In Which I Get Bitten by a Dog

Hector with Ralphy and his step dad. Photo by Shauna Bittle.


Ah, the life of a documentary maker. It’s not all wine and roses, you know. The making Out(Spoken) had some pretty rough moments.

In addition to being a gay rights activist, Hector prides himself on being an animal rights activist. He’s a vegetarian, and has two dogs he rescued from a shelter. Miley, a Chihuahua named after Miley Cyrus, and Ralphy, a mutt that looks to me like some kind of German Shepherd mix.

From the moment Shauna and I walked into Hector’s house, Ralphy behaved very aggressively towards both of us. He kept lunging at us, bearing his teeth and barking, while Hector restrained him by the collar. To keep Ralpy away from us, Hector put him upstairs in his bedroom while we toured the house.

But then it came time to go get footage of Hector in his room. I followed Hector upstairs, and as soon as he opened the door to his room, Ralphy jumped out and attacked me unprovoked, biting me on my left ring finger. Because I was recording during this whole situation, I got the moment on tape.

Luckily the bite wasn’t too bad; I didn’t even need stitches. And thank goodness Ralphy had had all his shots. But it was scary as hell. I was bleeding everywhere, and we went to the emergency room at U Chicago just to be on the safe side.

Poor Shauna. She was terrified of the dog. When I came downstairs she had barricaded herself in a back room. I was grateful that she came with me to the hospital. And poor Hector. He and his family felt terrible. Ralphy had never bitten anyone before. My best guess is that he was scared of our recording equipment.

So here for your listening pleasure, is me getting bitten by a dog. Tape contains at least one expletive, uttered by yours truly. I don’t know how scary it is for you, but it makes me get all jumpy when I listen to it now.

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