Sunday, 17 June 2007

Vicious Dogs

Georgetown is not only home to 400,000 people but also to what seems like the same number of dogs (I exaggerate but it seems like that as you see as many on the road as people). NONE HAVE COLLARS, NONE ARE ON A LEAD, NONE SEEMED TO BE WALKED BUT THEY JUST WANDER AROUND THE STREETS GUARDING THEIR OWN TERRITORY. I’m sure that many of them are owned but certainly the majority seem to live a life independent of their owners.

Nighttime can be very noisy with the birds (yes, they sing all night), the croaking frogs and the dogs. We live in Queenstown and we have our own dogs here. Then there are the Kitty dogs, the Campbelville dogs, the Albertown dogs, the Bourda dogs and dogs from every district in the city. One lonely little creature may begin to howl followed, in sympathy by others from the same area. Within a few moments, there is sufficient howling and barking for dogs from another area to be woken up and take up the challenge to bark louder and howl more insanely. The theory of the full moon is definitely true because the howling lasts for most of the night. (Incidentally, the new moon lies on its back here rather than on its side). I digress. Before you know it dogs from three or four regions are in competition and the noise is horrendous. But fortunately, the leader of the pack lives next door to us – a guard dog from a high up government official. He’s big and mean and definitely in charge. A few distinctive barks from him, having been rudely awaken, frightens the rest (they know who’s in charge) and the whole process dies down in reverse until Government Dog out barks the last of the little wimps!

But that’s not I wanted to write about. Three weeks ago I was visiting someone in Kitty on my bike and, as I left, I mounted and swiftly pulled away. Within 2 seconds, four mangy dogs, three brown and one black were chasing me and yelping at my heals – two on either side. Not wanting to be bitten 4 times, I cycled faster and they ran with greater haste. The front runner on the left snapped at my bare ankle (wearing no socks and a pair of shorts) and the blood spurted out!!! They had achieved their goal, seen me off their territory and disappeared under an abandoned car.

It was shock. I didn’t even stop to examine the damage but cycled the mile or so home at great speed with the cries from passers by stating the obvious “you’ve got blood pouring down your leg”. There were five punctures on my left upper ankle, three small and two large. Mary ministered to me and we then had to go through the routine of getting the booster rabies jabs – one that night and another 3 days later. We don’t think the dogs here have rabies but it’s VSO procedure. Thanks to Marco, another VSO, for administering them.

What came after was worse because I was encouraged to go to the police, not a pleasant experience. It was a bit like a Victorian Gaol – rickety wooden gun cupboard marked “rifles”, violence aggression, shouting and generally not a place to be. They were quite pleasant and helpful to me but a suggestion of possibly “putting the dogs out” caused some worries about relationships with neighbours from others. So now, I walk in their territory and have my bicycle lock and chain handy to put them out myself if they come anywhere near me! So far so good.