Zach O'Brien
Zach O'Brien
India 2013-2014
Namaste! I am a native Californian with a love for new experiences, meditation, and asking questions. I'm traveling to an Indian ashram called Amritapuri to join an environmental conservation project and study Sanskrit and yoga. Read More About Zach →

A canine companion comes to the rescue

It’s impossible to travel for a long time in a foreign country without ending up in a few difficult–or sometimes even downright dangerous–situations.  Every seasoned traveler knows this is basically a law of travel.

I was recently reminded of this law one ordinary evening after enjoying a beautiful sunset.DSCF0446

Above is said sunset.  I found this epic vantage point about a mile away from my room.

Anyway, I’ve often heard Indians advise me to avoid staying out late. I generally follow the suggestions I get from the locals, but I figured this time I could make an exception, because it felt so wonderful and serene just soaking in the evening river sights and sounds.

Well, after it got too dark to see much, I decided to get heading back. Pretty soon, I made the uncomfortable realization that some animals seemed to be following me.  I rounded a bend and found a group of four to six snarling dogs looking straight at me.

I felt the hair stand up on my arms and back.  I noticed the hair standing up on the dog’s backs as well.

Suddenly, another dog came running over to me from a different direction. I prepared to defend myself, but instead it ran right past me and started furiously barking and growling at the group of other dogs. After a brief standoff, the other dogs amazingly seemed to back off.  I edged to the side of the road, then proceeded ahead.  My canine friend kept yapping at the other dogs.

But pretty soon he joined me for the walk.  In fact, we walked a full mile together in the dark.  I can’t remember the last time I was so grateful for a travelling companion.  I would turn a corner, then he would turn a corner; I’d stop and he’d stop. I kept expecting him to lose interest, but he stayed with me the whole way.

After I got back to civilization, I gave him a scratch on the head, we locked eyes for a couple seconds, and he was off, just like that.

I don’t know what motivated my canine companion to bark at the other dogs, or to stick with me while I wandered through an unsafe area.  Was he/she protecting me? Or did the dog just want food?

I’ll never really know.  What do you think?

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