Between the news reports of runners being attacked and some recent encounters with hostile drivers and animals, I have become more concerned with personal safety. Not just while running. Start the conversation and listen as the stories pile up. Close encounters, narrow escapes and moments of terror. The universality of these experiences is shocking. Then there is my mom. When does your mom ever stop worrying about you??
Yesterday, on my favorite trail, I narrowly escaped an attack by dogs. I saw something looking like this:
round a building near the trail at top speed barking, growling and snapping as he tucked his ears back and fixed his gaze. The owner, thankfully present, began to yell him back but he was too far away and the dog, while a beautiful animal, was in the red zone where they are functionally deaf. Having grown up with dogs, and loving dogs, I knew not to try to outrun them. As I cut pace and turned to face it, I saw two more of it’s pack bearing down and two more screaming owners laying chase. With the gap closing to thirty feet, the dogs menacing and the owners screaming, I took the safety off my electric shock ring, widened my stance, extended my arm out toward the dog now ten feet away and discharged the ring. The dog had started to prepare to lunge but the 100 decibel, 18 million volt high powered electrical arch that formed over the top of the ring when I squeezed the trigger as a warning, had the dogs skidding to a halt. The other two dogs stopped barking and slowed to a walk. I discharged the ring again as a warning. It never shocked the dogs and I am glad it didn’t. It was enough to get them out of the red zone and listening to the owners who had them in hand a few seconds later. Surely it didn’t hurt that, due to having a ready defense, I didn’t radiate fear. The owner asked me what the loud sound was and how I got the dogs to stop. He apologized for them, told me he had just moved in yesterday and was glad I had the ring. Me too.
In case it might help you or someone you love, they can be purchased on Amazon here but not shipped to all locations as local ordinances may have laws against shock weapons. For example, in Philadelphia you can have a shock weapon as long as it doesn’t launch a projectile. In NY it is a misdemeanor to have anything capable of delivering a shock. Check the rules of your location. Personally, I would rather suffer a $300 fine (my health insurance deductible for the mauling would be much higher than this), a summary offense or misdemeanor than a mauling by dogs or humans but YMMV. If something requires engagement of my shock ring, it is likely violating the law itself. It, like many things, is a very individual choice which I respect.
Wishing you all many safe adventures 🙂