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Canine animosity!

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, May 30, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Canine Animosity

    If you are as observant as I am, you will agree with me that there is no sight more familiar than dogs barking furiously at rag pickers. I had first observed this phenomenon as a tiny tot making my daily trip to the Nursery School. The way they bundled me into a rickshaw to be taken to the school despite my severe protests always made me wonder how everyone, including my mum, could be so cruel as to pack me off to a hostile world and refuse to get moved by my tear-stained face. This is of course germane to the issue and my apologies for digressing!

    Coming back to the canine animosity towards rag pickers, this strange phenomenon has been going on unabated since God knows when. I have seen it not only in the then Madras and now Chennai but all over India. I have seen it in West Bengal from the streets of Kolkatta to the remote villages of 24 Parganas. As well as in UP, Bihar and Punjab and even in the cold heights of Himachal. I can not say with any authority whether such a sight is common in other countries of the world as I am not one of those globe trotters. If you are one of those blessed ones, maybe you can throw some light on this subject. I am, notwithstanding my ignorance, prone to think that such displays of canine intolerance go on in the Western countries as well but may be at a much lower decibel level and in a lot more dignified manner. Possibly not much of unscrupulous barking or chasing but just a look of utter contempt. Or gnashing of teeth and a mild roar of disapproval.


    The point that I am trying to focus on is this. Has anyone ever tried to find out the reason for this canine animosity towards rag pickers? How did it get started in the first instance and how did it assume such global proportions? When I tried to find out an answer for this great riddle from an old and seasoned rag picker, he just shrugged his shoulders philosophically looking almost like one of those tragic Nazi-persecuted Jews who did not find his place in the Schindler’s List.

    Another mind boggling aspect of this whole mystifying phenomenon is that it is not just the non-descript street dog that cries for the blood of the hapless rag pickers but also the most pedigreed ones in affluent households which hardly go out of the air-conditioned rooms except for answering a call of nature and hence would never have had any exposure to a rag picker. It is, therefore, an animosity that defies all reasons like the one between a snake and a mongoose.


    I did some introspection on this subject and realized to my dismay that my own animosity towards certain people was not backed by any tangible reason. I tried to delve deeply into the innermost recesses of my conscience to find a reason for my hatred for them but I drew blank every time. It dawned on me that I was no better than the canine community nursing an animosity towards a chosen few which was not supported by any reason and hence illogical. I drew comfort from the fact that I was at least able to express my animosity in a dignified language and not bark at my adversaries like the dogs.

    But the fact remains that I still feel like a dog when I think of my illogical contempt for certain people!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
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  2. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    Hello Cheeniya,

    Why are presuming here that the dogs bark at rag-pickers out of animosity ?
    Actually it might be even a recognition bark / barking to send the ragpicker out of that place as he looks like one of them trying to scavenge things (food) from their territory . If it was really animosity, then they should pounce on the ragpickers and bite them. But they never do. You leave them near and observe that they only bark threatening to bite and probably claiming their territory.
    Dogs who are out of their territory landmark (while on a long walk) do not bark at anyone, even a ragpicker.
    Animals do not house the higher emotion like animosity. Their rules are simple and their reaction is predictable and immediate. They will hardly carry any feelings / emotions for a length of time like humans do.
     
  3. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Meena
    I wish the dogs knew all this! Your post reminds me of an anecdote.
    A man was running for life from a dog who was barking and chasing him. Another man stopped him and told him " Sir, why are you running? Dont you know that barking dogs seldom bite?" The man, not stopping, replied, "Sir, I know it, you know it but does the dog know it?"

    Still, your FB made me think again. I may have erred in my judgement about a barking dog. Must make it a point to read some good books on animal psychology before I write another blog on animals. At the moment I cant stop feeling that I have put my foot in my mouth!:)
    Sri
     
  4. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sri,

    Nicely written piece, and i did like the way you delved into yourself in the last few lines. But i do agree with Meena, Dogs and maybe most animals bark or roar or whatever , not out of animosity , more out of the necessity to protect their territory from strangers.

    Now here in the US, I have not encountered this phenomenon. Since we do not have that many stray dogs. The minute there is loose dog on the road, the animal control /protection service comes and takes them away to the pound. But yes, going on walks, I have been at the receiving end of barking dogs from the other side of the fence... So does this mean that the dogs are showing animosity towards me??

    Vandhana
     
  5. Lavanya

    Lavanya Bronze IL'ite

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    I think animals have conditioned reflex besides being territorial. Here we don't have rag pickers, but I knew a dog who was threatened by Postal Service van & since then she barked at the sight of a similar van anywhere in her field of vision. But it doesn't stop with that since they are constantly communicating to other dogs it just take one dog to start a trend. They can also sense fear in a person & try to show who the boss is to such people. Almost every single dog showed my hubby that they were the boss of him, while they knew they could pull a trick like that with me.

    But then again there are ones who are totally bored like my backyard neighbor who barks as long as he's on the other side of the fence. Now that I learnt he likes to get a cold sprinkle every now & again, I just shut him up by playing with my garden hose.

    But comparing humans to dogs...nah I think I'd rank dogs higher in esteem than humans. :)
     
  6. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,
    You have chosen a "never before discussed" topic for your post and that makes it all the more interesting !

    Well, about your first paragraph, after reading it, I am trying to imagine you as a small child, wailing to your heart's content (!), to leave your mother & get into one of those hand-drawn (or man-drawn) rikshaws - now it is either cycle-rikshaws or autos. When you & I were young, hand drawn rikshas were popular & in Madurai "jatka vandis" drawn by horses were the usual mode of transport.

    Meena, being a dog lover has differed from your views.

    Let me tell you, I strongly feel dogs can sense you very well. I am mortally scared of dogs, but I really wonder how the dogs can know this. When I go for a walk in the Marina, any stray dog, quietly going its way, will start following me & when it comes near me, rather close to me, an unavoidable shriek escapes from me ! Vish gives a stern look, disowns me that very minute & walks away leaving me with the dog. Every time this happens, it is a great embarassment because somebody or other around, comments " ennamma, intha vayasile naikku poy bayappatareengale" !

    You are right about our animosity towards ceratain people. There is no valid or logical reason, but less pleasant (definitely not hostile) feelings surge at the sight of some people. It is not fear or hatred but an irrational prejudice. That is perhaps what the canines feel perhaps when they see rag pickers.

    Love,
    Chithra.
     
  7. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Cheeniya,

    As thought provoking as it can be, and that too a thought from the animal world. I especially liked the way you link the barking of dogs to the unreasonable animosity we have towards certain persons.

    Me- not exactly a dog lover. But happily married to a man who would live and die for dogs. So, I am tempted to speak up for the dog here. I guess dogs bray at the moon or bark at rag pickers or growl when Death approaches a house, because they are genetically programmed to do so.

    When we the human race, picked some dogs from wolves to domesticate, we might have had two reasons.One social ( man's best friend) and the other security (which thief approaches a barking dog, or even a house which says'Dogs-Beware)!

    So, in those days when men were huters and women were gatherers, when life was short,nasty and brustish, when dogs answered not to Caesar and Tommy but 'huf' and 'gruff', I assume our cavemen ancestors taught them to bark at any approaching sign of danger. Over the years and genes, I think dogs retain their trait to bark at mailmen, rag pickers, invisible Yamadootas, Vidya etc---

    Still, this does not explain why dogs bray at the moon. Do they sense that the moon is linked to lunacy and thereby is dangerous to mankind? Also does not explain why my canine son will not bark at any intruder or insect but will growl at my househelp that she refuses to come in till he is shackled.

    We get the goverement we deserve, we get the canines we deserve.

    Pip pip
     
  8. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    dear Cheeniya,
    Again another humourous writeup.....enjoyed your description of the canines, and the comparison you have drawn about the animosity we have with some people.....made me muse along the same lines and true some people's images zoomed in and i did gash my teeth, a la canine style......:mrgreen:
    I too have a dog as a neighbor, and last year when we had moved in here, it would peek through a small patch and bark loudly the minu´te i steeped into the garden to pull out the weeds.....and i would step back in without doing my work( a good excuse not to take care of my garden....). But my poor neighbor decided to make a stronger fence where the dog would not look at me and bark so loud, and also i could get out to the tending of my garden.....but lo behold, though it does not see a foreign face, it does sense my presence and comes sniffing near the fence and starts its barking! well now do i call it animosity or love......purva janma bandham.....ha ha.....:wink:
     
  9. radhavenkatesh

    radhavenkatesh Silver IL'ite

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    Dont mind dog is a dog whether it is on street feeding on leftovers in garbage or in Ac room dining on pedigree all i find is maybe dogs feel the rag pickers taking away their sniffings :))
    dogs genrly have the habit of pulling and playing wht wotever is there on street our dog even if it is tied in shed has the habit of pulling my hubby car mudguards , shoes and socs also if tied in our verandah its naughty nature and nothing to do attitude of the dog maybe naturally rag pickers bend and pick up polythene covers etc which is acutally a gud thing they do orlse we find all those polyethene covers like flying soccers in and around us with the slightest break of wind poor dogs dont knw tht communication problem may be and in india we dont have such nice animal protection cells to fix up stray dogs nowadays we find incidences where street dogs dont find sufficient eatovers and feed on babies frm genrl hospitals , exam going students thigs (real incidences ) which tv channels show i was wondering wot the camera man was doing whn he finds the dog feeding on na child instead of picturing it he cud have used a stick or a stone to shun the dog away but was seriously making a news of it.
     
  10. chitrajan

    chitrajan Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Sr. Sri,

    Having been scared of dogs all my life, I wonder why confine the subject to rag pickers -- It happens to all of us. We try to run for cover and are mistaken as calling them for a running race.

    Do they sense our distrust towards them which are based largely due to hearsay and less on one's experiences. Do they try to start a conversation with us which we can never ever understand? like Sudha says may be it a poorva janma bandham due to which some of them want to growl at us and the remaining want to lie down on our laps?

    In anycase, my fear of them starts even if they a cute bundle of fur initially.

    **********************************************


    Quote --I did some introspection on this subject and realized to my dismay that my own animosity towards certain people was not backed by any tangible reason. I tried to delve deeply into the innermost recesses of my conscience to find a reason for my hatred for them but I drew blank every time. It dawned on me that I was no better than the canine community nursing an animosity towards a chosen few which was not supported by any reason and hence illogical. I drew comfort from the fact that I was at least able to express my animosity in a dignified language and not bark at my adversaries like the dogs.

    But the fact remains that I still feel like a dog when I think of my illogical contempt for certain people![/quote]
     
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