When I was a small child, round about the age of three, I was bitten by our Saint Bernard. A beautiful dog, bigger than I was. I do not recall exactly what happened but I do know, for some reason, I was sitting on his back like I always did and was feeding him a crust of bread. I mean he was such a friendly dog. Dont judge me or my parents, times were different then and I was a real tomboy! Stretching from behind and around the side towards his mouth, hugging and hanging on with my other arm, I fed him this crust of bread. I am not sure what happened, but when I lent forward and around again for a second time, he turned into my face at the same time. Unable to determine who got the fright first, one thing is for sure, he definitely won being on the defensive. All I remember was drool followed by this sharp pain and blood running down my face. I guess we were both caught off guard. I have two small scars to this day as a kind reminder.
Many years later, in September 2014, I found myself running in a suburb called Gallo Manor, in Johannesburg (JHB). Just picture this: The breeze was blowing through my short hair, keeping me nice and cool as the hot sun set in front of me, music in my ears, pace going well. It really was one of those runs where it felt easy and enjoyable. Those are hard to come by!
As one would expect in JHB, I found myself to be more alert and cautious, sticking to routes I knew or constantly looking for easy getaways for that just in case moment. Making sure I wouldn’t land up running in the dark and being an out of towner at that time with lack of knowledge around JHB, I guess that mostly kept me alert as I was simply expecting to be mugged or something. It didn’t matter where, it’s something that I thought was the norm. But of course, nothing is normal for me!
I remember passing a nice gentleman pushing his child in a pram, taking a walk, with his dog tied to the pram on his left hand side. Not thinking about anything other than staying alert, I greeted the man by raising my hand with a small wave gesture and a quick ‘Hi’ timed perfectly as I was breathing out, passing by on his right hand side and ran on.
Instantly debilitated by a sudden sharp pain in my buttocks, I realised something was wrong. My hand instantly grabbed my buttock only to feel ripped flesh and shredded clothes.
The dog had possibly taken my wave gesture as a threat and seemingly turned around in front of the pram and before the owner even knew it, the dog came up from behind and CHOMP!
The child fell out of the pram as the dog jumped to reach by buttock, luckily not hurt. But I was missing a serious chunk out of my buttock. I stopped in my tracks, still not sure what happened, but instinct kicked in. Yes, my instinct could only think about recovering some dignity by gathering what was left of my running shorts. I mean I didn’t even try and run. I didn’t shout. I didn’t scream. I simply covered as much of my buttocks with my shredded shorts and sat down awkwardly on the curb to prevent myself from passing out. Oh the pain!
Anyway, to cut a long story short the gentleman did his best to help. I landed up in casualty and recovered well. But quite honestly, what did I do!? Now I have a scarred buttock to add to my scarred chin and nose. That experience was a bummer! Excuse the pun. So not expecting that.
I guess if you see me staying well away from dogs, this is the reason why. Don’t ask me to come close or to show some affection because it ain’t going to happen. When I am out running now, I walk when I pass a dog and follow it with beady eyes until I am well past. I like my face and buttocks!
So I’m saying, be alert out there, but don’t let it stop you from living and enjoying life!