So we leashed up the dogs, put on sunglasses, grabbed a couple of blue poop bags, and headed out to take the dogs for a long walk on a hot afternoon. Within minutes, we met our neighbors from a few houses up pushing a stroller containing a precious great-grandchild.
One neighbor was carrying a well-made, tapered, three-foot long rod. “What’s that?” I asked.
She replied, “I use it to beat off the animals who come at me.”
Oh. That’s interesting. A little disturbing, too. I’ve lived on this block for twenty-five years. I don’t think I’ve ever been threatened by any kind of animal. But she’s lived here longer than me. What has she encountered?
A stray dog? Could happen. Once in a while one gets out. I usually call them over, pet them, check their collar, put a leash on them, and walk them home.
A cat? They’re around. Usually sleeping under someone’s car. My dog is always interested. They never attack but run away when I yell, “Kittykittykittykittykitty.”
A rat? My neighbor says they live down by the drainage ditch. I’ve never seen one.
A bobcat? We all have stories about the time we saw a bobcat. They are rare, stealthy and usually run away.
A diving hawk? They perch on the telephone poles, watching for snakes in the grass. They’ve dived towards me.
Oh, a snake? Maybe. I see more dead ones than alive. Or a snake skin on the road.
A black bear? Some Florida neighborhoods have them. None around here that I know of.
Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I’m brave! Maybe I can run fast. Maybe the neighborhood wildlife fear me and my brown dog.
I do not own a protective stick.