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My Catahoula Saved My Life

by Jenna Sedi 2 months ago in dog / breeds
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catahoula vs. car


I like to believe that my dog saved me from getting run over by a car.

Now before you go grumbling, she was, in fact, the catalyst for my not being in the path of a rogue minivan that crashed into my house. Yet whether or not she had some sort of mystic premonition or just a hungry tummy can never be determined.

I grew up at the bottom of a steep cul-de-sac in suburban Texas. Our front yard had a massive, ancient red oak tree in the middle of it, with a smaller pear tree to the right. There were probably fifteen feet between the trunks. And that is where I was sitting on a blanket with my dog one school early-release afternoon.

Roxy was my beautiful, spotted, blue merle Catahoula Leopard Dog. For those who don’t know, Catahoulas are from Louisiana. They were bred for wild pig hunting, giving them sturdy, stubborn personalities and the majestic swamp-evolved features of webbed toes and tabletop-flat backs. Essentially, she was a stout tank of a dog.

As I typically did, I had looped her long leash around the thin trunk of the pear tree, setting out a thick blanket in the grass. Roxy, sometimes, would begrudgingly lay down next to me while I read or did homework - but mostly she would flop in the grass or sleep just out of reach to pet.

While I was reading some book for English, likely Crime and Punishment at the time, Roxy awoke and became restless. It had been a few hours already, but it was odd because she never wanted to go inside. I swear she’d stay out all day if her food bowl wouldn’t get sieged by fire ants.

So I packed up our little setup, unhooked her leash from the tree, and walked her back into the house. She was probably just hungry, if anything. I scooped some food for her, sprinkling in a little bit of cheese, and resettled myself at the kitchen table to keep reading.

One page further, there were two of the loudest sounds I’ve ever heard in my life.

The only sound to trump these was when my neighbor’s house was struck by lightning while I was showering in the master bathroom, which was two stories tall with big slate tiles going up the walls and across the floor.

But these two fearsome booms cannoned horror through me like they were gunshots. The house shook the way I imagined it would in an earthquake.

My mother came running out of her bedroom.

“What was that?” She shrieked. I was still frozen in shock and terror.

She dashed to the front door and gasped. “Don’t come outside, Jenna! Just stay there.” And she was out the door, closing it behind her.

Roxy hadn’t eaten. And she was shaking. Every once in a while, her body would have these vibrations like muscle spasms if she got really upset - usually this was due to the sound of a low battery smoke alarm beeping. I slid over and hugged her tightly, trying to rub her legs and calm her down.

I could hear commotion out front, a little bit of yelling. ‘Gunshot’ kept ringing through my head. Finally I braved my way to the dining room to peek out the window to the front yard.

To be honest, it took a moment to fully understand what the large black shape outside the window was…

A car.

There was a car in the flower bed, smashed up against our house.

My mom, the neighbor, and a woman with a toddler were standing around the offending minivan. The woman and young girl were sobbing.

Two tread lines were torn through the grass, tailed by black scuffs on the curb.

I watched from the window.

Later, I found out that the woman had parked her car at the top of the hill to quickly drop off a package to another house. Somehow her breaks had failed once she got out, and the car careened down the steep cul-de-sac. It slammed into the curb, flying over it, and then crashed through our yard until it was immobilized by the foundation of our house.

The screaming had been the woman chasing it down the street. Her toddler was in a carseat in the back. Luckily the girl was fine, if not a bit shaken up and scared.

Those treads through the grass were a very real representation of mortality to me. I had been sitting right between them not five minutes earlier. And had I still been when the car came flying, I know that I would not have had the reflexes and whereabouts to get out of the way, much less get Roxy untied from the tree and to safety as well.

Needless to say, I stopped sitting in the front yard after that.

But I still like to think that Roxy saved me.


About the author

Jenna Sedi

What I lack in serotonin I more than make up for in self-deprecating humor.

Illustrator and Interior Architect / Designer within the wild world of zoological design.

Passionate about conservation and sustainability.

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