I need pepper spray.

As I have told anyone who will listen for the past month and a half, I’m a runner now.

For those of you that know me, you probably had the same reaction my dad did when I first told him:

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Not only have I started to run, but I’ve been consistent with it. Ya girl even went out and bought running shoes and a fitness tracker! Now of course, with all of the money that I’ve spent on this new hobby, it all but guarantees that I will be running for the rest of my life. For real, do y’all know how much running shoes are?!

But I digress.

Today, I took our sweet pup, Susie, out for a quick walk in our neighborhood.

I figured I would make her day with the walk, come back home to put her up, and then go on a 2-mile walk by myself. I’ve been running/walking in my neighborhood since I started on this exercise journey, so no big deal.

Only today, it was a very big deal.

Today, while walking my sweet girl (who is a 50-pound Black Lab), I heard a low growl that made me jump. At first, I thought it was her, since I didn’t see anything or anyone. Moments later, however, I realized that the growl didn’t come from her, but rather, a larger dog that was peering at us from behind a fence.

Now at this point, I’m moving to the other side of the street, but at least I have some peace in knowing that it can’t get to us.

Except, it could get to us. Because as we walked 5 more feet, we realized that that handy fence that was once there had ended and it wasn’t there anymore.

Y’all. I screamed. I was starting to panic. This aggressive looking dog was coming towards us, despite my loudest scream and yell for it to stay away.

But as the Lord would have it, there was a work truck coming down the street at that exact moment, which I was able to flag down. The two gentlemen in the truck slowed down, and then I frantically explained to them that the dog approaching us wasn’t mine. They then drove right next to me as a barrier between me and this dog. I don’t know who they were, and I may never see them again. But I pray that the Lord truly bless them for helping me today.

I promise, I’m not trying to be dramatic. I have no idea what would have happened had they not come when they did.

So, what happens next:

1. I’m going to run again. I know this may sound like a no brainer, but this is a big one for me, because the thought of stopping altogether for fear of this, or something worse, happening again, immediately took over me. I even made Susie, who is an outdoor dog, stay inside for fear of the aggressive dog somehow getting through our fence and attacking her.

But not two days ago, I was randomly singing the Gospel song “Stir Up the Gift”, where they proudly sing 2 Timothy 1:7 – “God has not given us the spirit of fear.” I will be honest when I say that this incident really shook me up. But I choose to see the Lord’s Hand in all of this.

I could have been by myself.

It could have been at 6am, making the chances of a car driving past slim to none.

Instead of an aggressive dog, it could have been a person lurking under a bush waiting for me.

No, I will fight off this fear and run again. Only this time, I will approach it differently. Which leads me to my next point.

2. I’m going to stop being so naive about running with no protection. Besides my 50-pound dog (who, btw, didn’t even bark), I was completely defenseless. When I run, it’s usually in the mornings and I’m phone-less. Which is obviously going to change.

My mom has asked numerous times if I carry a stick with me when I run, but I’ve always brushed it off because I’ve always been okay. Well after today, I’m taking a stick, a samurai sword, the kitchen sink and a 9 mm.

I’m clearly going to need to purchase running pants with deep pockets.

In all seriousness, there are ways to protect myself when I’m out for a run and I plan to research those and pick what’s best for me. That may be getting a personal safety wearable (think immediate alarm at the touch of a button), or pepper spray.

Either way, I pray that what happened today never happens again. But if it does, I’ll be prepared.

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