Dog Bites Girl
I sat on the wooden porch steps looking out at blue slivers of Wisconsin's Little Muskego Lake peeking between oak tree trunks, while my mother scrubbed my grandfather’s log cottage getting it ready for summer.
I’d been told not to move off the porch and I was being very good—until a blur of black and white flew across the lawn, bounded up the steps, jumped at all two and a half feet of me. The black pug nose and bulgy eyes of the Boston Terrier next door bumped my face. I stood up. One of his teeth stuck into my cheek. I screamed.
Grandpa came running, saw blood, wrapped me in a scratchy army blanket, and carried me to his black Ford. He drove to a country doctor—later he called him a horse doctor. My grandfather insisted the doctor apply a bandage so big it covered half my face to be sure the dog’s owners couldn’t miss it. Back home, he walked next door, carrying his shotgun, and suggested the “Boston bulldog” be destroyed.
As a petless kid, I had always loved dogs—at a distance. After that day, I shrieked at the sight of any dog, any size.
Every day for the rest of that summer, Grandpa, sweat re-staining the brim of his brown Fedora, wheeled my walker along the rutted country road. I whimpered every time we approached the yard with a barking dog. He always stopped and so stood close I inhaled the comforting smell of the old wool suit pants he wore for fishing. “It’s OK,” he told me. “The doggie’s behind the fence.”
Grandpa must have been right about that doctor. My scar stayed visible for the next thirty years. The fear mixed with fascination stayed until I got my first dog, a golden Cocker Spaniel who only looked dangerous when someone pretended to hurt me.
When I found the picture of me on the steps, I guessed it was about the time of the dogbite. After I scanned it, for fun I zoomed in, and in and in. And I found my cheek was swollen, proving it must have been right after the bite. My mother must have removed the bandage for the photo. :)
The second picture must be my dog talking to me or me reading to her.