Release the hounds
Published on September 7 2017
Part of a series about Canada 2017
“Go go go go go go go!”
Never a good thing to hear while you’re riding, less so when you recently passed a sign saying “YES, this dog bites!“.
My brain immediately made the connection between Alex’s warning and the sign, but my eyes wanted to see for themselves. So I turned around to see a big brown dog charging after us, spittle flying enthusiastically from its open mouth.
Frantic pedalling followed. At the time my chain was worn so attempts to accelerate hard were met by a series of horrific crunches and lurches. Slower attempts at acceleration felt comically ineffective as Alex and Kristian pulled ahead.
But not too far ahead.
We discussed afterwards the interesting sensation of wanting to get away, but not too fast that you abandon your friends to a barky, bitey fate. Everyone wants to be furthest ahead and away from the wanting mouth, but close enough to demonstrate solidarity and help with counterattacks if biting does commence. A tricky balance.
The dog was easily outrun and, on reflection, it never barked and wagged its tail the whole time it was chasing us. If it wasn’t for the propaganda sign the situation may not have felt particularly threatening.
But a good simulation nonetheless of the mental process that would take place if something more vicious (bear, cougar, pitchfork mob, angry dog) were to chase us.
(We’ve been barked at a lot on the trip, but usually by dogs who are tied to a stick or a porch or some similarly sturdy structure that prevents them from actually attacking anyone until they’re within trespassing distance. One small but zealous pug tried so hard to get us that he yanked himself into an impressive backflip when his rope reached full tautness. He was up again in a split second and never stopped barking the whole time.)
(The dog in the picture was friendly and kind, but it’s the only dog picture I took)