Monday, February 14, 2011

Petting the Stray Ones(Musing)

I recently saw a movie, How to train your dragon(sis's suggestion again) and i really liked it. The thing is, I know that i definitely liked one thing about it. I always liked animals. Dogs, cats, horses etc.(As in not like a ten year old does, you know thinking how cute it is and making drawings and stuff.) But just petting one, playing with him, observing him, it's sometimes closer than human interaction.

The movie isn't truthfully about 'training' a dragon. It's more of a side-note for 'befriending' a dragon.
I think it looked like 3 steps. The 2 in the scene above are toothless(the dragon) and hiccup(the boy)

1.Fear in the beginning, in both beings, unsure of what the other is about to do
2.Realizing that the other isn't about to pounce on you or isn't gonna throw a stone at you, there's definitely still fear in the minds of both, being slowly replaced by Curiosity (Why doesn't this guy have a stick?, and GOD why is he trying to make those awful sounds? (We all do it, admit it))
3.Curiosity slowly gives way to Trust, where both finally interact, petting, playing etc. This step is very satisfying, depending on if you like animals obviously and how much time you spent for the first 2 steps.

Now I might've gone overboard with the descriptions, but we're going according to the movie here. So please try and hear me out. The thing is, the movie's done it so beautifully, it made me think.

So... what I'm saying is that humans have an inherent nature to fear creatures which they don't know personally(A few get over it, A few don't.). The thing which I don't understand is why we have it in the first place. We don't have any natural predators, we can easily become friends with domesticated animals we find in houses(most of us) then why is it that some us are so afraid of strays?

But it's DIRTY!
Ah yes, the 'disease' problem, okay your wish. Though there aren't many 'diseases' which will actually cause problems that a stray dog will have that a domestic dog wont.  ALL dogs have mites, tiny microscopic ones, domesticated dogs may only be slightly less grimy than regular ones at the most. And no dog likes to get into dustbins and stuff as often as you think, cats do that too. They just have strong smells so that their pack (they descended from wolves remember?) can identify them. Most dogs smell. They lick themselves to stay clean, and dogs' mouths may have bacteria, but most are species specific, so a dog licking you is much healthier than coming in contact with human saliva. Their saliva is also a disinfectant and cleans dead cells, helping healing.

As for the 'disgusting skin conditions', most of this is natural hairfall due to lack of nutrition, plain old age(like balding) or healing scars which are still being repaired. Besides you wont actually get them if you touch the dog. So inter-species diseases are possible, but a rarity, just wash your hands later.

He looks vicious
And then there's the fear of a dog biting you, the ruthless savage beasts. Consider this, you dont have any friends, havent had a decent meal in days, need to go to wierd smelling places for food, scavenge water and food from places that definetly make you sick, usually fight for it with others who'll attack you for the same reason. All just to be able to survive. And then there are these tall weird looking creatures that run up to you to hit you with a stick just cause you were searching for food. May even be a possibility that he was thrown out of these weird creature's home when he was a puppy.

Suddenly it isnt that hard to understand why a dog may snap at you for coming to close. He needs to be scary, he's competing with you.

Wanna make friends?

There's an easy way to make friends with a dog without being bitten. Always stand about 15 or 10 feet away, extend your hand with your palm up(shows there's nothing to hide), making comforting noises, start walking slowly towards him (till you're about 3 feet away), if he's interested he'll come to you and sniff your hand. Otherwise, his mood is just off and he really doesn't care much and he'll walk/run away. NEVER corner him. He'll feel you've trapped him he'll get defensive and bite. Always give him a choice. He gets to decide if he wants to be friends.

If he's growling or hissing, but there's ample space to move, there are 2 possibilities,
1. (step 2)he's curious about what you're doing, but is afraid of you or
2. (most probably) he's being territorial, or protecting something.

Most should leave the idea of making friends now if you feel he's being aggressive try later if you wish (possibly by offering him food). Otherwise in very rare cases you may still be able to touch him. Contact usually signifies acceptance, a rub on the head and then one behind the ear would make him like you.
Their reaction will tell you all you need to know about them accepting you. Always be normal and calm, if you get afraid at all, STOP, it'll just make them even more nervous.

Always give an animal choice, let it get a chance to smell you or investigate you. He will if he wants to. and once he's done, you can pet the head. Wait for him to do so. Don't force them. This is applicable to anything , dogs, cats, horses even rabbits. Cats usually aren't that hard, just give them milk or food. If they hiss, leave them alone to eat or drink. They like being alone. They'll recognize you later.
Also make sure the dog isn't rabid. If he is rabid, call animal control, you may save others. Always get a check up done if you plan to adopt a stray dog.

I'm not pissed at people who don't like dogs or strays, to each their own. I'm just answering the questions of the MANY people who keep asking me how I can possibly go and pet a stray dog. I may be rambling here but I just wanted to say that its okay to pet a stray dog, you wont die of anything (it might actually make you feel good, unless you don't like... being liked) , obviously, there are certain things that you should check out for.

Any regular dog or animal, will appreciate any care or attention you give it. Just like any average human being. Possibly they'll appreciate it even more than a person. Exactly the reason why I like the company of animals more than people sometimes, they don't have an ego and once they know you they'll be very loyal (or till you give them food), it just seems to be more rewarding. Wont hurt to try, right? Oh on a side note, once again, watch How to train your dragon, nice movie.

Please give your responses as comments below, or if you're too lazy for that... a click on one of the one word reactions below might help.


  1. Holy Shit you wrote that man. Nerve and time you've got. XD

  2. I LOOOOVED IT!!! :D
    AWESOME!! and true!

  3. How to Train your Dragon. Its disgusting. :D :D
    p.s i like this text box font try to get it on added comments.

  4. Its been an amazing year for lesbians
    The kids are all right.
    Black swan.
    Dancing lesbians!
    Toy story 3.
    Uh. where's the dad?



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