Home Entertainment Stephen King’s Cujo Was Inspired By A Real Dog Attack

Stephen King’s Cujo Was Inspired By A Real Dog Attack


According to Bev Vincent’s “The Stephen King Ultimate Companion: A Complete Exploration of His Work, Life and Influences,” “Cujo” literally sprung into King’s life when a 200-pound Saint Bernard had a go at the author. King’s run-in occurred in 1977 when he brought his motorcycle into a garage for repairs. He came in hoping for a no-fuss fix of his vehicle; he didn’t bargain for an encounter with a ferocious furball named Bowser.

According to Vincent, King asked the mechanic if Bowser was a friendly dog. Upon being told Bowser wasn’t the biting type, King went to pet the apparently docile beast. Within seconds, Bowser assaulted the author.

The mechanic quickly brought his socket wrench down on Bowser, thus sparing King from a hospital visit and the joy of a tetanus shot or worse. You’d think Bowser’s owner would’ve been incredibly contrite (especially since King was a soon-to-be-paying customer), but upon pacifying his dog the mechanic fired back, “Bowser usually doesn’t do this. He must not have liked your face.” (Seen above. You can decide for yourself if Bowser had a legit grievance.)

This incident seared itself into King’s memory, and, four years later, inspired what currently stands (according to GoodReads and Amazon) as the writer’s eighth most popular novel. I wouldn’t say “Cujo” did exactly for big dogs what Peter Benchley’s “Jaws” did for great white sharks (perhaps because, according to King, the film adaptation isn’t a terribly effective adaptation), but that Saint Bernard is never far from my thoughts when I consider petting a pooch that could make a meal out of me.

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