In 2015 I made the move from my town in England to Washington State. I moved to an area that was small enough to not really get any tourists and it made my accent stand out a lot.
I was fairly used to people doing a double take as soon as I opened my mouth, but this time was a little different and it seriously shook me up.
I am female and was 20 at the time.
It was around 1am and I was letting my dogs out before I went to bed. Unfortunately, my wife and I (I'm in a same sex marriage) didn't have a fenced yard, or even a back yard.
Our younger dog has to be taken out on a leash, meaning I had to take them for a super small walk. I open the door and Bailey, the older dog goes plodding off, Gremlin tugging on her leash.
“Hold on! Hold on!” I say to her laughing. I walk down the steps and take them to the side of the house to our front yard.
A gentleman turns the corner and stops. “Your dogs are lovely.”
I turn to look at him and smile, “Thank you so much!”
He does the double take and comes closer to me, “I love your accent, are you Australian?”
I laugh and explain that I’m English while Gremlin comes over to him for some attention.
“What’s your favorite kind of dog?”
”Pugs.” I tell him enthusiastically. “I love them.”
This is where it gets creepy.
The guy stands up, “I have a pug!”
I react happily, asking the usual dog questions, when he suddenly steps even closer, right into my personal space. “You should come meet my dog.”
He’s staring at me intently, and I’m now pretty uncomfortable. I politely decline, saying that I was about to head to bed, and move onto our little yard and closer to the property.
The man follows me, keeping the uncomfortable closeness. “I only live a up the street. Come meet my pug.”
Again I decline, to which I start to walk to the house.
There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to open the door now however, in fear that he pushes his way in, however, I don’t manage to get to the front door.
He corners me against the side of my house, grabbing my arm. “Come with me.” It’s not a question. “We wont be long.”
My heart is racing, and I can already tell I’m going to have bruises from his tight grip. The man now tries to pull me, but I plant my feet firmly.
“I said no, now please get off my property and let me go. If I shout my boyfriend will come running.”
So cliche, but I don’t know what else to do. It doesn’t work and he pulls harder, actually making me move forward a few steps.
"Come with me, now." He demands.
“No!” I say loudly, despite knowing no one will hear me, as my wife works night shift.
That’s when Bailey, my wife’s 10 year old cocker spaniel, jumps off the porch where she had been patiently laying, waiting to be let back in.
Never before have I heard her growl, but that night, I did.
Bailey bares her teeth, snarling at the man, shoving her way between us. Gremlin picks up on Bailey’s attitude and joins in by yapping at the man.
He let’s me go and takes a few steps back, shock obvious on his face.
“Bailey, get him!” I say, like it’s a command she might recognise when really, I might as well be telling her to read the paper. The fake command works however, and the man takes off running.
I bend down, in tears now and wrap my arms around Bailey, her little stump tail wagging madly, as she looks at me for conformation she did good.
We head to front door pretty quickly and I double check that every door and window is locked, before curling up with the dogs, treat bag in hand.
Strange man who wants me to see his ‘pug’, let’s not meet again.