Walking the dog has become a regular part of my morning routine. It is rare that I can sneak out of the house in the morning without our 22 pound Beagle-Pekingese mix standing between me and the door before I am able to head over to the church. Sending EO to the back yard on the tie-out is not acceptable to him. He wants me to take him on an extended stroll to explore the neighborhood, whether it be rain or shine, snow, ice or high-water.
One morning last fall, our routine started out like any other. As I put on my coat and shoes, EO blocked the door. It was beautiful fall morning, so I did not resist much. Making our way along a neighborhood bike path, we came upon a huge Boxer-Great Dane mix that was restrained only by the invisible fence system in its owner’s back yard. The dog’s bark was intimidating, and it always made me uneasy to walk past that yard. EO typically ignored him, but for some reason, he decided to respond by barking back and effectively provoking the giant dog. Suddenly, the huge beast charged at us, breaking out of the electronic barrier! He pounced upon EO, rolling him off the path and snapping powerful jaws that would literally crush my tiny dog in a single bite! I immediately responded by yelling and swiftly kicking the canine monster, only to have him turn his attention toward me. After a brief pause, he turned to again attack EO. Armed only with a sturdy pooper-scooper, I swung it as hard as I could and whacked the angry beast over the head, shattering the hard plastic. Stunned, the dog retreated, shook its head, and ran away down the bike path. We fled the scene in the other direction. Fortunately, EO did not incur any bite wounds. He only sustained a few bumps and likely a bruised ego. We were both in shock from the terror of the event, though, and still avoid that path when taking our morning walk. I would later find out that two other dogs in the neighborhood were not so fortunate. Both were attacked by the same 160 pound behemoth and required costly veterinary care. One of the dogs was nearly killed and underwent emergency life-saving surgery.
Neither EO or I will forget that traumatic event, even though it could have been much worse. I can only imagine the lasting horror an individual would experience after being attacked and badly hurt by another human being. Attacks of any sort leave a mark. Whether you've experienced a physical, emotional, or verbal attack, it's easy to get stuck in the attitude of being a victim. At Lifetree Small Group this week, see the story unfold of a woman who was assaulted in her own home. and also hear from the man who attacked her. The episode “After the Attack,” is an inspiring story of authentic forgiveness and reconciliation. Feel free to share your story or just listen. We'll respect your pain and give you hope to pick up the pieces and move on with life. Join the conversation this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in room 130. All are welcome!