DEAR ABBY: I live in an area with a large number of dog owners who frequent the same walking trails I do. On several occasions, I have encountered dogs that are off-leash and running ahead of their owners. Sometimes the owner isn't even in sight.
On several occasions, dogs have jumped up on me, almost knocking me to the ground. I'm in my late 60s, under 5 feet and weigh 105 pounds. I could easily be injured. I was once attacked and bitten.
My question is this: What's the best thing to say to these dog owners when they finally appear? The last time it happened, the owner happily said to her dog, "I know you're excited, but ..." The rest I couldn't hear because she had already passed me on the trail. Abby, she saw her dog jump up on me and never even acknowledged me. I don't want to respond angrily or sarcastically, but in a friendly yet firm manner. -- WALKER IN WASHINGTON
DEAR WALKER: You are far too nice, lady. Start carrying pepper spray or bear spray when you walk on the trail. If an off-leash dog starts to jump on you, use it. When the owner shows up, say their dog charged you and take their picture. If they give you any trouble, file a police report. When you were bitten, you should have involved the authorities and your attorney.