in which a pit bull bites my butt

As I’ve said before (probably), sometimes dogs charge at me when I’m on my runs. My response—a top-of-my-lungs, “CALL OFF YOUR DOG”—is instinctive and very loud. It also happens to embarrass my husband to no end. But I don’t even care. I have no desire to have some dog take a bite out of my butt.

This—a dog taking a bite out of my butt—is what I obsessed about while we were rehearsing for the last play. (Well, that and a bunch of other things, like slipping off the road while running and twisting my ankle, getting in a car crash, falling ill, and getting thrown from a horse. That last one was easily solvable: I just didn’t get on the horse in the first place.) So when I got attacked by a pit bull on Tuesday morning, two days before this play opens, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony.

Getting bitten was slightly less humorous.

That morning, I hadn’t gone even a quarter mile down the road when the dog came tearing around the corner of the house and made a beeline right for me. This neighbor’s dogs have charged us before—cue multiple CALL-OFF-YOUR-DOG’s—but this time, for some reason (maybe because I just woke up and wasn’t yet fully conscious?) I stayed mum.

I heard the owner call the dog from the backside of the house. Usually, one shout from the owner and these dogs freeze in their tracks, but since the owner couldn’t see me, he wasn’t calling the dog in all seriousness. The dog flew across the road and came screeching to a halt right in front of me. I stood there, frozen. The dog paused. Maybe she’ll just sniff my feet and go back to her yard? I thought. But then— BAM! A sharp pain in my hip, a scream (mine), and I was lying on my back in the ditch.

“She don’t bite,” he called out calmly, tolerantly, as he rounded the corner of the house. He sounded almost like he was smiling, probably thinking, Silly woman, going into hysterics over nothing. Geesh. 

Propelled by the shock of the bite, plus his patronizing tone, I rose up out of that ditch, spitting mad. 

“BULL! SHIT!” I bellowed. And then I yanked my shorts down to show him the teeth marks on my hip. “LOOK.”

“Oh my,” he said, taking a step back. “She ain’t never bit no one before.”

The man’s daughter came outside then, and he called to her, “She says Jazzy bit her.”

“Aw, she don’t bite,” she scoffed. “People just say that stuff because they don’t like these dogs.” 

“Look,” I said,pulling down my shorts for a second time. “I’ll need to see her papers.”

While the woman went back inside to find the dog’s vaccination records, I stood there, crying, holding my hip, and listening to him tell me what a fine dog Jazzy was. Briefly, I considered continuing on my run, but then common sense (and pain) kicked in and, paper in hand, I hobbled home.

The bite isn’t that bad—and the dog was up-to-date on her shots—but I went to the doctor anyway, just to be on the safe side. They filed a report (my husband had already filed one with Animal Control that morning when he came flying home from work to make sure I was okay, sweet guy) and put me on antibiotics.

This morning my husband and I went on a run again. Well, I ran and he rode bike (because he was suffering the consequences of dropping a seventy-five pound door on his big toe). I intentionally chose the route that went by The Pit Bull House. Two dogs were out, but they didn’t even bark. Jazzy was nowhere to be seen.

Now here’s where I could show you a whole series of bite-wound photos. We’ve been documenting it daily. The colors are rather artistic: a circle of bright red with an outer ring of dark purple. Like some sort of mystical tattoo. But I’ll spare you the bloody photos—you’re welcome—and settle for a nice, bandaged one.

ANYWAY. The play opens tonight!

Isn’t life amazing? I managed to get bit on the butt (okay, okay, hip) and still the show goes on.

PS. If, during the show when I’m lying on the floor being all dramatic, you see me wince and shift my weight from my right hip to my left, you’ll know why. Jazzy.

PPS. Tickets! Tickets!

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (7.13.15) and the quotidian (7.14.14).


  • karen


    A few years back I was bit on the calf by a tiny vicious dog who was on leash, but without a hand attached at the proper end. I was in a public park, and when I called the owner over (she watched and then pretended she hadn't) she feigned surprise and was totally defensive. Her first words, in my opinion, needed to be, "Are you okay?! I'm so sorry!" but instead were "My dog's NEVER bitten anyone before." After taking her to task for being so bizarrely disconnected to reality, I learned that she'd just taken the dog in the week before so had no right to accurately claim her dog was not a biter. That my husband had been bitten on the thigh a few years earlier, while playing ultimate, and was told he shouldn't have been running away from the dog (he wasn't, the dog came on the field) and that the dog had never bitten anyone before, and a lack of the owner caring that my husband was bleeding was so familiar I've decided this type of dog owner, no matter how nice, is horribly deluded.

    Glad you are okay. Have a terrific show!

  • Stephanie @ The Cozy Old Farmhouse

    Next time you encounter a dog on your run don't stop and stare at it because they can sense fear and uncertainty and will react to it. Throw your arms out wide making yourself appear larger and charge them, yell at them in your deepest strongest voice and keep charging them until they back off. They understand the theory that the bigger alpha dog wins and if you make yourself bigger and exude an "in control" attitude they will sense that you're the alpha and turn away. I've had to use this technique several times and so far it has always worked. Even once when I was pushing my 1 year old little girl in the stroller and around comes two pit bulls that I was not at all familiar with. My instinct was to turn and run, but instead I yelled and charged them and waved my arms and they tucked tail and ran for home, lol!

  • Mama Pea

    The law says (at least around here) you must be in control of your dog at all times . . . or it's illegal. Of course, lots of people disregard that.

    Hubby and I were on a walk once when a large (friendly fortunately, but undisciplined) dog came out from a yard and decided to proceed with us while running hither and yon, up and down, back and forth across the road. We tried everything we could to get him/her to go and stay home (no one was evident in or around the house at the time). A car passed us from behind and the (dumb) dog ran out in front of it and almost got hit. I nearly came to blows with the woman in the car because she cussed us up and down for not controlling "our" *&%^#! dog, threatened to call the police and wouldn't listen to our explanation of the situation. Arrrgh. So even friendly dogs on the loose can cause a potentially serious situation . . . to either the dog, the motorists or the innocent by standers!

    So, so glad you weren't more seriously hurt. Da bite in da butt was quite enough!

  • Becky

    My husband was once on a friend's farm (with a group of schoolkids no less), doing the zip line to the pond, when suddenly their dog bit him square on the rear end, taking out a chunk of his shorts while she was at it. Sometimes dogs that have never bitten before do bite. My poor husband couldn't sit for at least a week.

  • Anonymous

    please carry the pepper spray and practice the mental preparation to use it proactively (not waiting); it is not right for your liberties (and sense of well being) to be compromised; finally, I would request the dog owner to reimburse the out-of-pocket expenses and I would formalize through animal control that all action be taken…the next victim could be a child…some dogs have instincts to be bullies

    • Jennifer Jo

      I don't think the family has much money, and the medical costs were low (though we saved the receipts in case they offer to help pay). I think they were mostly dismayed and baffled by the whole thing, not trying to be thoughtless or rude intentionally. They're not bad/mean people…. However, if I ever see that dog off-chain again, we'll be making another call!

  • Second Sister

    Its funny, I've always gone berzerk when I see dogs coming at me on a walk or run. But in a different way. I start growling and shouting in a low voice and acting scary and threatening at them like I'm going to bite their head off. I think it must look like I'm insane, but I want them to be scared of me! At least I feel like it works… whether it does or not is sort of unclear. I'm glad you're ok. A hip is better than a hand or a face.

  • Becky

    Ouch! I'm sorry those owners were so irresponsible! That's one of my biggest complaints about living in the country…. dog owners letting their dogs run loose. I now carry pepper spray on my walks after being charged by multiple dogs over the years… one being a huge pit bull that the owner luckily tackled their dog just before it bit me.
    If a dog comes into the street, doesn't respond to my shouts, and seems dangerous, I spray. I've only sprayed once and it sure works fast!

    • Eric

      Yeah, Becky, it works to a degree but often the dogs that have been sprayed develop a grudge against humans and become worse. The next runner that doesn't have the pepper spray gets chewed up. Fortunately we bike riders don't have quite as much to worry about. Those little ankle-biters that come out after me don't have a prayer. I did nearly roll a collie once. We were terrified of that dog and when he came out at me the last time he was barking by my front wheel. I jerked the handle bars just enough to catch his nose in the spokes. He never bothered bikes again.

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