Creature from the Blog Lagoon 22: Dog Day A̶f̶t̶e̶r̶n̶o̶o̶n̶ Night

The story you are about to read is true. Unfortunately, the photos are in the “archives” (landfill, most likely) of a long-dead newspaper.

1989. The mean streets of San Diego, California. My beat tonight: riding with a gang unit police officer in the Linda Vista neighborhood. My only defense: two camera bodies and nerves of steel.

The call comes through from dispatch: Sedan, occupied four times, possible firearm. We roll.

We arrive on-scene to a hot-stop in progress and I hang back a bit - discretion is the better part of valor. Other flat-foots are there, heaters unholstered and aimed at the car, ready to throw lead. One calls for the car’s occupants to come out, one at a time; each in turn is handcuffed. A K-9 officer and his partner stand by, the pooch ready to enter the car and flush out any stragglers hiding away.

It’s all a misunderstanding. Some earnest citizen saw one of the occupants holding a cell phone in the early days when they had real, manly antennas, and mistook it for the barrel of a gun.

Then it happens.

Ronnie the police dog, eager to please his partner and salivating at the thought human flesh, sees a threat to be taken down.

Me.

Ronnie charges. The K-9 officer yells at me, “DON’T MOVE! DON’T MOVE!”

I don’t move. In fact, I don’t think I was capable of moving. That is, until Ronnie arrives.

It looks for a split second like he was going to run right past me. No such luck. He jumps at me and I instinctively turn away, sadly exposing my marbles to Ronnie’s back paws.

Ronnie bites my arm just as he begins to realize “Hey, maybe I screwed up.” Thankfully I was wearing a long sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled-up, and he happened to bite right at the roll where it was nice and thick. Ronnie immediately releases. I almost release too.

The story wasn’t over. The K-9 officer charges toward me, calmly wondering out loud “What &*()^&*)&^*&^& shows up at a hot-stop with a camera?” My ride-along partner quickly sets him straight and his expression quickly changes to a smile of relief and friendliness. His main concern: paperwork.

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A few years later and a continent’s width away, I was covering a convention of K-9 officers and their doggie partners in Boca Raton, Florida. During one demonstration of dog prowess and human/canine teamwork, one officer asked if I’d like to wear the bite sleeve and play victim for a minute.

Hell yes.

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