Dogs have always found me a good smell. Big ones, little ones, spoiled or homeless they all like me. They can tell I'm a fan so they follow me everywhere and as a result I think only the best of them... much to my detriment.
A case in point... a couple of months or so ago I was in Riverside looking for a stubborn water leak. There was no outward sign of water anywhere... the toilets didn't leak... no drips from bath or kitchen faucets... no puddles on the ground ... no weeds conspicuously growing in one small area in a vast dirt yard and yet the meter was spinning like a top.
I was stumped. It had to be under the building, it was the only logical explanation left.
Lost in my head in the effort of solving this little problem, I leaned over the four foot chain link fence for a closer look without any thought of self preservation. Without so much as a hint to his existence I was instantly met with a 95 pound pit bull charging straight for me.
I was stunned as the brute jumped into the air in an effort to get to me, lunging for my throat. I jerked back, suddenly overcome by panic.
Time seemed to slow to a stop as the beast's hot breath and spittle washed over my face and I turned away. To my shock, in that instant, its teeth grazed my neck. Relief and terror filled me simultaneously as its mouth snapped closed on my chest, ripping my shirt and skin alike. Before I could react to the sudden gush of blood soaking me the monster shook its head tearing my flesh with unbelievable ease, filling me with its true intent and pain.
Then after a couple of weeks with a new shirt and a dozen stitches I found myself in Rialto repairing a broken water line. Upon finishing I had gathered up my tools and made for my truck. No sooner had I closed the gate and stepped out into the street when a man shouted.... "Cujo !"
I froze in place.
"Cujo !" he screamed a second time.
I looked about wildly but saw nothing.
"Cujo !" he screamed again and began to run in my direction. "Mister, my dog... look out for my dog !"
My heart jumped in my chest as I frantically looked about and then suddenly it came... the jiggling sound of a dog tag. With the all too familiar sound filling the air my head was crammed with the memory of my earlier experience and my stitches ached.
"No, Cujo, no !" the man screamed and ran all the faster toward me.
I couldn't move... there was nowhere to hide. I was frozen in place as if bolted to the ground.
Then, to my shock, from around the front of my truck the creature appeared.... a toy Chihuahua no bigger than your average kitten.
"It's my wife's dog. The damn thing runs away every time the door's open... I was afraid you wouldn't see him and would run the little bastard over," he explained as he adjusted the tiny creature's spiked collar. "My wife would kill me if anything happen to him."
Take it from me; it’s true what they say... “Once bitten, twice shy.”