Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bulldog Airbag Prevents Crash-related Injuries

Until today, I didn't understand how the words bulldog and adorable could fit into the same sentence without some sort of negation between them. There's just something about an animal with a scowl perpetually frozen on its mouth with sharp incisors occasionally peeking out that strikes me as more terrifying than cute. Moreover, the name itself--bulldog--brings to mind vague yet violent notions of Spanish bullfighting and bone-crushing deaths in the square. 

A lot of that changed today.

I noticed a toddler tripping slowly along Locust Walk, using the occasional tree, pole or brick to help him balance. Mom's leg as she walked wasn't too reliable either--a support beam that moved more than it was constant. 

In short, that child was going to fall; I just wasn't sure where or when. I wanted to help, but I didn't exactly know how. 

A couple and their brown bulldog jogged next to their unbalanced toddler. The dog kept rushing ahead of the stumbling child, pressing its face into the grass. Although chastised by its owners, it kept veering to the side. Although he was frightening the tripping toddler, the dog continued his odd magnetic attraction to the grass. Every few minutes, he would lie down a few feet ahead of the toddler, vying for recognition as the only creature with a heart rate and a pulse that could double as a speed bump.

Although I was pressed for time, curiosity impelled me to stop and watch this odd ritual. 

Then, it happened. The toddler fell, his shoe catching on one of the loose bricks on Locust Walk. He grasped wildly for any support beam, swiping at his mother's leg and bringing her down with him in his efforts. I rushed to help them, but as they came crashing down, I felt as though I had the slowest reflexes in the world. I expected scraped knees, maybe blood, and at the very least, shrill screams from the injured younger member of the party. 

I looked away. I heard nothing. 

To my surprise, the two of them didn't skin their knees or bust open their chins on the red bricks of Locust Walk. Instead, they partially crashed onto a big, brown oversized bulldog-airbag that had readily deployed in front of them to break their fall. 

As the bulldog rose, returned to its scowling military stance and continued walking on its way with its surprised owners now walking close behind, that scowl plastered on its face with the incisors sticking out looked slightly less menacing. 

When I think of bulldogs, I don't imagine violent scenes from Spanish bullfights anymore. Instead, I think of a three-foot tall toddler, walking, tripping, and pitching headfirst onto a bulldog airbag that knew to be in the right place at the right time. 

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