Hounds that hound – does that sound creepy? We are talking about hounding and not haunting, still the word hound sends a chill down the spine. Probably like the Holy Cow, this has to do with my encounters with the canine kind.
For the record, I like dogs – the ones that roam around in your house and mind their own business, the ones that do not grow like a bull (yeah, they maybe cute and cuddly and all.. but with all those muscle power behind fang like teeth, you never know, do you? *shudders*), even the stray ones that saunter around not bothering to waste more than a second staring at you. They don’t bother me, and I don’t pester them. I may even pet them, if the pooch is familiar enough. See – it is a win-win! But all this wisdom came from some bitter lessons. And it turns out, I am still learning.
One of the earliest ‘encounters’ was with our pet puppy (yes, that’s right, a puppy – I was terrified of a puppy!) This little pup had this uncanny knack of letting himself free of his collar every now and then. Oh, he was a cute little puppy, an active one at that. In my defence, this was the first time we had a pet dog, and I was more than satisfied to see him secured with a leash. This very little pup gave me my first lesson when dealing with canines – when you see a dog just walking around – do. not. run. Ever. For one, it activates some kind of a primaeval trigger in the dog’s brain, turning it into a vicious hunter. Second, it is a race you are going to lose.
So one fine day when me and my brother were playing, my
spider sense started tingling gaze fell upon the familiar face our puppy, keenly watching us play. Wait! what? This thing was supposed to be tied around somewhere in the backyard! The same thought probably registered in my brother’s mind, who with a never-before-seen agility jumped inside the safe periphery of our home and shut himself in. And effectively shut myself out. Out! with the drooling beast baying for my blood. Or that was the image my mind presented me.
My legs took over even before I could start thinking rationally, and couple of seconds later, I was dashing across the narrow sideways towards the backyard, with the puny hound close on my heels. I was told later that I was hollering like crazy while I was running. So that was it.. the whole neighbourhood knew. So much for my show of bravery. Back to the chase, it ended on a particularly sore note for the pup. Somewhere along the crazy dash, the puppy had managed to catch up with me and ran in between my legs. I stumbled and fell, as if slide tackled in a football match. But my body was in survival mode. No sooner had I hit the ground than I sprang up, jumped into a nearby canal (thankfully it was dry) and climbed up on a concrete bridge across the canal. Then, I started looking for the puppy. I saw the poor thing, limping across on three legs. Thankfully it was just a sprain and all was well.
What if I had ran like this in front of some stray dog? I shudder at the thought. I had learned the lesson – to be calm and composed when around a hound (that rhymed, didn’t it?) – or so I thought. Years later, at an age in which I would like to boast of being mature enough, I had another encounter. This time with a stray dog. It was early morning, and I was on my way to the gym as usual. From out of nowhere, a big dog pounced onto the road, stopping me on my tracks, filmy style. And then, in the wee hours of the morning on a relatively deserted gully road, it started barking at me. It was as if I had woken it up from its slumber or something. In any case, my immediate response was to come out with my best impersonation of Bruce Lee and assume the Karate Ka stance. As if I had trained my whole life for this encounter. It was as if a street fight was about to break out. Only a referee was missing.
If my vague memory of that dreaded moment is correct, I did try to shoo away the dog with my ‘impressive’ Karate chops and kicks. And that bloody dog was standing there, unfazed, giving me an is-that-all-you-got look. After a couple of agonizing seconds that seemed like hours, my saviour came in form of a passerby. He picked a stone from the ground and simply made the action of throwing it. Voila! the dog just ran away whining as if it saw some ghoul. Awesome trick! I shall prefer this over my karate chops next time. I thought. I thanked the man and resumed on my way to the gym, praying that he doesn’t see my legs shivering. But his snicker was proof enough that he was enjoying my ‘karate performance’ before he intervened. Oh, and as I would later realize, the guy worked as a janitor in my office. Now I get to see that snicker everyday.
Those were just two of my encounters with the canine kind. I have glorious tales of being chased by German Shepherds double my size – and surviving to tell that tale. But this should be enough to give you the idea. That didn’t stop us from getting another pet though. The first puppy was a mongrel, a very loving one. The one we have now is a Dachshund mix – which is right about the size I prefer now. Just look at that face.. cute and cuddly, eh?