AUGUSTA — AmyLou Craig opted to take Brewer, her almost 4-month-old golden retriever, for a walk Monday afternoon along the Kennebec River Rail Trail.

The tarred path would ease Craig’s worries about ticks that endangered Brewer on their walks through Vaughan Woods in Hallowell and on the trails at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Instead, Craig, 29, found a threat in the form of a man she described as a “nice-looking jogger,” a man who kicked the pup after telling Craig to shorten the leash.

On Tuesday from her workplace at College Carry-Out, Craig recounted the event that left Brewer hurt and herself in tears and disbelief.

“I was walking from Augusta to Hallowell at about the three-quarter-mile marker,” she said. “I saw a jogger coming toward me at a slow pace. He threatened to kick the dog if I didn’t shorten my leash, and the next thing I knew, he just hauled off and kicked him.”

Craig said her dog flew like a football about 4 feet into the air.

“Even as he approached, it didn’t feel like it was a threatening situation,” Craig said. “When he said, ‘Shorten your leash,’ I didn’t think he was serious.”

Craig said she didn’t shorten the retractable leash immediately because she didn’t want to yank on the dog’s neck. The animal then went toward the jogger, she said, but was still about 3 or 4 feet away when the man kicked him.

Craig said she went to the dog’s aid, crouching on the ground and holding him and thinking, “Did this really happen?”

Brewer started limping, she said.

She said she was so upset she started crying and waited until another person came by and followed that man back to the parking lot to her car.

Craig also reported the incident to police, describing the man as about 40 years old, 6 feet tall, with a fit athletic build, fair skin and short hair.

“He had a really low, slow-paced jog. His feet were barely coming off the ground,” she said. “He looked like a runner.”

She said he was dressed in running shorts and wearing a winter hat and a gray-and-navy-blue sweatshirt.

“When he was approaching, he looked familiar,” she said. “He looked like a nice, healthy strong man. The path was about 4 feet wide. If he was really feeling threatened, he could have just kept going.”

Craig wrote about the incident on Facebook, as did her father, College Carry-Out owner Lou Craig.

“I put it out there as a simple warning,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe this happened on the rail trail. I wanted people to be prepared.”

By Tuesday, Brewer had recovered.

“He seems fine,” she said. “He seemed sad yesterday.”

She said Brewer does not present a threat to anyone.

“He is so sweet. He really is a good dog,” she said. “He still has all his baby teeth and is not threatening in any way.”

She had heard a number of dog owners and others were heading down to the trail Tuesday afternoon to try to see if they could find the jogger, so she was going as well. She said she would be reluctant to go alone.

“I don’t want to feel like I can’t use the rail trail, but I don’t want to run into him again,” Craig said.

Augusta police, who were conducting a homicide investigation Tuesday, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.

The incident is similar to a report of a confrontation on the rail trail in Farmingdale in September, in which a man reported that after he accidentally bumped into another man on the trail, the man “turned around and kicked him,” causing the first man to fall and hit his head on the rocks. The man was described as 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-9 with a very muscular build, wearing gray running shorts, a tank top and either a backpack or a pack that carries water.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams