Monday, May 10, 2010


I had a very weird morning. I'm not sure if it is a result of good karma or bad karma, but seeing that things turned out okay in the end, I'm tending to lean on the good karma side.

My neighbor and I don't walk our dogs together very often any more because they tend to feed off each other's misbehavior. But this morning the weather was cool and over cast, so we decided to go to Contra Loma Regional park. When the weather is hot, we worry about rattlesnakes more, so thought the cool weather would keep them in their dens. Also with clouds in the sky, we thought there would be less people.

As we started walking, we noticed that the cows were down in the valley, and were laying everywhere. That meant that we had to keep the dogs on leash. Sally and Duke love to bark at and chase the cows. The owners don't take too kindly to that, and I don't want to have to pay a vet bill either, so we keep them on leash when cows are nearby.

We walked quite a ways up a very long hill. If I can get blogger to cooperate, I'll post an old picture. In the picture you can see half of the hill, but there is still another half that is just as long, but even steeper. It's quite a climb for me, especially if I have to wrestle my dog in the process. But once we got up to the top, we saw that the pond there was filled with water. We let the dogs off leash there since there were no cows nearby. They really enjoyed swimming and running free. Then when they started to slow down, we put them back on leash and headed back down the hill.

We got part way down the hill when Sally started to bark at a young bull nearby. I stopped her immediately, and made her sit and be quiet. Then we calmly started walking past the bull. Sally was being very good, and listening to me. But I guess the bull decided he needed some entertainment for the day, so he started to charge us. At one point I looked over my shoulder and saw his head about three feet away. It was lowered, and was in the perfect position to bunt me. He didn't have any horns, but he was probably still 1000 pounds, and I really didn't want to get hit. I started to run, but then a little voice inside told me that if I ran, he would want to chase me. So instead, I stopped, turned around, and let the dog bark at him for a few seconds. It was a risky choice, but it worked. People might say that is the wrong thing to do in that situation, but the fact that it worked made it the right thing to do. I had this thought go through my head that dogs are used to herd cattle, so it might work. The last thing I wanted to do was let go of the leash. I really didn't want her to attack the bull in an effort to protect me. After she barked for a second, I made her sit quietly and we just stood there in a face off. Then I quietly walked down the hill further, and the bull turned away.

The next problem was that my neighbor was still on the other side of the bull, and needed to pass also. She decided to wait it out, and finally he moved enough that she could hurry by. Her dog was flying off the end of the leash, but she had the haltie pulled so tight around his muzzle that he couldn't bark. I guess the bull was bored by then because he didn't charge them.

I felt pretty lucky to have gotten past the bull, and we went on our way and finally reached the car. It was at that point that I realized that I had lost my car keys. Warning, this next sentence contains TMI (too much information). I didn't have any pockets in my pants, so had stuck my keys in my bra. I was pretty sure that when I bent over to put the leash back on the dog by the pond, my keys had dropped to the ground. I REALLY didn't want to drag my dog all the way past the bull, up two steep hills back to the pond. So my neighbor put Sally in the back of her car and cracked the windows. It was a cool day, so she was fine there. I walked all the way back to the top of the hill. I'll have to admit that it was much easier without the dog. As I was walking, it started raining. But that actually was kind of nice and cooling, and didn't last long. Just as I thought, my keys were right where I thought they would be.

Coming back down I passed a mother cow and calf. The mother acted very nervous having me pass them. I tried to not make eye contact, and to walk quietly past. For a second I thought she might charge me too, but she let me go.

So Dee Ice, what would you do if a young bull was charging you? I'm sure you've have this experience before. I do think it makes a difference that I had a dog, but I'm not sure if that helped, or caused the problem in the first place.

Lesson learned: Wear a fanny pack to carry my keys. :D


Nene said...

One time there was a bunch of us cousins over at Grandpa and Grandma Sawyers. There was an old wagon in one of the fields and also a bull. We all ran and got on top of that wagon and then we took turns taunting that bull. It got madder and madder and I remember MB taking off her jacket and used it for a "matador's cape" because it was red. That bull was charging her and she was just playing the matador. I think she only did it a couple of times, because it really scared us. Finally when the bull went aways away we took off running for the house. And of course, Grandma had apricot cookies for us! :0)

Looney said...

Nice picture. I usually make a large circle around bulls that make me nervous. There is one more technique here. I haven't tried it yet.

Delirious said...

LOL Looney, I will have to try that one. ;)

The only problem I have with circling around is that this particular trail has a really narrow path with a huge drop off, and the cows were on the hill side so there was no place to circle! Looking back, I really think he was playing with me though. I think if he had serious intent, he wouldn't have stopped.

Amber said...

whew! how scary! I'm so glad you had Sally to help protect you! I think you were very calm and level headed, I wonder if I would've run out of fear!

Dee Ice Hole said...

I commented yesterday but apparently I pushed the wrong button. I would have let Sally go. If she bit the bull too bad. They heal quickly and she is big enough to take care of herself. In fact I am not sure that I wouldn't go back and let the dog have a run at the bull today. The bull needs a lesson on avoiding people.

Delirious said...

Dee Ice,
I didn't mention this, but when my neighbor was walking ahead of me, some young bulls came running up to her and her dog. I really think they are trying to play, like they might play with another young bull. But young bulls like to play fight and butt each other. They don't seem afraid of the dogs. The cows and calves do, but not the young bulls. I was afraid if my dog bit the bull that I could get sued, or my dog put down for attacking them.