There is a dog in our neighborhood named Zeus, or something. I’m not sure of his name but my husband calls him Zeus because he is a giant of a dog. And he’s bred for warfare.
From Military History Now:
The first actual written record of war dogs comes to us from the ancient Kingdom of Lydia in modern day Turkey. The small empire’s first ruler, Alyattes, reportedly had his soldiers turn packs of dogs loose on Cimmerian troops in a battle sometime around 600 BCE. The Lydian attack dogs were particularly effective against enemy cavalry, according to one contemporary source.
Around the same time Magnesian troops from Anatolia used their war dogs not against cavalry, but in conjunction with their mounted warriors. In a war against the Ephesians, Magnesian riders released their hounds on the enemy phalanxes to soften them up before a cavalry charge.
Centuries later, the Roman army would routinely deploy their own war dogs. The Canis Molossus or Molossian was the legion’s preferred breed of fighting dog. In fact, it was specially bred just for combat.
Zeus looks like the above picture only he’s bigger.
I’m not talking about a German Shepherd. German shepherds and Malinois are used in combat and for police work because they are intelligent, easily trained, strong enough to catch bad guys, sensitive enough to sniff out explosives, and they can run a long long ways.
Dogs are no longer sent into battle en masse (as they were in ancient days) because they would be slaughtered by modern weapons. But if I saw a hundred Cane Corsos running towards me, or, uh, even one, I would commend my soul to God for I would surely die. If a German shepherd came after me I’d yell real loud and try to protect my face, but I wouldn’t assume death was immanent.
After I took Jake for a half-hour walk, hubs came home from work, watched a little basketball, and then took Jake for a longer walk, maybe around 8 p.m. Hubs takes a different route than I do. He’s willing to walk past Zeus’s house. I. Am. Not. Why not? Because Zeus is, as my husband describes him, a Mastiff-horse cross or something like that. When we walk by his house, Zeus stands up on his hind legs to bark at us and his entire head, shoulders and arms loom over the six foot fence surrounding his yard. I am terrified the old fence will break. If that were to happen, Jake and I would be dead meat.
Jake fears very few creatures, but he dreads the thought of a Zeus attack. At the very least, if I have to walk past Zeus’s house I walk on the other side of the street. Hubs is willing to make a leap of faith. He has faith in the fence. I have none. These particular fences were built back in 1979 or earlier and they weren’t intended to hold back a 200+ pound 7 1/2 foot tall dog.
But I digress. So hubs and Jake were walking in the dark. They were just a few blocks from home, walking past one of our neighborhood parks. As he headed up the hill past the park, my husband was a little surprised to see Zeus coming towards him, on a leash, of course, but the person walking him was a petite 110 pound woman. Neither of us has ever seen Zeus out of his yard.
Even hubs knew this did not bode well.
I would have crossed the street. In fact, had I seen Zeus coming my way, I would have crossed the street and knocked on the closest door to beg sanctuary for myself and my dog. But you know how men are. My husband figured if he walked up the middle of the street as he passed Zeus over on the sidewalk, that would put enough space between the dogs.
Jake, who is quite fearful of Zeus, gave a couple preemptive stay away from me barks from his heeling position on my husband’s left. Zeus wasn’t having any of it. He attacked in an instant, hauling the poor woman after him. I mean, 200 pounds of pure muscle vs. 110 pounds of petite woman. C’mon. She had no control over him whatsoever and she was screaming in terror. He dragged her like a rag doll across the asphalt.
So my husband tried to stay between Jake and Zeus. He kept Jake behind him and he was brave enough to keep a hand on Zeus’s shoulder (thank God he wasn’t bitten) in an attempt to fend him off. All four of them, humans and dogs, became tangled. The woman was lying in the street and my husband backed over her, tripped, and fell to the pavement. At that point in time Zeus was so surprised he stopped in his tracks just long enough for my husband get to his feet. He and Jake made a beeline for the far corner.
The woman was still down in the middle of the street but hubs couldn’t go back to help because of Zeus. And of course he never brings his cell phone. She did finally stand up and it turns out she was okay. She suffered some road rash, as did hubs. Jake and Zeus were uninjured.
My husband called out- “If you can’t control him you probably shouldn’t be walking him by yourself.”
She agreed. You see, mountain lion aside, ours is a very safe neighborhood and many elderly people, and even families with young children, walk their dogs in the evening. I often walk Jake between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. and we typically encounter the usuals: an elderly man with two golden retrievers, another elderly man with a small terrier, a young-ish woman with a yellow lab, a woman my age walking a black lab, an elderly man with a black labradoodle, a young man running with a Vizlas, and an elderly woman with an English bulldog.
All I can say is, thank God it was my husband. The elderly people would not have stood a chance. Neither would I, for that matter. Could have been a deadly encounter. Even my muscular husband said he fell so hard he was surprised he didn’t break his hip.
Big protective alpha-male dogs require some big protective alpha-male forethought.
I am strict with Jake because if he wants to misbehave he’s strong enough to drag me for blocks. Especially if there’s a squirrel or a rabbit involved. And I know how afraid people are of German shepherds. Even though Jake ignores most people, just the sight of a German shepherd can elicit fear so as I said, I’m strict with him. He heels unless he’s at an off-leash dog park or we’re at the beach. (He’s really a nice friendly funny dog. But I am aware that if someone is overtly afraid of Jake and acts weird around him, believe me, he notices. If someone acts in what Jake considers to be a suspicious manner, he pays close attention. He will protect me. It’s in the DNA.)
Jake didn’t seem traumatized by the events of last night. At least when he and I had gone out earlier he’d met a cute young female Malinois, a dog whose energy matched his own, and the two of them had a great time playing in that same park.
Ah well. I think everyone learned a lesson. I told hubs to knock it off with the leap of faith crap and maybe Zeus’s owner will have her husband walk Zeus next time.