Something that’s never happened to me before happened a few weeks ago.
I was bitten by a dog.
A little chiuaua- a breed I’ve never found myself overly fond of due to their consistent whining. Little animals with Napolean complexes, feeling they have to prove themselves to the rest of the canine, and, indeed, human world. However, this was my friend’s new dog, and she was having a bit of trouble getting use to him, so I gave him the customary rub on the back, and he turned around and dug his fangs into my thumb.
I am proud to say I had six pretty wicked looking gouges in my finger. Through one I could observe my bone. Some were perfectly cylindrical.
I am not proud to say that I started crying. Like, heaving, wracking sobs in the middle of my friends kitchen. I don’t usually cry, but let me tell you this- I’ve never had an animal not like me. I’ve been attacked by chickens, I’ve been swooped by minors, I scream at the sight of Huntsman spiders, but I have never purposely injured an animal [I dropped a guinea pig into a pot plant by accident once- he was rather squirmy] and one has never purposely injured me. Through the scratches, and growls and play bites, I have never had an animal purposely think to themselves, “nah, don’t like that much. Attack.”
I was giving him love! To be honest, I was a little offended. I felt rejected, and I felt angry. “Oh, I’ll never go near him again!” I thought. “To think I gave his owner tips! To think I brought him biscuits! To think, I reached out my hand to try and give him the pleasure most dogs get from human interaction. But he bit me!” I was thinking to myself, later, when my thumb was safely nestled in three large bandaids [I didn’t want them to overlap any of the wounds, and the wounds were awkwardly placed. Plus, it looked super cool], that maybe it wasn’t the physical pain that I cried at so much as the shock. It felt like what I knew about dogs was being questioned.
Then, I made a conscious decision [by this time I was eating an ice cream, because I have lovely sympathetic parents] that I was going to be okay with it. I looked suspiciously at Enzo, as he sat next to me and put his head on my leg, and we sat staring at each other for a little bit before he got bored and went to sleep. Tentatively, I rubbed his ears and he sleepily licked my finger, urging me to continue before drifting off again. And so I scratched his head philosophically and sat there nursing my thumb. I guess, there are just some times that don’t make sense. I will still love dogs, although I don’t know what I’ll do about that one in particular.
But I just can’t help thinking that I was always sound in my belief that animals are logical. They will only lash out if there’s a reason; you love them, they’ll love you. But, perhaps that’s not so?
I continue to grapple with this, despite a healed thumb and my own very happy dog.