I encounter a number of dogs in my travels. I’m really not a dog guy, actually, but they do love a unicycle. If, by love, one means bark at and chase. I know I should be carrying mace, but I am not.
The other day, I was chased by a pair of dogs. They were very excited. The big one actually tried to push me off of my unicycle. Made positive contact with my foot and pushed. It’s a miracle I stayed up and moving, but I did. Apparently disappointed by their failure, they called off the chase soon afterward, which is good, because I was coming up to a pretty steep hill.
I encountered one yesterday that was chasing a kid on a bike and changed targets to me. It kept up pretty well. I managed not to run it over, mostly by just barely staying ahead of it. It followed me as I climbed and descended hills and crossed streets. At one point, I had just crossed the street and was turning my wheel to continue on my path when the puppy ran headlong into it. Not deliberate. Didn’t even know about it until I felt the bonk. A few terrain-changes later, I climbed the steep tarmack to the level crossing, over the tracks, down the other side, around the curve and then a long straight run. The puppy was still keeping up. It was starting to sound tired, though. Eventually, it started getting quieter. I hope it had enough sense to return home, but, then, it didn’t have enough sense to not be chasing me, so such hope might be misplaced.
There is a little dog at the end of my block that comes barreling toward me, barking. I gather that its name is Nacho, even if it doesn’t know that. I’ve done the ignore it until it gets bored thing, and it was amusing, but apparently not permanent, and it gets old. I can’t be waiting around all day to bore dogs; I’ve got important unicycling to do. Somebody must have caught on because there is now a fenced pen in the yard, which the little dog is unable to exit to chase me, and, presumably, any other entity it does this to. But not yesterday. No, yesterday, it was just like old times. The barking rapidly got louder and there was a dog at my ankles. Barking. I just happened to be carrying a radio antenna that I assume had snapped off of a truck. I casually lowered the end toward where I thought the dog might be. Didn’t whip it or any such thing, just lowered it. I felt it contact something soft, but which wasn’t my toe. The barking stopped immediately, as did the sound of claws on tarmac. No yipe or other cry. Just, I am assuming, mindblowing surprise at getting bonked on the nose under these circumstances.
Some dogs are successfully confined to a perimeter. Sometimes, there is an obstacle. They spot me through the fence, bark at me, see what direction I am traveling in, and run around the back of the building to the other fence where they bark at me some more. They have clearly done this before. Sometimes, there is not obstacle, they just track me the full length of the fence. Barking. Sometimes, they have enough sense to stop before reaching the end. There is one in particular, guarding a car dealer’s lot, that I have half a mind to bore as described above. Oh; woof woof woof, yourself. It’s always woof woof woof with you. Where’s your other tail?
One of my neighbors’ dogs is a little one that runs in front of my wheel. It has done this twice, one of them in the view of its owner. I managed, both times, to dismount before flattening it. Next time, who knows?
Some dogs have seen me enough that they don’t even kick up a fuss any more. Others just never learn. Some have learned, but forgotten, so they’re going to have to learn again. I was riding in town awhile back and didn’t even notice the dog barking at me, but heard its owner telling it “You see that guy all the time, stop barking.”