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."
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):
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.