Long before I was attacked by a German Shepherd aged 15, I was a cat person.
Dogs never thrilled me, and after getting accidentally between a brainless yap-machine Pekingese that our visitors had left tied to a tree near the farmhouse and an encroaching viscous German Shepard that strayed onto the farm, I ended up with the lasting sight of the big dogs teeth as it came at me and nine stitches in my back after I turned away just in time.
I’d only been wearing a sun-dress, and remember the pain, blood, growls and shouting as my screams bought out the adults in force. The dog was pelted with a large length of fallen pine branch and didn’t want to back off even then. I looked up in time to see him advancing for another go before my parents could cover the long distance between us and then I heard the gunshot and the short half yelp as the beast fell in a heap, dead.
Our neighbour Lex was the local Ranger and had followed the dog up the road after reports that this dog had a go at a man camping by the lake, the man had beaten the dog off and reported the incident to Lex who happened to be checking that the boaties camping there had sufficient life jackets for occupants of their boats (after a near miss incident the day before).
Lex had already warned this owner about this dog’s aggressive and viscous behaviour before today.
Following close on the dogs trail Lex arrived just in time to see the whole attack take place and retrieved his shotgun in time to prevent the second round.
I was removed swiftly to the local medical centre and it’s taken all these years to start to overcome a swelling fear ever time a dog even looks at me. I’m better, but far from cured, I keep my distance with dogs.
So… there we are, on a tiny alleyway of a Portuguese road , a dead end as it turns out since Our Lady Of the Tom Tom was, with her wicked sense of humour leading us up the garden path again, and there appears the dog.
I was out of the car, taking photos of the grapevines strung artfully across the road, making practical use of available space since this village perched on a very steep hillside, when I became aware of deep growling and instantly I started an almost involuntary retreat towards the car.
Then I saw the dog, it was small (phew) but wow was it noisy, it growled constantly and what’s more, car or no car it stood it’s ground in the middle of the small road. I got back into the car and we tried to beat a retreat, the way we came in was the only way out. The Dog planted itself in the road and refused to budge.
Himself edged closer and the dog continued to growl loudly and didn’t move. Eventually we reached a standoff situation where the wheels of the car were so close to the dog that Himself dared go no further. So there we sat… and sat and sat… Himself tried the horn and shouting at the dog, and eventually an old man emerged from the house next door.
In a manner as brisk as the dog, he waved us on in short order and snapped out a terse instruction in Portuguese that translated as hurry up and just drive on. Himself looked twice at the old man but inched forward… the dog shifted himself to safety at literally the last second.
I have had very weird experiences of dogs, but this is the first one that I’ve ever seen that plays Chicken.