I was eight years old when the “incident” occurred. Up until then, I was a normal eight year old doing whatever it is that eight year olds do. One evening (which will remain fresh in my memory forever) I was walking down the street along with my brother and my mother to drop my cousins off at an auto stand.
There I was, happily skipping with not a care in the world wearing my fire engine red tights and t-shirt. Quite the ensemble, I must say.
And that’s when IT happened.
Out of nowhere two enormous black dogs come running towards me. In a flash of a second they both pounced on me. One at the front and the other at the back. The dog in the front had its filthy disgusting paws on my shoulders and it stood almost half a foot taller than me. The dog at the back, I can only assume fancied my fire engine red tights because the stupid mongrel started pulling them down!
I screamed for dear life. God bless those laborers who came running to my rescue.
I never managed to get that incident out of my head. Who could?! That day I was scarred for life and since then I have never been able to look a dog in the eye.
If there is a dog in the vicinity I get jittery, my heart starts pounding, I start screaming, my hands automatically claw whatever it is that I’m holding and if I’m standing next to you I will push you in front of me for protection. If a dog starts barking I feel it’s barking at me. If I happen to cross a dog by some miracle, I turn around a million times just to make sure the dog isn’t following me or sniffing my ankle. This is what is called cynophobia, the fear of dogs
With the kind of past I’ve had when it comes to dogs it isn’t surprising that I feel all these things. Any normal person (I hope) will understand this. But not my friends or my family. They find it extremely funny. They’re always saying “Oh bring the dog near Zarine. Let’s see what she does!”. Like they don’t know what I’ll do. And my brother’s all time favorite – “Zarine look! Dog!”, which is almost always followed by pushing me near it.
Unfortunately for me this fear also lead me to ailurophobia which is the fear of cats. I pretty much react the same way to them as I do to dogs. It isn’t easy dealing with these phobias when my best friend loves dogs and the other owns two cats. I have been known for my ‘running out of the room when I see a cat’ and ‘jumping on the sofa when the cat brushes its tail against my toe’ performances.
One day my wonderful cat loving friend who has a heart of gold decided that she wanted to get rid of my phobia. So she picked up her cat and thrust it into my face. I did what I always do. But this time there were consequences. In order to save myself from the wrath of the cat I pushed the wheeled chair against the wall so badly that I tumbled off it, broke the chair and managed to bang my head on the wall all in a span of a few seconds.
My friends find this alarmingly funny.
I don’t. And frankly its quite understandable why. People think its madness to be afraid of cats. It isn’t mad. Everyone is afraid of something! Some are even afraid of the dark and I find that stupid but I’m not judging. Maybe the dark is to them what cats and dogs are to me.
Contrary to popular belief I’m not afraid of ALL animals, Nik. Its just that dogs and cats make me neurotic and insane. I have this incessant fear that they want to maul off my face. And that is a picture I cannot get out of my head.
So I’m going to say this as publicly as I possibly can:
I HATE CATS AND I FRIGGIN HATE DOGS.
I acknowledge them because they are all God’s creatures and I respect them for that. But that’s where I draw the line.
Just a small clarification, I like them on TV like in Planet’s Funniest Animals (The dog chasing its own tail is classic!). But not in real life.