There’s a spot on my route to and from the papershop known as Growly Dog Hill, because there’s a collie dog who lives at the house there whose dearest wish is to get out the gate and bite the cyclist’s leg off. Being a collie, she’s brighter than the average mutt so she doesn’t just bark furiously as I approach, oh no. She waits silently right by the gate and just as I pass the gate unleashes either a bark or a growl, invariably startling me out of my skin (I’m not a collie, so I am clearly not bright enough to remember that this happens every single time I ride past).
Anyway, I now know she’s a she because I met her owner out the other day walking her and her sister. I thought I recognised him and guessed that this was my nemesis, which he confirmed. It’s all about context with dogs, clearly, because despite the fact that here she was within biting distance of the dread cyclist, she just totally ignored me while her sister happily said hello and got her ears scratched – or then again, perhaps she was just trying to lull me into a false sense of security. ‘They’re very different personalities, despite being sisters,’ he commented. ‘Well, perhaps that’s sisters everywhere…’
I wasn’t on the bike today, which was probably sensible because with the wind I would have likely taken off, if not been blown into the next county. So I haven’t yet ridden past Growly Dog’s stronghold yet since meeting her in person. I will be interested to see whether our having been introduced makes any difference to her stated desire to bite my leg off.
And also whether, having written all this, I remember anything about it until she once more startles me right out of my skin.