One day when I was commuting back home from a meeting late afternoon a dog appeared from no where and came charging at me aggressively. I stopped pedaling to slow down but the stray kept his momentum. I got off the bike in a hurry as a precautionary measure otherwise I would have landed at a nearby dispensary for sure. No cyclist would like to get bitten by a dog. Even though I was pretending to be strong that moment but internally fear had overpowered my courage. I was clueless and at his mercy. Thankfully, to my relief the dog backed off. With few minutes of walking I reached a junction hopped onto the saddle and moved ahead.
I had such encounters with dogs even before but this one was quite terrifying. On a previous occasion they came in a group but gave up chase inside few seconds so it wasn’t so frightening compared to the recent episode. The real issue is that most of these dogs are strays and not vaccinated. A bite can prove to be life threatening. The dogs typically target leg calves and ankles as a sweet spot. But why do they attack cyclists is the question? Where am I in fault? My tax returns are done on time and I have equal rights to use the roads. Neither I deal in banned substances or get into unlawful activities. I am just a commuter on a cycle. I never instigate them in any manner than whats the problem with these bow bow doggies. You must have noticed they make innocent faces if you are standing and eating something. What happens to their animal instincts then? They will go all out to impress you by wagging their tales, jumping up and down and even try to lick you and follow you home. The body language and facial expressions convey ‘I am your best buddy, share the food with me daddy’. They posses a natural art of convincing and most of us succumb to their theatrics. For a moment one would feel the guilt of not sharing food with a modest and well behaved gods creature. The fact is they see a need being satisfied by becoming friendly to us. How selfish! I think its not fair playing around with human emotions like this. All my life I have been kind and generous to their community. I’ve never invaded their privacy despite they being so bold and explicit in their conduct out in the open. You know what I mean.
They operate a cartel –
Spread all across streets, highways, villages and towns,
wherever you ride some or other breed is found.
Am the guardian of this territory day and night,
If you attempt to pass, receive a free dose of my bite.
Their motive is either to cajole you or intimidate you and your pack. Its such a disturbing feeling to deal with these utterly unpredictable animals. I don’t have anything personal against them and infact I like dogs in general as I had a pet in my house and it was looked after well. But this behaviour of chasing cyclist and attacking us does not go well in strengthening our relationship. They are expected to be sober at public places and allow us to ride without obstruction which is not the case. As a victim and a responsible road user am obligated to get into the depth of this fundamental issue. I can’t be quite on this matter so I shall produce more evidence before the readers in the next chapter.
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai