I was bitten by a dog — a guest post by Still Scared But Getting Angry
I am a dyed-in-wool animal lover. I have always loved animals and never been afraid of them.
My dad and uncle, who had done some pre-vet studies in college and worked around animals had taught me well how to be around dogs, approach them safely, train them, etc. I volunteer with an animal rescue organization and even the first year after my separation earned most of my living by walking dogs and feeding cats.
Two years ago as I was getting back into visiting nursing. I was walking up to a patientʼs house and their dog came running around the house barking. I wasnʼt scared, I kept walking ignoring the dog, not recognizing the potential threat. The dog came to a stop by me and bit my leg. I was flabbergasted! I paused for a second then started to scream, hoping the family would hear and help. I tried swinging my nursing bag over the dogʼs head to frighten it. I did not even conceive of hitting the dog; because one should never strike an animal.
Finally a family member of my patient came out and got the dog to release me and took him away. I carried on with my visit, that is what you do professionally, and drove away then started to shake. Short term I had a horrible bruise, long term; me, who has never been afraid of any animal finds myself nervous around new dogs and ever so careful to put protection between them and myself. Now, I would swing my heavy nursing bag right at a dog that attempted to bite me.
I was thinking about this and some parallels between my dog bite and my recovery for the 17 years of being married to an abuser. I did everything “right” when I married my now ex-husband. I made sure he was a “christian”, we got pre-marital counseling, we went to church together. All that I knew to do, I did. When I realized about the abuse that I had allowed to go on and on for years, I was flabbergasted. I started with small cries of help to my pastor and lay counselor And at first that didnʼt work. Louder “screams”( telling more people) didnʼt work either. Swinging my bag; putting up barriers about his access to the house, how to contact me, returning gifts, didnʼt work. Finally he invaded my house and I had to call 911, like the family member who came and saw the actual biting taking place.
And now… now I want to believe there are good guys out there. I have friends married to some awesome men who care for them and their kids and donʼt put on the false front and demand control. But I donʼt trust my ability to know anymore. I want to regain the confidence and friendliness I had before but I am defensive and cautious all because I was bitten.