"Hold your ground and dare him to attack. And remember - a barking dog never bites,"asserted my friend an armchair consultant, counselling on how to grapple with the dog menace. He could afford to be dog-matic on the subject, for, it was I who was sticking my leg out inciting the canine to sink his canines into my shin. Moreover, I didn't have a dog's chance of encountering a law-abiding dog who would say "Right-oh, sir. By barking I have forfeited my right to bite."
The chain of events that led to the crunch was set in motion a year ago when I embarked on a morning walk regimen (my jogging schedule had come a cropper after a couple of 'jog falls'). Forewarned of the canine peril, I had, after a few cur-sory visits to the lanes and bylanes of our town, mapped out the least 'dogged' course, shunning the touchy brutes with itchy teeth - the ones that were neighbour's enemy and owner's pride.
In due course, I made a tacit pact with the dogs by which I let the sleeping dogs lie and they let a walking bloke ply. One of them even took to me, giving his tail a brief wag at my sight, often admonishing a stray barker to keep his trap shut. Whenever I skipped a day he would give me where-had-you-been look. Yet, I had to watch out for the odd dog out that got into a foul mood possibly because he had been a butt of night-long nagging by his 'girl friend' who might have given a brush-off after a lover's tiff.
Then one morning, a pair of mongrels probably the top dog of the vigilante squad and his sidekick charged ominously towards me. Skipping the adagio, they went straight into agitato and then crescendo rendering their duet at the highest notes on the scale of C major. Needless to say, I showed them a clean pair of heels (breaking the World Record for 500M scoot). I escaped by a dog's whisker, but, by then, the stitching on my trousers had come undone at ten places turning me into an ideal prospect for the cover page of The Vogue.
After a brief hibernation, I kick-started my constitutional with recourse to the oldest trick in the book - of throwing crumbs to the militant mutts. And while the biscuit diplomacy became a barking success, my morning walks began to resemble the Pied Piper's procession, what with a pack of dogs in tow. It was a spectacle that the people en route woke up early to watch. But I carried on doggedly.
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