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Those Strange Dogs

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On my way home from dinner today, I passed by a couple of dogs. As I was running (See Always Run), the dogs turned around on their leashes, and started barking and chasing me. Then, I passed by another dog, and the same thing happened. This triggered some memories in my mind where this has happened before.

Back when I was in elementary school, I sometime ran around the block, for exercise. On one of those days, an extremely jumpy dog saw me running past, and just wouldn’t leave me alone. As I ran, it dashed around me, in front of me, under me. The owner of the dog called it back, but it was just so happy to see someone running. Finally, the owner had to make me stop running, before the dog would go back to her.

The second instance was also during the same period of time. I usually had a nice long walk home when I stayed for after school activities. One day, as I walked by a yard, a really big dog started walking towards me. I remember it distinctly because at the time, I thought it was about my size, and it was not smiling. Okay, so like dogs don’t exactly smile, but you know what I mean – the jumpy happy look. Yeah, none of that. It walked right up to me (a couple inches away), stared at me, and started growling. A thought flashed through my mind – I hope wasn’t going to suffer some permanent damage today. I knew if I ran, it’d just chase me, so I just stood there.

A car stopped by the block, with the driver looking intently at the situation. It seemed like he thought exactly what I thought – that the dog was going to bite me or something. He looked at us for a while, but since I didn’t say anything, he drove on. We stood there, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes. It seemed like some weird situation out of a bad movie. Like what the heck, I’m a little kid walking home from school, how is this crap happening to me? Finally, after about 5 minutes, with no reaction from me, the dog decided to walk away. Whew.

Just recently, I had been to a friend’s place in Houston, who had a dog named Scout. Now he’s kind of small and fun to play with. Interestingly, one of the games he likes to play is “wrestling”. It’s where he starts growling, you put your arm into his mouth, and then he pulls on it with his teeth. That gave me a completely new perspective on things. I had this distinct impression in my mind that dog growling at you = bad; dog biting you = bad; dog waggling tail and jumping = good, so this was kind of like “Huh?”

In short, I can say I don’t particularly understand dogs that well. Sure, if it’s waggling its tail and jumping up and down, I know it’s just happy to see me. But if it’s a dog running up to me growling when I run by, its intentions are a complete mystery to me. Should I pet it? Should I kick it?

What do these little guys want from me?!

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