I've always had a fear of dogs. It's not that I don't like them. It's just that they make me nervous and I always think they are going to attack me. Thailand has done absolutely nothing to assuage this lifelong fear. The streets of Thailand, and Suphanburi especially, are teeming with stray dogs, and while occasionally a cute one will come along, for the most part they appear to carry a wide variety of diseases and they are not so nice.
Which brings me to this story... Nell and I stuck around Suphanburi this weekend to get some things done and take a break from our whirlwind travels. On Sunday we decided to head to the Suphan train station to attempt to buy tickets to Chiang Mai for New Year's break (sold out! Fail). The train station isn't an active stop from what I can tell, but they do sell tickets, so we hopped on a songtow and after asking a few people for directions, we turned down a moped ride and took off by foot down a rather deserted road. We were walking along train tracks so we knew we were headed the right way. Initially there were other people along the way, however, we soon found ourselves on the road by ourselves in between two rice paddies - with the train station in sight in the distance. As we were walking along we noticed an abandoned shack with a makeshift metal fence, and then before we could react we saw three very large, very angry dogs sprint through the fence and run right up to us. I'm pretty sure my heart immediately stopped beating. It was a total face off as they stood at our feet and barked viciously. As Nell and I freaked out, I had visions of our flesh being torn to shreds and I considered giving in and letting them eat me, but we decided to stay very still and assess the best way to go (not to the left or right since that would be into the rice paddies). As we considered backtracking we looked back only to see 5 more dogs sprint up the road towards us and join in the chorus of barking (possibly rabid) dogs at our feet. Being surrounded by 8 barking dogs is literally my nightmare. My heart was pounding, I started praying, my voice was shaking, and Nell and I both thought we were going to die on a dirt road and never be discovered. Nell said she decided she would take the first bite since she was able to get rabies shots before she left the States, but I don't think it would have mattered, once they bit one of us they probably would have eaten us both!
I'm not sure what the best strategy is in this situation, but the one that worked for us was to stay very still for a few minutes, show the dogs that you're not going to hurt them, and then walk backwards away from them before turning and then speed-walking away. Needless to say, once we escaped and made it to the train station, we did not take the dirt road back! We cut across the train tracks and walked alongside the highway back into town. All of the farangs here seem to have different solutions for dealing with the dogs - I have 2 friends that have already been bit - one that required the 6 rabies shots and the other just left a big bruise - and I think we have all decided that the days of dog as man's best friend are on hold while we're living here. I might try to go get some fire poppers to scare the dogs should this situation ever occur again, hopefully not!
The Dog Days Are Over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWOyfLBYtuU