When I was four years old I was playing in the alley behind our home while my older brother and his friends tossed around the baseball. The neighbor’s dog approached me and when I reached out to pet him, he lunged at me and began to maul my face. I don’t remember why the dog stopped, all I recall is crawling under the fence and seeing my mother looking horrified by my bloodied complexion. I was raced to the emergency room and treated. Fortunately, I didn’t need rabies shots.
What I learned: Danger can strike at any time; a charging animal, terrorism, civil unrest, natural disaster, or just being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes your best response to danger is to run to safety. Once you’re out of harm’s way, (ACT) Assess the situation, Come up with a simple plan, and Take action mindfully. Rinse and repeat.
How I got equipped: After suffering from a severe dog phobia for many years, I made it my mission to get over my fear. Eventually, I found a course that taught me how to defend against a dog attack. The instructor taught me to treat a K9 threat no differently than I would a human threat. Keep your distance, as distance gives you time to take action. Try to put something between you and your aggressor. Get to higher ground if possible, (many times I have climbed on top of a car to avoid being bitten). If you get stuck and have to throw down, arm yourself (if something is available) and remember that dogs are just as vulnerable as we are when struck in the eye, punched in the nose, or chopped in the throat.