Let me explain to you just how much I love Arby’s Reuben sandwich. Normally, I’m the sort of person who tries different things on a menu. I always fuss at my husband for getting the same thing over and over at other restaurants. However, at Arby’s, the Reuben sandwich is the only thing on the menu as far as I’m concerned (besides their fish sandwich). So, when I asked the husband to go pick up food from Arby’s on his way home from work, I realized I was going to have to work for it to be able to fit it into my diet.
For the love of a Reuben, I was going to have to do some jogging (which I hate).
I wasn’t going very far. I live on a dirt road and only planned to jog (with breaks for walking) down to the stop sign and back. As I jogged, I passed this house with three dogs. Two of them are nice enough but the third has a bark worthy of Cujo. A Basset hound, they keep him on this runner strung up between two trees.
On occasion, this Basset has slipped his cord and come onto the road or tried to do so. I wasn’t very worried. The last time the dog charged me, my husband had been with me. He kicked at the dog and it went running back to the safety of its yard. So, I assumed that his bark was worse than his bite. I mean, come on, how vicious can a stubby-legged Basset be? I still remember this elderly English lady that lived next door to my maternal grandmother. Her Bassett was as old as her and as sweet (she fed the dog with a spoon, in fact).
Reaching the stop sign, I decided to walk a ways back to catch my second wind. I was still walking when I came up to that house again. The dog was not on its cord. Seeing me, it ran across the yard, jumped the narrow ditch separating yard from road, and came at me.
Lets hit the pause button here and look at the Basset hound as a breed. As a breed, this dog is described as a “friendly, outgoing, playful dog. He is an excellent companion for children because of his patient nature and tolerance“, something of which I was already aware. Got that? Okay, lets hit play.
Being raised around dogs, I thought that if the dog got a good whiff of me, he would settle down. So, I stood my ground, greeted the dog, and realized a second too late that his teeth were bared and he wasn’t slowing down.
Using my foot as leverage, he leapt for my stomach, catching shirt and skin in his teeth. Screaming, I pulled back. The dog danced around me, lining up for another jump.
(According to the same article, Bassets were originally bred for hunting rabbits. I am much larger than a rabbit.)
The word “dominance” popped into my head and I bellowed, taking a step forward. The dog jerked back a stepped, turned around, and ran back to his yard, where his owner waited for him.
The owner was really very contrite. Apparently, they keep the dog chained up because of his aggressive nature. (I found out later, I am the fourth victim of this dog’s aggression.) The owner and his wife were both really nice. In fact, they came by that evening to check on me and assure me they would pay for any medical bills and that a fence will be built soon. Bless their hearts.
I still don’t know the dog’s name, but I suppose that hardly matters. He got me on the belly, not deep enough to need stitches, but enough for me to feel it whenever I sit down and to leave two lovely, long, scabbed over parallel marks. Every time I look at them, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t pulled away, or if I had been a little shorter, or the dog able to jump a little better. I’ve written enough sword battles. My imagination doesn’t need to make a very large leap. My mortality tried to take a hunk out my stomach and I am humbled by it.
Am I going to sit here and say that all Bassets are dangerous? No, of course not. I’m not one of those idiots who condemn an entire breed because of one bad experience. I don’t know anything about that dog’s background. For all I know, he is the victim of too much inbreeding. (One of the consequences of inbreeding is an uptake on aggression, by the way. Inbred dogs either become stupid and docile or stupid and mean.)
I ended up having to go to the hospital to have the bite treated and reported and today I have to go to my family doctor to see about a rabies vaccination. Turns out, the dog was not up to date on his shots.
But, dammit all, at least I got my Reuben.