A couple of days ago we leave our housing on Ko Phangan island in Thailand at four o’clock in the morning. We need to catch the ferry at 5 a.m. to the mainland for our Visa run to the Malaysian border.
Being the only pedestrians walking the dark and quiet streets, frequently dogs announce our presence with alarming voices. “Hey neighbors (dogs), watch out! There is some creepy guys coming along…” We are neither creepy, nor guys. Only one of us fits this category, actually.
As we move on we pass a famous ‘BE AWARE DOG’ spot. All of a sudden three big dogs sprint forcefully towards us, barking at volumes to be heard besides a power drill splitting asphalt. We slow down a bit, holding each others hands tightly together. Ignoring is impossible. Their tails are placed upright straight above their rumps. Distrustful to the tail’s tip, their barking is speaking the clear message of, “We are ruling over here! Don’t dare passing us at this oddly hour of the night! Go backwards, NOW!”
Back in 2001, while hitchhiking at minus 21 degrees from Lithuania to Germany, a border dog attacked us from behind at the Lithuanian-Polish frontier crossing-point, tearing my husband’s backpack down as well as grabbing his jacket and biting a hole inside. Since then, my heart starts pounding wildly when being confronted with barking dogs, and the only thing I can do to get over with is closing my eyes and say in my mind, “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”
This time is different, though. Something magic happens. Something inexplicable calms me down, and lets me speak out loud, “We are your friends. We are just passing by because we need to catch our ferry. We are your friends.” Astonishingly, they stop barking in an instant. Their tails lower, and the whole atmosphere relaxes. I continue saying the magic phrase until we are out of their territory. Silently, they watch us disappearing.
The moment I spoke these words I innately felt that it is true – human and animal have a common language. Furthermore, the event filled me with the great joy of having been able to communicate what I really feel for dogs – no matter the fear I carry inside since 2001. I was able to reach them with my hearts’ voice, that has been muttering for years,
“I LOVE YOU!”