Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

May 07, 2010

the dog attack

Nellie pulled back her fringe to expose a long scar across her forehead that she said was caused by a dog attack twenty years ago.

"I was two years old and my parents had taken me to visit a farm they wanted to buy," says Nellie.

"I wandered off by myself and saw a great big Old English sheepdog and naturally I wanted to cuddle it," laughs Nellie.

"It was bigger than me but I must have thought the bigger the better to cuddle," says Nellie, "and the next thing I knew the brute got hold of my head and was ripping it apart!"

"You would understand this sort of thing happening with a Pit Bull Terrier or a Rottweiler," says Nellie, " but aren't Old English Sheep dogs supposed to be placid?"

"Anyway," says Nellie, "my parents heard my screams and came running and rather than dropping me the dog took off with me in its mouth and they had to hunt it down in the bushes."

"All I can remember of the incident was seeing the dog and rushing up to cuddle it and being attacked by it," says Nellie.

"I must have fainted after it run off with me."

:"My parents took me to hospital and they said my whole face was ripped apart."

"I don't have any other facial scars to remind me of the attack," says Nellie, "just this scar on my forehead - and it's big enough to remind me to keep away from dogs, isn't it?"

"I always wear my hair with a fringe," says Nellie, "so nobody ever sees the scar and I don't think it's worth getting plastic surgery to remove it - but I may consider something drastic if fringes go out of fashion!"

Nellie laughs about the incident but it did leave her with more than a scar on her forehead.

She has suffered a severe fear of dogs ever since - not just big dogs but little dogs, too.

"I think it's a healthy fear," says Nellie. "And now that I have little children I am making sure that they learn a healthy respect for dogs too."

"Sure I won't walk down a street where there's a dog - and I won't go to any park where dogs aren't on a leash," says Nellie, "but other than that I cope."

Actually, Nellie isn't coping. She won't visit anybody who has a pet dog - even a tiny little dog - and she develops a cold sweat when she sees a dog in the distance.

She also suffers nightmares involving being attacked by packs of dogs.

"As long as my neighbors don't get a dog I'm happy with my existence," says Nellie, "and my neighbors aren't likely to get a dog because they know I hate them."

"I don't walk much - I drive everywhere," says Nellie, "and if a big bad dog fronted up at the door I'd get my husband to shoot it."

"Dogs are not only dangerous animals," says Nellie, "but they're also dirty and noisy animals."

"I don't like cats much either and if my kids ever want a pet I'll get them goldfish!"

"No, I don't think that my fear of dogs will deprive my children of a normal childhood," says Nellie.

"If keeping my babies away from dogs is going to spare them from having their faces disfigured then it's a very healthy fear I have - not a morbid one."

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