Ever wonder what it feels like to be maced?

I have never been afraid of dogs. I have a diploma in Animal Care and worked at an Animal Hospital for a while. Not to mention, I’ve been around dogs for a long time and have two now – one being a Yellow Lab. But, I moved to the country when my mom died and then in 2008 started running. That’s when my fear of dogs began.

On a few occasions I’ve been chased by unfriendly dogs where the body language was clear. They meant business. One occasion I was running with a friend and her dog and two large dogs, in a pack situation, charged us from quite a distance off their own property and bit my friend’s dog. I had another run-in with the same dogs while on my own. I was their focus at that time. Every time I had a problem I called police or animal control, who did nothing. But the last time I called the police and was crying and screaming into the phone for them to help me. They sent nobody. They did, however, call my useless animal control person. He, in turn, called me to ask who the dogs belonged to and their address. Oh, and that was the next day. As I said... useless. I believe he did give that family a ‘warning’. Great eh?

Although I love to run outside I figured that my running days were pretty much limited to a treadmill after all this. Then, I felt some hope from this defeat/victim feeling.... ‘dog deterrent spray’. Seemed the perfect solution! It’s legal, small enough to carry and only lasts about 15 minutes, I’m told. Just be sure to be upwind, I understood. Was it that simple? No!

I was nervous right from the start but I feel that everyone has the right to run safely in a public place. I took the spray outside with me and decided to spray it into the grass to put it to the test. Checking the wind, of course, first.

I sprayed. It was a cloud, not a stream, that I saw shoot out just as the wind changed to swirl around me. I turned my head quickly away but not quick enough. I got some in my right eye, nostril and side of my mouth. Ugh, not nice. Now that I’ve felt the affects could I do that to an animal that threatened my wellbeing? Yes, definitely. However, I’m not sure I could take the chance of endangering myself further by the possibility that I spray myself at the same time! My skin still was still irritated an hour and a half later and although I washed my hands twice it was still under my nails when I scratched my eye.

I still went for my run but was nervous and only lasted about 20 minutes. I kept looking around me and didn’t get to enjoy it. Why should I have to be scared and feel like a victim? Why, when something happens, do I have to be the one to get into my car and find out where the dog lives and give the animal control person all the information? It’s like being victimized again!

Back to the treadmill, I guess.

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  1. Kim,

    I am so sorry that you cannot run in peace and solitude. I know it's so pleasant to run here in the early morning and evening and we do have strict lease laws where we live.

    The owners of these dogs you spoked of have obviously treated these animals horribly and have taught them to be confrontational. I am sorry that you have encountered that.

    I hope you can find a solution so that you can run outside and not encounter any dangers.


  2. Thanks Pam,

    I live in a really pretty area and love my home so I would prefer not to move... the spray seems to not be great... maybe someone will read this with the perfect solution for me! :-)


  3. Hey Kim
    I don't know if this is an option for you but my dad carries a cane (nothing big) when he takes our dog for a walk. He has also had trouble with aggressive dogs and this has worked for him. Not the best option but the only one I have.
    Have a good day

  4. Thanks Amy,
    I forgot about my hiking pole... thanks for the idea!

    Have a great day and thanks for reading.

  5. That sucks that the spray wont be effective! I haven't practiced outside with mine. Maybe I should. If mine sprays differently, maybe we can get you another one. I wonder if you manipulate the hole, if it would come out in more of a stream?

  6. I'll ask Chris what happened to him... he tried it as well. I should have let him try it BEFORE me so I would know what to expect. If i use it again (in self defence) I think I would completly turn away before spraying.

  7. Where goggles while you run, lol ;)

  8. LOL!
    Actually.... that's a GREAT idea! If I wear my sunglasses and there is a need to spray I could put the collar of my shirt over my mouth too. PERFECT solution! THANKS!!

  9. LOL!
    Actually, that's a GREAT idea! If I wear my sunglasses, and then put my collar over my mouth and nose if I need to spray, it will work out great.
    Thanks Michelle!!!


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