What would you do if someone you loved was attacked by a dog while pootling around on his bike? Tara the family cat didn’t hesitate to get stuck in when her owner’s four-year old son was dragged off his bike by a dog.
In a video that’s swept the internet this morning (there must be 10 postings of it in my Facebook feed alone) you can see young Jeremy Triantafilo innocently playing in the street on his bike.
The surveillance footage switches to a dog that sneaks round the back of the car Jeremy’s playing by and attacks him from behind, dragging him off his bike.
Seconds later, Tara the cat belts in like Batman swooping into an alley to stop a mugging, barrels into the dog and chases it away.
At the end of the video, Jeremy’s mum Erica leaves the boy — after making sure he wasn’t seriously hurt — to chase the dog away and alert its owners that it had got out of the yard.
Jeremy sustained a substantial bite in the incident — you can see it at the end of the video — but the family say he was otherwise unharmed.
After the incident, the family, who live in Bakersfield, Indiana, spoke to local TV station 23ABC. Jeremy’s father Roger Triantafilo said: “I’ve never seen a cat do anything like that, especially ours.”
Jeremy said: "She's a hero."
Man's best friend
They might be man’s best friend but badly-controlled dogs can be a substantial hazard to cyclists. The late Richard Ballantine even devoted a long section of the seminal Richard’s Bicycle Book to dealing with dog attacks, with advice such as ramming your hand down a larger dog’s throat to choke it to death, and picking up smaller dogs by the back legs to bash them against the road.
Dog attacks on cyclists seem to be less common than in the 70s when Ballantine was writing, but you can still get devices like the Dog Dazer to ward them off with an annoying ultrasonic noise.
And while we wouldn’t suggest you carry a cat around for protection on the off-chance you get attacked by a dog, here’s a fella who does just that (carry a cat on his bike, that is; not necessarily for protection):
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.