Safe Travels and Muzzles

I have never been so relieved for the start of a new week.

I barely survived last week, you see, and I am being quite literal. Tuesday morning I came inches away from being hit by a car. Friday, I was bit by a dog. It was that kind of week.

First off, the car: I was out for a morning walk and crossing the street in a residential neighborhood at 6:30. I had stepped into the crosswalk and noticed an SUV approaching. No problem, I thought. He’s got a stop sign and, of course, will yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Only apparently he never got the “rules of the road” memo because instead of slowing down he sped up, and was headed directly for me. Talk about a scary couple of seconds; I had a moment of clarity and realized, I am about to get hit by a car. I don’t want to be dramatic and say my life flashed before my eyes, but it kinda did, at least as much of my lifetime as could fit in the span of about three seconds. It was a very abridged version of my life, let’s just say. Luckily, I was able to take a step back as he drove through the intersection, and pounded on the driver’s window as he passed, yelling at the top of my lungs. That got his attention. He came to a stop and put his blinker on, but was probably too afraid to roll down the window and ask if I was okay because of the way I was shouting at him. Whatever. He deserved it. If I had left the apartment just a few seconds earlier, I would have been directly in his path and unable to get out of his way.

This could have been me. Except for the pink outfit, of course! (Image courtesty of
This could have been me. Except for the pink outfit, of course! (Image courtesty of

This made me think about close calls. Have you ever thought about all the times in your life you narrowly avoided danger, maybe without even realizing it? Sometimes it’s obvious, e.g., a car barreling right down on you. Other times, you might never even know. How many times have you walked right past somebody who has committed a terrible crime, for instance? Odds are, you’ve brushed shoulders (or shared a bus seat) with murderers, rapists, and bank robbers and never had a clue. There is too much evil in the world not to have experienced those chance encounters, know what I mean?

And how about those people who miss their flight because of traffic on the way to the airport, and then find out later the plane they were supposed to be on crashed? Or the folks who called in sick the morning of 9/11 and were not in their offices on the 86th floor of the World Trade Center? We walk a fine line between life and death.

Nearly getting hit by a car counts. I felt very lucky to be alive Tuesday afternoon, lemme tell ya.

Then, on Friday, I was hiking through the forest near my office on my lunch hour, as I frequently do. I rounded a bend in the trail and came across a woman walking two dogs. One of them suddenly lunged at me, without provocation, and bit my leg! I was so startled I stumbled backwards, lost my footing, and nearly fell in the mud. Luckily I was able to stop my fall by grabbing onto a rock. The whole thing would have been quite comical if I hadn’t just been attacked by a dog! The woman was mortified, as she should have been, and frantically apologized. Said the dog (a freakin’ French bulldog, folks) was ten years old, super friendly, had never done that before, yadda yadda.

Oh, yeah. He was real friendly with his jaws wrapped around my shin…

Don't laugh. His bite was bigger than his bark!
Don’t laugh. His bite was bigger than his bark!

She wanted to know if I was okay. I was definitely shaken up, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was alright, because my leg was throbbing. All I could think of was Cujo. Damn my flair for the dramatic and longtime love of all things Stephen King! I rolled up my pants leg, and fortunately, the dog’s teeth hadn’t even broken the skin. So I assured her everything was fine and finished my hike. If nothing else, I figured I had a good story to tell. And you could totally see the outline of the dog’s mouth on my shin, too. My only regret? That it wasn’t a Doberman or a pit bull. I mean, I have to go around telling people I got bit by a toy dog that was bred to protect French prostitutes from johns. Which makes my “hike” seem awfully suspicious, huh?

Funny that both these incidents happened when I was out walking. And here I thought that exercise was supposed to be good for you! Silly me. In any case, it sure seemed like the Universe was trying to tell me something last week. Here’s to fresh starts, safe travels, and muzzles!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

15 thoughts on “Safe Travels and Muzzles

  1. I read, once upon a time in a location unknown, that the whole ‘coincidence’ thing isn’t real because, like you said – close calls, narrowly missed serious injuries, opportunities that pop up out of no where, and delays and cancellations that save our lives. There’s a reason behind everything, even if we never know it. Obviously, you are bound for greater things! Check out “The Celestine Prophecy” and “The Celestine Vision” by James Redfield. One is written as a novel, the other is more a ‘there’s no such thing as coincidence’ spiritual journey thing.


    1. I’ve heard good things about “The Celestine Prophecy” so I’ll have to check it out! I’m a big believer in “everything happens for a reason” anyway. Sometimes coincidences just seem too coincidental, you know?


  2. I’ve experienced a few near misses myself. I am glad for your sake too that the week has ended. But now your mom has me concerned that you are hiking around in kangaroo infested forests. I’ve met a few kangaroos. They were lovely and lazy, but near domesticated in their native lands. However, I suspect that any kangaroo you came across in the North Western US would be on some clandestine missing and up to no good, so of course they would do away with any witnesses. They have some pretty impressive kicks too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! There are no kangaroo-infested forests in the Pacific Northwest. Just bears and mountain lions. Which, come to think of it, is worse (unless you’re talking to my mom, who had the unfortunate experience of getting bitten by a kangaroo).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark, I was going to say almost the same thing that your first commenter ( Pamela) said, in that there is a reason behind everything, even if we don’t know it. There are times in my life that I can look back on “coincidental incidences” and see that they weren’t. They happened for a reason.

    Whew…I bet that near miss with the car was joltingly frightening. And it’s ironic you mentioned your encounter with the dog because last month I had something happen with a dog as well. While ordering my lunch at Jimmy Johns, I noticed a woman with a very cute dog on a leash. In fact, I said to her, “OMG…your dog is so cute!” But as they were walking past me to leave the store, the freaking dog LEAP off the floor and tried to attack my left leg. Luckily, the owner moved fast and pulled the dog away before it had the chance to BITE me.

    Anyway, glad to know that you’re okay and that you survived last week.


    1. Bet you didn’t think the dog was so cute after that, did you? I’ve always been a cat person myself. Now I remember why.

      I’d love to hear about some of your “coincidental incidences” sometime if you’re ever looking for blog topics! 🙂


  4. OMG….that’s a bad week! I will bet the driver was on his damn cell phone! Good grief!

    And I am sorry to hear about the dog incident. I also walk a lot and have had my share of dogs gone wild. Thankfully, only jumping on me and scaring me with their barking. However, my nephew got bit on the behind a few years back while out jogging. Had to get stitches. I’ve been freaked out by runaway dogs ever since.

    Glad you are ok! XO


    1. You’re right! I have a sinking feeling a cell phone probably was behind it all. Because even though it was early and still dark out, I was wearing a red jacket so it’s not like I was invisible.


  5. Maybe the universe was trying to tell you something Mark. You know, do something other than walking or stay away from traffic. Who knows. Personally? I run into danger, don’t know why but I don’t seem to avoid it at all. If it is there, I run directly into it.

    Glad you came through your week safely.


      1. I run into danger while walking down the street sometime. But Mark, I am a danger. Hell, I walk behind prison walls and talk to dangerous people about their bad acts. You know, I court danger.


  6. I hate to even think it, but this stuff comes in three’s doesn’t it? Maybe you should practice extra caution for a bit longer, Petruska.

    Did you have to go to the doctor for the dog bite? Hopefully not. How bizarre. Be glad it wasn’t a larger dog!


    1. Shhh! Don’t jinx me, Jess. It’s only celebrity deaths that come in threes. Right? (Humor me).

      I didn’t go to the doctor – thankfully my jeans protected me from the worst of his teeth!


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