Blog every day in May topic – Tell a story from your childhood
I was quite young. Maybe five, something like that. It was a hot summers day and Mum and Dad were outside washing our car. We used to have an old yellow car that we named Sunbeam.
My brother and I would play outside a lot when we were growing up. Children don’t seem to do that quite so much these days. My brother wasn’t there that afternoon and I was playing outside in our front garden on my own. I call it a garden, but there was no actual soil or plants or anything. It was more of a concrete space between our front window and the yellow brick wall at the edge of the pavement. In the summer it used to all be baking hot, too hot to touch even, and would smell of brick dust.
In the house opposite ours over the road there lived a woman called Lorry and her children. In my head her name was Lorry, but I assume now as an adult it was probably Laurie. Lorry was a word I knew though, and she was quite fat, so it didn’t seem unusual to me that she should be called that. They weren’t a very nice family and we didn’t like them.
While we were outside that day, the milkman came and knocked on their door. Lorry opened it, and their dog shot out past her legs. It was a Jack Russell I think, so not a big dog, but to a five year-old it was large. It ran across the road, through the bars in our front gate, and bit me savagely on the leg. I screamed, and it ran back where it had come from. Dad threw his sponge at it as it ran past, which missed and landed with a soapy splat on the road. It was rather an impotent gesture, but I’m sure it was all he could think of doing at the time. The dog ran back into their house.
My leg was bleeding quite a lot, but although it felt like it had bitten an actual lump of flesh out of me I’m told really it had just broken the skin. I didn’t go to hospital or anything. Mum cleaned my wound and put Germolene on it. Germolene smells horrible and its scent marked many scrapes and cuts during my childhood.
A policeman came and spoke to Mum and looked at my leg. I think he might have told me I was brave, but I don’t remember being very brave. I cried an awful lot, not least because of the sense of injustice I felt, even as a small child. ‘It won’t hurt you as long as you don’t hurt it’. That’s what my parents had taught me about animals and insects. You just leave them alone, and they’re nothing to be afraid of. But I didn’t hurt the dog – I wasn’t even near the dog. I’d never been in contact with the dog. So it didn’t seem very fair that it had run directly across the road in order to bite me while I was playing happily in my garden.
The police decided to destroy the dog. Mum told me that Lorry’s children used to tease it, so it didn’t like children, and that’s why it had attacked me. Lorry didn’t want the dog destroyed though, so she gave it away before the police came to take it and wouldn’t tell them who to. I don’t know what happened to it. I know that no one ever got punished for me being bitten though.
It made me very wary, afraid even, of dogs I didn’t know, for quite a long time. They were unpredictable and could bite you even if you hadn’t done anything. I got over it after a while and learnt that actually most dogs are nice and just want you to play with them. That dog wasn’t nice though. It was mean and dangerous. I don’t like that dog.