Terry Blevins is traveling the Intracoastal Waterway with her husband Charlie and dog, Bella, on their 34-foot tugboat, Rainshadow.

June 20, 2013

We decided to go to Festival Park today, which has a a history museum and a replica of the Elizabeth II. We took Bella with us and walked the free path that follows the coastline.


Festival Park's main path is perfect for a leisurely afternoon.

Later, we opted to take a bike ride down the path again. The tourist information stated that the largest scuppernong grapevine (said to date to the 1500s) on the island can be found on Mother Vineyard Road. The literature reads, “a delightful detour from the main path...beautiful and serene."

We put Bella in her basket and biked to the detour. We decided it was so quiet I could let Bella run on the leash so she could get some exercise. All was well until we passed a home with two loose dogs at the end of a driveway. I looked to my right, and the dogs were charging me at full speed, barking viciously. I yelled to Charlie, who was around the bend, stopped my bike and straddled the bar, still holding the leash for Bella. I saw a lady come running down the driveway after her dogs.

In a split second, I had to make a decision. I could not get to Bella fast enough, but I was afraid to let her go because if she ran and they chased her, it could be fatal. In the next moment, one of the dogs took a hold of Bella’s back and bit her while tossing her aside, and then went for the kill. All I could do was lunge my body at the dog and scream a very high pitch “NO!” — falling to the pavement with the bike still straddled between my legs.

I was expecting a blood bath, but my scream seemed to scare him. He cowered, and the lady pulled him away. Charlie came running, picked Bella up and put her in the bike basket. He helped me de-tangle myself from the bike. I went over to Bella, who wouldn’t let us touch her, growling when we tried to check the wound.

The lady put her dogs away and came to us. I looked down at my knee, and it was scraped up pretty badly, blood rolling down. She said she was sorry and that I should have kicked the dog. She asked me to come up to house so she could clean me up. I stayed outside while she went in the house and came out with a bandage, which I declined.

I asked her what was wrong with her dog. She said she didn’t know, that he does that to dogs on leashes. She has been working with him, but it doesn’t seem to be getting better.

Bella was calmer by then, and we checked her over. She wasn't bleeding. In fact, we couldn’t find the wound — I was in worse shape than she was!

We got back to the boat, and Charlie helped me clean the wound and put a bandage on it. Charlie was worried and suggested we cancel the boat trip. But I felt like I would be OK.

In the morning Charlie called the SPCA, who knew the story already. (Wow, communication is fast in a small town.) They said they knew the lady, and she had posted the incident on Facebook, saying her dog was “misbehaving” again. They told us the dogs had their shots and that they have had problems with them before.

Read more about Terry’s adventures on her blog, Rainshadow Voyages.