“Twice Bit”

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I loved and trusted dogs from an early age. Here I am saying hello to the wonderful St. Bernard that lived at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon. St. Bernards are lovely dogs, and they love to lie down most of all. We had one in our dog obedience class, and the instructor said they were one breed that never needed to be told to lie down more than once! Meanwhile, our dogs were  cavorting around the room.

But twice I was bitten by dogs. The first time was by a pair of black Labradors owned by Cyrus Walker, a neighbor. I had to pass the Walkers’ house on the walk home from school. Usually, but not predictably, the dogs were behind the hedge. But one afternoon, they ran out and charged me. While I froze, they circled me and then one bit me on the thigh. Fortunately, I had a dress on, so the bite was not deep. Still, I had been terrified. Regretfully, the only response I got at home was that I was bitten because they knew I was afraid. While I thought it was reasonable to be afraid of those dogs, I kept my mouth shut. I learned to circumvent the Walker’s yard by cutting through another, dogless, neighbor’s lawn.

The second bite was also from a Labrador named, ironically enough, Walker. Walker and my German Shepherd were about to go at it and I kicked out between them without thinking. Walker sunk his filthy, broken teeth into my shin. Surprised as I was that he had bitten me and not my dog, he slunk away. The doctor didn’t dare stitching up the hole because of the real risk of infection. I got a tetanus shot and instructions to keep it clean while it healed. I have a dent on that shin forty years later.

I never stopped loving and trusting dogs, despite my two experiences. I remain cautious, of course, but my deep affection of them remains. Two dog bites weren’t enough to change my belief that dogs are a wonderful addition to the world.

 

12 thoughts on ““Twice Bit”

  1. Gosh. I always think of labradors as gentle, people-loving dogs. To be bitten twice by that breed must be unusual. Glad it didn’t ruin your relationship with dogs in general though.

  2. That is really an adorable picture of you and the St. Bernard 🙂 I remember being chased down by a chow on my bike and bitten as a kid. I think the experience must have just given me a healthy respect for them. I certainly love dogs too.

    1. When we were kids, dogs ran loose. I think I was chased many times on my bike. The dogs just never caught me.(I used to put my feet up on the handle bars.)

  3. I am more afraid what would happen to the dogs when they bite humans. They tend to be put down when they show aggression. I was bitten once because the dog was in distress. We were at the airport.

  4. People were less vindictive towards animals. I fear, that many times there people that scream to have a dog put down, are just taking out the frustration they have, of not being able to control their own world. Just because a dog snarls, or nips someone, is no reason for the ultimate punishment. Dogs love people. it’s people, that teach them not to love. I’m glad you still like animals.

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