Ranger's new post-walk trick: he stretches on these stones up by the front door to cool off and positions himself so he can drink out of the birdbath at the same time.
"Your dog is so sweet! I mean it. He's such a sweetheart."
I was barely within earshot when the woman approaching me on the sidewalk began her stream of compliments. And looking down at the friendly red fellow wagging along next to me, I couldn't help but agree. Little did this woman know, however, just how right she was.
The day before, Ranger and I had been tailing another pair of walkers, a woman and a small brown and white dog. As we slowly caught up with them, the fluffy pup kept us on his radar: glancing back over his shoulder, slowing his pace to gawk at us, and barking on and off. There was a sharpness to his tone, but given that his head was about ten inches off the sidewalk, neither Ranger or I viewed him as much of a threat.
As the gap between us closed and we came up on the heels of this pair, the woman finally turned around and spoke. "My dog would really like to say hello to your dog. Is that okay?"
Well. Since Ranger was attacked and gravely injured by another dog a few months back, I've been outrageously protective of him and careful about his interactions with unfamiliar dogs. But this little dog hardly seemed dangerous so I said, "Sure." I paused and Ranger stopped beside me. The little dog approached and my gentle giant slowly lowered his head until the two dogs carefully touched noses.
Snap. Snap, SNAP.
Without warning or provocation, the little dog bit Ranger right in the face. Three times. Fast.
Poor startled Ranger swiftly pulled his head out of danger and took three quick steps back, all in one fluid motion. He didn't bark or snarl or snap. He didn't make any forward movement. He remained perfectly silent.
The little dog's owner shrieked in surprise, scooped up her dog as if he were in peril, and assured me, "He's never done anything like that before." Quickly, she walked off, her dog in her arms.
I held Ranger's head in my hands as I gave his face a good looking over for wounds. It wasn't until I got home and found the blood smeared on my wrist that I realized he had a gash on the tip of his ear. Blood crusted in his fur and dripped down onto the grass as I ran to get a cloth to clean him up.
Looking back, the whole incident was just further proof of Ranger's gentle disposition and peaceful soul. I couldn't be more proud of how my dog has responded to his attackers. I couldn't be more grateful to have such a fine animal as my pet.
And so, when the woman on the sidewalk told me one more time, "I've seen him out walking so many times and he is always so sweet," I smiled at her and nodded. But in my head, I was rhinking, "You just have no idea how truly right you are."