Is a Dog Truly "Man's Best Friend"� There is a famous saying in American culture that says, "A man's best friend is his dog."� Dogs are highly respected in this culture. They are a big part of the American way of life, because they are considered members of the family. Not only are dogs known to be a popular family pet, they are used to help police and investigators in finding evidence, they help people with disabilities like the blind, and they are used as a tool to defend one's property. Only in American can one find a specialty store that caters to the needs and desires of dogs, and as for dog breeders, their goal in life for their dog is to attend and hopefully win an award at the prestigious Westminster Dog Show. Unfortunately, I do not share the same ideology with many main stream Americans.
At the age of five, I was brutally attacked by a dog, which has since then changed my life forever.
Everyday after kindergarten it was a daily ritual to go to my babysitter. Each day the children were allowed 20 minutes of "play time."� The kids and I would go in the background and play hide-and-go seek, swing on the swing set, kick-ball, and any other imaginative game we could think of. One particular day, I was in the front yard, sitting on the branch of a tree, when I noticed an older friend of mine being chased by a huge dog. Instantly, I jumped off the tree and ran to the backyard screaming to the other kids telling them to get into the house. By the time I got to the backyard, I saw my older friend leaping onto the swing set. As he jumped onto the top of the swing set, the dog had merely missed biting into his foot.
The children began screaming and yelling. They quickly ran up the back staircase to the house. As I was running up the stairs I realized that I was the last one and heard the loud barking of the German Shepard. I turned around to see where the dog was, when I tripped over and landed on my back. When I opened my eyes I was staring into the eyes of a vicious killer.
I could sense the terror in his eyes and smell his musky breath. His size was twice of mine with an immense amount of strength. I heard the backdoor slam shut and I knew at that point I needed to show no fear. I remained motionless while the dog began to sniff me.
All of a sudden my ears were dramatized by the loud, veracious bark. I could see his canine teeth and immediately jumped up. The dog then looked up at me and I could feel some tension because he was displaying unusual behavior. He was growling and eyes were squinting. I then felt the inner part of my legs get warm and wet realizing that I was peeing my pants.
I slowly walked backwards to try to open the backdoor. As I was kicking the glass door with my foot trying to open the door, I realized that the door was not moving. I quickly looked back and the kids had locked me out. So I then decided to try to calm this dog down. I started to pet it again and this time noticed it liked it. My older friend who was on the swing set was telling me, "Farhad be careful."� I then decided to walk down the stairs to show the other kids that the dog was kind and playful. As I was approaching the swing set my friend yelled, "Farhad, watch out!"� I turned around and noticed the dog striking towards me. I began to run and slipped on the grass. The next thing I knew the dog was tearing a chunk of flesh out of my leg. It was scratching and pawing my face. I was kicking the dog and for a brief moment got loose to cover my face. It attacked me again and this time I could feel its teeth gnawing its way into my hip. The dog was barking and fiercely attacking me. I knew at that point that I probably was going to die. Brief moments of my family dazed upon me. I woke looking into the raining tears of my mother. I was being rushed to the hospital.
I later was told that a neighbor had heard all the commotion and rushed over with a two-by-four and cracked the dog's head open. As far as my babysitter, by the time she had been aware of the incident the event had already surpassed. I have always loved my babysitter like my own mother. She took care of me and loved me immensely as if I was one of her own children. How can one predict such an event? I have never been upset with my babysitter. As for the kids, I knew they were terrified at that moment, and were not able to help me. I believe they did the right thing because if I was able to get in the house, and the dog somehow got in too, who knows what could of happened.
I remember the pouring blood stains as I looked at my clothes. I remember the agony I went through when the doctor was stitching my leg and hip back together. And most importantly I looked at my family and how it affected them; seeing their son and brother almost passing away. My relationship with my family did not change, but I learned the importance of family. I cannot imagine living my life without my family by my side. Family is very important and valuable to me and is something that should never be taken for granted. Without my family, a large part of my life would be missing. During my recovery they gave me love, care, and support. They have helped my try to overcome my fears by supporting and helping me in any possible way.
This incident that occurred at such a young age has been one of the most dramatic and traumatic incidents in my life. It was a life and death situation. I was affected physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. To this day I am amazed at how much it has affected my upbringing and perception of life.
For instance, physically I have wounds that are scarred for life. I have a bite mark on my left leg and scars on my right hip. As I have aged, these scars have physically grown bigger and more noticeable. Mentally and emotionally, its seems like I can never forget what happened. When I hear stories on the news of victims from dog attacks, I remember the tragic incident that happened to me. All the emotions and fear reoccur for a few moments. Psychologically, I have a very negative outlook on dogs and animals as a whole. Every time I see or hear a dog, my body becomes tense, my heart beats faster, and my blood pressure rises.
Because this occurred at such a young age, I was never able to appreciate animals and how they can positively attribute to a human beings life. For instance, I have never wanted to pet dogs or animals because I thought they would hurt me by attacking or biting me. I always thought they smelled and were dirty. I felt they had no purpose in life. I could not stand seeing people shower their animals with love and affection. It was just mind-boggling to me. I wanted all animals to be caged up or in a secure area so that they would never pose a threat to me and others.
Reflecting on this incident, I have slowly begun to understand the significance of dogs and animals in general. I know now that I should have dealt with my fear of dogs much earlier than I have because the longer one waits, the harder it is to overcome the fear. Recently, I have had the courage to go up to my neighbor's dog and play with it. At first I almost fainted but soon realized that this dog was filled with love and care. I knew the only way to deal with my fear is to confront it. I noticed that they treated their dog as a family member. Overtime I have learned more about the nature of dogs, and their relationships with human beings. As a result, I began to appreciate the behavior of dogs.
My curiosity has changed my attitude towards dogs. Like humans not all dogs are perfect. Watching the love that one dog gives to another human being has given me a positive outlook on dogs. For example, a blind man was rescued from the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001. His dog guided him out of the tower during a tragic event. The trust and relationship that one dog has given to a human being is incredible. What more can one ask for? Who knows, maybe one day I may get a dog, and ask myself, "Is a dog truly Man's Best Friend"�?