Stray dogs, safe?

Never thought that I would encounter such incidents. I was brought before three large dogs, vulnerable and helpless.

The story goes:

The evening of the first day of Chinese New Year was calm and breezy. I went for a jog to a park at the southern coastline. There were about four different routes to get to the park from the main road and I took a ‘board walk’ path into the park.

The sunset was beautiful.

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This is the reason I am so connected to the nature. Anyway, after watching the sunset, I decided to quickly head home so that I can catch the flypast of the International Space Station which was about an hour’s time away from then. I decided to take a shorter route by exiting the park via the only driveway for vehicles to enter the park. The whole stretch of road was about a kilometer and it was rather deserted. Most portion of the road on one side was bounded by an open field that can fit about 6 soccer fields and there were some construction equipment on it. The field is also surrounded by a layer of fence that separates it from the roadside. In good spirits, I brisked walked with light skips in my steps, enjoying the cooling evening breeze. I was on the other side of the field across the road, and in the direction I was going, the field was to my right side.

Halfway through, I heard barks coming from the field. Under the dusk lighting and some small trees along the roadside, I couldn’t see where they were, but I knew the fence would keep them away. I was wrong, for the moment my eye caught their movements, they were already trotting “through the fence” (just as I was relying on the fence to keep them away). As my eyes were still adapting to the evening light, I must have missed the sight of a hole in the fence or a missing section of the fencing. It didn’t matter, for they had already locked their predatory eyes on me. Having no expertise in dogs, I don’t know their breed but they looked similar to the German Shepherd with a light beige coating. There were three of them, two full grown adults and a slightly smaller one.

The following sequence of events happened in under 30 seconds.

My heart took a giant skip when I saw the pack trotting right through the fence. My mind was blank. I had no experience with stray dogs and they were approaching me. Like what the hell? The small guy which was leading stopped before the road and I locked eyes with him. They could sense fear, and I knew. My first instinct was to run away as far as I could from these three mouths filled with sharp teeth, but something stopped me. I read about how running away will trigger dogs’ instinct to chase and this knowledge jerked right out from the back of my mind. I maintained my pace and looked away, while still keeping them in my peripheral vision. I was thinking, thinking hard. What could I do if they pounce? I only have my phone and a set of keys to throw at them, neither which would be of much use. There were no visible branches I could pick up. I prepared myself to get bitten and fight them off if they had attacked. The smaller guy stopped for about a second and attempted to cross the road. By this time, they were already at my 3 o’clock direction. Just in time, a cyclist came right behind me and startled the smaller dog attempting to cross the road. It jumped slightly and was distracted by this sudden appearance. I picked up my pace and kept the cyclist on my 4 to 5 o’clock direction so that the pack would not be able to see me. I did not look back, but I was listening hard for any barks that could come any moment. After a considerable distance, I sprinted for my life; I thought I might be able to win Usain Bolt at that time.  I exited the place safe and sound. The cyclist must be laughing at me for my cowardice.

Come to think of it, the dogs might just be checking me out of curiosity. However, in my definition, the phrases “a pack of stray dogs” and “it’s going to be safe” never come together. I never studied dogs’ body language and I couldn’t tell if they were friendly or hostile. My greatest fear is to get injured. I hate injuries and I will do anything to avoid them, which includes incapacitating the threat. I would rather choose to face an armed human attacker, not dogs…

This article showed that dogs might attack even if you ignore them:

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/stray-dogs-attack-punggol-jogger–report.html

The best way out of such situations? It is still to ignore the pack, but be prepared to fight and protect your vulnerable body parts. I was just lucky to have met the cyclist, otherwise who knows what could have happened. I deduced that these dogs might be protecting their “territory” and they have been taken care of by foreign workers living at a nearby dormitory. Nevertheless, it was still a close shave. And yes, I manage to catch the flypast of the ISS!

Here is a documentary on aggressive stray dogs:

おやすみ!!

Chun Kiat

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