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Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Awkward Moment When Dogs Think You're A Pork Chop

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the first instalment of the new theme day I like to call the ‘Thursday Confessional’!

Ah, but what is the Thursday Confessional?  Well, it is a chance for all of you readers to get to know me just a little bit better.  I know over the course of a few months, we've had fun discussing pop culture of yore, but it's dawned on me that maybe I should actually use this blog to blog hopes, dreams, and fears.  I thought that I would use Thursdays to talk about the achievements I've made.  The mistakes I've made.  The funny happenings that make me, 

Basically, I'll be doing what many other bloggers have done.  Talk about me...but with a little less bragging, a little more self-deprecating humour, and a lot of laughs.

Well, hopefully.

And, I have the perfect first confession that I will share with all of you to kick off this third of three new theme days for 2012.  Although given the title of this blog entry, I think most of you will probably get the gist of it all.

THURSDAY CONFESSION #1:  I used to be afraid of dogs because nearly every single one I encountered tried to eat me.

Or, rather, that was the opinion that I had conjured up in my childhood anyway.

Do I still think this way though?  Well, I'll get to that in a minute.

I know what you're thinking.  How could anyone be afraid of dogs?  They're loyal, they're playful, they love to give affection to their owners.  They're called 'Man's Best Friend' for a reason, after all.

That may very well be true in the majority of cases, but my fear of canines stemmed from several incidents that happened to me over the course of my childhood, and for many years soured my opinion on dogs in general, I'm sorry to say.

After all...the title of the blog is "The Awkward Moment When Dogs Think You're A Pork Chop!"

Incident number one actually happened when I was at an age where I was too young to remember what had actually happened.  When I was a year old, my family owned a dog.  I think his name was Cheemo, or something similar.  Don't ask me how to spell it, because I have no idea how it was spelled...I just wrote it down phoenetically as it was pronounced.  Anyway, I don't remember this incident at all, but my parents said that one of the reasons why they had to send the dog away was because it tried to bite me in the face.  I can't say for sure, as I was a year old, but I do have a small scar next to my eye from right around that time.  It did happen almot 30 years ago, so everyone's memories could be a bit hazy.  But, if it did happen the way that it had, it would probably be the trigger behind my longtime fear of dogs.

Incident number two lasted a grand total of about seven years.  Yes, you heard me right, I said seven years.  You see, in the mid-1980s, my family moved into a house where we stayed for fourteen years.  The house number of my family home was number eleven.  For the first seven years of living there, the family across the street at house fourteen owned a dog named Sparky.

No, not that Sparky.  The Sparky above was the fire safety mascot thousands of children my age learned from.  He was a GOOD dog.

This Sparky was the demon dog from hell.

Do you want to know how terrible this dog was?  He was one mean, nasty dog.  For one, his owners never kept him chained up that often.  It wasn't unusual for the dog to be running around loose on the street.  What I remember even worse was that the family at number fourteen had two children who I could only describe as being the chilling, evil children of Satan himself, who took great pleasure in sending Sparky across the street to number eleven where he would treat me as if I were a five foot tall chew toy!  It was not a fun experience to be mauled by a dog once a month for seven years straight.  It got to the point where I had to make serious detours around my house in order to avoid the demon dog...even walking a block away to a different street so I wouldn't be attacked by demon dog.  Oh, I hated that nasty piece of work.

When Sparky was FINALLY put down in 1994...I never shed one tear.  In fact, the thirteen-year-old me probably threw a celebratory party regarding the whole thing.  Was it cruel?  Maybe on the surface.  But if anyone had known how much trauma that evil dog inflicted on not just myself but other neighbourhood children, maybe they'd understand.

Incident number three came about ten years after Sparky met his unfortunate demise.  My oldest sister thought it would be a great idea to adopt two dogs to bring home to live with her and her family.  Due to some plumbing problems which eventually lead to having to find a new place to live, I was living at my sister's home at the time.  So, I ended up spending a few months with these dogs.

One of the dogs was named Willie.  The other one was named...


...yes, there's just something about dogs named Sparky that strikes fear into my own heart.  I should have known that a dog with that name would be nothing but trouble.

And sure enough, Sparky mistook me for being a life-size version of dinner, and he promptly bit me square on the back of my leg.  Luckily, it didn't leave that bad of a mark on my leg...just a bruise and a couple of teeth impressions.  But, I was now convinced that there was a doggie afterlife and that the ghost of that evil demon dog, Sparky was reincarnated into this beast!

Can you tell that I much preferred the company of cats instead?

So, yes, I'm sure that given all of the drama that I have had regarding dogs that have passed through my life, the fear that I developed of them can be understood.

But a funny thing happened along the way.  When I look back on all of my experiences with dogs, it really wasn't the dog's fault.  To tell you the truth, if any of the dogs acted badly, it was because someone made them act that way.

Let's take a look back at the first incident that happened with our family dog attacking me while I was a toddler.  There was one little detail that I left out in regards to what provoked the attack.  You see, when I was a little kid, I was a very grabby kid.  Whatever I spied my eye on, I wanted to grab...including Cheemo's tail.  And according to my parents, when I tugged on the tail, he responded by trying to bite off my face.  Mind you, that wasn't the sole reason why my family decided to get rid of the dog.  Cheemo had been acting up for weeks prior anyway.  But my tugging on the tail probably didn't help matters much.  Of course, I was barely a year old at the time.  I didn't know any better.

In the case of Sparky, the demon dog from number 14, I now realize that the reason why Sparky was such a meanie was because the family that owned him treated him terribly.  Instead of playing with him, and treating him nicely, they largely ignored him.  When they did spend time with the dog, they forced him to attack other people as a kind of joke.  Although I never found any proof to confirm that it was true, it wouldn't have surprised me if I knew that the people across the street abused their dog.  It probably ended up turning so mean because he had been treated cruelly himself by his masters.  I guess looking back on it, if that were the case, I have to feel a little sorry for the little guy...even if he did mistake my leg as being a gigantic ham hock.

Sparky II was likely another case of a dog being neglected or abused by a previous owner.  In the case of Sparky II, I think it was more of a lack of understanding over how to train and teach the dog right from wrong.  Which once again lead to me being mistaken for the main course of a doggie meal.

So, I guess the lesson that I learned about myself from this confession is that not all dogs want to make a meal out of you willingly.  And if they do, in most cases it was because someone else made them that way.

Over the years, I've had some bad luck with dogs, but there were some good ones in my life too.  There was a neighbourhood dog named Taffy who used to come over and visit.  Granted, the only reason he was there was for a snack or a handout, but luckily she didn't have an appetite for human flesh.  A sausage or a hot dog later, and she was on her way back home for another week.  Very cute dog though.  And my two nephews have both owned some really sweet, lovable dogs over the years...and some chickens, a goose, and other fine creatures!

More recently, my eldest sister (the one who adopted Willie and Sparky II for all of a few months) bought my niece and nephew another dog named Yoda.  And, well, I happen to like Yoda a lot.  Yeah, he barks a lot, but he was a lot more friendlier than the other two dogs they had before.

That said, I'll admit that I still have a little apprehension about dogs in general, just based on what my past experiences are.  Will I likely own a dog as a pet in the future?  It's hard to say.  But, let's just say that I'm a lot more open to the idea than I was before. 

I guess you can say that's progress.  Wouldn't you?

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