Sunday, November 28, 2010

Encounters with dogs

When I was growing up in Shanghai, no dogs were allowed in the city. So when I landed in suburbia USA at sixteen, I was afraid of dogs. Over the year I have mostly overcome my fear, but my general approach to dogs is avoidance. Nevertheless they seem to find me. This past week I hit both the lowlight and highlight of my encounters with dogs.

Lowlight: I was bitten by a dog

When we were walking back from the mirador in Cuenca, we decided to take a shortcut where the road does a big switchback. Half way down, there was this ferocious bark from a house about 100 yards away. In a flash the dog flew behind us on the path where I was walking behind John. We kept walking at the same pace making no eye contact. The dog kept barking, leapt up and bit me on the back of my right thigh. Then he ran to the front of us and let out some more threatening barks. Then it is was over. We were both shook up and upset. I didn't dare slow down and let John look at the bite until the path connected with the road again. Now I have a bruise and scab about half-inch long and the hole in my pants is still waiting to be mended. Mentally we are getting over it. Since we had talked about getting rabies vaccination but never did, we joke about me turning rabid and biting John.

Highlight: We had our own dog for half a day

The first full day in Vilcabamba we decided to go for a walk in the country. As we headed out of town, I was busying popping into store for picnic material. John drew my attention to a dog and declared that the dog is coming for a walk with us. If it had not happened in Salento, Colombia, I would have thought it was another one of his far-fetched predictions. Nevertheless, I was skeptical. But as the town was being left behind by us, the dog kept up with us.

Thirty minutes later, as we exchanged greetings with a young woman that came the opposite direction, she asked if the dog was ours while she rubbed the dog's ears and showered him with affection. We explained the situation. It turned out that she is American, so the three of us stood chatting a bit. When we parted, there was a doubt which way the dog was going to go. He chose us. I think purely because we are a bigger pack.

So the three of us walked on. The dog would run ahead of us. When we were taking too long, he ran back to check on us, so it was very easy to get him in a photo. When we stopped for our picnic, he looked at us hopeful. We shared our food. He took it matter-of-factly.

Then half way back to town we spotted another pack of two women and a child walking ahead in the same direction. It looked like our dog was switching for the bigger pack. But two minutes later, the other pack got in a shared taxi. Our dog was right back with us again.

He was getting tired now. Whenever we had a holdup, instead of running back to check on us, he just sat on the sidewalk and waited for us. John was very impressed with ourselves -- we wore out a dog. The dog followed us all the way back to town where we started to pop into restaurants to check on menus and we lost track of him. I was relieved that he did not try to follow us all the way to our guesthouse, where two enormous German Shepherds claim territory.

Our dog for the day.
John and "our dog" - Vilcabamba, Ecuador

Our dog for the day - Vilcabamba, Ecuador

Not to mention the 2 burros that followed us the next day; but they were only trying to sneak through a gate and escape.

Rumi-Wilco - Vilcabamba, Ecuador


Anonymous said...

Your haly day dog is so cute. lol..


Crash Eddy said...

Be thankful burros don't bite!

Sun-Ling said...

@Yi, it's so good to hear from you! I bet you are envious of "our dog" ;) But remember I had to be bitten first:(

It was very amusing to watch his pack instinct. He didn't go with the young woman who showered with him affection when we never touched him. Though we fed and communicated with him, he was so readily to go with the other pack which only had the extra tiny child who was not school age.

Anonymous said...

Be very careful if Sunling starts sprouting whiskers!
Glad you are both safe and enjoying your travels.
Fair winds in Peru.

Cathy said...

Roxy would be very jealous that John had another dog in his life! She thinks she is the only one!!

john said...

Thanks everyone for the comments!