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Give a dog a bad name

The domestic dog is a member of the genus Canis, which forms part of the wolf-like canids, and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore  

I had a morbid fear of dogs since childhood, thanks to my mother’s graphic description of taking 11 painful injections on the stomach after a dog bite. During my adulthood, a street dog bit my neighbour’s school-going son. As was the practice then, the dog had to be observed for 14 days. But the mongrel was out of sight. Within a week of the bite, the boy developed hydrophobia and had to be hospitalised. When we visited him, he became violent on seeing a water bottle in my hand, unnerving me. The next day, he died. This increased my fear, and I avoided going anywhere near any dog, whether pet or otherwise.

But two months after my marriage, my wife expressed a desire to have a pet dog. I put my foot down, but she would not give up easily. She tried to convince me that pet dog bites are not life-threatening. She pleaded, she cajoled, and she observed maun vrat. My very marriage seemed to reach its brink.

My deputy, the local police inspector, was quick to sense this. Knowing me to be a tough and no-nonsense boss, he thought out a way to take revenge. He brought home a pedigree Doberman pup and gifted it to “Madam” with a flourish. I wanted to wring his neck, but my dear wife was his raksha-kavach.

There was no escape now. I slowly started liking the pup whom we named Bingo. Bingo was very alert and a voracious eater. He had a great liking for me and refused to eat if I didn’t feed him. Gradually, I developed affection towards him and became comfortable sharing space with him. A year later, we brought home a Pomeranian to give him company. Though both fought incessantly, they complemented each other.

When both the dogs grew old and died, we replaced them with two more. But when those dogs too died, we decided not to have any more pets. But our love for dogs did not abate.

Full circle

But an incident a few weeks ago brought life full circle. On my morning walk, a mongrel on the street bit my calf. Memories of my neighbour’s son in the hospital came rushing to my mind. My physician asked me to take anti-rabies vaccine immediately in a hospital. I was in a dilemma. If I went to a hospital, there was a risk of COVID-19. And if I didn’t, there was a risk of rabies. And I selected the devil over the deep sea.

I went to the hospital four times. The injections were not painful, but the scare of dogs returned to my mind.

drdvg@yahoo.com


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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 2:43:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/give-a-dog-a-bad-name/article36664391.ece

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