“Patty,” I said with an urgent tone.

My friend turned to see what I was looking at. Racing toward us was a large German shepherd. Her focus was the 14-pound Cairn terrier that Patty was walking on a leash.

In one swift move, Patty scooped up GCH CH Highland Dancer, also known as Ghillie, by her sturdy harness and wrapped the dog in her arms.

The shepherd ignored her owner's commands to stop and stay in the yard. Instead, she continued to race toward us with impressive speed. She was a beautiful dog.

Patty turned her back toward the roughly 65ish-pound dog. I attempted to push the dog aside and away from my friend, but the shepherd zigged easily around me as if I was an inconsequential orange cone in an obstacle course. The dog launched into Patty about waist-high, knocking her to the pavement.

The shepherd paused and I waited, expecting to hear the screams of the little vulnerable dog on the ground when she was attacked. It never happened. The owner caught up to the shepherd and brought her back to the house.

Patty and Ghillie, who are from the Twin Cities area, were staying with me while they competed at the Duluth Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show. They won several first-place ribbons in the first few days of the show.

After we were safely back at my house, we discussed how easily the situation could have been avoided. If the German shepherd would have been on a leash or chain in the yard, nothing would have happened. Sometimes dogs break away from the owner, escape out an open gate or a leash gets dropped. Accidents happen. I believe obedience training could have made a difference in our situation.

My parents raised German shepherds for many years while I was growing up, so I am familiar with the breed. Our first one was white and her name was Jamie’s Tara.

No pet owner wants to see their pet attacked in front of them. No responsible pet owner wants to be on the other side, either, seeing their beloved pet attacking someone else's pet.

We know we were lucky that night.

Jamie Lund is a reporter at the Pine Journal. She can be reached at jlund@pinejournal.com or 218-879-1950.