A few more weeks went by while I cowered in fear of Big Orange. One of my friends was obsessed with It’s Me Or the Dog (great show!) and in one episode Victoria talks about what to do if confronted by an aggressive dog. There’s a stance you can take that is neutral – you cross your arms across your chest, tilt your head down, angle your body so it isn’t directly toward the animal and keep your eyes staring off into a different direction. Biffle TiVo’d it for me and we practiced…just in case.

One particularly beautiful Saturday I was getting ready to go to an adoption event at the dog rescue I volunteered at. I was carrying some extra dog crates down past the back garden to the parking lot where I loaded them into my car. After the third trip, I let my mind wander as I walked back to my apartment. In order to get into the hallway from the back garden, you have to turn two sharp corners. As I walked past the grass, my head in the clouds I turned the first corner and froze. There was Big Orange, turning the other corner and she froze as well. In the next instant she growled, bared her teeth and lunged forward. All thought left my mind as I stumbled back.

Automatically I fell into the stance Biffle and I had practiced. The show had emphasized that you shouldn’t shout or speak, since that can be construed as aggressive so I stood there, frozen, unable to call for help. The stance seemed to work, Big Orange was crouched low and growling but didn’t move forward and didn’t attack.

After what felt like an eternity but was really only a few minutes an older woman walked around the corner. She took in the situation quickly and grabbed Big Orange, apologizing to me. This was the third incident and I had had it. Obviously, they didn’t care that their dog was terrifying and terrorizing me. If they had given a crap, they would have the damn thing on a leash per state and local laws. After the first incident I was too scared to say anything and when Big Orange knocked over my cousin I wouldn’t have been able to shout over my uncle if I’d even have known what to say. This time I wasn’t just scared, I was pissed off.

“I’m sorry,” Dog Woman said, “She’s never acted like this before.”

“That’s not true!” I said angrily and watched the shock light up in her eyes, “this is the third incident I’ve had with your dog. She’s lunged at me twice now and ran into my home knocking over my cousin who is only 5. You’re dog is a menace and it’s illegal to leave a dog off leash.”

“When did all of that happen? I didn’t hear anything about it!” I gave her a brief description of each event; I guess her sons never filled her in.

“I am truly sorry. I’ll make sure she’s kept on leash from now on, no matter who takes her out. This won’t happen again.” I was lulled into a sense of security by her promises, but I made sure to be ready just in case. Good thing, too…