‘Ready?’ I watch as my daughter mounts her bike in front of me. Her little head amplified by the enormous helmet strapped into place.
‘Let’s go, Mummy!’
And we’re off.
It’s our Mummy/Daughter outing; she’s chosen a bike ride along the trail that runs beside the Yarra. It’s a beautiful day for it, albeit a tad windy. She’s just ahead of me, enough so she can hear my guiding, and sometimes cautionary, voice.
The bike path is busy. So many out enjoying the day for the allocated two-hours. I’m lost in my thoughts, smiling absentmindedly at passers-by, and watching her.
A dog runs towards her from an adjacent dog path. It’s barking ferociously. Her bike wobbles, and she freezes in fear. I look for the owner. There, behind a tree chatting, holding onto the leash. Clueless.
She loses balance, falls onto the bitumen. The dog bares its teeth above her head. I’m off my bike in a flash, but a stranger gets to her first. He’s yelling at the dog, while protecting my daughter.
The owner finally looks in our direction. His dog’s jaws are around the man’s forearm, latched on tight and already drawing blood.
‘Wow. Geez sorry,’ the dog’s owner says when he reaches us. ‘He’s not normally like this.’
He stands there, just watching.
‘Get your dog off him!’ I scream.
‘Anyone got a phone? Call the police!’ This comes from another stranger, who’s helping me wriggle my daughter from underneath her bike and the guy who’s protecting her.
By now a large crowd has gathered to watch. My daughter is shaken, with cuts and bruises from her fall off the bike. We hear the sirens wail and soon a police car and an ambulance pull up in the nearby suburban street.
Thirty minutes later, it’s all over. The kind man who helped us was taken to hospital for stitches and observation. The dog, to a vet to be put down.
We slowly cycle home, our outing ruined.