Saturday, June 30, 2018

Junkyard Dogs

I grew up near a trucking garage. Not fifty yards from our house, in a residential part of Jersey City, was an industrial garage. It was located at the end of a dead-end. It was fairly small, and I assumed that it only housed or repaired or maintained tractor trucks (it was too small for any trailers).

The garage was guarded by two ferocious dogs. I don't remember their breed, but they were most likely German Shepherds or Doberman Pinschers. They were tethered to the building by a long chain link leash. Whenever us neighborhood kids cut through the cemetery that was next to this garage, we would have to brace ourselves for some ferocious barking and chain snapping as the dogs would hurl themselves again the fence, standing on their hind legs, barking like mad.

My childhood fear of dogs started with them. I was scared that they would bite me, if they could get free of their leash, or somehow jump over the fence. I associated dog barking as meaning menace, and a dog's jumpy, kinetic energy as something uncontrollable. The double whammy of enduring a dog bite and a long needle (for a tetanus shot) made me nervous around any dog, and the fear stayed with me for many years.