Cynophobia: (n) an irrational fear of dogs
Sometimes I am hesitant to tell you a story because I fear you will think I am pulling your leg (or tugging on your heart).
Just like all writers, I am guilty of some embellishment, but generally speaking, the plot line, characters and conclusions actually happened in some way, shape or form.
While traveling in Texas (which, by the way, could be the beginning of a dozen novels…)
Anyway, I found myself in a tiny community just south of Austin.
It was a place that was proud of being tiny, away from Austin and south.
Need I say more?
I came in with my music group to put on a series of concerts in the region—because apparently the person who did our scheduling hated us.
Our music was too hip, our clothes were too modern, my hair was too long and the girls had that look in their eyes—of equal rights.
The whole event was a struggle, which we were actually succeeding in overcoming. That is, until they told us where we would be staying.
A lady offered her mobile home as a place for us to stay.
She failed to explain to us that she bred pit bulls.
She explained that she would not be there to greet us, but that the trailer would be open, and to “just go on in.” It never crossed my mind to ask about dogs.
So, driving up in our van, suddenly seven of the little monsters came running to the fence, alternating their barking. Three on one side, four on the other, back to the three on the one.
It was like a hellish chorus from a Wagner opera.
The animals stared at us—an uncomfortable probing, as if they were sizing up how long it would take to get us to the ground for the final kill.
One of the girls—who believed “doggies were really sweet”—thought she would step up to the fence and greet them, to see if she could allay their fear of strangers. As she did, one of the beasts from the left-hand chorus leaped up, sank his teeth into her purse and would not let go. We were barely able to free her from the purse so that the dog would not drag her into the pit of death and terminate her singing career.
We stood at the fence, gazing at these creatures for ten minutes. Twenty minutes. We were silent because nobody had any good idea on how to get into the house without being partially consumed.
After about three-quarters of an hour, the owner arrived and asked us why we hadn’t “gone on in.”
Without saying a word, all three of us pointed to the gathered horde.
She ridiculed us—especially me. She said, “You claim to be a man and you’re afraid of these puppies? What a pussy! They won’t hurt you!”
She then tossed her hair and looked at the three of us, saying, “Come on. Follow me. They won’t bother you.”
She was wrong–the dogs knew we were spooked.
Every time we tried to follow her through the fence, they jumped into the air, ready to attack.
At this point, the young woman turned to us, astonished, and said, “I don’t know what’s going on. They’re never like this. Did you do anything to hurt them?” We shook our heads. She continued. “It’s like they know you’re dangerous or something. Do you have evil spirits?”
Well, this was too far for me.
I declared, “Well, actually, we have good spirits. And apparently, these demon mutts are out to swallow them.”
The lady did not like my response. She headed inside, saying, “When you get up the courage, come on in.”
Seeing her leave, the dogs gritted their teeth, content that they had us to themselves. The girls in the group were stymied but I wasn’t.
I was unashamedly experiencing cynophobia.
I had officially met dogs who were not puppies, but instead, possessed the Mark of The Beast.
We went to a Holiday Inn, which, by the way, did not allow pets.