Bite Me. I Dare You.

December 29, 2007
By Lucinda Zhang, Princeton, NJ

“Shoot it already!” my older brother, Elwin hollered impatiently. I turned my head and shot him the meanest look a six-year old child could give. Elwin did not even seem to notice. Frowning, I spun back around, and firmly planted my feet to the ground, directly in front of the basketball hoop. Clenching my jaw in determination, I aimed the small, orange and blue basketball and released it out of my hands. I missed by a mile and watched as ten-year-old Elwin dashed forward, grabbed the falling basketball, and made a lay up. Nothing but net. I watched proudly and enviously as Elwin caught the ball when it fell out of the hoop. He dropped it on the blacktop and began to head inside, probably to get something to eat.

I picked up the basketball, and even before I took two steps, I stopped dead in my tracks. There, just a few yards away from me, was my next door neighbor’s enormous (or, at least to me) yellow Labrador. I simply despised that wretched, wild dog. For the past few weeks, when I stepped out of the bus, the dog would always be there, as if it were waiting. Being terrified by dogs, I would run away from it, resulting in it chasing after me. Luckily, my grandfather was always there to scare the beast away. Ever since then, I have been afraid of the dog.

The dog stared at me, and I stared right back. Feeling my palms start to sweat, I curled them into fists. I was nervous, and felt like I could scream. The brisk spring wind did not help calm my nerves either. The dog took a step forward. With that, I spun around and took off toward my open garage door, throwing down the basketball in the process. Hearing the ball bounce in the distance, I hoped it would slow the wild beast down a little bit. However, that was a faraway thought. I only had one thing in mind, and that was to get away from the crazy dog. Of course though, the dog was obviously much faster than my short six year-old legs could carry me. The large dog caught up with me in just a matter of seconds. When it was right behind me, the ferocious, frightening, large yellow Labrador bit me, right on the back of my thigh. OW!!

From then on, I completely forgot about the dog that chased after cars. The only thoughts that paraded through my mind were of the pain I was feeling. I had no idea where the beast went. I felt tears gathering at the brink of my eyes. I could feel the stinging pain and for a split second, I wondered if it was bleeding. My eyes felt hot and heavy and pretty soon, big, fat hot tears were rapidly cascading down my flushed cheeks. I ran, semi-blindly, into the garage and burst through the door. My father was sitting at our round dinner table, reading a Chinese newspaper. When my father laid eyes on me, he dropped the newspaper as if it were on fire.

“OH MY GOSH!” he exclaimed, eyes wide. He stood up so quickly, the old chair he was sitting on fell over. I flung myself into his arms, crying my heart out.

My father was patting my back, not knowing what happened yet trying desperately to console me.

“Honey, what happened?” he queried frantically. I could not talk. I was shaking violently as the tears fell.

‘Calm down,’ I ordered myself mentally. I knew my father could not help me if I could not pull myself together and tell him what had happened. I attempted to take a deep breath and pointed to the back of my thigh.

“The --- dog---g b--- bit me ---ee,” I choked out, feeling the tears once more. My father was shocked and was instantly on his knees, inspecting the bite mark.

“Are you okay? Does it hurt? Can you feel it?” he asking, flinging a flurry of questions at me. I was not crying as much, but I was still sniffling uncontrollably.

My mother was not home, and my dad was a bit unsure of what to do. So he called the police, then the owner of the dog. A few minutes later, two tall police officers were ringing our doorbell. My dad instinctively opened it allowing them into our house. I was still standing at the dinner table. My leg still stung, and I was slightly trembling. When the policemen stepped into the room, I cowered a little bit. I did not have much experience with adult strangers, and those two men frightened me. They were even taller than my dad.

They walked up to me, and I felt nervous. When they reached me, one of them bent down and inspected the dog bite. It felt as though the police officer was checking me for weapons, and I shuddered. A few moments later, he stood up and chatted quietly with the other police officer. Then the two of them approached my father. I watched as my father’s head bobbed up and down as the officers spoke to him. And after what seemed like an eternity, my father bobbed his head one last time and one officer walked out of the front door and into his car. I watched as he rummaged through the side pockets of the little car, and pulled something tiny out. He walked away from the car and half walked-half jogged back to the house. Yes, I was completely confused.

The officer came back with a paramedic carrying a needle, and I knew that that day would be the worst day ever. He walked over to me, and I backed away, staring warily at the thin, long needle. I bumped into something large and saw that my dad was behind me. He briefly told me about what was about to happen; I needed a shot to make sure that I would not be affected by rabies if the animal (or brute, either one), had rabies. I frowned at my dad, but he gave me a look that made me trust him and the police officers.

The shorter officer cleaned a section of my arm and positioned the needle. I grabbed my father’s hand and squeezed as hard as I possibly could. I felt, the pinching feeling and my eyes watered a little bit, yet most of my tears had been eliminated earlier on, when I had first been bitten. It was over in a moment, and I released my dad’s hand. I looked up and all the adults smiled at me. I felt a bit better. A few minutes later, the policemen left.

After dinner, when the whole family was watching TV, the doorbell rang. I grabbed my brother’s hand and Elwin, my dad, and I walked to the door. Outside the door revealed our next door neighbors. I was shocked.

‘What are they doing here?” I thought to myself, befuddled.
They talked quietly to my dad, and then handed me a stuffed animal. It was a beautiful, white, stuffed lamb. It was absolutely adorable. I accepted it, surprised, and observed it.

“We’re all extremely sorry about what happened with our dog. We won’t be keeping the dog anymore,” one of them (most likely the mother) said, sweetly.

I do not know what to think anymore. I have never been fond of animals overall, but since then, my uncertainty of animals has increased dramatically. I think that my experience with the dog I had seven years ago really affected how I view all animals, big or small, today. And that is something I really wish I could change. I know that animals are not bad living things, and I believe that if this experience never occurred, today, I would absolutely love animals.

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