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Staying clear of angel and lion

My neighbour who owned a ferocious rottweiler packed up and left and just as soon as I had started celebrating, another moved in with an even bigger dog

Gulf News

After years of wondering if the day would ever finally arrive, it did. My long-resident neighbour packed up and left. This is the one I may have written about earlier. The one that owned Angel.

Angel, of course, being — to jog the reader’s memory — a Rottweiler. A misnomer of a name if ever there was one, (in my humble opinion, to use a social-networking term).

One is not supposed to be too opinionated in an online chat room, I know, but I am certainly entitled to my view on a ferocious dog named Angel, and luckily this is a column not a room that invites counter opinion. And even if it does, I am hopeful it will elicit sympathy for anyone forced to live cheek-by-jowl with a Rottweiler.

The five other houses in our cul-de-sac all privately expressed a view that a dog with a good, deep bark was good for the neighbourhood, to which I acquiesced wordlessly (with a silent nod, that is). But in private it was always me I think, that worried the most because of all the residents in the cul-de-sac, I’m the only one that doesn’t drive, so while the others hot-wheel it past the ‘doghouse’, I’m the one usually hotfooting it, in case the dog somehow found itself footloose and fancy free.

Though, to be fair, only once in these nine years did it ever make a successful break from its backyard spacious solitary confinement.

On that occasion, it is said to have wandered about the place idly, sniffing out and remarking the boundaries of its territory and even stopping to lick a baby’s hand. I cannot verify the truth of any of that, as I opted to lock myself indoors the moment I glimpsed it on the prowl, minus a leash, or an owner at the end of the leash. One has heard and read enough about the ferocity of a Rottweiler to see the sense in locking one’s self in until the all-clear is available. I have watched the great Cesar Milan on his televised dog-taming shows. I have loads of respect and admiration for how he goes about handling untameable ‘pets’. I admire him mostly for doing the things I wouldn’t dare do. All of which is an elaborate way of saying that I think I have a bit of a phobia for dogs.

Plus, I think I sweat sufficient ‘fear’ for a savvy dog to sniff and take advantage of. I have on numerous occasions seen a dog being walked by its owner, going its docile merry way on the opposite kerb but the moment it passes me something seems to halt it in mid-stride. It sniffs the air and glances, sometimes questioningly, sometimes with interest, in my direction.

I’ve been told that I exaggerate my phobia to an extent where it’s become real. Maybe. But no one could have been happier than yours truly the day the barking fell silent and it was discovered that both dog and neighbour had departed. Not on a holiday, as I’d initially suspected, but for good!

For two weeks the place has been — I’m tempted to say ‘angelic’ in its quietude, without Angel around. I have been strutting around with the confidence of a man who will confront a lion and not blink an eye.

A lion? Well, see, that’s what’s called a Freudian slip. Because my son, returning from work the other day said to me on entering the house late in the evening, “We’re getting new neighbours.” “I know,” I replied. “Have you seen their dog, dad? They’ve transported it in a cage. It’s huge! I swear it’s as big as a lion. It could even be a lion.”

I’ve since glimpsed it from the upstairs window. It’s a dog, thank goodness. But so big, I do believe if it wanted to it could imitate a lion. It’s got the size and the mane, and a bark that would do a baritone proud.