As a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I often served in rural areas where the dog population sometimes seemed to equal the human presence. Our mission abounded with dog stories. I mean these were nearly universally unpleasant but often humorous. Generally, they were not for the consumption of the dog-loving folk and I learned from my parents who became dog lovers late in life that criticizing nearly any aspect of our canine brothers can be perilous. I hope that the subject is not in breach of good taste, but given the season (missionary reunions, etc.) I thought it might provide a little entertainment. I shall offer a few fairly tame stories, but I suspect it may stimulate something more radical. I hope it does, actually.
My first dog story takes place in the Canadian “wilderness” when we were tracting on foot between far-flung farmhouses. As we trudged along a dirt road to the next house, when we were roughly 100 yards from the house, I could clearly see a black speck in the far field behind the approaching house which was perched on the edge of shallow valley. As we got closer, this black speck grew larger, moving rapidly toward us. My companion didn’t seem to notice this and I didn’t think too much of it until we hit the long walk-way up to the front door. The speck had grown into a four-legged shape that was speeding our way. About 30 feet from the door it came tearing around the corner. It was surely biggest German Shepherd (or some similar breed) I had ever seen. It made no sound as it raced up to my companion, grabbed his left elbow in its jaws and began to drag him up to the door. He was not amused and used a few choice words (in a subdued voice). I was hanging back with my mouth open, I’m sure. The lady of the house came to the door nearly immediately, asked us our business and commanded the dog to release its prey. She stated her disinterest and shut the door. The dog (or monster) didn’t take any more note of us.
The second experience was in the same region of country. Same companion. We were walking in a somewhat more populated area and approached a house along another dirt road when a medium-sized dog came down off the porch and ran toward us. This could not be good, I said to myself. Just then a women came out the front door with three children in tow. They started yelling at the dog. I thought, this is really not good. The dog got to within 10 feet of us, we were still on the road, and began a rather fearful barking. But it wasn’t just that. It began to leap into the air, in my now adrenaline-charged state I thought he must be getting up 6 or 7 feet high, barking furiously at us. I was sweating and if my bladder – well I stayed dry. We tried to speak to the woman over the barking but it was hard to hear. The kids were solemn-faced. Finally, she told us that her husband was away and he was the only one who could control the dog, she was sorry, but she said we should not come any closer as she could not be responsible for our health and safety or words to that effect. I believed her. That dog just kept it up. My companion wanted to know when we could come back. I wanted to answer, NEVER. As we walked away the dog just kept this up. About 50 yards up the road, my companion bent and picked a large stone. I said, “I wish you wouldn’t do that.” But he turned around and threw it at that dog. I felt my prayers answered when it missed. Prideful man.
I’ve got lots more dog encounters, but I think many of you have great ones. It was an occupational hazard of missionary work. How about it?