Friday, November 26, 2010

What is it about dogs II ?

There has been a growing trend in Indian cities of people keeping german shepherds (alsations) as pets.  I have seen these beautiful dogs, always on a leash, tied outside houses, in small gardens or being taken for leisurely morning strolls.  I have often wondered whether the owners are aware of the magnificence of these dogs - so wolf like and close to the wild - and their need for space and unrestricted movement.  They are comfortable with people but there is a part of them that remains unshackled and belongs to the wild; this needs to be understood and respected.  When they are used purely as guard dogs in restricted space and crowded cities, neither respected nor loved, not even allowed to roam free, a dreadful imbalance creeps in which clouds what could have been a uniquely fulfilling relation based on love and trust.

I was standing five feet away from such a dog this morning in the park, when it soundlessly lunged at me.  There were no warning growls or barks or anything in its body language to indicate that it was about to attack.  And what an attack!  Even though its owner held onto one end of its leash, the dog pounced on my arm, then at my chest and abdomen.  I was saved by my fluffy lambswool sweater and cotton salwar kameez, which ripped into shreds giving me a few precious seconds to run behind a tree.  Otherwise I would not have been able to free myself from those jaws.  I thanked my stars I was not wearing the western outfits that are always in vogue here - thick denims and jackets.

Surprisingly, I was not afraid, even for a moment.  It was a purely physical interaction - with the dog jumping at me and I trying to get away, turning and twisting.  Perhaps it is because I have seen so many dogs at close quarters and I really did not blame the dog.  I realised it was unbalanced and ill tempered (and dangerous) but I did not sense a personal targeting that human-based attacks often seem to convey.  In a sense I could glimpse the tussle between the hunter and the prey, memories of which are certainly imprinted somewhere deep within us.

Once it was over, of course, I felt shock followed by tremendous relief and thankfulness when I realised that everything around me had been ripped (including the gold chain from my neck) but I had nothing more than a few small bruises.  Fortunately there was no one around and I ran back home rather quickly, holding up my clothes!  But it is an unfortunate and very avoidable kind of incident and one that may only increase unless people are sensitive to the temperaments and requirements of dogs - and in fact of just about everything around them.


MuseIndia said...

Hi Sujata,
I really like the story.
Anyway, how is your tooth?


MuseIndia said...

Sorry, I like "A Tailor's Tale".
I wrote in the wrong place...


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