Dog Bite

by Jackie Graessle, Kahalu`u

I have a scar high on my left thigh.  It’s from a dog bite that required medical attention- my first sacrifice to the campaign for Senator Gary Hooser, who is running for Lieutenant Governor.  When I first began campaigning for him just over a year ago, I figured the best place to start would be my own community in Kahalu`u.  My face is pretty familiar because I walk my three dogs every day.  It wouldn’t be like a stranger knocking on their door; rather, it would be that lady who walks her dogs and is responsible for picking up after them.  No one would be afraid of me, and no one would think I was selling insurance or religion.

Things were going better than expected as I made my way around the neighborhood.  I found people willing to talk to me; or at least, willing to politely take the literature I was handing out. And along the way I was learning more about the people who lived in my community, including their names and often, the names of their various critters. As a social worker, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to connect with the folks I had previously only waved to as we passed each other.

With each visit, I became more confident.  Then I came upon one house that I knew had two dogs.  I had spoken to the owner numerous times; friendly small talk, the kind neighbors engage in during their morning walks as they pass each other.  He seemed a nice enough fellow. His house was behind a wrought iron gate that had vertical bars.  I leaned against the gate calling out for him.  I did not hear the dogs barking, which was unusual.  All at once, I felt a searing pain in my thigh.  I looked down and saw that one of the dogs had come around the corner and quietly, without so much as a growl, bitten a chunk of my thigh off.  The bars were far enough apart that the dog was able to poke his nose between them.

I held the wound closed with my hand to staunch the bleeding and ran to my car.  I drove myself to Castle Medical Center where I received a painful shot in the wound. Ouch! I watched them clean it and try to stitch it as neatly as they could given that some of the skin was actually missing.  All in all, the wound required six stitches. I was given a tetanus shot for good measure.   I was told to stay out of the water for two weeks while the wound healed.  Being an OC-1 paddler, this was perhaps the worst of it.

I can’t say I wear the scar with pride because at 56, it’s not likely I’ll be wearing a tiny bikini where people can see it and I can talk about it.  But I know it’s there.  It is a source of personal pride and a permanent memento of a campaign for someone who is authentic and who shares my values.  I have since gone door-to-door on numerous occasions, generally in rural areas where I am more likely to run into  dogs on the loose.  And while I am a bit more wary, the truth is, I continue to risk this because I know that if Senator Hooser wins this campaign, our communities will improve.  A dog bite is a small price to pay to help get a good man like Gary Hooser elected as our next Lieutenant Governor.

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  • ©2010 Paid for by Friends of Gary Hooser P.O. Box 4094, Honolulu HI 96812
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