April 8, 2014

I'm afraid

Sunday, March 30th has forever changed my running life. While running in my neighborhood, I was viciously attacked by a dog. This was not my first time to be bitten by a dog, but the first time since I started running in October of 2010.  I know the phrases, "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade" and "what does not kill you makes you stronger," but a part of me was severely damaged when I was attacked.  I am not talking about my leg, which has a bad injury and will be permanently scarred.  It is my confidence that has been shattered to my core.  No longer can I slip on my running shoes and happily walk out the door to enjoy a little run around the neighborhood.  That happiness is gone. While my neighborhood is a gated community that should feel safe and secure, it does not.  Freedom to run without fear has been taken from me.

On Saturday, I had a long run on my calendar and after my recent injury, my running has been limited.  I will be pacing one of my group members at a race in three weeks time, so I really wanted to get in a long run. But you know what?  I was petrified to go outside and run.  Not only was I afraid, I also had a major meltdown.  Poor Tom not only consoled me in the best possible way, but also offered to  be "my bodyguard" while I ran through the neighborhood.  As he said, "baby steps."
Perfect card I received last week!

So off we went with Tom on his bicycle and me running along side with my Halt at the ready.  During the course of the run, we encountered probably four or five dogs along the way, all on leashes with their tails wagging.  My new plan is to always walk when I see a dog, unless it is one that I know.  I am sure people are wondering why I slow down to a walk pace, but this is non-threatening to an animal and it makes me feel a little more secure.  Hopefully, time will help me get over this problem, but quite honestly it is hard to imagine not worrying at all when I see a dog in the distance.  It makes me very sad since I own a lovely sweet dog, and I want to have confidence when I step outside.  In the meantime, I have a wonderful bodyguard when I run!

(Pam)

41 comments:

  1. Oh Pam, I am so sorry to hear this! Sending you wishes for a speedy recovery both body + spirit.
    I have never had this happen to me but just this past weekend when I was running in my neighborhood, there were several (big) dogs with their owners and I crossed the street because I didn't want to get too close to them. I always appreciate when I pass somoene walking a dog when they stop, hold the leash and let me pass.
    I hope that by taking it one day/run at a time, your comfort level of running outside will return.
    Karen @karenlovestorun

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  2. So sorry to hear you have been through such a traumatic event that has spoiled your running. I havent been attacked, but am afraid of dogs, so I either cross the street or walk when I meet up with one. Hope you can move forward soon. :)

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  3. I'm so sorry to hear that this happened to you Pam. I hope your confidence builds back up and you enjoy your outdoor running more as time goes on. That is so sweet of Tom to ride his bicycle alongside you for your run to keep you safe!

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  4. Oh my!! I'm so sorry to hear that happened Pam! How scary! There is a section of my neighborhood that I no longer run in because of this type of fear. One day I was running down this one road and this house had a yard full of kids with a pit bull chained to a tree. As I ran by, he lunged at me while barking and growling. To the kids it was funny. To me (even though he was chained to the tree) it was frightening. I love pit bulls but that example is the perfect reason why they get such a bad rap. Sending positive vibes and prayers your way for your healing both internally and physicially! <3

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  5. Wow, so sorry to hear this Pam. I hope your leg recovers quickly and that your fear subsides. You are a great runner and you deserve to get out there and do your thing. Don't let this hold you back!

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  6. So sorry to hear you were attacked. I hope you can get back to running with confidence soon.

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  7. Our prayers are with you. Hoping for a quick recovery.

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  8. Yikes Pam! I am so incredibly sorry that this happened to you :( Glad Tom was there and helped you get back out on the road. Hugs to you!

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  9. I'm so sorry about your dog experience. When I first met my husband, he hated dogs because as a former paper boy, he had actually been bit by them on multiple occasions. Slowly but surely, as he's exposed to more dogs, he's starting to get over it, but it's definitely a work in progress. It's so difficult when something you love attacks you while doing something you love. But you're strong and tough and I know you'll get through this. Just take it one day at a time and you'll get there. Keep safe!

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  10. So sorry Pam. This is truly awful and I don't know what to say. I have had a dog lunge at me but luckily Notbing more than that. Hopefully you were at least able to confront the owner about what happened. Prayers that you heal both physically and mentally.

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  11. Oh Pam! I hate that you are now living in fear. That is such a horrible feeling. So glad Tom is there to help you overcome this. Hugs!!!

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  12. Pam, I'm so sorry to hear about this! Overcoming your fear is just like meeting one of your running goals. You have the strength and the drive to accomplish it! Hope you heal quickly!

    Lauren

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  13. That's horrible. The dog bite was bad enough, but for it to shatter your confidence like that is heartbreaking, yet completely understandable. In our neighborhood we have a lot of feral cats, and while most run away from you when you're still far away, I always feel my heart beat a little faster with the fear that they'll attack instead. For it to actually happen, I would probably have a lot of the same feelings you do. I'm glad you have your bodyguard though!

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    1. We were attacked by a feral cat. We tried scaring it away but it kept coming. It tried to climb my leg. We told police/animal control and they said they don't have the same laws for cats. It would be funny but I has scratches and was very upset by it.

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  14. Pam, I'm so sorry to hear about what you've been going through. When I saw Christine on Sunday and she shared how much the dog bite had shaken you up, my heart immediately went out to you. I'll be thinking about you and hoping and praying for a speedy recovery, both of your leg and of your spirit. But thank goodness for Tom and his willingness to be your bodyguard during this past weekend's run!

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  15. Oh Pam, that is awful. One of my greatest fears when I lace up my running shoes and head out. My husband asked that I buy mace, last summer and it is still sitting in its packaging on my table, I just couldn't bear to use it on a dog. But like my hubby said, it's either you or them. I think I may have to crack it open and actually carry it. I also tend to slow to a walk when I see dogs, because as you said, I seem to be less of a threat that way. Hope that your fears abate and you get back out there comfortably. All the best to you & your bodyguard!

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  16. cheers and hugs for a speedy recovery both physically and mentally!

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  17. Pam, I am so sorry! That is horrible! I am a huge dog-lover, but I have been approached several times on runs by unleaded dogs and it can be terrifying. I carry pepper spray just in case, but I don't know if I would be able to react fast enough. Rest up, heal, and be gentle with yourself getting back out there.

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  18. Pam, I am so very sorry! :0( I think it's a good idea to walk when you see a dog nearby. Tom is so sweet to be there with you! Hope your injury is getting better!

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  19. I'm so sorry about your injury! I hope the owners of the dog are aware of what has happened and are keeping him in a fenced area now.

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  20. Pam, get better soon! I'm always so friendly with dogs when I run, I need to be more cautious. Like the card, that is so true! Glad you have a "bodyguard" now for runs.

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  21. this is not fun! I always encounter this dog roaming free in its backyard who is barking like mad evey time I go by. This winter with all the snow, I was once convinced he would jump over the fence. Sending you good toughts so that you can run in peace very soon!

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  22. Pam...I hate to hear that happened to you. How very scary that was for you~ Also makes me angry with pet owners as I also have had a dog run up....and your right to slow and walk....
    Makes you also think...gosh...should I carry more to protect myself some... I've had visions of an air horn that makes a huge noise...maybe you could carry hotdogs to toss...but then...you'd have a buddy following you. (Trying to make you smile)
    Mace is an option...but gosh...you only want to run and not have to do that or fear the dog could get angry...
    We have a dog in our neighborhood that is always let out loose to go outside and has chased my husband and I...its a boxer and we walk and never turn our backs...but so not right...makes me angry at the owners...
    I'm thinking of you....hugs

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  23. I'm so sorry this happened to you Pam. We have a dog that roams free in our neighborhood and he runs up to me from time to time but thankfully has never bitten me; I'm still scared that it might happen one day though. So sad that we can't even run through our own neighborhoods! We have two dogs but when they are not in our fenced-in backyard, they are on a leash.

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  24. Omg Pam. I am so, so sorry that happened to you. I'd be terrified, too! I ran a rural race once where there were lots of stray dogs and animal control was all over the course. Nothing happened to me thankfully, but I was terrified enough never to run a race like that again.

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  25. Are you going to be alright?

    Perhaps run on a track that is fenced for awhile.

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  26. Man that's terrible! I'm sorry you had to go through that. It's the worst when you no longer feel safe where you should feel the most safe :(

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  27. Pam, as Tom said, take baby steps. It is all you can do. If he is willing to go with you for a while to help calm your nerves, take him up on the offer. You have a great strategy for walking if you see a dog. Hopefully you will be able to put this behind you and get back to what you love. Time will help, and having someone there for a while will help as well.

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  28. Wow, Pam, I am so sorry to hear about this! I hope you are okay and that you heal quickly. :(

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  29. So scary! I'm sorry this happened. I think Tom has it right- baby steps. Many prayers for a swift recovery (mentally and physically) Hugs Pam!

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  30. So sorry this happened to you. My husband rides his bike with me every time I run for safety reasons. It makes me feel better and he doesn't have to worry about me. Feel better soon!! ------- Denise

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  31. : ( This makes me so sad. Like Kellie said above it's so hard when something you actually do love turns on you (I know it wasn't YOUR dog, but still...you like dogs and now one has made you not trust them). It's great that Tom has been able to help by riding with you and I hope you're injury heals up quickly and you begin to gain your running confidence back!

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  32. Pam, I'm so sorry. I can only imagine what this has done to you. I hope you have a speedy recovery, both for your injury and your spirit. I'm a dog owner too, but I'll admit that I slow to a walk when I see a dog I don't know in the distance, especially one off leash and barking. I've had dogs on leash simply lunge at me and it put the fear of Cujo into me. Getting attacked on a run is something we all fear. I'm so sorry it happened to you. Big hugs!

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  33. Pam, I'm so very sorry you had to experience this (((hugs))). We have the occasional wandering free dog in our neighborhood and I always make myself stop and walk slowly when I see them because I'm terrified of being bitten (and I love dogs, but as a runner I've developed a phobia of being bitten - it was even worse when I'd run with Eli in a jogging stroller!). I'm sorry that you have to feel afraid and I'm so glad that Tom is being supportive and protective but still encouraging you to get back out there. I second the track suggestion for a while. I've been thinking of you all week and hoping you're recovering.

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  34. Wow that is so scary! I never had that fear but I might be more careful from now on! I hope you're able to start feeling safer during your runs. I run in a local state park where there are very few dogs (and all are on leashes), that might be a good option for you? Or a high school track? Good luck!

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  35. Oh Pam! I am so so sorry! I totally agree with the baby steps. I hope you are able to get your joy back into your running soon. Sending hugs.

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  36. I am so sorry to read/learn about this! I am often frustrated on the paths by owners 'thinking' "my dog doesn't bite" and leave them off the leash. I am sending healing thoughts your way to enable you to pace your friend :-)

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  37. Oh my gosh. I am so sorry this is horrible.
    You are in my thoughts.

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  38. Pam, I am so sorry to hear that you have gone through such a traumatic event!! I was so shocked to hear this that my eyes actually welled up with tears. I sincerely hope that you will heal both inside and out very soon. Thank you for posting this as far too often do I push limits during the run: come up behind someone walking a dog, crossing the street as the light is yellow, etc. Something about running makes me feel free and unbreakable- but unfortunately that is not so. Safety first.

    You are in my thoughts!! Also glad to hear that you have a bodyguard!

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