On Being a Good Dog Owner

We try to teach our kids to be safe, especially when walking on busy roads. We tell them to not be out at night, wear reflective material if you have to be, and walk with a friend.

I did all of this wrong the other night:

Two Big Mistakes , could have lead to tragedy, and my grown kids are still letting me know how stupid it was, at the same time as giving me hugs for being OK!.

Being a Good Dog OwnerCredit: morguefile.com

Mistake number one: I decided to take our two big dogs (that can be hard to handle and usually needs two people to walk them) for their walk after dinner, when the light was beginning to shows signs of fading, thinking I would have a quick walk and be back to the house before dark. I didn't go in the usual trail behind our house (we are in the countryside) because it was a bit wet, so I decided to walk along the wide shoulders of the road in front of our house for a quick walk.

Mistake number two: I was wearing a dark jacket, and pants, no reflective gear at all, and because the walk was going so well with my dogs (85 pound and 65 pound dogs) and they were doing well with the training I had been taking them too, I went a little further than I had planned.

Coming back home (walking against traffic like you are suppose to) I realized how dark it was getting, and I picked up my pace. I just happened to look up and caught a smell of something, and realized literally 3 feet in front of me on the side of the road in the brush was a large deer. It was keeping absolutely still, but when I made eye contact, it bolted across the road right in front of us.

Of course, my dogs went ballistic, and tried to follow it. I was not ready for their pulling, and almost got yanked into the road. I managed with all my strength, to pull them back, but they were going nuts, and I edged closer to the ditch on the shoulder of the road trying to get them calmed down.

Deer at Dusk

It was at this point, that the deer, for whatever reason, decided to stop halfway across the road, and turn its head to look back, twitching its tail. Had it kept running, things would have calmed down. But just like in a movie, everything came together. The deer in the road, me trying to control my dogs on the side of the road, and a car coming at high speed. The car saw the deer at the last minute and then swerved onto the shoulder where I was! I had been close to the ditch by this point, and that was my saving moment, because all I felt was the gravel being sprayed up at me as the car careened on the side of the road.

Deer at DuskCredit: morguefile.com

The guy stopped, and after we decided we were all OK other than a fright,the deer took off, he looked at me and said, he couldn't see me because I was dressed in black, and that walking after dusk on this road is when all the deer are crossing the road, and it is suicide.

So, I learned my lesson that night. Don't walk on a busy road at dusk, Don't wear dark colors, Don't think you have complete control over your pets, because at the end of the day, even the most well trained dog, would not be able to ignore a deer 3 feet in front of them, especially my dogs.

Next time I will walk in the fields behind me, even if it is wet, and I will only walk where I know it is not a danger if my dogs got free from me.

My kids have been having a good laugh with this one, because I would never have let them do such a thing. I guess I needed to be reminded that such simple little events can lead to catastrophe if we are not careful.

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