Photo: Tom Maloney [Creative Commons license]

Photo: Tom Maloney [Creative Commons license]

I love animals, but there are lots of animals in India that should be avoided. Some street dogs are as adorable as can be, and friendly, but…at night they tend to roam in packs and their behavior changes. I’ve always felt that dogs tend to be scared of the dark. They get edgy and bark a lot after dark.

The other evening I was walking back from the market when one came up and nipped my leg. Since  I didn’t even see him before that, I figured that it was probably because I had my hiking stick with me. Either that, or I unknowingly passed too close to him when he was gnawing on a bone or something. Luckily, he didn’t break the skin, so I was spared the rabies shots.

I’m not sure what I should have done, but my gut reaction was to swing my stick at the dog, which I did as I was worried he might launch a more serious attack. That probably wasn’t the right thing as it confirmed his fear that I might be dangerous. He ran away growling, and the next time I came through, he charged up to me with a couple of buddies, all snarling away. Now that was really scary.

It’s curious, but I think it’s really only the second time in all the years I’ve been in India that I’ve been attacked. The other time was near here, too. Usually dogs like me, so it was strange. Still, there are many, many people who get attacked and bitten every year by street dogs.

It’s sometimes hard because they look so pitiful—or so cute—or just because you are always attracted to dogs; but it’s almost always best to keep your distance. Incidentally, if you are really wanting to get out and rescue dogs, the most pitiful ones I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world are in Omkareshwar. Every dog I saw there was dead or dying. It was really heartbreaking.







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