When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
- Ernest Hemingway
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I have always been a bit reclusive towards people since my childhood. Rather, I spent my time in the company of animals of all sorts. My first pets were two turtles who we named Neptune and Uranus, but they soon died due to infections arising from excessive exposure outside water, because we used to let the out of their tanks and roam about freely. Over the years, I just kept a few fishes and a strong old turtle. But those were just my official pets. Outside my home, any creature I met became my pet. Cows are usually nimble and easily succumbed to my soothing behavior. Dogs, however, I first need to forge a bond with them, earn their trust and then I get to the part where I scratch their necks and they roll over in pleasure. My mother was disgusted by both the stray and the domesticated ones alike, because they left their hair all over their trail. But that didn’t stop me from visiting my canine friends secretly. While I gorged on my friends’ lunchboxes in the school, I gave all my own food to my furry company after school on the streets.
However, I too, have had some bad history with dogs. Once when I was small, I was all ready for school and was strolling on the road when our local dog, Kenny came towards me. I tried to act in a friendly manner, but she went into attack mode and scratched at my socks. I escaped unharmed, but it left my mind shaken up as to why she had behaved in such a way. Later, the neighbors told me she was rabid and she died soon after, but her four pups survived, but by the end of the week, two of them were dead. One of them hid in my house at night, because we got the evidence daily in the morning at our doorstep. When they grew up, they became my good friends and were loyal brothers with even more loyal mates. Together, we used to play hiding from the watchful eyes of my mother. I even trained one of them to shake hands! That didn’t mean my bad times had ended. When I went to one of my friend’s place, I encountered a pup on the road, frightened and afraid of physical contact. I tried to pacify it, but it bit me, resulting in a series of painful injections over the weeks that followed. Then out of nowhere, the generation of nice dogs on the streets was replaced by a single mother of two pups, whose territory seemed to stretch miles from my home. But the worst part was that all of them were mean to me. The pups, when they were small, were a bit gullible and seemed to follow me for a bit when I whistled but their mother’s ways soon got to them and even they used to growl at me whenever I did that.
I have also made valuable relationships with many dogs over the years. I learnt that I have a way with dogs, especially the street dogs, because they value trust so much. I had a canine friend named Blacky, who was a fierce dog, bent on defending his territory, and often got into fights with his neighbor, another black dog who was also my friend. When they’d fight and get all bloodied up, they’d come to me and would tend to their injuries. But one day, Blacky won, and the neighbor was no more. I was saddened and turned him out whenever he came to my house and he actually seemed to sulk about that.
But soon, I refound my love for him, as I’d known him since he was a pup, and we’ve been friends ever since. He’s a wise, old, and loyal but still a single dog now and I feel proud whenever I stroll the streets with him by my side. The other passersbys fear him, but I feel strong to have a tiger of the street prowl by me and stay loyal to me, providing me comfort even in my hard times.