Why on earth are you afraid of dogs? I had been asked this question many times and I would shrug my shoulder for an answer. Or, ignore the question. Or, give a lengthy explanation why at the sight of a dog I cringe.
Yes, I am afraid of dogs. And I have not conquered this fear until this time.
Today my hair still stands on end when I share a space with a dog–whatever breed, size, on leash or stray.
I must have been 10 or 11 then. One normal day after school, I went about my usual routine of walking home after classes, less than a kilometer to where we lived. When suddenly I found myself in front of a barking dog, fiercely, as if it wanted to pounce on me.
My instinct told me to move away slowly from it, and when I saw I had the opportunity, I ran for my life. Without looking back, I ran as fast as I could, past my house and onward to wherever there was road. I knew the dog was behind me as I could hear the sound of its paws on the pavement. My heart was pounding, imagining this dog could tear my flesh apart and render me like dinner to a lion.
I turned my head once and found myself running past Magallanes Gate, Masbate’s multipurpose hall then. I saw that I was approaching a gate to a house that I believed was my grandfather’s, barged it open, closed it behind me and went straight to the main door. I must have startled the old folks, I don’t remember.
There I realized I lost my slippers and had run barefoot. I felt relieved as it was indeed my lolo’s house. I escaped the dog’s wrath.
I haven’t run that fast and that far in my entire young life, or even in my adult life.
They say dogs can smell fear, fear of them that is. Believing that, the only way I manage this fear today is to pretend I don’t fear them. Pretending also means ignoring they are around me, in the same space that I am. Even pretending they don’t smell this ridiculous fear of mine.
I hope this fear does not go anywhere near cynophobia, not any more.