Alarm and Apprehension

And no, not mine, but that of a small white dog whose family moved into our village a few weeks back. For my forays to the village I use an electric mobility scooter. That runs on batteries and it emits a very highpitched whine as it runs. Something few people can hear but dogs hear very well. As a result I’m used to a dog, when he hears it for the first time, either rushing towards me, or running for his life.
In this case there was a small white dog fast asleep on his lawn, I came along the pavement, his ears shot to attention, he sat up, focused – and flung himself towards me barking like a maniac, bounced off his fence, and came back to warn me at the top of his voice just what he’d do if I was a threat to his family. His owner rushed over to reassure me and I smiled, explained that I wasn’t bothered, his dog was just worried about the very strange sound my scooter makes and that he’d probably never heard it before.
I switched off, started talking to the dog, and he relaxed, looking over the scooter. You could almost see his mind summing it up. Not a threat, just a people-conveyance; like cars, push-hbikes, and so on. It wouldn’t chase him over his property, wouldn’t attack his people, and he could relax. After a few minutes his nose was through the wire-netting as he asked for attention, I scratched under his chin and he accepted happily before wandering off.
Yesterday I went down to the village, the dog was napping on his lawn while his owner chatted to someone. I smiled at his owner as I passed and we both nodded, The dog never stirred, my scooter was categorized and all is well – which is how it should be.
(I make an effort to see that a dog understands my scooter isn’t a danger to him or his, it’s just transport, and always so far, once s/he understands that, the dog isn’t bothered. I do it to preserve canine nerves, but also to preserve the nerves of those other people who use such scooters, may be afraid of dogs, and may panic if a dog rushes at them. having met a scooter of this type once they seem to be immunized against worry over others – and that too is how it should be.)

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