2007.03.14 Man vs. dog

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I saw a headline among a list of news highlights earlier this morning that caught my eye: “Dog saved by mouth-to-snout revival.”

I just now went back for details and was appalled that it’s no longer there. It’s been bumped from the list of important stories by such trivialities as “Chinese lawmaker wants Starbucks ousted,” “Stephen King ventures into comic books,” and “Busta Rhymes busted from N.Y.C. movie shoot.”

I finally found it way down the list. In Omaha, a 10-month-old English bulldog jumped into a lake to chase ducks without thinking that perhaps the water temperature would be chilly.

When her loving owner pulled her from the water, she was unresponsive and her paws and face were blue.

Putting snout into mouth, the owner breathed her back to life, stating later that he and Lucy are best buddies. Well, if they weren’t before, they surely are now.

As I was driving through the countryside on my way to the state wrestling tournament Thursday, I spotted a dog basking on a farm house porch and it brought back memories, none of them pleasant. I thought about rural dog encounters while riding a bicycle.

The first one that always pops into mind occurred perhaps in 1971. I was home from college and working at Morenci Rubber Products for the summer. The place was locally known as the Rubber Factory and by some of those who worked there as the Rubber Dump.

I could be improperly mixing up a lot of hazy memories, but I think that was the summer when I was somehow talked into driving through the countryside with some colleagues to collect dead-on-road raccoons and opossums to place under someone’s porch. Nothing I’m too proud of, but I had to become one of the guys.

I think John Hanawalt worked there that summer—an acquaintance a few years earlier from Boy Scouts—and he planned to camp in Lost Nations one weekend near a place we once camped with Scoutmaster John Hay.

I decided to bicycle into Hillsdale County to look up John, and somewhere along the way I encountered a dog.

I often spotted a dog early, built up speed and out-raced the pest. That worked on a paved road, but this one was dirt and there was no such thing as building up speed.

It was a good-sized German shepherd and it just waited for me with a smile at the edge of the road.

When I arrived, it came out and started a little nipping action and I hopped off my bike in order to get my leg out of chewing range.

So there we were, I on one side of the bike, the dog on the other, as we walked on down the road.

I don’t remember how it ended. Maybe the dog was called by the owner, maybe it lost interest since there was no chase, maybe it could tell I wasn’t worth the bother. I was wondering if Hanawalt was worth the bother.

I must have surmised from this incident that dogs really enjoy the chase. In the future, I employed other techniques. I built up speed, but when I got close, I stopped pedaling. With the feet no longer spinning around, perhaps the sense of a good chase would disappear. I think it worked with several dogs over the ensuing years.

I also brought another practice into play. When I got near the house and the chase was about to begin, I would start whistling as if the owner were calling the mutt home.

I’m sure that was successful, too, although it drove my riding companion, John Robertson, nuts on our tour of the Canadian Maritimes. John was actually knocked over by a dog on that trip. That’s what he gets for having a better, faster bicycle. I was trailing behind and watched the incident from down the road.

At the start of this column I mentioned spotting a rural dog Thursday. It led me to think about a new concept in reality TV.

You drive along a country road until you spot a dog. You stop, get out and start taunting. You do whatever it takes to rack up a good score—do laps around the car with the dog at your heels, jump onto the roof, roll underneath (now you’re talking big points).

I have no interest in serving as a contestant on this show, but I’ll work with a producer to get it underway. Maybe I’ll even stand down the road a ways whistling.

    – March 14, 2007 
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016