Dog Bite

It was fall. A day when leaves come crashing to the ground from the trees above—half undressed, and soon to be naked.

He is on his way home from school, and like other 8 year olds he slowly plows through the skittering leaves. Where the sidewalk is not covered with leaves he avoids the lines and cracks; wanting no harm to come to his mother.

He sees a dog. The dog is new to the neighborhood. The dog is grey-white, almost a ghost. He reaches through the fence. The dog doesn’t snarl. It doesn’t bark. The boy places his hand on its back. The dog turns suddenly, silently, it’s teeth pierce the soft area between his thumb and forefinger. He jerks his hand away. It catches momentarily in a diamond of the linked chain. The only sound is his scream.

Going home crying, he no longer counts the cracks in the sidewalk, or notices the rustling of the leaves.

Home, alone, he washes his hand with soap and water. He examines the two oozing red holes, he tries to bandage them, but the bandage won’t stay.

His parents come home from work. They see the antiseptic, the bandages, the look on his face, and they see the tears.

He shows them his hand.

“A dog,” he says, it bit me.

Dad looks at Mom and says “Rabies.”

He turns to his son, “What dog, where?”

The boy starts crying, he knows of the shots. The big needle in your stomach.

“The house on the corner, the one across from the church,” he says.

He sees the dog before his dad does, it is still behind the fence.

He stays away from the fence. He waits on the sidewalk while his dad goes to the front door. He can’t hear what they are saying. The door closes.

His dad returns takes his son’s hand and smiles.

“You don’t have to worry,” he says.

He explains how the dog was just protecting its turf, that it isn’t a good idea to reach through a fence to pet a dog. The boy looks at his hand.

He has trouble getting to sleep that night. He hears a dog barking, far away.

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2 Responses to Dog Bite

  1. bettyjo says:

    It’s been five years since the kids brought home a rescue puppy. Their old cat ‘Tommy’, has,
    it appears, finally resigned himself to the notion that Maggie the Dog is probably not going
    away, and will probably continue to get more than her share of what should have been attention paid to him, (despite the fact that she’s a total wuss).

    This resignation has taken the form of a “NEVER AGAIN” pledge. Woe be to any other dog
    that stops on the sidewalk in front of their house. – just an innocent pause in a walk, and this orange ball of furry feline fury charges out from under the gate and attacks. He generally draws blood before retiring to the porch to groom himself. When scolded, he saunters off muttering unrepentantly, “Someone’s got to protect the homestead”.

    It’s all the talk at the local dog park. “There’s a VICIOUS CAT on Colorado St. If you don’t want a Vet bill, for your dog, don’t stop. Keep moving.”

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