye, and face was black n blue for several weeks.*shivers at the thought*