When traveling, especially in rural areas, I have many encounters with dogs. In those places, dogs are often not tied, running freely around and protecting their territory.
Once I was even bitten by a dog. This was probably the worst thing that happened to me with them.
But this time I will tell a story about a dog, that is the best one. I met a dog in a village and that dog became my true friend … for three hours.
I decided to go hiking around some villages and hills. According to my map, there were some trails, so I expected quite a comfortable walk around beautiful places.
The area was not intended for tourists at all, so, any objects to see, any marked trails for hiking, just some paths through the villages and forests. Isn’t it everything that is needed for a nice walk at noon?
Yes, just a nice walk – anything difficult was not intended, no long distances, no difficult routes.
So I packed some water and some food and left following my GPS.
The first part of the route led me through villages. There were lots of dogs, when I passed their territory, they barked at me, followed me, one by one and in groups.
Sometimes it is annoying when the dog just looks at me when I am approaching his territory, but barks and follows when I am leaving. Why do they do like this?
But one dog was special. I met that dog by a group of villagers, working with irrigation. I was not sure what exactly they were doing but seemed they were removing water from a pond or rice field. The dog was running around them while they were working.
I passed the villagers keeping an eye on their work. I was so curious. For removing water, they used some kind of dieselpunk-like machinery, and some people were standing in the mud as deep as their knees.
That dog started following me, but without barking, just running after me. That was not strange, some dogs do like this.
But the dog kept following me even after I passed those villagers. That was strange. I kept walking along my route, and the dog kept following me.
When we were quite far from our meeting place, I understood that I have a travel companion. And then I began to talk with him.
The first adventure was getting lost. The route seemed very simple – I just needed to follow paths and tracks indicated on my map. But I did not stare at my map all the time, just checked from time to time, because I was lazy to turn on my tablet computer.
So, at some point I took the wrong path and get lost. But I did not really worry, because there still was some unindicated path that led me through the forest, and I was not far from villages, roads, or even main road.
The dog followed me even when I left village roads and entered forest paths. The interesting thing is that dog actually led me. Probably with his incredibly good sense of smell he could see where the path in the forest is much better than me because I relied only on my eyes and he could sense the place where many kinds of creatures passed.
When the dog met a crossroad, he was always waiting for me to confirm which direction should we take. When we lost the path and found it again, the dog seemed happy, running around and jumping with enthusiasm.
The next adventure was meeting the river on the way. Since it was dry season there was almost no river, but remaining water still prevented me from crossing it.
The problem was that all my forest paths led to the main road, but suddenly I found that the road is on the other side of the river. That means I needed to reach a bridge. And there was no path towards the bridge, only hills with dense bushes.
And the amazing thing – the dog still followed me. At this moment, I was wondering: do the dog still follow me because he wants to, or because he does not know the way back? Well, I was quite sure that the dog should know the way, but from now I felt responsible for my travel companion, responsible for bringing him back home because I was the one to bring him here to these jungles.
So, we crossed the hills going up and down through dense bushes and finally reached villages. Seemed this was easier for him, he was running first and waiting for me while I was finding my way through branches.
The last of our adventures was meeting with other dogs. There were lots of dogs running freely in the village. And it seemed that other dogs were more interested in my dog than me.
Now I can really say it was my dog.
Anything serious was not going to happen, but I felt that other dogs fear me a bit, so I could protect my companion by scaring them away. I was happy about this because after that much time spent together, getting lost together, finding a way together I felt this dog is now special to me and now I can protect him.
I regretted I do not have a loaf of meat to give him.
After leaving the village, we entered the road that leads back to a place I met him. But he seemed quite tired. If he saw a shelter he ran to lie there in the shadow breathing heavily. Sure, he was supposed to be exhausted. The route was difficult, the sun was hot, and he did not walk the straight line like me, he was running around and around.
Again, when my companion was resting, I patiently waited for him. I let myself enjoy this unexpected friendship.
Suddenly on a way back he met his true master riding a motorcycle. For a moment, I thought maybe they were looking for a lost dog and worried about him. Too bad I could not say appropriate bye to him because he ran away so suddenly.
As the friendship started suddenly, the same way it ended. A beautiful memory is all that is left.
Simple experience can become a special experience if you meet someone special. But you will never know will you meet or will you meet not.
And maybe simple experience with someone simple makes both the experience and the person special…