You're my favorite.

No, really - you are.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's illegal in New York State, and right now I'm really fucking glad I don't live there anymore.

When I first started working at the CSO, I parked in a lot about half a mile from the office. Parking is expensive in downtown Denver, and this place was only $25 a month. Couldn't be beat, but it was far enough from the office buildings that not too many other people walked that way, especially at night, so I got a thing of pepper spray to keep on my keychain, just in case. Eventually I took it off; I'd never been accosted or even felt threatened by someone walking just a little too close, and it made my keychain awfully heavy and bulky.

Saturday night, I really wished I had that pepper spray with me.

Wilbert and I were out for a quick evening walk before we all went to my mother's house for dinner. We walked south on Logan to Arkansas, turned east to Pennsylvania, north to Louisiana, and west back toward Logan. We were just about at the alley between the two streets when I saw a large white dog, not on a leash and not with a person. I pulled Wilbert into the alley quickly, hoping the dog wouldn't see us, but it was too late. He came trotting over to investigate.

He was a big dog, somewhere around 70 pounds, with longish dirty white fur. Wilbert's only 40 pounds and he likes bigger dogs a lot, but this one seemed different – when he ran up to us, Wilbert sat down suddenly, something I've never seen him do with another dog before. I don't know if it was intentional or because he felt threatened or because he'd been under the weather for a few days or what, but it weirded me out a little. He and the white dog sniffed each other's noses for a moment then Wilbert stood back up and they did some minor jumping like they were considering wrestling for a minute. I pulled the leash and tried to get Wilbert to walk back out of the alley so we could head home. That's when the white dog bared his teeth, growled and started snapping toward me.

I panicked. I was wearing a tank top, jeans and flip flops. I had no keys, no cell phone, nothing – we'd only been going out for a 10 minute jaunt around the block and I hadn't thought I would need anything, and so I had nothing – NOTHING – with which to defend myself. I couldn't even kick the damn thing effectively if it came to that. I started screaming for help and backing away. The dog seemed surprised by the noise, and stopped snarling. I backed into the street, still screaming at the dog to stay the fuck away from me, and got across just before a car drove by. I looked back and saw the white dog standing on the other side still. He took a few steps forward, then hesitated, turned around and ran off down the alley the other direction. Wilbert and I walked quickly for home. Every few steps, I glanced back to see if the white dog had come back. After about half a block, the adrenaline rush died and I burst into tears, completely freaking out Wilbert. He kept whining and looking at me and whining more.

When we got home, I sobbed out the whole story to Ben. We called Animal Control and after I calmed down a little, we went to my mom's for dinner as planned.

The last few times I've taken Wilbert out I've taken spray cans with me – Lysol, hairspray, whatever I think would cause pain to the eyes of anything trying to attack me. I really wish that when I stopped carrying the pepper spray, I'd put it someplace sensible and memorable. No idea where it is now.

I haven't seen that dog again. I think he might live at the house on the corner where we ran into him; I know they have a large white dog that barks furiously and throws his body against the fence every time I walk by, and their gate is not in good shape, but I've never seen the actual dog, just glimpsed his fur through cracks in their privacy fence. I need to go by and find out if he does live there, and if so, tell them what happened. I was lucky not to have anything actually occur. But this neighborhood has a lot of little kids who ride bikes up and down their blocks while their parents chat with neighbors. This neighborhood has a lot of older people who walk to the senior center a few blocks away. If someone were to get attacked and it was the same dog, I'd feel responsible.

Maybe I'll just buy some new pepper spray. The aerosol hairspray is kind of awkward to carry.