Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chased by Dogs by Rachael

Tennessee is full of hills and dogs. Our technique for responding to dogs has improved, and the fear that I carried for the first two days of biking in TN has abated. This fear reminds me of many of the readings I’ve come across in both historic fiction and nonfiction alike. I’ll summarize some of the reading experiences that relate to both dogs and the Under Ground Rail Road.

1. The Slave narratives include a story of a woman (slave) who ran away. She was hunted with dogs, and when she was found the dogs attacked and ripped of her breasts. The teller of this tale goes on to say that the woman was able to have children, but had to have other women feed her children. I remember having trouble believing this story when I first came upon it. No more! There are dogs here on chains (thank god) who nearly choke themselves as we pass by. And the brutality/ferocity of dogs seems to increase as their numbers increase. Dogs have group think too…. The Slave Narratives have a complex history and I recommend anyone interested in reading about them to find the book Unchained Memories.

2. In the time traveling neo story Kindred a free Black woman is caught trying to help her husband (or lover?) escape to freedom. She is nearly killed by the dogs that are sent after the pair, stopped only because a man expresses his desire to purchase the ‘free’ Black woman.

3. Mississippi and other states had laws denying slaves and sometimes free blacks from owning dogs.


mdornbrook said...

I so wish I could be on this journey with you to unleash some justified righteous anger on those dogs.

Have you sharpened one end of your bamboo sticks?

Janedog said...

Sorry about the dogs; as a native Southerner I don't know why so many people let them run loose. I hate that too!
I'm the commenter from Aberdeen originally - thanks for all the kind words - "Mr. Walter" who gave you the free pickles is a lifelong friend. He's a wonderful man.
Hope you find some more great towns along the way. Take care.

eric said...


I know how you feel, but it is important not to spend much mental energy being angry at the dogs (or really, at their owners). The real goal is to get through safely, so punishment is really just a rewarding side-effect. he best way to think about the dogs is as an environmental hazard, like the heat or the hills. Just as there is no point in getting mad at the hills, there is no point in getting mad at the dogs.


mdornbrook said...

@ Eric

I'm on the same page with you about viewing dogs as environmental hazards. However, I've got some runner's angst that I'd love to let out on them.

Michael said...

Should have brought Milo to teach them a lesson