"I don't think Ash is beautiful" . Try telling this and the response will vary from "Shall I fix an appointment with an optician" to "Don't think only crazy people visit counsellors, perhaps you should see one". However this is not about Ash, its about saying things you can't get away with it. This is for dog dislikers.
Heard of dog lovers but never heard of dog dislikers? Well likely, because no one will admit to it. But unlike those who think Ash is not beautiful, the number is bigger:)
Dog dislikers don't hate dogs (that will be hard to believe, for the dog lovers). On the contrary Dog Dislikers appreciate the dog for its sense of loyalty and respect it perhaps more than humans, for the unqualified love it oozes on its owner. But they just happen to wonder, if the dog might bite them. I am sure there is some phobia which describes the fear of being bitten by other animals from monkeys to tigers. But since many people dont keep monkeys or tigers at home as their pet, these people (ie those who have a fear of being bitten) focus their fear on dogs and dislike dogs only because they are kept as pets. And lets face it though there are other pets, a barking dog is more intimidating then a mewing cat or a chirping parrot or just fishes etc.
And with due apologies to the technical people who will frown at me for using the word "dog disliker", I would like to go ahead and make suggestions on how to deal with dog dislike.
Your best friend has a dog. And when you ring the doorbell, you can hear it barking. What would be the best course of action?
a.Run back, before the door opens?(extreme pessimist)
b.Pray to God and hope a miracle happens and the dog is tied. (extreme optimist. The first rule of every dog owner is that the dog should never be tied.)
c.Call your friend before hand and tell him/her to tie the dog and hang up before further questions are asked. (a realist)
d.Call again, before you ring the doorbell to check if the dog has been tied (a prudent realist who knows the uses of mobile phones)
But sooner or later, you will be demanded a reason. Don't ever say "I have signed up for eye donation. Eyes can be donated till 6 hours after death . Anyone can donate except those with HIV, jaundice or death from dog bite". You might be technically correct. But no dog owner is going to accept that their dog could bite. In fact even if you are bitten, you would be the person who provoked, not a victim.
So what do you do? The best one in my opinion, is to talk about a cat in your neighbourhood. Which keeps rubbing itself against you when you leave home and your worry that the dog with its acute smell, might smell the cat in you and start sniping at you. Sounds too fancy, well if you can think of a better one, do tell me. But this one would work. Even if your friend says you got the idea from reading this, look shocked and offended. Be firm. Give a nickname to the cat (eg Sharp Claws) . Discuss that its unfair, that cat owners are not made as accountable as dog owners. Your friend will forget this blog and start agreeing with you. (Dog lovers arent necessarily cat haters but they will accept their dogs hates cats and they carry a grudge against the cat owners for their lack of accountability)
The smart dog has made the connection between you and being tied up. And doesn't stop barking. Should you offer it something.If it barks or snarls at you, insist its because of the Sharp Claws. But if you want to buy dog food be careful. Many dog lovers won't care about the brand of food, you give to their children but its not the same for their dog. So get the exact details. (if your boss is a dog owner, this is one of the best ways to pacify him/her, which isn't mentioned in those self help books).
You have the dog biscuit, should you give it directly to the dog.A firm no. Your hands will probably tremble, since you will be wondering if the dog can distingush your fingers from the biscuit, and doesnt look good if your boss or friend notices your hands trembling. And the dog would mistake the trembling hand for a teasing hand. Best if you hand it over to the dog owner. Dont worry, the dog would have smelled the dog food on you when you entered and sooner or later would make the right connections. Even if it doesn't, you score points with the dog owner.
When a dog owner wants to bring over the dog to your house.
Mention that Scary Claws clawed out a doberman's eye. And the new building association rule forbids visitors dogs. (If you arent the Association President, tell Scary Claws belongs to the Association President. If your friend lives in the same building, stick with mere Scary Claws tales.) Think back to how many believed the Delhi monkey man stories. Just be firm with your story.
When your spouse/sibling/kids want a dog in your house. As per the undiscovered laws of DNA (fate), every dog disliker's parent,spouse, siblings and children will love dogs and would want to keep one as a pet.
Keep a framed picture of a dog in your house. (Tell it was your friend's dog, and you havent yet got over its death decades ago. It was so special blah blah blah and thats why even though you are crazy about dogs, you don't go near/own another dog). Scores points with dog owners, and also prevents your spouse/children wanting a dog. In fact if anyone talks about dogs, start staring in a detached manner at the picture. If you acquire a pic now, and your spouse argues, its because of this blog. Again look, shocked, anguished and admit you read it, and then add that it bought back saddened memories of your childhood dog. Just be firm, did Laloo become a Railway Minister, by giving in to accusations? Lack of WMDs doesn't affect Bush stances on Iraq, does it?
Other things you can do.
Ask dog owners their dog's birthday (look shocked if they say they don't celebrate it.) Remember the birthday and get a gift on that date.
Keep a book on dog care, and discuss it.
Keep atleast one dog toy in your display cupboard.
The extremes will go for a dog wallpaper or screensaver.
In short learn from the politicians, Actions dont count. Just creating an illusion of an enemy (scary claws) and tributes to past leaders count and a firm lie wins over truth