I had intentions of skipping breakfast and hitting work early, to get a head start on the day. But then I heard Diane screaming upstairs.
Diane is not level-headed in an emergency. Last time I heard her in this tizzy, it was a baby bunny loose in the kitchen. But one never knows so I headed right up the stairs.
I’m the opposite: level-headed but that is not the same as “rational”. Diane will die from panic; I will die from purposely making the wrong decision. Slightly different paths to the same result.
And yes, it was a real emergency. A big dog had our cat cornered under the porch. Its head was higher than my belt, it looked trim and healthy, had short hair with white, gray and black markings. Diane was pounding on the door, yelling; “Go away! Git!”
There was a better-than-even chance the dog could extract my cat from his refuge, and make short work of him. This cat has been my friend for fifteen years. He spent most of last night cuddled against my rib cage, his head on my arm. I grabbed a broom and went out.
Yes, I know that I am no match for such a large dog. I’ve been bitten twice before; both times before I could even react. Whatever you think you’re going to do to stop a dog attack, forget it; the dog is too fast. But maybe charm would work.
I spoke softly; I gave him a drink of water out of a cup while I checked his collar. No tag or phone number. But he was only diverted for a moment by my presence, and went right back to straining under the porch.
I poured the water on him; nothing. I swatted him with a broom; he didn’t break stride. I hit him hard with the broom, and repeatedly; he was just too big to care. Diane was yelling from inside.
No, I couldn’t let him get Oscar. I cut through the house, out the back, and started to fumble with connecting the garden hose. I could hear Diane yelling through the door in front. Screwed the nozzle on the wrong hose; Damn! precious seconds lost. Hose tangled; I turned on the water and began to drag the mass, untangling as I went.
Hang on, Oscar, I’m on my way. Surely a blast of water would send that dog running.
The tangled hose caught on a shrub but I had just enough to climb on the porch, and blasted the determined canine full force. He moved a little, but ignored the water. I kept it up. The dog was soaked; Diane was yelling.
The water turned cold and the dog moved away, but he circled around the porch and attacked from the other side, trying to reach Oscar. I blasted him again and again. He ran around the house over and over, slipping through the protection of the bush to shove his head and shoulders under the porch.
Each time the dog would run around the house, Diane would come through the door and jump down in the puddle to try and get our terrified cat inside. The dog came up behind her: I blasted him with freezing water, but she got soaking too.
I said to Diane: “Go through the house and get me some more slack!” She did. The dog circled around the house: I heard her hit him with the hose and he came back around to the porch.
He took a break to investigate a bicyclist, but then came back to the porch.
Finally we were able to keep the dog circling at the radius of the water stream’s maximum range. He’d disappear, then come around the other side of the house. Every time he’d come closer, I’d start spraying again. The dog was silent, and determined. He never snapped at either of us; he wanted that cat.
Then he heard something, and headed down the street. His owner’s voice, maybe. After a few minutes, Diane was able to get Oscar inside.
I didn’t get to work early today. Maybe tomorrow.