Dog Days of Summer

I’ve never really understood the expression “dog days” but the 29th of August will go down in history as my own personal dog day because I finally got bit. By a dog. My first attack on Monhegan. Here it is three days later and I’m still trying to process everything.

It all began innocently enough. I was home & The Plan called for a 12 mile run. From a previous run I knew of a 4.6 mile loop so I had options – run that loop three times and get in a little extra mileage or…wing it. It was just before 6am; a beautiful, sun-just-rising red, crisp morning. The surf sang and the air was heavy with salt. I felt like I could run forever so I opted for the wing. It started off great. The island was fog soaked and silent. Even the birds were mute as I startled them out of their roosts. As I ran I felt like I was trying to touch every piece of the island. My home. My joy. I forgot bug juice so I avoided Cathedral woods but managed to get almost everywhere else: the length of the board walk behind the Ice Pond twice, Mostel’s turn-around three times, Burnt Head twice, almost to White Head once, Horns Hill, Wharf Hill, Lighthouse Hill all three times,the grave yard (yes, I left wild flowers picked on a whim), Lobster Cove, Dead Man’s Cove, even across the bridge by the Court House. On my third run through town I noticed the community was starting to wake up. Store signs were flipped to ‘open’ and tourists were out walking their dogs. As I came up from Fish Beach I noticed a couple tangled in greyhounds. Three beasts at least. The humans were negotiating leashes and looking confused. I ran by them all without a thought. All I remember was this: I was on mile ten and worrying I was running out of time. I can’t run with the tourists.

When I ran by the greyhounds and their masters a second time 30 minutes later one hound broke free from the pack. He/she was not tethered. Not even dragging a leash. I was shocked to see it so free. What followed all happened so fast – the snapping of jaws, the jumping in my face, the paws pushing me back. The dog never growled. Instead there was a whining and a snapping of teeth; I felt the constant nipping at my arms and legs. By the time I broke free blood was running down my leg and I was aware of a pain in my arm but I didn’t care. I just wanted to get away. I mean, I couldn’t run away fast enough. More bruises and scratches would emerge hours later.

I never did get in 12 miles. Instead I ended 11.2 miles later confused and shaken. Somehow I couldn’t continue despite being a mere 0.8 mile short. I know I’m not scarred for life. The bruises will fade and the cuts will scab over eventually. What I am most upset about is a good run spoiled by teeth, especially on Monhegan.

Categories: Confessional, life, running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Dog Days of Summer

  1. First and foremost, are you OK? Physically and emotionally? Somehow I’ve managed to never be confronted by a dog while running … well coyotes in the woods but they were more scared of me than I was of them!

    As a runner and a dog owner that entire situation angers me! A dog owner should know their dog’s trigger points. They should ensure any dog with aggression or reactivity issues be safely and securely in their control. Was it really not on a leash at all or did it slip it’s collar or something? Either way, I hope they learn a valuable lesson before it happens again and even worse.

  2. Physically, I am fine. Mentally I WILL be fine. I just need to process the events a bit more. I think I’m still in shock that it happened at home. Monhegan is my safe zone. I suspect the owners had been having trouble keeping all of the dogs contained because I had seen them earlier struggling with leashes. The dog that jumped on me did not have a collar or lead but that’s not to say it hadn’t been tethered to another dog at one time. It was the only one to escape from the pack – that’s all I remember. To add to the frustration the owners were tourists who left the island soon after the incident.

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