Friday, July 15, 2011

when the dog bites

I am not particularly afraid of dogs.  When I walk home from school with my girls we pass several houses with dogs.  I've often been surprised by how many people here have two or three dogs in their backyards, and I assume it is for security.  There is one house that we pass that has three or four dogs in the backyard (I can't tell exactly how many because they are a just a seething, snapping mass of fur when we pass) that bark and growl hysterically at us every single day.  They are remarkably unpleasant, and I have never doubted that they would bite given the chance.  It is hard not to speculate  about people who keep a pack of clearly aggressive dogs in their backyard.  And I have often wondered about the inhabitants of this particular house.

The house is a little shabbier than the other houses on the street, and through the window, an older lady can be seen in an overstuffed chair watching TV.  There is a table beside her heaped with laundry or linen (or corpses of husbands past--hard to tell from the street).  Outside, (I assume he is her son, or maybe grandson) a thirty something man with a babyface, leans over the popped hood of a car.  He is friendly, but he does not give an impression of great intellect; he always shouts at the dogs when they bark at us.  This charming tableau has on many occasions set my imagination in motion.  I have outlined a whole short story about a drug-dealing son selling crack from his widowed mother's affluent, but deteriorated, home.  This particular house and its inhabitants have intrigued me as long as we've lived in the neighbourhood.

Last night, after I finished my run, I rounded the corner by this house on my way home.  I was sweaty and tired and thinking about some mashed sweet potato with way too much butter in it,  that was waiting for me in the fridge.  I noticed that the crazy dogs were in the front yard when they began their lunatic barking.  Suddenly one of those awful dogs was on the sidewalk growling and snarling at me.  The dog was small, and my first thought was, "oh, it's just a puppy."  And then it lunged and bit my knee cap.  I was furious.  I swore at the dog and the owner in English because I am not bilingual enough for furious swearing in Spanish.  And it's funny, because I thought about needing to say it in Spanish in the half second before I began (how do you say what the ....).  I didn't even try; I just let loose in English.  If there is ever a moment when swearing is called for, it's when someone's stupid, hysterical dog bites you.  The guy was very apologetic and hit the dog (which I'm sure does not help the situation).  I walked home wondering if my knee was injured, because dog teeth tearing at my kneecap had not felt good.

My knee seems fine; a big bruise and a puncture.  It feels sore but not injured.  Thankfully it was a small dog and even more thankfully it wasn't the whole pack!

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