Chapter 2 - THE LION DOG!
This was how it went for a couple of years, something near panicky fear of dogs. The culmination came when I, as a 4-year-old, went out for the first time to visit my father's new boyfriend's sister, who lived in a large country house with her husband and their - it turns out - colo-huge Rhodesian ridgeback. My father was even so unwise to tell me that it was also called an African LION DOG because it was used for lion hunts in Africa. A young boy who is already afraid of dogs immediately thinks that if such a dog is used to hunt lions, then it must also be bigger, stronger and much more dangerous than lions let alone all other kinds of dogs.
Already some distance from the house I could hear the LOVE DOG gleam and when the car stopped shortly afterwards in the parking lot, its barking became so violent and pervasive that it effortlessly propagated in my little child's body, like a low frequency and totally surprising vibration in the chest, which destroyed the natural rhythm of my own heart, so it alternately jumped a few beats and then took a few quick moves in a panic and useless attempt to make up for the lost. Had I not known better, I might have thought that the sound of the LOVE DOG came from my own interior, so intense it felt in my body, which alternately breathed and hyperventilated as it took a bath in the sweat of anxiety under my rather soaked summer jacket.
Each step I took towards the front door, the thundering and perpetual barking became louder and louder and more and more intense and best as I thought my situation couldn't get any worse, so I caught sight of the monster! It stood with the front legs up in the window sill and with its head all the way up to the window, which slid and became clear again in front of its open gap, synchronously with the thunderous sensation in my chest.
In front of the front door, I was so scared that my hearing had in fact disappeared and any reassuring remark from an adult was completely useless. Then the door handle suddenly moved down and the door started to open as a large, black and wet muzzle protruded through the growing gap between the door and the frame just at head height ..!
That we humans are descended from the monkeys, that can be witnessed by myself and my father, for that day, at that moment, the very deepest instincts took over in me. At the same moment the doorstep became so wide that the Lion could squeeze his gigantic head through the one I crawled up, literally-zero-five, out of my father, so that before anyone knew it, I sat on his shoulders while I tried to continue on his head. The lioness must also have thought it was remarkable, because at least by acknowledging my father with the forepaws, I saw that, despite my extraordinary climbing skills, I was still not sure of its insistent and fierce approach.
This was my first encounter with the Lion and for the rest of the day I spent mainly on my father's shoulders, from which, with fear and horror, I watched the huge dog, mostly lounging around looking for leftovers, or sleeping on the carpet or lawn. .
A couple of times during the weekend my dad took the Lion Dog on a leash and took it on our walks around the huge country estate. Its collar was a thick chain and the leash was a solid leather strap, both of which were a necessity, for the Lion Dog pulled like an ox when on tour and my father had to put his heels in well, not to be pulled off by the huge animal .
My dad must have had a brain haemorrhage that weekend, because I remember how at one point he stabbed the heavy leather cord in my hands and invited me to try and walk with the beast. As if I should have a Chinese man's chance to rein in the Lion, if not in a few moments, he should choose to turn against me and attack ...