Syracuse Online


Dr. J. on Running

Ralph the Akita

Dog Injurs Runner

Published November 6, 2000 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Dear Runner:

I am sure you remember me. I chased you last Sunday into a ditch. I was the bigger dog -- the one with the massive head, tail curled over my back, 150 lbs. Yeah, that was me.

Let me explain myself. It is my job to make you go away. I am, after all, an Akita. I am one of Japan's national treasures, although in this house, I spend a lot of time outside with Samantha, that other dog, the mutt. My kind was bred to hunt bears, but now we are used to guard and as police dogs. You can see why.

I have seen you run by my house many times since I moved in this summer. You always said hello, but I guess this time I was not tied to my doghouse. Besides, Samantha was barking at me to do something. The new dog across the road was barking as well. I am sorry for growling and chasing you. I thought I should let you know I was guarding the house. I just wanted you to go away.

I did not think you would stop running and say hello. Most people are afraid of me. You thought I was a friendly dog because I had never barked at you before. My owner and my little girl like me, but I do not know you.

I am new to the neighborhood, and you have been running by this house for years, but I have rights too. My owner lives in the house, and she keeps me tied outside all the time so I can watch people come and go. Sometimes I get to go in the house, and I can see why she wants me to keep her protected

So, you can see why I chased you. I do not know why you had to yell at me so much. After you fell into that ditch, I thought my job was done, but Samantha kept barking at me to do something! I never thought you would get up and find a piece of wood to protect yourself. OK. So I tried again and you chased me to my house. I have a lot of protecting to do out here.

Now that deer season is here, there will be many men coming around with guns, and my owner said she will have to keep me tied up so I don't get shot by mistake. My owner is always thinking about me.

When you run by again, I will bark at you, but I am supposed to be tied up. I know you do not know my name, or my owner's name, but you can call me Ralph. Just make sure you keep running, because if you slow down I have to come after you again. See you on the roads.

Sincerely, Ralph, the Akita

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at

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