Archived Story

Pet protection should be priority

Published 1:34pm Tuesday, October 9, 2012

About a week ago, I narrowly avoided tragedy and completely missing out on a photo assignment.

It was my weekend to work Sept. 29, and I set off for Children’s Harbor to cover the Cruisin’ for Kidz Motorcycle Ride and the Sarah Carlisle Towery Art Colony. I left the office at just the right time to get to Children’s Harbor and take some photos and talk to people before the motorcyclists were supposed to leave.

But as I made my way south along Highway 63, I was stopped in my path.

A brown dog was in the road. I’m no canine expert, so I’m not sure what kind of dog it was. I thank God there was no one behind me, because I did the whole panic-and-slam-on-your-breaks maneuver. I had to pull off the side of the road to avoid hitting the dog.

But then she wouldn’t leave.

She sat down in front of my car, then came up to my window and jumped up, putting her front paws on the window’s edge.

I couldn’t figure out how to get back on the road without running her over.

I opened the door to tell her to scat, and she tried to climb in my car, clearly frightened by the vehicles whizzing by.

So I grabbed her by the collar and, with a sigh, called the phone number on it.

Her owner, after asking which one it was – “Is it the blue one or the brown one? Oh, really? She doesn’t usually wander off” – said he’d call someone to come get her.

But I waited and waited (it was probably just three or four minutes) as my window of opportunity for getting Cruisin’ for Kidz photos slipped away. I honestly couldn’t figure out how to get back on the road without hitting the dog, which still wouldn’t leave my car.

He finally called back to say he was on his way from work to pick her up. As we waited, (or, as I waited, and she kept trying to climb in my car), “the blue one” joined our party and also nearly commandeered my Chevy Cobalt.

I was so grateful to see their owner’s pick-up truck pull up behind me.

And although I made it on time to get the pictures I needed, I still felt a sense of frustration – not at being delayed, or even at the fear that I’d smell like dog for the rest of the day. I was just concerned about what might have happened.

If I had missed the photo opportunity, it would have been a shame but not tragic. But what if I had hit those dogs or if another car had? What if they had caused someone injury or if someone had killed them by accident?

Their owner told me the brown dog was pregnant. He told me they are allowed to run loose at his farm, “but they usually don’t run off like this.”

I know things happen – the Jack Russell terrier I had during high school, on a few occasions, managed to get away and run up to a major highway. I know he could have caused an accident or I could have lost my dog, and I’m so thankful that never happened.

It is illegal in Alexander City to chain a dog, but other methods of security, like an overhead dog run, are great options.

I just want to urge you, if you’re reading this and you’re a dog owner, to be sure your dogs are penned or otherwise secure – for the safety of dogs and motorists alike.

James is a staff writer for The Outlook.