I managed to work up to a magnificent quantity of two chapters on my assignment on Wednesday. Things are not going well – yet. Partly self-inflicted wounds to blame on Wednesday. We had a visit from my dear friend S, who lives fairly close to here, on Tuesday evening. After he had gone we were feeling good, inclined to chill, and consequently saw off the major part of a bottle of port. No wonder I was feeling sluggish the following day.
After the self-indulgence and a couple of days ankle-rest, I felt ready for a breath of fresh air yesterday. We set off to find the Mote of Mark. This part of the day went reasonably well, once we had found the right path. The weather was threatening and it was quite chill and windy on top of the Mote, we were disinclined to stay long. I had no camera unfortunately because the views were striking. I must go back another day with camera and tripod.
Looking down on Rough Island and the causeway that leads to it, we elected to come home on a route that would take us to inspect the causeway access, thinking that today we might walk out to the island. So, why am I here, writing this, and not out eating a picnic lunch on Rough Island? You might well ask!
As we walked along the Coastal Path through the woodland, we met a young woman, distraught – she had lost her 8 year old daughter in the woods somewhere between Rockciffe and Kippford. Mother was, as one might image, in a proper state. We set off, armed with name, age and description in one direction, as Dad went in a second and Mum in a third. We promised if we found the child to take her to the Anchor Inn in Kippford and to wait there. Of course I could not fail to put myself in her place and I was wretched and tearful and worried and all of it as we walked along. We stopped other walkers and asked if they had seen the girl anywhere. We took byways and side paths and had a god look about us. Mr L fretted and worried that he hadn’t gone off in another direction to search.
It was grey and miserable and raining and we had no coats. We were getting wet but I was worried about the girl and disinclined to stop looking. Time was getting on and we were tired, cold and hungry. We discussed The Anchor for a late lunch, which would make that four Thursdays in a row that we would have eaten there. We agreed that we shouldn’t; couldn’t under present financial circumstances, in fact.
As we approached the Anchor, Mr L took Nell down onto the beach, as he often does, leaving me to walk along the pavement, as by the time we have got that far I am generally hurting considerably and the last thing that I want to do is to walk over pebbles and rough ground. Outside the anchor, across the road and on the pavement were a man, an elderly woman and a dog, a GSD. As I approached them, I turned my head to say good morning, and suddenly the dog leaped up and grabbed me by the arm, biting me through my sweatshirt. It was just about to twist its head, when the owner pulled it off me.
“Are you alright?” he enquired. I replied that no, I was not alright, as his dog had just bitten me. I sad that I would like his name, address and telephone number please. Dog owners are legally obligated to provide these on request to anybody who asks following an incident.
“She’s never done that before” he says. No sign of a name and address though. He was rewarded with my best sceptical Look. “Please may I have your name,address and phone number?” (with renewed firmness) He replies with “Can I see your arm?” I show him teeth marks and large swelling, already turning purple and he adds “Oh, yes.” At this point, Elderly lady interjects: “Do you have a dog of your own?” I reply to say yes and her response is “There you are, she smelled your dog on you and that’s what made her do it..” She was rewarded with a contemptuous Look and then ignored as an idiot.
Keeping up? Gobsmacked? I was too.
Enter: The Wife, from the direction of the pub. The husband tells her that the dog has bitten this woman, indicating myself. I address myself to her: I would like your name, address and telephone number, please. I say this with firmness and assurance (yes, I was getting a little loud by now). She asks to see my arm. (on reflection, that was odd, as nobody had told her where I had been bitten) and said “She’s never done that before.” I asked again for name, address and telephone number in my best brook-no-nonsense tones. She responded by asking me if I had a pen and paper and I replied no, I had been out walking and pen and paper is not something I find necessary to carry. “Well, I don’t have a pen and paper” she said in tone that I really cannot replicate in writing. She turned to Elderly Lady and said “Mother, do you have a pen and paper?” (no) then to her husband “Do you have a pen and paper?” (No) then turned back (she was well into my space by now) shoved her face into mine and said “We don’t have a pen and paper.”
I reiterated that I required the contact details and said that as she had just left the pub she might go back in there for a pen and paper and I was certain that they would help her out.
She said she thought I was being extremely rude and suggested that I go and get the pen and paper.
Frankly I am amazed that I was not entirely hysterical by now. My arm was hurting and shock had set in and I was shaking. However, I am made of stern stuff and I was both angry and amazed by her obstructive behaviour. I said something to the effect of: “Excuse me? Your vicious and unmuzzled dog has just attacked me, unprovoked and you want me to sort it out?” Yes, we had reached a level of incredulity and I was nearing the point of wanting to smash her smug face in underneath her ridiculous fur hat.
Enter: Mr L back from the beach and wanting to know why I was bleeding. Was I? This had gone unnoticed, I looked and saw that the dog had punctured my arm further up and round the back where I had not previously seen it.
I turned to Mrs Smug and said firmly once again that I wanted her to go into the pub and borrow a pen with which to tender her contact details. She again said that she thought I was being very rude. I attempted to say that she was being both disingenuous and obstructive but by now the words would not come out right, I was outraged and spluttering and probably not a very pretty picture. I also tried to tell her that I would show her what rude was in a minute if she didn’t give me her details immediately. Spit, splutter, shake, rage, fume, wobble… close to tears of course by now. Completely inarticulate.
My firm stand added to the arrival of reinforcements seemed to have some effect and she went back to the pub, returning with a slip of paper. She turned to her husband, struck an attitude that again I would find difficult to express in writing, peeled the paper open and presented it to her husband. “What’s that?” he asked her and she replied in a singsong tone “It’s our address”. He looked taken a back and said “Oh, alright” and I knew. I just knew. But yet I took the paper from her, expressed my thanks and they walked off whilst Mr L attempted to photograph my arm and their persons.
I went into the Anchor to ask about how to get emergency medical aid around here and also if they would please check their CCTV to see if it had captured the incident. We walked back up here and I went to Reception to ask if they could find me a taxi. They were wonderful, finding a First Aid kit to enable me to clean myself up a bit, a sit down and a glass of water later and the site Manager, the wonderful Sasha, had me in the car and whisked off to Castle Douglas.
We went to the Minor Injuries Unit at the little hospital in CD, where a nurse gave the wounds a proper clean and closed the worst with steristrips. She applied a dressing then said I needed to see a doctor, as I needed Antibiotics and a stitch, but there wasn’t a doctor at the hospital and an appointment had been made for me at the Health Centre in town – though not until 5:40 pm. Off we went again, with me feeling very guilty indeed about poor Sasha and I tried to send her back to work. Bless her, she stuck with it.
In the event, we arrived at the Health Centre an hour early and had not long to wait, a lovely doctor attended to me at twenty to five. He prescribed a strong antibiotic that will give me diarrhoea (nice, that) and said he was disinclined at that stage to remove the steristrips in order to insert a stitch and that he’d prefer to remove the dressing and let the air get to it. A good old-fashioned kind of a GP. I liked him. Even when he said he was sure I could live with the resulting puncture would and in return showed me his own, from an incident with a collie. He asked if the Police had been informed and I said not yet as my husband had been more concerned with getting me attended to and I would be reporting it later. He agreed with me that you can’t not report an incident like this. Said he had documented the injuries if required for reference later.
When I arrived home, Mr L said that I would not be surprised to know that the address was invalid; he’d Googled. The street does not exist nor does the postcode appear in the postcode database. No name or phone number were given.
I rang 101 and logged the incident. They said that the Police would be in touch in due course.
Having had nothing to eat since breakfast and not feeling much like cooking, we went back to Kippford for our evening meal. The bar staff that I had spoken with earlier in the day told me that the CCTV had come up trumps. As we waited to be served, our phone rang and it was the local constabulary. I spoke to a very nice woman PC who was explaining what I already know – that with only a false address to go on and no witnesses there was little to be done. I told her about the CCTV and she said she would come over today to inspect it. Later on, the landlady came to see me and said that she had personally checked the CCTV tapes and they had captured the full incident. She said it’s very clear and that in watching it it is obvious that something was wrong, the dog was behaving oddly and (I was out of shot) looking sideways repeatedly as I approached, then as I appear and walk up to it, it just jumps up and bites my arm. That cheered me enormously because I love the idea that now there is a chance of tracking that smug-faced fox-wearing bitch down and taking the smile from her face. She’s committed an offence in not yielding her details on request.
Bitch? Yes. I’ve given the incident much thought. The woman was, to me, weird. Her behaviour difficult for me to understand and respond to, I’ve never met anything like it before. It took me a while to realise that she is probably one of life’s natural-born bullies. Someone who believes that they can always have their own way by virtue of manipulating persons and situations. She used her physical presence to try and dominate me by entering my personal space and moving forwards all the time. Either she hoped to intimidate me into dropping the matter or wanted me to go inside for that dratted pen and paper so that they could hoof it. Always in control, cool, calm, attempting to wrong-foot me because I was jangled and she was taking the superior position – hence the “rude” comments. I conclude she was very experienced in dominating people this way and was most likely the school bully. The oh-so-innocent sweet-faced schoolyard bully with the saccharine tongue and eyes wide with innocence. That one. The one who can never be caught actually doing anything wrong but manages to make other kids’ lives sheer misery. Pointin the finger; teacher’s pet saying “It was her, miss, she did it”
She was very well maintained. Expensive looking. Think there’s a term for it, something to do with Footballers and their wives. That type. Funnily enough, the postcode she eventually yielded was a Greater Manchester one.
Of the three of them, not one showed any shock or surprise, despite saying the dog had never done anything like this before. They certainly did not behave as we would, should Nell ever have done such a thing. The man did actually say “I’m sorry.” He seemed reasonably OK. He explained that it was a rescue dog, they hadn’t had it long… etcetera, etcetera…
I can understand that the dog perhaps did not like my walking poles. It may have been beaten with a stick or previously trained to take stick-wielding attackers down.
Okay… so we have had rescue dogs, and ones that held surprise issues for us. Suzie especially springs to mind. It is true that you can take a dog home and neither the rescue organisation or yourself be aware of lurking behavioural issues. It is impossible to know what their triggers are, at least initially. Once you know them then you deal with them.. retrain, avoid trigger situations and so on – muzzle if needed. The dog that jumped Nell recently is known not to like other dogs but to have special issues with Collies. They did not have that dog muzzled nor, when they saw a Collie (Nell) coming did they remove the dog from the vicinity. That is wrong. Suzie had issues with children – we kept her away from environments where children would come into contact with her. Thankfully there was no sense of real viciousness with her and she never broke any skin but I certainly never wished her to have the opportunity of doing so. (Gosh that makes it sound terrible doesn’t it? There was one incident that we did not observe and a second that we did. She was never given further chance. It appears that, having been abused by children when she was a pup, she took control of the situation and prevented any child from coming near her by grasping its wrist in her mouth. Firmly and insistently but not doing any damage. We were shocked, horrified, apologetic… )
So did this family have awareness or not? Overall I have to feel that they did. Their language, body language, manner… none of it expressed any real surprise or shock. The way that the dog went for me was interesting too. I judge that it has been trained to attack. The way that it took my forearm and prepare to twist its head but came off quickly on command and then sat quietly and calmly. Being a GSD it seems highly likely that it fell into Rescue as a failed guard dog, either Security or Services trained.
Was it a first? was it a one-off? I have no idea but I do know that it had to be reported. The next stick-carrier could be a frail old lady with a walking cane, or a child with a plastic sword or piece of tree it’s playing with. Somebody less robust than I anyway. The law requires compliance of dog-owners. They did not comply and resorted instead to deceit. They showed no surprise and no concern. They offered me no help or assistance, just walked away leaving me there bleeding and miles away from a doctor, holding a fake address in my hand. I must conclude that the dog has done this before and they knew of the issue. I hope that they can be tracked down and the book hurled at them.
To be honest, I’d really rather like the opportunity to catch up with that woman and punch her right on her pert little nose. No, of course I’d not really do that but it can be good to fantasise. It helps to get the bile out.
Ah well, over and done with now and I doubt resolution.
I can only assume that the missing girl was found as we enquired at the pub last night but nothing was known. We certainly did not see a Police presence in the vicinity. Hopefully all ended well. It would be good to know.
Today I am feeling a bit knocked back and disinclined to be energetic. My arm hurts and kept me awake but I also have the usual variety of aches and pains after we ended up walking much further than intended yesterday. The swelling on my forearm is going down and looks less purple, though I am disinclined to prod it yet to see how it’s doing. The deeper wound is crusting over nicely. Bowels not yet affected 😉 Generally just feeling sorry for myself and furious alternately. Not at all inclined to write an Assignment Essay.
Chocolates were ordered for Sasha last night. I wish we’d ordered some for ourselves at the same time (Hotel Chocolat) but we are in A Period of Penury. Yes, Hank was paid off yesterday. Woohoo! However, due to a minor cockup on Mr L’s part, the money that he drew down from his pension pot in order to do this was insufficient (he forgot about Tax) so we had to scrape pennies together from all available sources, leaving us with nothing to hand. The tax will be returned, eventually but until then all we have is what is coming in and that is for now precious little. So, no chocolates for brave injured soldiers. Just lentils and guilt about eating out last night.
It’s split pea soup tonight. Highly economical 😉