My general consensus for Friday 13th is to stay at home and as still as possible. I honestly don’t know if I would be able to accept more bad luck or any more stressful situations. That said, my natural need to run is urging me to go outside, yet I just cannot bring myself to do it. Can you believe it, I am scared of the dogs. Yes my dear friends, me, the dog-lover, scared of dogs. Argentina’s take on animal care is not something that I am accustomed to and I find myself whining like an injured puppy when I see homeless hounds wandering the streets, or merely perched somewhere half-adequate with an empty stare. It upsets me. Amusing though it may be that I have actually been brought up with this notion as a small child in Russia, it still affects me heavily.
My curiosity has led me to discuss the topic with Argentinians on the frequent occasion and now and then I end up feeling better when I hear that the locals treat them well and give them food or sometimes even a home for the night. To tell the truth, I’m not sure where I stand on the matter, as some argue that it’s nice for the dogs to be free and do what they like. Though whether it’s nice for injured puppies to limp the streets, begging for some sort of pleasant attention, I don’t know.
The fact is, when I was a little girl in the playground in Russia, I audibly remember being warned about the dogs on the street. “Don’t touch the dogs Anushka, just ignore them”, “Be careful with the dogs Anushka.” Naturally you would have your guard up if your child was smaller than the Alsatian loitering around the children’s sandpit. Things stick in your head like superglue when you’re growing up.
A few years ago in Thailand I had a scary incident with two incredibly territorial dogs on the street, in the dark, by myself, in a small village. Shouting for my friends who couldn’t hear me a few blocks away made me look even more vulnerable and queued attack for the dogs who proceeded to bite me and yank at my clothes. Perhaps it doesn’t sound very threatening to you, maybe you’d have karate chopped yourself out of the situation, or maybe you’d have glued yourself to the spot in fear like I did, until a dog’s jaws around your hand woke you up. All I know is that it could have been so much worse and that in the future no matter how much I need the toilet, I will never leave my friends in the dark in a foreign country again – even if our hotel is only five minutes away.
Essentially this is not an intentional pity party. People have concerns and fears about all sorts of things, rational or irrational. When I stand at the bus stop I talk to the doggies and from time to time if I have food in my bag, I feed them, too. I love dogs. I have two at home and want to get one when I move to Barcelona. However when I see them barking, chasing motorbikes or cars, I worry that they would do the same if I jogged past. Which is totally pathetic, I do realise that, but unfortunately that’s part of the whole fear package.
I’m not going to try my luck today, not this Friday 13th anyway.
Photo taken in Buenos Aires, March 2016. A lone dog manning his newspaper stand.