The old lady cradles her bleeding finger and staggers, feinting almost falling, as Gary from number one sprints back to his garden to pick up a deckchair for her. Her dog, a tiny Yorkshire Terrier, is quivering in another neighbour’s arms, snapping at well-wishers who are trying to inspect the skin for any bite-marks. “Has it attacked before?” the old lady quavers, pointing limply to the Jack Russell held by a piece of string in a little boy’s sweaty hand. “It’s your dog, she’s bitten this lady” says Gary as I join the scene, “Your son brought the dog out, but it got loose somehow and went for this little dog. This lady put her hand down to pick her dog up, and she’s been bitten.” Fearful, the little boy walks away. The old lady is now slumped in the deckchair. Nobody speaks for a while. But then there is talk of tetanus shots and hospitals. “My husband has just had a stroke, you know? This won’t help” the old woman says, “I don’t know why but dogs always go for my little Misty.” I don’t apologise though I try to show kindness. After the lady has drunk a cup of tea, used someone’s mobile phone to call the doctor and obtained a lift home we all return to what we were doing. As we turn to leave the scene, one of the neighbours comments that “it’s such a shame because she is clearly a dog-lover” which puzzles me. Gary takes his deckchair home.1
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