Pit bulls scare me; it seems most of the news stories I read in which a dog has killed a human tell of pit bulls being the vicious attackers. So, imagine my surprise when I met the family for whom I agreed to petsit in Austin over the Christmas holiday; the owners had to hold their three dogs back as I entered their home. They were all three large dogs, solid muscle, and eager to lick me to death. A tiny sliver of fear darted into my heart when I saw that two of them were pit bulls. I had not paid attention to their breed when I agreed to petsit.
I have grown fond of them these last nine days. All three dogs could literally kill me, they are so strong and heavy, but they are also very sweet and actually quite gentle. Still, their long, sharp claws hurt me when they jump up on me (the two pits jump far too much) and when they playfully nip at me I have to use a stern voice to get them to stop.
Yesterday I was walking Zorra when we came upon a couple walking from the opposite direction; I stopped at the corner and shortened the leash to let them pass (in case they were afraid of large pit bulls) but they paused and pet and fawned over Zorra. Then they pointed in the direction I was headed and the lady with kind brown eyes said, “There is a dog loose up there; see?” But I could not see it. The gentle man then said, “It’s running around and … well, maybe you should not go that way.”
I thanked them and turned, changing direction, to lead Zorra up another block away from the loose dog. We walked a long block, turned left, and circled back around toward home. I wasn’t in a rush so I let Zorra smell everything she was interested in and I completely forgot all about the loose dog.
When we were almost home, we came back to the street upon which we had been when we had met the friendly couple. As we approached the corner, a car was driving slowly and stopped. A man called loudly from the passenger side, “Ma’am? He’s already attacked another dog!” and pointed toward the dog on the other side of their car. It was standing between us and Zorra’s home.
Fear froze in my veins as I saw that the loose dog was a large, rusty-colored pit bull and it had seen us; it began to trot across the street toward us, obviously interested in checking out Zorra. The car pulled forward and honked, trying to distract the pit bull but it ignored the car and came straight for us.
It reached us quickly and began sniffing and shoving poor Zorra; it took all my strength to just pull Zorra toward home. I was praying that dog wouldn’t attack while we walked. I kept pulling Zorra and didn’t look back. I was going to drag both of them home if I had to.
Thankfully, the people in the car kept honking and yelling and pulling in front of the rusty dog; they succeeded in chasing it on down the street while I rushed to get Zorra safely home.
I am thankful for those people. So very thankful.