Some people are unlucky in love; I’m unlucky with dogs.  Back in the days before leash laws, dogs were free to run in the neighborhoods where children were out playing.  We played during daylight hours during the school year, and often much longer during the summer time.  

There was Sojo, the Australian Sheepdog, who herded our car down the street every time we went out.  He barked and barked, getting so close to the car, my mother was terrified of hitting him.  “Go home, Sojo!” we yelled.

Then there was Jericho, the Dalmatian, who loved to tip over our trashcan and dig in the trash.  “JERICHO!” I yelled as I chased him off so I could clean up the trash.  Sometimes I would hide on the front porch hoping to scare him off before he could make trouble.

Laddie, was the ancient Collie in the neighborhood who lived on what was left of the farm next to our house.  How was I supposed to know that he had arthritis?  I was only 7.  When I tried to pet him, he let me know of his pain with a quick nip to my left wrist which drew blood.  I kept a safe distance from Laddie after that.

One summer afternoon when I was about 5 years old, I was allowed to go to the stop sign at the top of the cul-de-sac where we lived.  My mom could still see me from the front window if I didn’t go too far.  I don’t remember why I went up to the stop sign, but the next thing I knew my five-year-old legs were running as fast as they could go down the hill.  Looking over my shoulder, I saw there was a bulldog chasing me.  I didn’t know his name, but I looked back again and saw his bottom teeth jutting forward. Slobber dripped from his jowls.  I screamed and ran faster, yelling, “Mama!”

The house seemed so far away.  Could I get home before he bit me?  He nipped at my legs. “Maaaaamaa!”  The front door opened and Mama shooed me in and shut the door.   My heart pounded and my eyes filled with tears.  Not knowing the ways of dogs, I couldn’t understand why that dog didn’t like me.  

The fear has remained even though I’ve tried to be a dog owner twice.  Those are also sad stories. I guess I’m just unlucky with dogs.


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