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Old 09-19-05, 07:04 PM   #1
NE One
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Sad bike ride Sunday; CAUTION: tough to read

I've been thinking of the incident I'm about to describe since last morning, and just didn't feel like riding today.

I'm a newbie 50-year old road biker this year (an ex-long distance runner with 15 years of relative inactivity in between) and had happily been biking since July and improving in both speed and distance. But Sunday gave me a real wake-up call re: how suddenly a beautiful day on a bike can turn ugly.

I was going along the right side of a newly paved 2-lane secondary road on level ground at about 20 mph in a sparsely settled suburban neighborhood. Suddenly, I spot out of the corner of my left eye a golden retriever racing toward me from the yard to my left. Almost simultaneously, I was aware of an SUV going about 40 mph bearing down from in front of me. I realized what was about to happen, screamed "oh my ...", and heard an awful THUD followed by the yelping screams of the dog whose right hind leg had been torn off and insides exposed. I stopped, turned around, and watched the SUV (which had temporarily stopped) drive away.

Thinking the SUV driver was just going to bolt, I flagged down the first car to come upon the scene, and asked the driver to call the police and give them my description of the car. I realized it wasn't the driver's fault, but nobody should just leave after hitting a dog. There were 2 houses fronting the scene, and the neighbors came out to help. Within minutes, the police arrived and let me know that the SUV driver HAD called the police, thankfully, although the driver apparently couldn't stand to see the dog. The animal control officer arrived. I heard a couple of discouraging comments about the dog's condition, and decided to move on.

I still can't stop hearing that dog's pain. Sadly, the dog had no license and was loose in a town with a leash law; perhaps it had snuck out its owner's house door by accident (it was, according to the neighbors, from a house some distance away). I don't think it was going to attack me; I remember not fearing that at all. I remember reading a thread about a guy that had badly injured (somewhat accidentally) a pit bull that had attacked him. But this?? My first thought when I resumed riding was "what if I hadn't decided to ride this morning", following by my other thoughts: what if the dog had run out 2 seconds earlier, ran into me, knocked me into the oncoming SUV, etc. I'm still shocked by how quickly it all happened.

If there's one thing I would ask of anyone on this post that owns a dog along a well travelled road , it's to please either keep the dog leashed or get a "canine fence" (an electronic underground wire that does an amazing job of keeping your dog in your yard). Especially if you have kids that love the dog. And for the safety of other people as well.
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Old 09-19-05, 07:42 PM   #2
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I'll say it was tough to read. Life long dog lover/owner here. Feeling pretty down right now.

You must be in shock, at least to some degree. This kind of experience doesn't wash away after a while. Really sorry it happened. Having a great ride, then...

That poor dog. I'll be really mad if the owners just allowed him to roam like that.

Hope you recover from all that took place soon.

You deserve credit for dealing with the situation when the driver of the SUV left the scene. A lot of people wouldn't have gotten involved.
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Old 09-19-05, 07:49 PM   #3
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I'm just grateful that it was the dog and not you.
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Old 09-19-05, 07:57 PM   #4
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VERY sad story; if I were you, it would take me a long time to get past it. And I agree with the idea that dogs should not be allowed to run loose. Dangerous to them, and to others as well.

Welcome to the forum, btw. Hope you'll post often.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:27 PM   #5
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I'm a dog lover (liker?) 90% of the time. When I'm biking, however, EVERY loose dog is a hated enemy whose head I will smash with whatever is available if it approaches me. Sorry. I'm a sorry human being. It's just the way I am. The canine has its peculiarities. Some **** sapiens have theirs.

The attitude has served me well and must be somehow communicated to 'Rover' because I am chased MUCH less than my more liberal friends.

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Old 09-19-05, 09:00 PM   #6
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It is a sad story, almost saw the same thing a month ago, the dog was almost on me and looking like he was going to bite me when a car was coming up behid me to pass, the dog starting dancing on the road back pedaled and barely got off without getting hit. From that day on, that dog runs out sometimes but he does not come out in the road. Sorry you had to see the dog get killed.
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Old 09-19-05, 10:38 PM   #7
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The same thing happened to me some years ago. The driver was a 16 year old who had just gotten his license a week earlier. The dog, a pretty German shepherd was not maimed like your dog, but died slowly. It took him about 20 minutes. The family that owned him, a mother with 3 or 4 young children, witnessed it. It was all very sad. It took me a while to feel right riding again.

I"m sorry that this happened to you. Remember that it was not your fault.
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Old 09-19-05, 11:01 PM   #8
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Thanks for posting but I'm sorry you had to witness such a thing. I've only been riding about 4 years but the more I ride the more I hear of incidents about riders going down for one reason or another. I know of several situations over the past year where fellow riders have gone down from animals getting under their wheels. Injuries have varied from road rash to shattered bones and extensive surgeries.

Worse yet, what if the driver had swerved to avoid the dog and hit you?

I'm more and more wary when I see dogs running across yards anymore.

I have 2 dogs but keep them fenced in. Unfortunately with dogs that are allowed to roam and get out in the street, as harsh as it sounds it would seem to make sense that it's just a matter of time before fate deals with it.

Hopefully by posting it has helped you deal with it a little more. Reading these types of things help to better educate all of us on the hazards on the road be more alert to potential hazards.
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Old 09-19-05, 11:25 PM   #9
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Must have been a terrible experience. Worse for the dog.

One of my biggest fears, having my own dogs in the past and now fostering dogs is that they will get out and meet a bad end.

If Hurricane Katrina showed nothing else, it's that chipping your dog is a good idea.

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Old 09-20-05, 06:08 AM   #10
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I saw a dog get hit while I was gassing up my motorcycle near the VA/NC border many years ago. Tried to run right across 4-lane route 15. Light traffic. Plenty of room to notice it crossing and react, yet two cars managed to nail it. The first car got a glancing blow but didn't kill it. Much horrific yelping and hopping around. The second car nailed the dog hard.

Not something I ever want to see or hear again in my life. Awful, awful stuff... Just writing about it makes me uncomfortable, and it was at least 10 years ago.

I went out into the highway and pulled the (quite dead) animal into the median. At least it went quickly. The gas station employee said the dog ran across the road all the time and it was only a matter of time... Keep your pets indoors!
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Old 09-20-05, 09:32 AM   #11
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There are a few dogs I have had encounters with that I hoped that just such a thing would happen, but generally the dog perceives the car and prudently breaks off the chase and lets me go. I still remember a somewhat friendly small dog that was running down the road in the opposite lane looking at me on the bike oblivious of oncoming traffic a few hundred yards down the road-it never knew what hit it, just a thud and it was over (about 30yrs ago).
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Old 09-20-05, 12:49 PM   #12
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Yup, cars suck. Glad you are OK. People need to slow down.
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Old 09-20-05, 08:40 PM   #13
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ya, I ran over a dog 30 years ago. I tell ya what. I still remember it.
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Old 09-21-05, 04:00 PM   #14
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I'm sorry you had to witness that, and very glad you didn't get hurt. A friend's golden retriever got killed by a car six miles from home after some neighborhood kids let it out of its safely fenced backyard and it took off running. So, please, dog owners, consider padlocking your gates.

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Old 09-21-05, 06:15 PM   #15
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Thanks to all for your sympathetic (for the dog as well as me) comments. I've ridden a couple of times since Sunday. Despite my best efforts, I have found that I am slightly slower (1 mph) than up through that day. And I haven't taken the same route yet. I have to admit to feeling a sense of distraction while riding. Once during the ride yesterday, I heard a dog bark nearby, and I actually flinched. It reminds me of how I felt when I was in college break during one summer and was held up at gunpoint while working in a convenience store one evening (in hindsight, an occupation only slightly less dangerous than walking a high wire). I tried to work after the incident, but whenever anybody would reach inside their jacket, I assumed the worst! I quit after a few days.

On the other hand, cycling has more upside psychological potential than working in a convenience store, so I'll just work through these feelings.
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Old 09-21-05, 08:48 PM   #16
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Luckily my story has a happy ending. About 5 years ago, my husband and I were out on our bikes going down Dehesa Road, a fairly busy stretch of road (because of the casino), even though it's kind of rural. I spotted a dog running back and forth into traffic as though confused. I thought for SURE that dog was going to get killed. I stopped my bike, shut my eyes, not wanting to watch the dog get killed by a car. When I opened my eyes again the dog had come to our side of the road. I immediately called to her and she put her head down, tail between her legs and approached very slowly. When looking at her, I thought he had a rope around her neck, when she got closer, I realized she had no fur around her neck, I was seeing just skin. I told my husband to give me something to put around her neck so I could keep her from running in the road again. Closer examination showed that about half her fur was gone, probably from malnutrition. I told my husband to ride his bike back home and get the truck, which he did (about 20 miles), while I waiting a woman stopped and said she had been trying to catch the dog for a couple of days, she went back home, got some food and water and a lease and collar for the dog. When my husband returned we immediately took her to the vet's office. They thought she had mange but it turned out she didn't, just very under weight. We still have her and now she is a health and happy dog. I have seen a dog get hit by a car and glad I was able to change this situation for the better.
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