Herbie OR Cujo: Which One Would You Choose?

When we moved to this subdivision, I realized that one day I’d be faced with a situation in which I’d need to decide, instantly, what to do to keep safe.

You see, this large subdivision, built on hills around creeks, and with curvy roads, has no sidewalks.

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So there I was moseying along, midday, walking on the left-hand side of the street with the sun behind my back.  I was almost to the point in the street where it descends into a valley over a creek bed.

This is when two teenage kids sped by me and lost control of their mother’s van heading down into the valley, almost hitting another car, Herbie, who was driving up out of the valley.

Into the sun.

Where I was walking on the street.

And I realized in an instant that the driver of this other car, an adult who had swerved to miss the kids, could not see me– and that he was heading straight for me.


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So I did what I’d decided that I’d do if when this scenario played out, as I knew that it would eventually.

I ran across a neighbor’s yard, up about 15 feet onto their driveway, heading toward their garage which was open– where their large dog was sound asleep.

And said dog, startled from a nice snooze in the shade, came running full tilt down the driveway barking and growling at me, the intruder.

Not the greatest situation to be in.

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However, as I had always figured, a family dog in this neighborhood, while hellacious toward burglars, raccoons and the Fed Ex man, would never hurt another neighbor in distress.

These dogs are way too domesticated for that.  They know that all of us humans around here have access to treats.  And give delightful belly rubs.

So, while pointing out toward the street, I calmly said to this Cujo wannabe who I had just met: “Hi, sorry to bother you.  Bit of a problem here.  Got to get out-of-the-way of the car.  No big deal.”

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And dagnabbit if he didn’t look at the street, stop barking, started wagging his tail, yawned [!]— and then went back into the garage to continue his midday nap.

Confirming that from his point of view, I was not worth the bother.


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{Great minds think alike!  Check out what Carrie Rubin at The Write Transition said yesterday about walking in a world without sidewalks.  Click here.}

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Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Charmingly cynical. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Fond of words.

23 thoughts on “Herbie OR Cujo: Which One Would You Choose?”

  1. Yikes! Not a good situation to be in! SO glad things worked out for you. Sometimes the biggest dogs are the most docile. You have to watch out for the little “ankle biters”.
    My hubby hates it when there are sidewalks and runners prefer to run in the street. He feels they are putting themselves in danger, and it drives him crazy!


    1. Beth, you’ve seen this street. I just knew that this was bound to happen sometime. *meh*

      And I think that you’re right about the big dogs being the most mellow. Once this guy calmed down, he was pretty much “Dude!” Which was fine by me.


  2. I’m going to call you “Ally the Dog Whisperer” now!

    But seriously, sounds like a scary encounter. Another example of how unsafe some neighborhoods are because of their inadequate built environments. Thanks so much for the link to my blog! Great minds indeed. 🙂


    1. Carrie, another skill to add to my resume? Dog whisperer. Who’d of thought it. But I gotta tell you, this animal’s response was hilarious. However considering the circumstances, I didn’t laugh.

      Happy to link to you, especially when you describe the problem perfectly.


    1. la p, I plan on trusting it forever. Particularly when I walk on the streets around here. Of course, the real question is: could I have outrun Cujo’s invisible fence line if I needed to? Let’s hope that I never find out the answer to that one.


  3. My gracious. That took a MUCH DARKER turn than I was expecting, given this post’s title!
    With far fewer reminiscences about the movies of my childhood!

    Glad you survived with all your limbs and digits. Absent sidewalks were a big grievance of mine too, back when I lived in non-urban-center type areas.


    1. Alice, the title came to me as I was walking back home– unscathed. In some ways this was a funny experience, considering how Cujo turned out to be as friendly as Scamp on My Three Sons.

      On the other hand, the experience did reinforce the idea that I need to pay attention when I’m out there doing my healthy walk thing. Sidewalks would be nice.


    1. Andra, even though we’ve lived here for almost 20 years, I still find walking in the street unnerving at times. If nothing else, living without a sidewalk does keep me alert when I’m out there!


  4. I am really very proud of you for the quick reaction time. I picture myself just standing there, marveling at how fast Herbie is headed toward me. That said, no dog has ever hated me. Cujo is big and fluffy and undoubtedly just needs a hug.


    1. Zazzy, I’m rather proud of me for doing what I always knew I’d have to do sometime. And I think that you’re correct about Cujo. I just startled him and when I didn’t react to his top notch menacing, he figured I was a friend– so might as well go back to sleep.


  5. I much prefer big dogs to the ankle biters. The large ones I see on my run are much friendlier than the insanely barking small ones. You made the right choice in a tricky situation!


    1. Margaret, I’d never thought about the size of the dog when I made up my mind years ago that I’d choose dog over vehicle. Fortunately there aren’t many ankle biters around here. In this suburb, people tend to pick large, mixed-breed doggies with mellow temperaments OR cute medium-size fluffy white doggies who are unfailingly polite.


  6. My dear Buster provides a good example of what happens when one ventures out into the street. What idiot developer thought sidewalks were a bad idea? This was the situation where both sets of my grandparents lived when I was a kid… they both lived on streets that had ditches running along both sides of the street with no sidewalks. Just another way I cheated death back in the olden days…

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    1. evilsquirrel13, I wish I knew the answer to your question. It’s probably a cost-saving thing. No sidewalks, less expense to build houses. OR it’s an insurance thing. No sidewalks, less homeowner liability?


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