Protecting my protector

If you’ve met Jeter, my 85-pound yellow lab, you know that he’s a handful. He barks at everything, is super strong and lives to chase squirrels. And rabbits. And pigeons. Let’s just say he’s a lot.

In recent weeks, he and I have started running together again. It’s a shorter run than in the past, but I’ve really been enjoying it and I think he has as well. We’re alternating these runs with walks around the neighborhood and yoga. Jeter’s downward dog pose is exceptional.

There seem to be quite a few dogs on my street these days, including a couple down the block who have a history of being rather Houdini-esque and are prone to escaping from their yard. It makes me feel a little nervous every time I walk past their house. There was a fairly recent situation which resulted in one of the dogs being maced after it attacked another animal.

The other day, Jeter and I rounded the corner on the end of the street I considered “safe.” We were about a third of the way down the the block when we passed a couple pushing a baby carriage and walking a dog, on the opposite side of the street.

The man had a firm grip on his dog, holding tightly to the leash. As the two dogs noticed one another, they barked at each another across the street and the unfamiliar dog lunged. Despite the man’s best effort to control him, the dog’s twisting and pulling resulted in him slipping his collar. The dog ran immediately across the street and at Jeter, seemingly intent on hurting my boy.

I’d wondered how I would respond if the dogs down the block ever got loose and went for Jeter. Would I be able to defend him? How would I ever prevent my dog from being injured? I know now that I would instinctually do whatever I needed to do to protect my dog, just like I did the other afternoon.

As the dog came straight at Jeter, teeth bared and hackles raised, I placed myself between the two animals. Screaming, of course. The dog’s owner, now on my side of the street, struggled to get a grip on his presently collarless dog, while the dog did everything he could to get a piece of my dog. It wasn’t pretty. I have no idea how long the “fight” lasted, but imagine it was less than 90 seconds. Or long enough for me to literally throw myself on top of Jeter, hurting my left hand and knee, in an attempt to shelter him from the other animal’s aggression.

The situation (and the dog) was in hand in moments with limited damage. The other woman was very upset, as was I, but she and her husband were very apologetic and I hold no animosity towards them at all. I did mention that I have difficulty managing Jeter when he is on a simple collar and leash, opposed to a harness and suggested that maybe they might consider using one in the future.

Jeter, probably because of the fur which he freely deposits all over the house, was completely uninjured beyond some damp spots where the dog nipped at him. I think we’ll both enjoy getting off the block and to the beach for our annual summer trip to the Cape. Salt water heals everything, right?




  1. Dave

    So what should be done about an aggressive dog like that?
    I have my own thought and it doesn’t end well for that animal.

    • Silvia Lilly

      It’s a tough situation for the owner for sure. I hope they get it under control.


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