I was driving down the highway in the Hill country of Texas, on my way to see my friends Tom and Jenny at their ranch full of dogs. I've made no secret of the fact that I love dogs, and all dogs that I meet seem to instinctively know this. Because I am always on the road it is impractical for me to own a dog at this point, but it does my heart good to stop at the ranch. With up to 50 dogs there at any given time, I get all the canine love I can handle.
I changed lanes to go around a slow car, and a car coming up behind me accelerated and began flashing their lights at me to express their extreme displeasure. "Well I guess you showed me," I said as I looked into the rear view mirror. "I guess I've been told off now. You flashed your lights at me, I must now hide my head in shame. I have been schooled, I've been taught a lesson that I won't soon forget. You really showed me who's boss." I chuckled to myself and pulled over to the right lane so that the speed demon could get past me in his bad Porsche. As he passed, he swerved his car at me and gave me the finger.
I needed to stop for a restroom break, and saw an old country store and gas station I've been to many times before. Just in time! I pulled off to the side of the store, and I was startled to see a large man beating a small Beagle. The man had his belt in his hand, and was repeatedly whipping the dog with it. To make matters worse, the belt buckle was striking the little dog, and I couldn't stand to watch.
Jumping out of the car, I hurried over to the man. I don't know if I thought somehow I would be able to reason with him, because he was in a wild rage and was screaming and cursing at the dog. "You stupid mutt, I've had about all I'm gonna take from you! I got no choice but to beat you bloody, and maybe you will learn to mind your manners and obey me."
I stepped up to the man. "Excuse me, but--"
"Screw you!" he spat.
"Sir, you can't beat that poor dog."
"I'd say I'm doing a pretty good job of it." And the man got even more vicious with his attack on the pooch as he spoke to me. "He's my mutt and I can do what I want with him."
"It's not right, you can't--"
"I suggest you walk away before I turn my belt on you."
"No, I'm not going to walk away, but you--"
The man spun around and gave me a mighty shove that dropped me onto the ground. I sat on my butt for about a split second, then heard the dog yelp. Something snapped inside of me, and I jumped to my feet and sprang towards the man swinging my arm as hard as I could. My balled up fist made contact with the side of his head, and the man dropped like a big sack of potatoes. The dog quickly ran into the crop field that surrounded the country store. I stood and stared down at the man. He was out cold, and I couldn't believe I had knocked him out with one punch. I must have struck him in the temple. It was a lucky punch, but I was also acting out of rage. I can't stand injustice, and it's not right and not fair to hurt a poor animal.
Rather than stand around and wait to have to explain myself to the next passerby, I jumped into my car and took off. One mile later I came to a construction site on the highway and had to come to a stop. I went onto Twitter and tweeted about what had just happened. It felt very odd to me, because I'm a peace-loving, non-violent person who likes to avoid confrontation.
Around one hour later, I pulled into the driveway leading up to Tom and Jenny's ranch. When I pulled up to the house, Jenny came rushing out the door. When I got out of the car, she jumped into my arms and hugged me tightly. "I love you Bill!"
"I love you, too," I said.
"I read your tweet, and I am so proud of you. That man had no right to beat on a defenseless dog, and I'm glad you kicked his ass."
"It was just a punch to the head, but he passed out." I opened the passenger door to my car, and the beagle jumped out. Jenny grabbed him up into her arms and began loving him. "Poor little guy took off running, but then I got stopped for road construction and he came running out of the field. I grabbed him up, I thought he needed a new home."
"He will have one here! Than man was damn lucky I wasn't there, I would've pulled out my gun and sent him straight to Hell."
"Then I am really glad you weren't there. And by the way, I really, really need to use your restroom."
Tom came to the front door and waved at me. "Welcome, buddy."
Jenny looped her arm through mine. "Come on into the house. I'm going to fix you anything you want for supper. You're my hero today."
I am definitely no hero. But I had to stand up for an innocent dog. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.