Barking Dogs Seldom Bite

By Shobha Diwakar

I suppose everyone is quite familiar with this idiom or proverb, call it whatever you will. Everywhere you hop around, I mean walk down or up the road, and you find barks thrashing your ears from all around. You look to the left, then to the right, and behold the female of the species attacked by the thunderous muscled male hanging between life and death. Yes, I mean, I beg your pardon, the dogs, yes, the males of the species are wooing her. The hue and the cry, deafening your ears; you look around for a sturdy stone to throw at the meet, but all that you find is a weak half-dead stick. Although you plan to pick it up and throw at the invaders and the intruders, some other walker by has already attacked them, leaving you to ponder.

 The chase is severely disorderly; these males run helter-skelter colliding with bikes, passersby, scooters and cycles and rickshaws, and… whoever dares to cross his limits; meeting with an accident. The utter confusion they cause by their unruly activities in broad daylight or late eve or worse still in the still hours of the morn or the night is most exasperating. It appears as though our responsible people are incapable of preventing this stray dog menace and bull chaos, which gives some miscreants a great pleasure in observing the hideous crudeness of the whole affair. For young growing children and adolescents… you know curiosity killed the cat.

 India is a great country and we adore our nation and its culture, and anything else, you name it and it is a big yes but hush, do all animals form a part of our daily life on the streets in other parts of the world? I guess not; here lies the beauty of India. We can walk, talk and ride along with cows, buffalos, bulls, (the very, very, sturdy, muscular he-man), goats, cats, dogs, pigs and sight see their active libido out of control… and err…am I missing on any other household animal? Yes I am. It has taken India 70 years of independence to start a literal war against man using the streets, roads and every nook and corner of the country to launch a brigade against using these places as toilet corners.  Oh yes, and… the horse and the d… for donkey the list is unending… (I wonder which of the two, man or animal a greater one is)? Surprisingly I have yet to see cocks and hens playing peek-a-boo on the roads, but yes, they are definitely a part of our urban and village life otherwise where do we get our eggs, our chickens and our curries from? Live and let live that is our policy, so we walk together…and live together in harmony.

 Nevertheless, this free fun sightseeing is too bashful to ogle although a host of the public delights and hoots, and cheers and sometimes even goads the poor innocent creatures to torture it’s mate while the grand ‘show- pieces’ are quite oblivious of the uproar they have created (including humans), and unmasked their privacy before the onlookers. A publicly acclaimed and visualized rape goes quite unnoticed by the authorities because these law offenders cannot be locked up in prison for their crime. These merry animals commit adultery and feel proud over their masculinity; what goes without saying is that should not those owners be punished who abandon their animals on the road for gross public amusement and recreation. The question is about enforcing law and order. Why not those who own these animals (including men) be punished for leaving their ‘pets’ to roam freely on the roads and cause hazards and embarrassment to others?

Well now, let us come to the point about ‘barking dogs seldom bite.’ You see dogs are dogs but more faithful and loving than human beings can ever be, albeit there may be exceptions to the rule. Dog’s growl and attack when they are disturbed while eating or sleeping or when you accidentally or deliberately pull or stamp on their delicate tail; man does the same, although he does not possess a tail. Both have uncontrollable temper at the least moment you expect… yet both are whimsical in displaying their love to their beau… while wooing her.

   I have found out that this gender barks a lot. When someone opens the gate, rings the call bell, if you are fond of animals and have a dog, well it will bark and warn you about the intruder. If it is a known person, your pet will wave its tail at a rapid speed, cooing, and twisting and curling around you until you give it a scowl and instantly his excitement to welcome you dies. In this respect, the dog did not bite although he did bark ferociously. Well the ‘he’ does not do that. If the visitor is familiar and well known, there might be a smile around the corners of the mouth, if not it is bang, bang. How dare anyone cross borders without any permission?

Wait before I wind off… do you not wish to know why barking dogs seldom bite? Uh, uh because… because… their Bark is worse than their Bite!

About the Author: Dr. Shobha Diwakar lives in Jabalpur, India and retired as the head of English department at C.P. Mahila Mahavidhyalaya, Jabalpur. She has published many research papers, stories, poems and essays in national, international and online journals. She contributes regularly to writerslifeline and Indian Periodical. Dr Diwakar  servers on the Advisory Board of and editorial board of CLRI (contemporary literary journal India) for poetry and short story section.


  1. Dr Diwakar has rightly pointed out that in India animal menace on the roads is on the increase.
    Laws are made for their safety but not for Mans’ welfare. Many a times these stray dogs attack & bite children going to school, any passer by etc. A friend of mine who had gone for a morning walk was very badly attacked by a stray bull. Luckily she was saved by a passer by. Many people have lost their life being gored to death or thrown by cows too and here in Gujarat it happens very often. The cows and bulls here have pencil sharpened horns and real big ones!

  2. true ms anu my own husband was attacked by a big Alsatian let loose by a big businessman when he was returning from his morning walk and fell in the middle of the road with a fractured femur and trochanta he was operated, a rod fixed, was in hospital for 2 months and still cannot walk When such law breakers be punished is a far fetched dream here
    I wish to thank the unknown good samaritans who phoned home and helped to put him in the car