Once Bitten, Twice Shy


Scene of the crime

Walking the neighbourhood in my quest for gardening ideas is not without its perils. When I advocate ‘getting one’s teeth into it’, I don’t mean literally. But that’s how the tiny white fluffy dog apparently read me.

There I was, strolling along the narrow track around the boat harbour, minding my own business when the wee, white flash latched onto my leg. No warning mind you, no threatening body language or growling, just needle sharp teeth sunk into my tender calf before beating a retreat behind its shocked owner’s legs.

Now I’m not one to throw profanities around, well, not without provocation, but I did invoke four-letter visions of excrement in my shock. There was no question of the bark worse than the bite. This dog was all bite and no bark!

The local hospital emergency department is on this route, so a half an hour later, bandaged and newly jabbed, I gingerly walked home contemplating my experience.

What did I learn? I learned that sometimes you can be minding your own business and still offend some. That even the gentle art of walking can be fraught with dangers. That one can’t assume to know what poses a threat just by appearances: wolves can be found in fluffy white clothing. And I learned that some people will deny events happened until presented with the gory evidence.

Will this temper my love of dogs? No. But I will be wary of  small white fluffy ones baring teeth.

This morning I returned to the scene of the crime. Not without some trepidation – what if my nemesis happened along that same narrow path at the very moment I was there?

I returned because I wanted to avoid being ‘twice shy’.

So often events in my life have resulted in me being hyper-vigilant and even fearful, wanting to avoid any possibility of a recurrence. Rational thought renders these responses harmless; after all, what are the odds that the same confluence of factors present then, would occur again?  But sometimes they do. My imagination dresses up in wolf’s clothing.

So the choices are: to acknowledge that possibility, albeit it remote, and fly in the face of fear anyway. Or live less ‘muchier’ lives because of it.


“‎You’re not the same as you were before,” he said. “You were much more… muchier… you’ve lost your muchness.”― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

I choose ‘muchness’

31 responses to “Once Bitten, Twice Shy

  1. I am saddened to think that this — “some people will deny events happened” –was part of your experience, Robyn. If it was, then we know that the crime wasn’t the dog ‘s fault. They simply do what they were not taught, or allowed to do, or (I hope this wasn’t the case) were taught by hostile “carers.” It’s a shame, isn’t it. Such a nice path, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right. The dog had it all over the owner. She did it no favours. I hope she addresses that because the dog will pay if it bites again and unfortunately it could be a child next time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know which is worse, being warned with a growl prior to the bite or no warning at all, neither are pleasant. Glad you’re doing okay. Your message couldn’t be more timely, I like how you summoned the courage to go back to the path.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Steph. I guess I’m glad I didn’t have time to be frightened. And now I’m choosing not to let it leave me with a residual fear of dogs. The scar is taking its time to heal but not keeping me from my morning exercise.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Little dogs can be ferocious and it takes next to nothing to set them off. My rescue is a mix of terrier and chihuahua and for the most part she can be very pleasant but she can also be high strung. Your choice to not let this episode leave you with a fear of dogs is a wise one I’m going to commit to memory to get a handle on some of my fears.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I believe fears, sometimes rational and sometimes irrational, can creep up on us and be crippling, Steph. I try very hard to address mine. Good effort to give a rescue dog a forever home. I wish I could have a dog but it’s impractical in my current circumstances.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s curious, too, the experiences that make us think and turn things around, isn’t it? Your blog is full of that, which is one of the reasons I enjoy it so much. And – I had completely forgotten where ‘muchness’ came from, it is so long since I read the Lewis Carroll books.

    Liked by 1 person

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