Friday, March 25, 2016

Dog Pack Attack on Oaxacan Back Street

About the size and composition of my new backstreet buddies....

For goodtime fun-pack joy I occasionally take a ramble here in Oaxaca citys outlying barrios and surrounding countryside just to soak up some of the common folk culture and get some alternate exercise. Mexican dogs are, for the most part, pretty civilized. I take this as a good result of the mexican class society and dogs are way on down the rungs and they know it.

But I still carry a stout walking stick because I know if it comes to THAT particular dog something better come between me and super-Fidos teeth. My stick is a stout hardwood stave about 2.5" at the top, with a slight taper, and maybe 40" long. A major head rapper if need be. Because this block headed guy is gonna need it:

Light eyed pit..... ohhh boy.......

In fact, for a guy like this, a sawed off 12 guage might be a better choice. Not that all pits are badasses. But, based on the meat ripper this bad boy sports better to err on the side of caution.

So the other day I am rounding a large hillside in a small idyllic stretch of campo and enter a small hamlet and immediately am righteously yelled at by a pack of barking dogs who start closing the gap right away. Not running but sure confident. The lead dog is a lab-shepard mix (mostly) and a pretty confident lout and its clear he is coming right in to take a bite so I laid the thick end of my staff to the side of his head quite soundly. No conscious choice on my part, just instinct kicking in. Not near hard enough to spill his brains but quite the crack. He backed off, stunned, collected himself in seconds, and rage spread across his face for a second then he reconsidered and slunk off to a nearby garage, still barking a bit but also whining.

The others were still surrounding me but now backed off a bit and out comes a new champion. Looking kinda like this guy:

Hello there....... may I help you with something?

Serious intimidation right out of the gate. My version was jet black with some husky tossed in. This guy was seriously motivated but was only slowly closing the gap so I used some classic dog encounter strategy and started back tracking sideways with limited eye contact but still he kept coming with his buds close behind. I leaned down and picked up a good sized rock and they all knew what this meant and retreated a good 10 feet. That's all I got though so I kept backing up and after 50 feet or so and starting to get around the bend that seemed to placate them enough. And I kept glancing back a good bit afterwards.

Dog pack attack is nothing to trifle with! Google those keywords and see some grisly images. I'd say a serious semi-urban hiker might carry a canister of pepper spray, a dog whistle, and a even stouter stick. With the good sense to figure out a threatening situation a lot earlier than I did in this case. But I have done a LOT of hiking about this way and this was the first set of mexican dogs I've had problems with. We have a pack of street dogs who hang out just down the street, by the OXXO convenience store, and they are almost invisible they are so peaceful. Go figure.

In the least...... when walking carry a good walking stick and do not be afraid to use it. Chances are it is all that will keep you from a series of painful anti-rabies shots in the end.