I successfully avoided Big Orange for the next few weeks. It helped that I was gone on vacation for a while and that I was working 8 – 11 hours a day. A short time later, my extended family flew in from out of state and came to visit. They were at my apartment for the day and when they were getting ready to leave my young cousin opened the door. She was ready to get back onto the road and ignored the calls from my aunt and uncle to wait until they had finished grabbing their things.

Everything seemed to happen both quickly and slowly. My cousin had been a preemie and was still pretty small for her age. She was young, only 5. She pulled open the door and let out a small shriek which caused the rest of us to look around. She had opened the door when Big Orange and Puppy were running by on their way to the back garden and both diverted into the open doorway. Puppy slipped in under her arm but Big Orange knocked her down in her haste to run into my apartment. My uncle is a big man – he’s very tall and makes a pretty imposing figure. I’ve never seen anyone snatch a child up so quickly or bellow quite so loudly. The dogs had rushed into my entryway and were trying to get further into my apartment but Uncle stopped them and yelled until they started to back away.

I had a perfect view from where I was standing. I could see past Uncle directly into the hallway, where his shouts drew the attention of the dog owner. This time it wasn’t the same guy, it was his younger brother. He opened his front door and popped his head into the hallway. When he saw the dogs inside of my apartment, he came running over and grabbed both dogs, pulling them outside. I was spared from saying anything because Uncle had already started yelling. To summarize, Uncle raked this kid over the coals about responsible dog ownership – how dogs should be on leash, especially in a narrow hallway with lots of foot traffic and should always be supervised. Big Orange could have hurt my cousin.

The younger brother tried to defend Big Orange, saying that she wouldn’t hurt a fly (I guess it doesn’t count that she lunged at me before). Uncle shouted over him, saying that my cousin was fragile (true) and not very strong, just by knocking her over the dog could have injured her. Younger brother gathered his dogs and walked away, but the damage was done. Not only had the dog acted aggressively toward me, it had rushed my cousin and invaded my home. If Younger Brother hadn’t heard shouting, he never would have checked on his dogs. They (most likely Big Orange) could have attacked me in my own home, with its owner 40 feet away, completely unaware.

After that episode, I was terrified that I would run into the dog sans owner. It got to the point where I would walk slowly and carefully around my building and would check my peephole before exiting my apartment. I worked in a dog rescue so the irony of being terrified of a dog in my own home wasn’t lost on me. I was concerned that when the tension broke and the inevitable confrontation occurred, that someone would be hurt…