In a blog I wrote last month, I mentioned that I had twisted my ankle after falling into a two-foot deep hole on the beach someone had failed to fill in while I scanned the waves for a drowning tourist. After a month, I was on the mend. Then, the knee above that ankle started giving me nasty pings. Knowing the knee connected by bones and ligaments to the ankle, I figured some of the impact I incurred in the original injury might have affected my knee. Also, in my body’s attempt to get rid of the ankle inflammation that fluid might had traveled up to the next joint—my knee. After all, I had been walking strangely for a month until the ankle mended. So, I waited it out. At the beginning of August, I again was on the mend. I was planning on getting back to the gym. And then—
I was cleaning a spa located on a deck at a vacation house. As I walked down from the deck two dogs accosted me. The owner, the renter, was nearby. The dogs were aggressive, barking and growling. I said to the owner, “Sir, could you get hold of your dogs?” He didn’t react. He stood there looking at me as his dogs continued to bark and snarl. No tails wagged. It wasn’t until I again reiterated my request as more of a demand that he finally took hold of the dogs’ collars and took them into the house. He could clearly see I was frightened.
I like dogs. I have dog friends, Dinty, a Chocolate Lab, and Berry, a Goldendoodle. There’s a dog on our spa and pool route, Lilah, a Golden Lab, who I love. Oscar, the pit bull who is owned by the Deputy Sheriff living in my neighborhood, stops by when they go on walks. They are friendly dogs I know or have gotten to know since they are well behaved. But I’ve also had bad experiences with dogs I don’t know and who don’t know me. I’m not paranoid, but I am cautious—with good reason. Most dogs protect their territory and owners. It’s instinct. Why don’t some dog owners know and understand this?
The renters were staying for two weeks requiring us to return to the house to service their spa and pool. I thought if we went early, we might avoid the dogs. We arrived at the house, but kept our car in a common area beyond the rental house’s driveway. After we got out our equipment and as soon as we walked toward the house, the owner let the dogs out (with a clap of his hands). The dogs charged us. My husband’s response was to fight—he went toward them and made threatening motions. My reaction—flight—I opened my car door and dove in. As soon as the owner got our reaction, the dogs were called back into the house. I phoned my boss to report what had happened and told her I couldn’t service the house. While on the phone, I looked at the house. The owner and his friend were standing at the rail of the upper deck laughing at us.
It didn’t take more than an hour before my knee started swelling. When I dove into my car, I must have torn or stressed the joint. For what purpose did this happen? To be an amusement, fodder for the renter, who thought it was oh-so-funny that I was afraid of strange dogs. Nope, I don’t hate the dogs—I hate people—the owners. Not all, but I seem to attract sadistic sociopaths.
I’d like to externalize the experience by using it for fiction. But deep down I ask—how can you write about people when you hate them? If you have answers for me, please let me know. I’ve got time on my hands now that I must once again restrict movement to gain long-term mobility.