Dog bite and dog love

When we moved in the summer of 1962 from the western district to the bridal lake (see the story “The bridal lake”), the road ended at our house. Then there was only a big bumpy meadow, which we called children only “the field”, at the southern end of the “Sankt-Jürgen-Schule” was under construction. Only years later, the continuing connection to the main road along the future school grounds was built. There, where then both roads collided, was then (and is still today) a Litfaßsäule, where I twelve years later with my friend Thomas smoked my last cigarette before I came home from the disco at dawn.

Until then, it was all wasteland, or rather savanna, and a huge puddle had formed here. It was about 20 meters long and eight meters wide. In the middle she was knee-deep. Friend Thomas and I had built a raft of wooden beams and logs; and armed with long poles, we sailed on the pond, our “silver lake”.

Exactly opposite our house opposite, in the row-corner house, lived family Stoll, one of the first families ever, who came as late resettlers after the world war II. From the Soviet Union to West Germany. Mr. Stoll was the proud owner of a “car engine”, as he called it. The family included two girls. That was nice. But it was not nice that there was also a dog that was small but extremely aggressive and of undefinable mixture and origin. This dog was also called Purzel and was rather feared by us children.

One day Thomas and I played again at the giant puddle and were about to cross from one bank to the other. When Winnetou and Old Shatterhand had landed, one of the Stoll girls, unfortunately forgetting their first names, came over on the leash with Purzel on the raft. As always, the mutt fiercely pulled on the leash, panting and baring his sharp teeth. Had I looked at “Mistress” wrong? Did I say anything wrong? I do not know it anymore. Anyway, the stupid dog bit me hard in my left lower leg.

I had high, green rubber boots, stuffed in my long pants and – because it was already autumn – also had long socks on. All this did not protect me. Purzel bit right down to my skin. I immediately ran home, took off my wellies, pants and stockings and had to find out together with Mutti that Purzel’s tusks had left three red-blue spots on my lower leg.

Tetanus shot? Ne. Complaint? Nope. Burnt child and lifelong fear of dogs? Nope! On the contrary. Even many years later I was a double dog owner (German shepherd dog hybrid in the 1990s, black Labrador bitch in the 2000s) and once – it was New Year’s Eve 1974/75 – I even romped on the carpet with the Bernardine of my later landlord, while the still young and quite harmless Otto Waalkes on the TV junkelte and his version of “Wild thing” yodelled.

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