Walking to Andersons News in Hiltingbury yesterday morning, my son and I saw this notice in many places:
“My Yorkshire Terrier Ruby was attacked at Hiltingbury Recreation Ground by a lurcher / greyhound-type dog.
The attack happened on Wednesday 14th May at approximately 11:15 and… Ruby is very poorly and I was also bitten during the attack…”
It must have been upsetting for the owners of Ruby. I hope Ruby and her owner will be recovered soon.
I have met many lovely dogs in Chandler’s Ford, yet I am also terrified by some of them.
I remember when my son went to Chandler’s Ford infant school on King’s Road many years ago, some parents would tie their dogs at the railings, or wait outside with their dogs. Some of the dogs were big and noisy. Some dogs didn’t look friendly, though their owners always claimed their angry-looking dogs were angels.
Once I tried to steer away from a particular big dog near the school gate, and the owner was grumpy. She stared at me and spoke with an aggressive tone to me that it was unnecessary to be frightened of her dog.
Many dogs are bigger and stronger than me. When they jump on me, they could easily knock me over.
Recently on King’s Road, near the infant school, I saw this sign:
Dog Fouling High Priority Zone:
We need your help to catch offenders in this area.
A sign like this should put some dog owners to shame.
My childhood dog in Malaysia
We kept a stray dog when I was about 11 years old. My mother had just returned to the south of Malaysia from China after visiting her brother for the first time in the late 70s. They were separated by poverty, war and geographical distances for over 40 years. (I wrote a series about my mother in Letters from China in my other blog last year.)
My mother decided to keep the stray dog as she thought the dog was some sort of god’s messenger, who welcome her safe return by the sea voyage. My mother said, “This dog will bring luck. We’ve got to treat her well!”
I loved my dog Poppy, and I had such fond memories about her. I never knew vets existed throughout my childhood. There were no rules as to dog training, vaccination, or walking the dogs. It was so hot that it would have been mad to walk your dog. They walk themselves. Or they took shelter from the heat. They came back to their owners and ate Chinese food.
My Poppy would attack people during her pregnancies and after births. After Poppy had bitten someone, my mother would always apologise and reassure the victims that they would be fine, because the cuts weren’t deep (or just a few tiny scratches). My mother would then give the victims a small bag of sugar and rice as compensation.
I never knew where this tradition came from. I think the practical items – sugar and rice – symbols of abundance and stability – meant to give the victims a sense of security, and it was also a sign of goodwill. We had a simple and traditional way of life then. We lacked medical knowledge and dog bite laws in the closed village. The mess of a dog-biting crisis was cleared up with a small bag of sugar and rice.
From Chandler’s Ford, to Malaysia to China – the inspiration came from the poster I saw about Ruby in Hiltingbury. I hope you don’t mind my meanderings.