Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Dog Story

For those who don't know (or understand) what I do at work, my best explanation goes like this:
My company has a fleet of helicopters, much like a limo company has a fleet of limos.  Some limos hang around, waiting for random VIPs to come into town and need a vehicle for a day or prom season to come along.  Other limos (and their drivers) are contracted to a particular company exclusively.  Those drivers still work for the limo company, but they're also sort-of working exclusively for that contract company, and they don't worry about prom season.

So for a year, I've been "in the pool," meaning I'm one of the drivers waiting for prom season.  This last hitch, however, I bid on one of the exclusive contracts, and I'm now one of those exclusive drivers who works for only one company.  Well, besides my own company.  Is this still confusing?  It also means, for me, that I now know which base I'll be assigned to every hitch, and it's all the way over in Grand Isle, LA.

(This is where the dogs come in.)

So now I'm flying to New Orleans to get to work instead of Lake Charles, LA, which means I had to find a new place to leave my car.  We don't have a base at the New Orleans airport anymore, so there's really no place to leave it for free and feel relatively sure it'll be safe for two weeks.  One of the other pilots told me where he leaves his (his name and that location omitted for the good of all), and I decided to give it a shot.  It required a 2 block walk to get to a shuttle that would take me to the terminal, but that seemed like nothing! the time.

I was released from work late on break day (never fails), and didn't get to the Top Secret Free Parking Spot until around 10pm.  I grabbed my backpack and suitcase and started the walk to the shuttle.  About half of the walk was through an unlit area, and the rest I could see was lit as bright as day.  I could hear dogs barking from somewhere ahead.  "Weird," I thought, "there don't seem to be any houses that way...I wonder who's keeping dogs in an uninhabited place?  Oh well."

About 700 feet from the car, I set my bag down to put my jacket on.  This is when I first registered that the barking sounds were coming closer.  I stopped to listen and stare into the darkness ahead.  Along with the barking, I could now hear the running.  Both sounds were coming closer to where I stood.

It didn't make any sense.  Why was there a dog loose in the middle of nowhere?  How had he gotten loose?  Why would he be interested in a lone person, in the middle of nowhere, enough to come running and barking?  Dogs are pack animals, and they don't attack something that's bigger than them that hasn't violated some sort of boundary.

So that's it, then.  If I haven't violated a boundary, then I must not be enough of a threat...which either means that this dog is bigger than me, or I'm outnumbered.

I came to this conclusion in a matter of seconds.  The next second produced a long, ear-piercing, "SSSSHHHHHH*****************TT!!" and me, running towards the barking, swinging my suitcase like a lunatic.

The first mutt made a u-turn.  He wasn't awfully big, but by no means small, either.  The second mutt didn't seem as convinced...he was a much bigger black dog, but that's all I could make out in the darkness.  As I screamed again and took another swing, he turned and followed his pack mate.  They were both barking, running back the way they had come.  The same direction I needed to walk.  I stood shaking, waiting for the sounds of a second onslaught, but it didn't come.  I got back to my car as quickly as I could without running; I'm still convinced that if I had run, they'd have come back.

I slept that night in the car.  The 2-door, tiny car, crammed with all my work stuff.  I would have to try again in the morning, around 5:30, well before the sun would be up.  Dave advised I call for an escort, but neither of us knew who to call.  And my phone was going dead, anyway.  I decided it'd be clear in the morning.

It was not.

I didn't realize it, but the dogs had bedded down along the road I needed to walk.  I guess the flashlight was a mistake, cause when I accidentally shined it on their nest, 20 feet away, up they got, barking and running.  I actually had time to say "Not again," before I was swinging and screaming again.  This time, though no less blood-curdling, I was a little more articulate.  I believe what I said was, " I will kill you, you effing dogs.  I'm not even kidding.  Aaaaaaa."  I had left my suitcase behind, so I only had my backpack to swing, but I guess I figured I could be deadly either way.  They charged twice, both times stopping just outside my swing radius.  Then we stared at each other.  I slowly began to walk towards the light, but they instantly charged again, so I charged them back until they stopped.  I still don't know how I got to the end of that dark road, never looking away from those dogs, and never allowing myself to run (I knew I could never outrun them, even if I were in good shape, which I'm not).

So I made it to the shuttle.  I made it to the airport.  I made it on the plane.

Then I finished reading my incredibly sad book and started my period and realized my throat is now actually sore to the touch from all that screaming, and my uterus, it almost goes without saying, is trying to murder my liver and kidneys and make a break for it.

And that, my dearest family and friends, is the story I had to tell you.  I'm sorry there were no pictures, but I was a little preoccupied while it was going on.  I wish you could just take a look at the ones I've got branded in my brain...they are quite compelling and, to me, terrifying.  I hope you have no stories like you?


  1. I hate dogs :(. I am sorry.

  2. Sounds terrifying!! Do you have to go back to your car again?? Can you call the police, or animal control to escort you? Sounds horrible. I have no similar stories... only the semi-traumatic memories of caring for other peoples' dog bites in the wound clinic in Beaumont. Glad you got away, bite-free!


Template developed by Confluent Forms LLC