If you have multiple dogs, sooner or later, you have to deal with a dog fight. I certainly have over the years and have learned a number of techniques to deal with them – both preventative and in the moment. What I have not had to deal with is a fight in public. Until today.
We started our morning by hiking Waterrock Knob, an early morning effort of a Tired Sibe is a Good Sibe. After the hike, we went to downtown Waynesville at 11 for breakfast / lunch with my sister who was visiting from Charlotte and my parents. Waynesville has a small downtown area of about three city blocks of one and two story buildings, most catering to the tourism business that is so critical in this area. Sunday morning is great because so few people are on the sidewalks. I rarely go down with the dogs when the area is crowded.
We eat at tables on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant that is a Sunday regular for me. We can get parking right in front of the tables on Main Street. People who pass by always comment on how well behaved the dogs are. Since Cheoah is still being integrated into the pack and is not to be trusted unsupervised, she was out of the Jeep and sitting at my feet while we ate.
Lunch is over and I put Cheoah into the jeep, testing to make sure everyone is ok. All smiles. I close up the jeep and am starting to get in, but am in no particular hurry.
I saw it. The warning snarl from Kiska. Cheoah had committed some offense – who knows. I started to move to correct both of them before it escalated but I moved just a hair too slow and the scuffle was on. Worse, Queen Natasha decides she needs to break things up by getting into the middle of it. So I have not two but three fighting girls. The boys, wisely, are standing to the side and watching. I kind of picture them at a Middle School yelling, “Fight, Fight, Fight.”
Now Sibes playing make a noise like a fight to the uninitiated. Sibes fighting make a terrible racket. And I am vaguely aware that I am standing on Main Street and people are paying attention. But no time for that, I need to break this up. At home, I would throw a blanket over them or use a pillow, anything to avoid sticking my hands until the middle of the mess and getting bitten. But we aren’t at home and I don’t have a blanket or pillow. We are standing on the sidewalk.
So I pull open the back door of the Jeep and go in. Technical problem hits me, other than the fact it is very crowded back there at the moment. They are all in the Champion Seat Belts. Buckled in. I am going to have to disconnect one of them and that means getting very up close and personal. My hands go to Cheoah’s connection first. For the uninitiated, a Champion Seat Belt is NOT designed for quick release. It takes some effort. Doing that while being in the middle of the fray is difficult. It seemed to take minutes, but I am sure it was no more then a few seconds. And it was loose and I pulled Cheoah out using her seat belt harness. Good solid construction, so I am now holding 38 pounds of dog in mid air.
And it was over. The whole thing was maybe 30-40 seconds, but as I look around I realize there are people standing on the sidewalk watching. People in storefronts watching. People I know. People I don’t. I would love to just disappear, but I can’t exactly put Cheoah back into the Jeep at the moment, now can I? So I have to stand there until everyone calms down enough to go on.
The damage? Only my pride and slobber covered dogs. No blood. No puncture wounds. Not on me or the dogs. The fight, as loud as it was, was really more a pushing and shoving match. But to anyone watching, it was a melee.
Oh, and when we got to Craggy and went hiking this afternoon, Kiska and Cheoah walked together like it was nothing.
Oh yeah, I am studying built in dog boxes and designing my own for the Jeep.