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Indians and Their Fear of Dogs

(Warning: Generalization ahead – this is based on personal experience)

I work at a “dog-friendly” workplace and at first, it took me a while to warm up to the little pups running around our office. The ones that were scared of me were the ones that I liked the most as I never grew up around dogs and am not quite sure how to interact with them. However, I wasn’t alone in my fear. There are several other Indians in my workplace, both from India and America, with an equal fear of these furry friends. I was interested in finding out where this fear comes from, and while my facts and “research” is limited, I did survey a few friends to see where their fear comes from and here were the responses.

(Names abridged so CUJO never finds out)

Meera C. from Austin, TX

I grew up apathetic towards dogs. My high school bestie (who is now a vet!) had multiple dogs, so I quickly learned to turn my back towards dogs, thus showing that I wasn’t scared, and nor did I care to play. However, my dad loves dogs and my mom is TERRIFIED of even being on the same street as a dog. We never had pets (well, maybe a goldfish for a hot minute…and sea monkeys). I personally just dislike slobber and fur on my clothing and furniture. Currently, I’m still indifferent towards pets. I’ll occasionally pet other people’s dogs if they’re calm and/or cute, but I have no desire to own one.”

Poonam D. from New York City

“I definitely grew up with a fear of dogs. I thought they were all aggressive, which I realize as an adult is the opposite! Our neighbors had a German Shepard and he came into our yard when I was on the swings alone one day and it kinda scarred my impression of dogs for a while. BUT I definitely think it helps to introduce kids to dogs at a young age–it teaches them to be caring and compassionate. I absolutely love them now, especially bulldogs. I realized they truly are a man/woman’s best friend. I am now the proud owner of an Australian bulldog.

Sharmila T. from Chicago, IL

“We now have so many family friends that have dogs as pets. If there was ever a fear, it seems to have disappeared at this stage of life. For us, not sure it’s a fear as much as it was yet another thing to take care of when time and resources were being spent elsewhere. My mom in her village home, and even my dad’s village, had dogs around everywhere–and a couple in the home. We grew up seeing those dogs when we visited, but not sure they were pets. I have a very strong memory of being chased by a dog at our close family friends house as a kid and it was pretty petrifying. I also remember guidance to stay away and never get bit because of rabies, etc. Dogs were just not considered clean and cuddly little creatures, but maybe that’s from seeing them run wild in India? In terms of being scared of them now, I would say you can’t generalize. We hear so many stories of this type or that type or this dog or that dog attacking. My instinct is for us and kids to stay away unless you know the dog.”

Himank T. from Ahmedabad, India

I specifically did not grow up fearing the dogs, although I was bitten once as a kid, by a stray dog (female) who was trying to protect her puppies, whom I was trying to play with. A big number of people raised in India tend to fear dogs because probably they had a bad experience with a stray dog in their childhood. Since India has a huge population of stray dogs who carry a number of infectious diseases like rabies. Getting bitten once did not change my perspective towards them. I loved them when I was a baby and I still love them now in my 20’s. However, I think now I prefer cats over dogs.

Payal L. from San Francisco, CA

“For us, it was really about cleanliness. We had to always take our shoes off at the doorway, so how on earth could we have a dog running around the house, shedding, drooling, and dragging in various things from the outdoors. Dogs are awesome, loving, and cute, so our fear is around germs–and not dogs!

Are you Indian and scared of dogs or is this too much of a generalization? Share your experience with us!

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