By Karolyn Gephart
Friendswood graduate and A&M senior Madi Leslie has Charles (Charlie) and Theodore (Teddy) to thank as heroes helping her out of a scary situation that occurred at her complex recently.
At around 2 am Leslie was walking her dogs after a night of both animals being sick and having to go out every hour. This time the three were greeted by a strange man in front of her house.
“My dogs immediately started to bark and alerted the man that he was not welcome at our house. He stayed a moment and processed what he saw and then took off down the front of my building,” Leslie said. “I closed my door behind me and noticed that he is just standing around at the corner of my building, not going into a house, no keys in hand, just standing there watching me.”
Feeling uneasy, she took both dogs to a small patch of grass across from her building.
“Next thing I know my dogs are growling and barking again. I then around to see this strange man running at me. I raised my voice to yell and told him to stop and that I did not want him to come any closer to me and that my dogs were not friendly,” Leslie said.
He threw his hands up and stopped moving for a moment and then continued to advance towards her. It was then her dogs, Charlie and Teddy jumped in front of her and went into full attack mode, growling, barking, fur standing up. The man stopped in his tracks, turned around and bolted in the other direction.
After rushing inside her house and dead-bolting the door, she contacted the College Station Police who not only filed a report but also stayed with her while she walked her dogs one more time and continued to patrol her building and the entire complex the rest of the night.
“If it wasn’t for my two large dogs I don’t know what would have happened to me in that situation. I am thankful that God had protection over me and that CSPD took action as quickly as they did to help me when I needed it,” Leslie said
Both dogs are rescues. Teddy is an Alaskan Malamute she adopted in 2019 from the Friendswood Animal Shelter. He had heart worms, and was less adoptable, but Starlight Outreach and Rescue helped Leslie fundraise to help pay for his treatment. Leslie describes him as a 100 lb. lap dog who loves to snuggle.
Charlie was her first rescue in 2017 from SAVE rescue in Houston. He is a five-year old German Shepherd/Lab mix whom she describes as having the most gentle and lazy personality.
“Fortunately I have never been in a situation like this one before so my dogs have never been presented with the opportunity to protect me like they did that night. It was a pleasant surprise that they jumped into action as quickly as they did,” Leslie said.
Adopting a rescue pet is a win-win situation for Leslie.
“Rescue dogs are so happy to finally have a home and a family that loves them that they are incredibly loyal to their new owner. Most of those dogs in the pounds are ones that were dumped by someone, lost from their old owner, or born on the streets by two dogs who were not spayed or neutered. Not all shelter or rescue dogs have this horrible tragic background that results in an aggressive or hard to care for dog, in fact I would say that those kind of stories are in the minority,” she said.
Leslie herself was also more prepared than she realized when the situation occurred. She had taken the RAD Self Defense training twice through the Friendswood Police Department.
She took the course the first time in the sixth grade with her mother, Jodi. The second time it was part of training given to her drill team, the Wranglerettes at the end of the school year.
“I do think that this was one of the most beneficial classes I have ever taken and I would highly recommend it to any women at any age. They teach you how to defend and protect yourself in a variety of different situations as well as signs to look for to know that someone is trying to do you harm,” Leslie said.
She also had a College Station police officer talk to her sorority about safety during one of their meetings.
“I am so incredibly thankful for that training because as soon as the man started to run towards me that training kicked in and I knew that he was intending to do me harm and I knew exactly what I needed to do,” Leslie said.
Madi is the daughter of Chris and Jodi Leslie of Friendswood.