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When I first created this blog I told you I’d be writing about everyday occurrences. My first few blogs we skewed toward the political arena, but that’s not my sole purpose.

So, I thought I’d share something that happened to my wife and I this morning during our normal walk/hike. We normally walk up a place called Mt. Rubidoux, which is located near downtown Riverside, California. The mountain is a city park that was donated to the city of Riverside in 1955 by the heirs of Frank A. Miller, a very well-to-do businessman from the early 20th century who had purchased the property with two other businessmen with the intent to build a road to the summit and develop the mountain as a park to benefit the city of Riverside.

Ok, so you’ve got enough history – it’s a well liked placed that attracts many people all day long from dawn to dusk. My wife and I go to the park regularly with our two little dachshunds and we walk the 3-4 mile round-trip routes to the summit and back down.

This particular morning, as we were at the very top and beginning our walk down, a couple of young ladies came by us jogging. One of the ladies went around us, which is what most people normally do when they see you have pets with you. The second young lady thought better of this strategy, and she decided to attempt to run in between my wife and I – and our two little dogs. Our male black & tan doxie was startled by the young lady’s sudden invasion of our space, and moved quickly toward me defensively. At this point, the young lady had to skip over our doxie exposing one of her thighs to his defensive lunge. Essentially, she got bitten, and it was not a nice scenario afterwards.

The young lady became vulgar and crass, and my wife and I tried to abstain from joining in the yelling and finger pointing, but after a bit we decided to defend ourselves and countered with a few choice words of our own. All the while, everyone was speaking in terms of who was at fault for what had happened – not one of us stopped for a moment to examine the young lady to see how badly hurt she was. This is the point of my blog today.

We live in such a litigious society, that almost nothing matters except evidence that is either incriminating or exculpatory. Everything else is unimportant, including but not limited to the well being of others.

Well, all of us were at the top of this beautiful mountain, and we had no choice but to make our way down hill, so we did. In the course of our walk down, we all began to realize just how foolish we’d all behaved, and how shameful it was to have acted in the manner we did. Sometimes we lose sight of what is really important in life – the proverbial “can’t see the forest because of the trees.”

Yet, by the time we were down the hill, I had agreed to take care of the young lady’s co-pay with her doctor for her visit, while clearly stating that I didn’t really care whose fault it was to begin with. My wife also apologized to her for initially not wishing to even discuss the matter with her because she’d felt that if the young lady had acted prudently as her jogging partner had done, none of this would have happened.

That only left the 21-year old young lady who thanked us for apologizing, for the money to go see he doctor, and for the information exchange we provided, but who did not think it necessary to apologize back to us for changing what is normally one of our most pleasant times of the day into one of the most traumatic and stressful hours we’ve had in quite some time.

My wife and I arrived home and we immediately wrote down what had happened to the best of our recollection, contacted our homeowner’s Insurance carrier, and the local Animal control. All -in-all, we covered all of our bases and while doing so discovered that our homeowner’s policy covers us against dog bites up to $100,000, and the Animal control people came by and issued a quarantine for our dog, but essentially reviewed what we told them and said it wasn’t our fault. We did everything by the book – except our initial reaction.

Lou Holtz said it best, “Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react.” We screwed up our initial reaction, and although we straightened up plenty by the time we got down the hill, I certainly wish I could take back that first reaction. I also wish the young lady who was bitten would’ve also taken some responsibility for her actions and lack of judgment. I am not too quick to dismiss her behavior as that of someone being young. When I was 21 years old, I was already a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, responsible for men and millions of dollars worth of aircraft and equipment.

Lesson learned – again. Our little dog is quarantined for 10 days – albeit voluntarily reported by us – he’s in the doghouse, if you will, but then, so are we – his owners. Despite our best intentions at the end, I still can’t shake the feeling that we could’ve done so much better. I hope there’s not a next time, but if there is, I can only hope we will conduct ourselves as the  grown ups we’re supposed to be – regardless of whose “fault” it may be. Ahh, life’s little lessons…

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

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