Sunday, August 31, 2014

When Animals Attack

Cats are better than dogs, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a jackass (unless they are one of my students, in which case, they are merely misinformed).  Reason #1,000,001 is that cats feel no need to prove they are dominant.  They are confident in the fact that they are superior.  How can you tell?  Because you can look a stray cat in the eye without it going postal on you.

I've lived in Mongolia for two years now without facing down the #1 public safety threat - wild dogs.  I've always wondered what I would do if I was in a situation with a wild animal.  My father taught us from a very young age that you should never approach the babies, because their moms won't be far away and they will NOT be happy with you.  And growing up with Shaggy there were inevitably stories of how you should try to make yourself taller with this animal, or not to climb a tree with that animal, because they'll just follow you.  But none of that was applicable this morning.

When I went out today for my 6 a.m. hike up Zaisan (fourth day in a row!), I made the mistake of making eye contact with one of the dogs that lives in the street beside the school.  He started barking.  I stopped looking at him and kept walking, not slowly, but not quickly.  I'm no animal expert, but I know better than to run from a predator. However, this didn't do the trick.  He kept barking, and came over to follow me.  I could tell by his noise level that he was getting closer and closer, and finally I felt the tug of teeth on the back of my pants.

Thats's right.  I got nipped in the butt.

I stopped and gave him a death glare.  It was not, exactly, super effective.  It made him move away a little, but his incessant barking called one of his buddies over, who also started barking.  I don't consider myself a particularly logical person, but in a situation like this my first instinct is to think it out, and my options briefly flashed through my mind...the gate of the school was around the corner and up the street, but I am NOT a runner.  I could climb over the fence - I've done it once and this time I wasn't carrying snacks for a school party...

My glance briefly slid over a Mongolian man walking toward me, and I can only imagine that I must have looked panicked.  He, however, was not.  He must have been the Mongolian equivalent of a Boy Scout, because he was prepared with a rock in hand, which he lobbed it at my two attackers.  They were, no doubt, discussing in their stupid doggy barks the best way to team up against this slow, fat human and which part of me would taste best, because they failed to notice that the rock didn't come anywhere near them.  They didn't look to see that the guy only had one rock, and that I had none.  They just ran for it.

Which is reason #1,000,002 that dogs are inferior to cats: they're cowards (and stupid, but that's reason #1).  Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for it in this instance, and after giving the man the most heartfelt bayrlalaa I've ever said, I picked up my own rock.  It turns out that's how you deal with a wild dog (along with not making eye contact in the first place unless they are chained up on the other side of a fence). 

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