My dad, the cop, used to be a runner when I was growing up. He would run miles around our neighborhood, and I would often accompany him on my bicycle. Living out in the country, not everyone kept their pets on leashes or in a fenced yard, and sometimes [especially a couple of larger] dogs would charge us or chase us. For this reason, my dad typically carried a club with him to scare off any dogs who were feeling like starting some shit.
After being attacked once, my Dad started carrying a can of mace with him instead of the club—possibly because it was less to tote around? I can also see how it would be more effective in discouraging an attacking animal than a stick. So, about three times per week, Dad would go for a run with his mace.
One time in particular, I was lagging behind and Dad was already on the next street over from our home. I jumped on my bike and sped to catch up with him. What I didn’t know was that a dog on that street had run up to him and he had to spray his mace to keep the dog from getting too close. As I pedaled down the neighboring street, I went directly through Dad’s mace cloud. I remember breathing in, stopping in my tracks, and falling over sideways on my bike. I dropped like a fly.
Have you ever been maced? It is a surreal feeling to try inhaling, and it feels like your breath is being pulled out as you’re breathing in. It is a terrifying and crippling experience, but thankfully it only lasts a couple of minutes. I convinced my dad to switch back to carrying the club after that. I was willing to take my chances with the attack dogs.