Monday, 9 September 2013

The postman's revenge.

It was a vile moment: my wife was out walking our dog when she came under attack from a Staffie and a mongrel.

‘she, here, I mean the dog rather than my wife, but it was a frightening experience for both of them. My wife ended up holding our dog off the ground while both the aggressors kept snapping at whatever legs they could reach, leaving her bleeding and bruised all over her body (the dog’s body, I again specify). 

Meanwhile the owner of the dogs, clearly not familiar with the concept of a dog
s lead, was explaining with some force that he saw no need to control his dogs and that, indeed, he could make the situation a great deal worse for Danielle if she provoked him to. You understand that he didn’t express himself in quite the measured terms I’ve used here. But that only made the message more menacing.

Some months later, a dog I recognised from Danielle
’s description as the mongrel, flew at my dog, in the same park. It was the Staffie that had been the real culprit before so on this occasion things ended less badly. Even so, and I’m the first to admit that I was mistaken to react this way, I decided to express my dissatisfaction to the young man in question, whom I’d also recognised from what Danielle had told me about him.

The conversation quickly degenerated into a frank exchange of views, in which I used terms of which I’m not proud, though they were more than equalled by his. When I finally decided that discretion was the better part of valour and began to walk away, my departure was hastened by a tennis ball to the neck; when I, again mistakenly, decided to cast discretion to the winds once more and get a photo of the gentleman for the police, I paid for it with the destruction of my glasses (as in spectacles, you understand: I wasn’t proposing to drink to my opponent’s health).

The police had little interest in the photo and decided there’d been faults on both sides (which was true, though they seem not to have grasped that there’d been damage on only one). It quickly became clear that they intended to do absolutely nothing about the case, but that I was free to take the other guy to court, though they warned me he also intended to press charges against me. With no witnesses and the police staying neutral at best, there seemed little hope of any kind of redress from the law.

Some days later we showed the photo I’d taken to a friend of ours.

‘That’s him!’ he exclaimed. Our aggressor was the man whose dogs had attacked him, personally; when he’d asked the owner to call them off, the response had apparently been, ‘you want me to set them on you? They’d rip you apart.’

A big claim, but not one I’d like to put to the test.

The result of all this is that we avoided our local park for a couple of weeks, but that seemed craven. And a serious privation: its parks are Luton
’s greatest asset. Instead, we now just keep an eye out for our less than friendly fellow-dog walker, and if we see him we give him a wide berth. Seems to be working reasonably well, so far.

But then on Saturday we had an experience which shone a whole new light on these events. Danielle and I were struck by the appearance of a postman we saw delivering mail and then, with one voice, proclaimed: ‘it’s him!’

Now, it was a brief moment – we were driving – and I can’t be absolutely sure that it was the same man. But, he looked so similar, and he was even wearing the red anorak he often sports, in Royal Mail colours, but which I’d never previously thought of as a postman’s.

It’s a classic, cliché of a joke, isn’t it, the story of the postman being attacked by a dog? There are cartoons aplenty making fun of the situation, though the real-life cases, of men and women savagely mauled while trying to do their work, are far from funny.

Not so funny for the victim. Who might want to get even
So it came to me: could there be something more than meets the eye behind the behaviour of the terror of our park? Is he not really the vicious, lazy, bullying dog owner I think he is, but a one-man vengeance machine, running a lone campaign to even the score between postmen and the civil population, for centuries of aggression, injury and mockery?

If so, I can understand his bitterness. But, I have to confess, it doesn’t make the prospect of meeting him any more pleasant to contemplate.


Mark Reynolds said...

That sounds awful, and it sounds like your police are less than useless. My sympathies.

David Beeson said...

I have to confess I wasn't impressed by the police reaction but, to be fair (and I suppose one has to be), one can't expect the police to take preventative action: societies where the police does act preventatively are pretty ghastly. On the other hand, and I just can't stop myself feeling that way, I do wish we could get this guy right off our streets, or at least out of our parks, anyway...