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A Handful of Grass and a Cardboard Box

I was out walking one evening – as I like to do most evenings – when, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a large black dog about 30 feet away, who appeared to be digging in the ground.

It was just a quick glance to note that he was there, and that there didn’t appear to be anyone with him. So I continued walking, but because I was walking on the sidewalk that was closest to him I decided to cross the street to try and put some distance between me and this big black dog.

So I crossed over into the street, and crossed the grassy medium that was in the middle of the street, and proceeded to walk in the street, as I was only a short distance from home.

Now, I have to tell you … I am not a dog person. I don’t like them sniffing me, licking me, or even looking at me to be quite honest with you. But the thing I dislike most about dogs … are the owners – irresponsible dog owners.

I walk this route almost everyday, and occasionally I encounter the occasional dog walker walking his or her dog. But I have never encountered a dog before that appeared to be out walking himself, as I would soon discover this one was.

About a minute and a half later, I hear the rattling of a dog collar to my left, and I look immediately to my left to see this big black dog running full speed toward me. I immediately and instinctively raised both of my arms as a warning to this dog, and to make myself appear bigger than I was.

Now, prior to this, as I was leaving my house, I remember thinking to myself, don’t have anything in my hands. I should probably carry something with me when I go for a walk. And a few times before this, I remember thinking the same thing. But on this day, I had nothing – absolutely nothing.

So as this dog ran full speed toward me, me raising my arms and looking him dead in the eyes appeared to startle him for a second. He paused for a moment and changed his course. But he kept walking, eventually ending up a few inches in front of me on the street. I stopped. He stopped. Then he proceeded to walk toward me.

I raised my arms again. This time shooing him away and telling him to ‘go.’ He barked and proceeded to walk toward me again. I could tell that this dog didn’t take me seriously, so I reached down and grabbed the closest thing to me – a handful of grass (with my right hand). And with this hand I kept shooing him away, telling him to ‘go.’

But this dog was persistent. He didn’t want to go away. He apparently wanted to get close enough to me to sniff me (I can only assume this was his intentions). But I didn’t know this strange dog, and was not going to allow him into my personal space, so I kept shooing him away.

Eventually, I looked down and saw a cardboard box laying on the grassy medium – the kind they pack fast-food sandwiches in. So I took a couple of steps and reached down and picked up the cardboard box … still keeping my eyes on the dog. I wanted him to know that I meant business, and that if he continued to approach me I was going the unleash the full force of my arsenal of weapons on him – my handful of grass, and my cardboard box.

Well … eventually this dog, realizing that I wasn’t going to let him walk up on me, lost interest and started running in the direction of what I assume was home. So I also continued home, but took a longer route, around some office buildings, to put more distance between myself and this free-roaming dog.

As I was crossing the parking lot of the office building I noticed some loosely-packed landscaping rocks. So I reached down and picked up a nice-size smooth rock, and continued home. Now I had a handful of grass, a cardboard box, and a rock.

As I made my way into the parking lot of my apartment building, I headed toward the garbage bins to discard of the cardboard box and the grass, but I didn’t put the rock down until I had gotten to the front door of the building.

I chuckle now thinking back on this. This must have been a sight. A standoff between a stubborn lady and an equally stubborn dog. He really wanted to get up close to me but I wouldn’t allow it. Each time he would take a step toward me I would loudly protest and tell him to ‘go away!’ And he would also protest with a bark. He eventually gave up and started running home – I assume – to his irresponsible owner.

To open up the door and allow your dog to roam the streets freely is very irresponsible, in my book anyway. Not only is it irresponsible, it’s against the law. But this owner was probably too lazy to walk his dog so he allowed him out to walk himself.

This reminds me of another incident a few years back that I had with another dog while out for a walk. I was walking back to my apartment (a different apartment at the time) when I heard a commotion to my left. And then I saw it. There was a dog (another big dog; this one appeared to be a pit-mix) in the driveway of a home across the street walking toward me with his head down and his eyes focused on me. Behind him there were two women (the homeowners, I assume) who were frantically calling his name – which I couldn’t make out. But he was ignoring him.

The street between me and this dog was a two lane street, with traffic flowing in different directions. And as this big pit-mix was nearing the street a car came zooming by. And then another car zoomed by coming close to hitting him as he had almost made his way into the street. But this dog didn’t take his eyes off me. And he kept ignoring the cries of his owners. Finally, I don’t know what made me do it, but I raised both of my arms to make myself appear big. This seemed to snap him out of it. And he finally turned around and started walking toward the two women.

This really shook me up. And I was shaking as I walked the final distance to my apartment. This could have ended very badly for me. I made it home safely. And for a while after this incident, I kept telling God “thank you.”

Thank you God for protecting me from this dog. I also wondered what spooked the dog and made him turn his gaze away from me and start walking in the opposite direction. One could say that it was me raising my arms in a threatening manner. But I don’t think this was it at all.

I believed then, and still believe to this day, that this pit-mix saw the angel that was walking with me on this day. I believe that God sends his angels to protect us from danger (those seen and unseen). And this dog must have caught sight of this big angel walking behind me, and it frightened him. I don’t for a minute believe that he was frightened by little ol’ me.

God is indeed a protector of the weak.

One would think that I had learned my lesson from the incident a few years earlier with the pit-mix and started walking with a big stick. And the thought did come to my mind prior to my encounter a few days ago with the big black dog, but I ignored it. But God protected me anyway. He protected me from what could have been a very ugly situation. And I can’t stop thanking Him.

Well folks, I have to tell you … I have finally learned my lesson. I will now carry a stick, or something, with me when I walk. I won’t keep “tempting” God. I know God is a protector. But He also provides us with warnings to help us avoid the danger in the first place.

Have you had a “handful of grass” moment? Has there been something that God protected you from that you care to share?

Post your comments below. I would love to hear how God protected you.

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