Mailmen, dog bites, and I can't write fast enough

I’ve heard writers talk about how they have to write or they’ll explode. I never really felt I could relate to that, but today I think I can.

I was outside with the dogs when the mailman came. Not our regular mailman, so the dogs were especially excited – barking and jumping as I walked to meet the mailman at the fence.

Now, normally, Mike the mailman would wait for me to grab Bandit or make the dogs sit; he’s been great about working with us to help them learn not to bark and jump.

But obviously today’s mailman didn’t know that, so instead of waiting for me to grab Bandit off of the fence, he just reached over as Bandit jumped up. And in a flash, Bandit’s teeth were on his arm.

I don’t think Bandit meant to bite him; I think he was just barking and jmping and when the arm came over he moved that way and bit the mailman.

The mailman was mad, and I felt terrible. It didn’t look like the skin was broken; I offered a rag to wash it off, but he said he needed to go and call his supervisor. I went inside to get my phone number to give him, and when I came out his arm had what looked like a big bruise in the shape of Bandit’s open mouth.  I kept apologizing.

He left to call his supervisor, I went inside to call the post office and tell them what happened. The supervisor told me that they’d have to report the incident to the dog warden, and I should expect to hear from him soon.

And then I called Dr. Hawkins, our vet, because that’s what I do when I don’t know what else to do when it comes to the dogs. She assured me that Bandit is not an aggressive dog and she doubted very much that they’d take him away.

I was still crying, and worried about the mailman, so I walked down to where he was on his route to just check on him. The marks were much lighter now – phew! – and looked like three or four round spots where Bandit’s teeth had made contact. I assured him it was an accident, that Bandit was not aggressive, that he just reached over as Bandit jumped up, that I felt terrible about what happened and wanted to make sure he was not hurt badly. He assured me it was OK and the dog warden would be in touch.

When I came home, I didn’t know what else to do – except write. I had this overpowering urge to get the story out. And not from me – but from Bandit. I’ve been finding it really theraputic lately to write from Bandit’s perspective. So I logged on and put up a post from Bandit.

And that’s when I realized that it was one of the few times I can remember where I felt like if I didn’t write about what happened, I might burst.

Part of it might just be the inate desire to chronicle stuff. I journal a lot – sometimes all I do is just log what I did that day. When I talk on the phone, I take notes. I have notebooks and pens all around the house because I’m always jotting down websites and story ideas I see on TV or hear on the radio.

But writing out what happened also helped me calm down and understand that it was, indeed, an accident. It helped me kind of walk through what I could have done better and what the mailman might have done differently, and understand how an accident can happen in a split second and it can really be no one’s fault.

Anyway, that’s what happened today. I’m so glad the mailman isn’t seriously hurt – dog teeth can really hurt, even when it’s in play or on accident. I hope the dog warden understands that Bandit isn’t an aggressive dog and this was an accident.

Update: The dog warden took all of Bandit’s info and assured me that they’re not going to take Bandit away. He said I should probably keep him in our own yard for 10 days until the matter is settled. But he does have to report it to the county. So Bandit has a permanent record. But as long as it doesn’t happen again, he’s OK. And the mailman wasn’t seriously hurt, for which I’m very grateful.


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