A Fearful Spring

On Sunday morning I was innocent – glad to be stepping out into the Wisteria scented air. The fragrant clusters spilled themselves over the the trunks of trees, concealing as well as glorifying their hosts.  I breathed in their sweetness – was thankful  for the  beauty of my surroundings. It was a good day for a long walk with my happy dogs.

We walked out the long curvy drive to the main road. Traffic was minimal on this Sunday morning. We could brave the harbor bridge with a little less fear of  adrenoline-charged drivers. Music and Star are familiar with our bridge routine: stay close to the railing and no sudden veerings to sniff or do business. Focus is essential until we get up and over the bridge to the other side. Then we relax and tend to doggie agendas. We head with purpose for the nearest bushes. It is all a familiar ritual to them. Doggies – with their marvelous  sense of smell – find great variety in the same old route  and delight in sniffing and marking the same old bush. Music squatted determinedly while Star tugged optimistically in the direction we were walking. I began to pull a poop bag from the plastic holder attached to the leash. The monster came out of nowhere.

It was actually a Doberman out for an adventure, and we looked promising.  I tried for dominance – commanded the dog to go home. It was only someone’s beloved pet. It had a blue collar. But it also had a chewed ear, and it wasn’t listening. Music growled, as if to say: Back off, buster. Buster was five times Music’s size and took it as an invitation. He sprang. It happened so fast. Music was down and the jaws of the beast were clamped tightly around his neck. My commands turned to screams – became cries for help as I saw my dog as the victim of this  creature’s instinct to attack and kill. My fist made contact with the muscular back to no effect. I was a flailing animal myself.  Cars stopped: an elderly couple on their way home from church, concerned but helpless. Then a young man aimed a kick that caused the jaws to unlock and the dog to flee the scene.

I stood bewildered as my heart attempted to jump from my body. Music staggered to his brave little feet. He was limping a little and blood was beginning to stain the white fur around his neck. He was still attached to his leash but the the other leash hung from my hand, its collar empty. Star had wisely extracted herself from the danger. Now she came close  and we three huddled together as a different sort of fracas continued around us. The police had arrived and various curious and concerned individuals. My legs gave out and I sank to the sidewalk. Doggie bags formed a tangled blue snake around my feet.

The next thing I knew, I was being escorted back across the bridge by the most aggressively helpful woman I have ever met.  My chest hurt, my legs barely functioned, and my ears rang with the loud incessant voice of my helper. Music crept slowly beside me as Star forgot our bridge routine and sniffed the grass. Three days later, Music is almost recovered, but I still seem to be trying to make my way back across that bridge – back to the innocence of a perfect spring morning.


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