A Man’s Best Friend or The Hound from Hell: Monty, our 7 year old recently announced that he was no longer scared of dogs. He’s always been scared of dogs. Small ones, big ones, old ones, happy ones, grumpy ones, bouncy ones particularly. It’s a relief hearing his announcement.
Are all kids scared of dogs? I remember I was, but who could blame me?! After all, I just so happened to live next door to ‘The hound from hell’ -Sheba.
I was 5 and we lived in a back to back terrace in Bradford. She moved in next door one day and from that moment took up supreme command of her post in the garden, and any of its local vicinity that she believed fell under her domain. Our gardens were adjoined and separated by a 6 foot stone wall. This meant nothing to Sheba who could with time and ingenuity scale anything vertical in her path.
Sheba with her sixth sense, knew I was scared of her from the moment I saw her. She was clever and way advanced in intelligence of any other dog I’ve known since. Whilst out playing on the street one day, Sheba managed to scale her perimeter and was loose on the streets. She spotted me from a distance. I spotted her. Lean, wiry & Amazonian if such a thing exists in the dog world she was nearly upon me in a few bounds. All these other kids and vulnerable prey in her path were ignored. It was me she was after. I fled with fear, running for my life, crying whilst hearing her howling behind me. I fell and closed my eyes. Knees all scraped and waited for the teeth to sink in. But nothing. I looked around and she was gone. She showed me who was in charge that day.
Night time was the worst. Just before bed my Mother would say right off to the toilet then. Unfortunately for us, the toilet was outside, and the door faced Sheba’s wall, the wall she loved to scale. Compliantly out I’d creep. No matter how quiet – she knew I was there. My faithful companion, barking, howling, attempting to scrabble over the top, to get me, eyes on fire, foam at the mouth, and fangs like knives !
These days like any other adult I put a positive spin on everything and will say to the boys, “oh she’s a happy dog isn’t she” or “look she’s just trying to make friends” .That’s the sort of thing you say when you’re a grown up. The truth is something really quite different though isn’t it when you’re a child.