Murdo the Magnificent got bitten by a dog. He truly did. The sorry tale can be read on his Facebook page, which as it happens, is quickly becoming something he's using often. Once a mysterious, Shaman type character who revelled in his Luddism and wore his rejection of modernity like a badge of honour. Now he's become almost techno geek-like.
Anyway, back to the dog bite. Murdo was out running and this rabid, slavering cur hunted him down and latched onto his buttocks, removing a good part of the Magnificent One's gluteus maximus. Actually I've exaggerated slightly there......a fluffy Labrador nipped Murdo's derriere sending him off to hospital for a tetanus jab.
Murdo is rightly annoyed by this event and has asked the opinion of other runners. The information he's seeking is what could he have done to prevent the dog's unwanted attention. Now he need do no more than ask yours truly because:
1. I own a rabid, slavering hound.
2. I have a history of physical engagements with dogs.
My ownership of Mason (dog) is well documented within the pages of this blog (OK, so there are no actual pages, but it sounds better than 'appears here electronically'), so I won't witter on about point 1. By the way, if you're unsure of why my pooch gets the bracketed identifier after his name it's so you don't confuse him with the King of the Essex underworld, Mike Mason, who I refer to as Mason (man).
But regarding point 2, the story of my tussle with a dog is told within the pages of this blog (check me....I did it again). However, safe in the knowledge that many of my readers are of an age where forgetfulness is a constant companion (not you Uncle Duncan), and some are new, I shall repeat my story here for the benefit of Murdo. The tale is italicised below the picture.
It was 1988 and I was a young soldier with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment based in Fallingbostel in the then West Germany. I've attached a picture showing me a couple of years prior to the incident I'm about to relate. You'll see a fresh faced, idealistic young man successfully passing out after undergoing the rigours of British Army training. The person you see here is yet to discover that the British Army of the 80s was really just an approved school for naughty boys, and the naughtier you were, the more success and appreciation you'd enjoy. Think Private Henry Hook out of Zulu.
Anyway, let's get back to 1988. There I was in the squadron bar with a few muckers remarking how the tradition of marking Cambrai by attacking the neighbouring regiment had been largely forgotten in recent times. It didn't take too many more bottles of Herforder to encourage us to mount our own Cambrai campaign. So off we trotted, clad in our usual off-duty uniform of desert boots and flight jackets, heading for the Royal Hussars barracks armed with spray cans of silver paint (my mate Matt had been covering repaired crash damage on his Cortina). My can must have been less full than the others; the significance of this will be made clear in a while.
We sneaked up to the Royal Hussars Officers' Mess, where a mess ball was in full swing, and sprayed our squadron name 'CYCLOPS' in massive letters on the outside wall. One of my more perceptive colleagues (there were only three of us) indicated that we'd left a pretty decisive indication of the identity of the guilty party on that wall. So we added the other squadron names: 'AJAX,' 'BADGER,' HUNTSMAN,' and 'NERO.'
Then we did the same on the wall of the Sergeants' Mess.
Then on one of the Royal Hussars squadron accommodation blocks.
Then we stole a four-ton truck from the vehicle compound.
Which broke down.
In the middle of the parade ground.
It was as we were making our way back from the Royal Hussars parade ground to our own regimental lines that we heard a distant shout that went something like: 'This is the Royal Military Police....stay where you are!!'
A chorus of three voices returned the suggestion: 'FUCK OFF!'
My two colleagues made off like Vanessa Feltz chasing a departing ice-cream van but yours truly had the flash of inspiration to repeat our suggestion in silver letters on the ground.
But I was short of paint.
I rattled that can like I was making out with Madam Palm and her Five Sisters but I only achieved 'FUCK OFF R..' before a closely located torch beam was switched on and the words: 'Stand still; RMP!' were shouted in my ear.
In true boundlessly energised, British squaddie style I threw my almost-empty can in the direction of the blinding torch light and took off down the road.
Then I heard three words that really, really confused me.
'Go, Dog, Go!'
What the fuck does that mean?
I found out seconds later when I heard a growl, smelt the unmistakable aroma of Pedigree Chum, and felt sharp canine teeth sink into my forearm.
The bastard RMP was an accompanied dog handler.
As soon as I hit the ground with a massive German Shepherd Dog attached to my arm I heard the word: 'Release!'
My hairy German attachment immediately released my arm and sat down like a good pooch.
It was then that I made what was probably my second biggest mistake of the night. I mistook my canine friend's obedience to be capitulation and took off again like Sir Jimmy Savile en route to a TK Maxx sale.
Before I'd gained three feet of distance on the four-legged resident of Alsace the fucker's teeth were embedded in my right hip and he wasn't for letting go this time. It was then that I made what was probably my biggest mistake of the night. I repeatedly punched the dog in his face.
I think that the feeling of a canine tooth, gradually gouging a groove into your pelvic bone, is enough to make any boundlessly energised British squaddie piss his pants. So that was me, nicked and banged up with wet keks and an injury that, now healed, is very apparent on my right hip.