Today’s story concerns wild dogs, a young flutist and me. Dogs, dogs, dogs. Wild stray dogs. They’re everywhere and there’s no way to escape them. I have to deal with that, but that doesn’t mean that I like it or I’m not afraid. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been terrified of stray dogs. It all started when I was a little girl living in Iran. One evening after we had been to a restaurant; I had insisted on choosing the path home and a bunch of wild dogs started chasing me. I never forgot how I ran and screamed for my seven-year-old life. It took me many years to shake that experience and develop a normal relationship with dogs. Moving to Norway helped me with that for sure. I was 14 1/2 years old when I arrived there
and discovered there were no stray dogs. I learned to be near dogs. Even though I knew I would never become a dog lover, I could at least relax around them without feeling my heart in my throat. I became so relaxed that when I visited Brazil in 2018, I had forgotten about wild dogs completely until one day when I was jogging and enjoying the incredibly lush landscape of Abadiania.
Suddenly I heard a dog barking. “No, don’t show your fear.” I thought to myself, but before I knew it I was surrounded by 6-8 wild dogs. I always say I am not afraid of dying, but I discovered something new that day. Yes, I might not fear dying, but something within took over while I was close to being ripped apart by those angry dogs’ teeth.
While I was standing in the middle, I could hear myself saying, “Just accept that you soon will be a small delicious fresh meal for them.” But something in me did not agree with that and took charge of the situation. Until that day, I didn’t know I could do karate and that I had such a powerful voice. If you ask me how long I played karate kid, I honestly do not know; our perception of time disappears in moments like that.
I suddenly realized that one by one, the dogs were walking away except for one who wouldn’t give up. I won, and he disappeared. Now that I’m back in Peru, I am once again surrounded by stray wild dogs and it has taught me to follow and read the dogs’ energy. The other day, while walking to the city centre, I witnessed two dogs attacking a Peruvian. Since I had already spotted them, I crossed the road to avoid them, but the poor man who came behind me did not notice them and became the next victim in line. I was lucky that I followed my instinct.
But last week, even though I paid attention, I suddenly had three dogs in front of me, barking like crazy. I don’t know what they were trying to tell me, but I was terrified. It happened while I was on my way home from the idyllic Temple of the moon. Fortunately, several people were nearby and helped me. One of the couples did not know the way to town. “No problem, I’d be happy to show you the way,” I said while laughing inside, thinking, who is helping who here? “Me, who shows them the way, or me who is seeking protection from the mad dogs? That afternoon I made it back home safely. But after that, I did not dare walk to the Temple of the moon again.Something in me held back. Until yesterday, I really wanted to get up there. To sit in silence, look out over Cusco, and meditate, but what about the dogs?
So I decided to face my fear. I bought myself a large bottle of water. I needed water on the road, but that water bottle had another function. That would be my weapon, just in case. Of course, I met these three musketeers at the lookout post, where you have the most fantastic view of Cusco. Once again, they were on me. While I could hear my heart beating at its best or worst, whatever it is called in a situation like this, I stood there with my water bottle as my weapon and steady as a mountain. I managed to conquer my fear and silence the dogs. Not only that, but they also followed me up to the Temple, hung out with me, barked at others, and scared the shit out of them (I had to step in to calm them down.) And they followed me back down. On the way, we met a poor Peruvian man. They were so persistent that he had to pick up a rock to keep them away while he angrily told me to take care of those dogs. “They are not my dogs,” I said in English without him understanding. The poor man was terrified of them. Precisely as I had been and will most probably be in my future meetings with new wild dogs. Anyhow today, I gave myself two stars in my book of life experiences:
- For having faced my fear and gone for that walk
- For having perhaps changed my view of dogs. If not one hundred percent, maybe 50 percent.
I admit that I felt very safe having them walk with me. At least then, I knew I had no risk from the other wild dogs. And by the way; I forgot another essential part of the story, and it is related to the title of this post. Up at the Temple, I met a young man playing the flute. His music filled the Temple with a magical atmosphere. When he sat down to make Kintu (coca leaves used in prayer here in Peru), my three musketeers started barking at him. He seemed untouched by all of it, but he asked me if they were my dogs? I told him the story. Incredible, he replied. I also felt the whole dog experience was exceptional. What a day! What an experience. Sometimes it is possible to conquer fear. I did that today. It might not work next time, but it did today.
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