Sunday, June 26, 2011

The yellow dog

 Image from Belfast Daily

In elementary school, we read a story called Old Yeller. That was before they made the film. He was a good dog. We had our own dog; Sam was good and friendly too.

But there was another yellow dog in my life. Except for his odd colour, he looked like a German Shepherd. I had to pass him every day as I walked to school, and he was mean.

Every day I tried to sneak past the house where he lived. Most days, he strutted out to the road to raise his hackles and growl.

If I rode my bike, he ran after me, barking and snapping at my pant legs. Desperately afraid I'd fall off my bike and be viciously attacked, I tried to pedal fast enough but not too fast.

Dad told us dogs could smell fear. If that was true, that dog probably smelled me twice a day every day. Sometimes my brother and I walked home the long way round, down another street. It was so relaxing to know we didn't have to pass the yellow dog.

We knew the names of most neighbourhood dogs, but I never found out that dog's name. I never got to know his human owners either. Those kids went to the Catholic school. Besides, the yellow dog was always there.

When I was in high school, our relationship changed. Either his temper had improved or he was too lazy to bark or chase any more. Maybe he was finding me harder to intimidate. Even so, I still instinctively dislike yellow dogs.

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