…Or why I’m (irrationally) afraid of dogs
Today, as I was bringing the trash outside, I had a moment where I audibly gasped as fear rippled through my body. I’m not exactly a fearful person, but the sight of an unexpected, large dog only 15 feet away from me and headed my direction will cause it every time. Truth is, I’m undeniably and irrationally afraid of dogs. In fact, one time I was literally standing on a 40 degree roof of a house and was seized with fear because I thought I heard a dog coming at me! I guess that’s the problem with irrational fear – it’s not rational.
I haven’t always been afraid of dogs. Growing up I liked dogs. At my friends’ houses I wasn’t afraid to pet their dogs. And I certainly didn’t seize up with fear if I saw one. But we never had a dog in our home – or any pet, for that matter (unless you count the time my brother tried to secretly keep an iguana in the basement…but that’s another story).
But my cordial relationship with dogs all changed one day as my wife and I were taking a stroll in our housing complex.
It was a typical stroll through our neighborhood that my wife, who was 8 months bulging with our 1st child, and I would take in the evenings. We were in Northern Beijing. Our housing complex wasn’t massive, but it was big enough that you could take a bunch of different routes to arrive at the same location.
So, we’re walking down one of the randomly chosen streets. Just up ahead a man is taking packages out of his trunk and walking them in to his house. He had walked back and forth to his trunk several times and trailing just behind him was a German Shepherd. The dog was joyfully interested in what his human was doing.
Tail & tongue wagging.
Seemingly no threat.
As we were nearing the man’s car, the man again walked inside his house and, as usual, the dog trailed just behind him. This was the perfect time to pass by. The dog was in the house and we’d be far enough away to not have an unnecessary encounter with the dog before the man came out again.
Just as we were walking by the door the dog came back outside by himself growling and baring it’s teeth. Not really having experience with an aggressive dog, I was not aware that the appropriate thing to do was to step directly toward the dog rather than doing the logical thing and stepping away and turning from it.
I did the logical thing.
Just as I did, the dog bit my knee. Still backing away, he then lunged a bit higher up on my leg near my hip, because I had turned away from him.
Thankfully, he was focused on me and not my wife carrying my unborn child.
But that’s when things got really weird…
Suddenly, out of nowhere, we were surrounded by 4 dogs – all very mad at us. Seriously, 4 dogs had us encircled and were all barking angrily at us. It was the Great Dog Revolt of Beijing and apparently I was the human in the wrong place at the wrong time who would serve as a catalyst for dogs everywhere to openly rebel. These dogs just appeared; they were not previously even on the same block! It was almost as if they planned the attack. Even the dogs behind fences were cheering it on as they longed to be a part of the melee.
Finally, the owner of the German Shepherd came out and called his dog off and the elaborate dog plan to take over Beijing had been foiled. I guess they didn’t account for man’s best friend’s loyalty to their own humans when planning to take over the world.
I gave the owner of the dog an exasperated look. Since I didn’t really know how to communicate what happened to him and he didn’t see the actual biting, we kinda just went our separate ways looking suspiciously at each other. Besides, I was pretty much in shock and not thinking straight. I had just been bitten by a dog and it could’ve been a lot worse if not for the owner of the dog coming out.
So, what do you do when you’ve been bitten by dog in China? What about rabies? What about the dog?
The craziness continued when I visited the doctor. Click here to read the rest of the story.