Unwind: dogged by reliable memories

I’ve always been uncomfortable with dogs (read: scared of dogs). My first clear memory about dogs is of when I was around six years old, a diminutive and timid kid, and a huge Alsatian dog chased me across a lawn (we were visiting the dog-lovers). I clocked my best life-time sprinting speed that day while various parents laughed like it was the joke of the century. Then, once the daughter of the house had caught the dog, I was scolded for running and making the dog think I was playing a game. I dare say if a beast taller than them had drooled over them and displayed sharp teeth, they would have thought differently.

In the years that followed, I learnt to avoid dogs and also to act nonchalant. I even laughed when others looked scared, and would manage to look charmed and pat an allegedly cute dog. I had realized by then that people who knew you were scared of dogs took it as their sacred duty to bring dogs closer to you to help you get over such irrational behavior and “prove” that dogs are cute, so I was safer if I hid my fear.

Pretending one is not scared of dogs becomes easier when you are older 🙂

But about a year ago, I was tested. And how! This dog dashed towards me, used me as a climbing rack and stood with its paws on my shoulder, its grinning, drooling face just inches from mine, while its owner smiled at a distance. I stood still. I did not panic. I did not scream. I looked back at the dog calmly, though I did wonder about how hurtful rabies injections could be and I was thanking my luck that I was wearing a thick jacket and its claws had not penetrated that. I wondered what it would be like to have my face bitten off.

Later, as people complimented me on my calm demeanor, especially my husband who knew of my dog problems, I took all the credit of having transformed myself. I mentioned my daily Buddhist “metta” meditation that surely played a role in my staying calm. I extrapolated my imagination about my peace with nature and saw myself standing in a garden where deer (or at least squirrels) would nibble grass I held out, and birds (light-weight ones) would perch on my shoulders and chirp their sweet songs.

Then one day my husband decided to work through our childhood albums and scan every photograph for posterity. And he found this one.

Now I can’t deny that I’m the less-than-one-year-old kid in the picture, but I’m convinced that the four-legged creature in this is a friendly neighborhood goat and not a mangy stray street dog the husband claims it is. I’m sure if you are my friend you will agree with me.

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About Swapna Kishore
I'm a writer, blogger, and resource person for dementia/ caregiving in India. I have also been a dementia caregiver for well over a decade, and am deeply concerned about dementia care in India; on this blog I share my personal caregiving journey, my experiences as a resource person for dementia care, and musings on life, aging, dementia in India, and such sundries. More about me and the work I do for dementia care. For structured information on dementia, for discussions, tools and tips on caregiving issues, for resources in India, and for caregiver interviews, please check my website http://dementiacarenotes.in (or its Hindi version, http://dementiahindi.com). For videos on dementia caregiving (English and Hindi), check the youtube channel here.

6 Responses to Unwind: dogged by reliable memories

  1. Vijaya says:

    Ha ha ha. I think its a goat in dog costume 🙂

  2. Shikha Aleya says:

    This is a lovely pic. Pan was half human half goat. So this may be a gog just in case it isn’t a goat? Just in case. But it looks like a goat to me 😉

  3. Rummuser says:

    It is a goat. I recognise as only another goat can.

  4. austere says:

    but of course!
    goat.

    (or a dog with that strange name and an identity crisis)

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