I was only a child when I faced death for the first time.
Aged just two years and four months old, I was savaged by my father’s Doberman Pinscher in the back garden of our home in the Artarmon veterinary hospital. Tossed like a rag doll, my ear was torn from my head and the dog’s fangs penetrated straight through the thin bone of my skull and into the brain. My left eye was missed by a fraction of a millimetre.
Somehow my mother managed to wrest me from the dog’s jaws. She wrapped me in towels and ran for help, my four-year-old sister Belinda running sobbing beside her. A young man driving down the Pacific Highway stopped and picked her up. At North Shore Hospital, when the nurses unwound the bloody towels from around my head, he fainted.
My mother was told to prepare herself. I was unlikely to live.