I am scared of all animals – anything that moves, creeps ,crawls -any time of the day – and unknown humans (males) after the sun sets.The only creatures I am somewhat Ok with are insects – ants,spiders upto the size of a cockroach – which I can kill confidently anytime.But anything beyond cockroach scares the breath out of me,with lizards topping the list- the way their discarded tail wiggles on its own makes my flesh creep and has the potential to make my heart stop.
So the problem is with me- I realize your pets are like your own children but the pointed conical white teeth inside their mouth make me freeze.I live in a pets allowed community and pets need to be taken out,I understand, but please put them in a leash always because that one time that you let the leash loose is the time they are going to bump into me. So, unconsciously when I am out on my feet, a part of me hears for the jingle,crackle of a leash,chain so I can be out of the way.But sometimes a tiny pup dashes out of nowhere followed by the owner shouting – “Get back Ginger,behave”.But the pup is already sniffing at me and its tongue tasting my skin.I am febrile and wan and rooted to the spot. “Oh, he is a friendly dog,he is harmless- get back Ginger.” Well,it must be harmless to you, but if he doesn’t like the taste of my skin,would he mind digging his teeth further inside?
I am unable to understand the motivation and pleasure that compel a person to keep 2-3 dogs/cats as pets and taking them out in freezing winters and picking up their poop after them.And once in a park,while playing with my son, I see a monster of a dog, almost as tall as me chasing a ball and running all over.Put it in a leash !!I screamed –we are scared. “What –you are scared of this darling”- the pretty lady demanded. Well my son is, I said in a tutelary capacity. “Actually he broke his leash’s collar, so he’s loose”,she explained.Madame, I don’t know just drag it out of here, I demanded looking at its gleaming white canines. She took it badly –“Why are you giving me a hard time?It you have a problem with your child, I would understand”.So there she was -comparing my child with her dog.Come on Ma’m, dogs bite and children don’t –is it too difficult to understand, I persisted. And no matter how well-behaved or innocent they might be, they are carnivorous and they can bite.So,finally she did leave stomping her feet and muttering.
But also in normal conversation with people, if you describe your child’s activities,likes,dislikes- some one is bound to bloviate – Yes ,my dog or cat does the same,it comes rushing to me when I get home etc etc. So the conversation gently steers from human children to dogs and cats.And if someone forwards a picture of their child with their dog or cat, the onlookers are spellbound by those sharp ears and the bushy tail,completely ignoring the poor child-while I am looking for sharp ears in the child which are probably hidden by his hair.And framed pictures of the dogs and cats which adorn peoples’ desks – sometimes I do ask what its name is and say its cute, although I can never say it’s a beauty or a treasure- and I can’t make out one dog from another if not for the size-so much for the sake of small talk!!
And if dogs and cats were not enough,pet lizards and alligators complete the picture of horror.Last year they arranged for pet reptiles to be brought to my son’s school and I signed the permission for him to participate.The next day they gave me a picture of him with a big lizard clinging to his shirt with the remark “Oh he was not at all scared!!”.All children had such pictures taken-touching a baby alligator, a baby snake.It was so repulsive and scary and I felt so guilty of putting him through the ordeal although he looked calm in the picture.So this year again when he brought the permission form home for captive reptiles ,I wrote a big “NO TOUCHING”.So he told me that the teacher told him he was not allowed to touch.Yes ,I don’t mind if he stands apart,if he is the odd one out, but I will not have him touch a creepy creature,just for the sake of participation.