I was attacked by a neighbour’s dog when I was a child and ever since that incident, I have been afraid of dogs. In Nigeria, it was very easy to avoid dogs because Nigerians aren’t big pet owners; most dogs are owned for security purposes alone (which makes them even scarier) so avoiding dogs was no problem. When I moved to Istanbul, I encountered dogs in my university campus. There are so many dogs in the campus: seriously, I believe my campus is a dog shelter. I was scared at first but my fears were assuaged when I realised that the dogs only barked and ran after moving vehicles so I was in the clear. After I moved into a dormitory on the university campus, I did become slightly irritated by the dogs because they bark at night and very early in the morning thus disturbing my precious sleep (sleep is my first love) but I wasn’t afraid of them.

On the 16th of September 2016, I was moving from one dormitory to another. Sidebar: Being a foreign student who stays in a dorm in Turkey is not easy because some dorms close for summer break so you may have to move into another dorm during that period. As a foreign student, all your luggage is with you, it’s not like the Turkish students who go home during breaks/weekends to drop their winter clothes and pick up their summer clothes and vice versa. Foreign students can’t afford to do that (maybe some can but I’m not one of those) so we must move into another dorm with all our heavy luggage (sigh!!!! and insert sad and tired face emojis). I believe that is why all my suitcases have expired before their prime: a suitcase I just bought last year is already dead; the wheels are the first to go ofc (I wonder if I get them fixed somewhere………..)

On this day, I was pulling my very heavy suitcase and the suitcase was making a very irritating noise because the wheels are pretty much non-existent. I guess the sound was irritating the dogs as well because they started barking viciously at me. Their barking was so loud that a security guard had to come out and try to calm them down. The guard told me the dogs wouldn’t do anything to me, they were just barking at the sounds from my suitcase. I was scared but I continued pulling my suitcase. As I continued on my way, the dogs started running towards me while barking. Now, I was very scared: I thought they were going to attack/kill me (I’m obviously very dramatic). The guard tried to calm them down while I continued walking but these dogs did not settle down. I just stopped moving and a car driver who had witnessed the entire episode decided to give me a ride to my dorm. I usually don’t take rides from strangers but I wasn’t ready to be attacked by dogs. I jumped into the car and I was dropped off in front of my dorm. Sidebar 2: People animal lovers always say dogs are more afraid of you than you are of them. If that was true, then why did these dogs bark and run towards me. You don’t run towards something/someone that you are afraid of, you run away from it (well, unless you’re a white girl in a horror movie). My experience has definitely laid that fallacy to rest.

I was very grateful to the car driver and I was very impressed when he didn’t ask for my number. I was impressed because usually when a man does a woman/girl a favour, they usually ask for a phone number in return. That is why I’m very unwilling to receive help from guys because I know 9 out 10 times, they will ask for my number. The driver was very good-looking though and I have more respect for him knowing he did me a solid without expecting anything in return (thumbs up to you sir): I guess good Samaritans do still exist.

Later in the day, I had to go to the grocery store and I went out of my dorm. When I saw two dogs close by, I ran back to my dorm: I was obviously still traumatised by the earlier episode. I had to calm myself down and find the courage to go to the store because I had nothing to eat and I was very hungry (food is my second love). When I finally had the courage to go to the store, the dogs had moved (THANK GOD) so I didn’t encounter any dogs on my way to and from the store.

My fear of dogs is cemented now. It is so bad that I don’t think I can be friends or date a person who owns a dog.

 

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