Those dogs that were hassling that cow and calf about a month ago. This time they were much closer to Landlady’s place – and they seemed to have it in their heads to hassle me.
The weather cleared overnight and I was taking my muddy morning walky – the first time with the new leg, which is getting more comfortable – and I was on the ridge overlooking the cattle watering station. From here the road goes sharply downhill, takes a left around the station and across the wash, then back uphill again to Landlady’s. And I wouldn’t even have known the dogs were in the area if one of them hadn’t started barking at me.
I looked around the station, assuming the dog was barking at a cow. But there were no cattle and the dog sounded really close so I scanned past the station and there they both were, on the berm at the bottom of the hill, on the other side of the road between it and the wash. Scott the Road Guy built that berm up a few years ago when we had that big flood that washed the road out, and those two dogs were standing on top not barking at any cattle but at me.
That was just rude, and I decided to see how far they were willing to take this. If they got proactively aggressive we’d just end this right here.
I went down the hill which took me out of sight of them for a minute or two but they were still in the same spot when I rounded the turn and the brindle was still barking. As I recalled from our first encounter the brindle was the first to break contact but the light brown one didn’t want to pay any attention to my yelling – that suggested that even though right now the brindle was the one making noise it was the brown one I should watch.
They were still on top of the berm, neither advancing nor retreating. I started walking toward them straight and hard, looking right at them, making it clear who was the aggressor here. If you want to fight, I want to fight. That is in my experience the most sure way to get a strange dog to back down. The temp was in the twenties and I was wearing layers and anyway I’m no big quickdraw artist so of course I had my .44 in my hand before I ever rounded the turn. The closer I came, the less sure about all this the brindle seemed to get even though she kept barking – but as before, the brown one just stared me down.
I got to within maybe thirty yards, still walking fast, and to my surprise they were letting the situation ride. At that range I could easily take one of them with the pistol but as before I really truly didn’t want to shoot a dog that somebody else definitely owned. So I guess you could say in the end it was me who chickened out: I held the pistol out to my side and fired into the sand.
More often than not when I use my pistol in the boonies it’s just to get a troublesome animal moving – one more nice thing about a .44 Magnum is that it makes a nice big boom. And as soon as I made the gun go boom the dogs disappeared down the other side of the berm and I saw them no more. As before it’s the brindle who ran the first and fastest. If it comes to shooting I’m shooting the brown one first.
These mutts are getting expensive. I either need to load cheaper ammo or just go ahead and end the dogs. I’m going to be too forbearing, and they’re going to rip something up – hopefully not a neighbor – and then I’m going to feel really bad about not having just shot the damned things.