Being TERRIFIED & Realizing What You’re Made Of…


This will be brief as I’m a busy man, no wait I can’t do that as I’m verbose by nature. Just know that the time is now 6:06am and I’m freshly showered from an early Sunday morning jog. Typically I have a rule which is “no running when it’s dark out” even if I wake up way before the sun comes up. Today I changed my mind as I was just too antsy so I grabbed a flashlight and left. I take the flashlight because I don’t want to step on a snake. I’ve never seen one and hopefully that trend continues.

It’s a cool temperature, part of the reason I love this time of day. Not a soul in sight until a random biker comes by and we make small talk partly because we’re two souls in a dark jungle before the lights go on and partly because we have something in common, we’re nuts and wake up stupid early on the day of rest. He leaves and I start passing this junk yard that has a massive junk yard dog…

This dog is huge and very scary. I’m genuinely scared of this dog and every time I run by it runs at me barking like it has never been fed, salivating and filled with angst until its leash stops and its neck snaps back. Today, much to my chagrin and the health of my heart, it was not on the leash and it charged me in the darkness.

You never really know what you’re made of until you’re tested. In the past when people mentioned fight or flight I was always joked I’d be the first out the door in my pristine Nike Air Flights. You wouldn’t have to ask me fight or flight as I’d already be down two flights of stairs or better yet, caught the plane that left a moment ago. Suffice to say this time was different and when I realized this monster wasn’t on the leash something interesting happened.

Instead of acting like prey and running like a scared little $#*#! I instinctively held my ground, let out a thunderous tribal roar filled with fear and insanity. I raised my arm gripping the plastic flashlight as hard as I could. If I had a strong grip pressure, I’m sure the light would have burst. While yelling like a yahoo not to be confused with a shriek, cry or scream I stared the dog in the eyes, held my ground and was waiting for him to passthat magical line in the sand where I’d deliver a death blow between his eyes hopefully smashing his skull and avoiding his big teeth.

I’ve been attacked by a dog before in Bangkok, a few times as a kid and chased all over the world by gangs of them. I know what it feels like to have one of them lash on to your leg and it’s horrific but I digress. So as we stood there him barking at the top of his lungs and me trying to find where my heart went as it clearly was no longer in my chest, he stopped approaching. At this point I stepped forward with my teeth out like some kind of primitive maniac vampire and the owner turned a flashlight on and yelled at the dog.

Totally shaken I continued my run as this location is roughly 1/6th into my tour and realized I was more awake than ever before with adrenaline pumping like I was overdosing on vodka redbull buckets on a Thai beach somewhere with fire dancers, eaters and pranksters dancing in the shadows as I stumble around in vertigo. I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to ever underestimate yourself. I’m known as joker and a chiller who at times is pretty intense but nobody would ever describe me as aggressive or macho.

Until you’re tested you’ll never know. Instinctively it’s always fight or flight. I sincerely hope this never happens again because my words can’t convey just how much this shook me up. This junkyard dog is a brute and a Pero Bravo as they say around here. That said, I leave this experience knowing more about myself and with a deeper confidence that regardless of what my mind tells me, when push comes to shove or it’s time to fight tor flight, I’m not scared of a fight if it’s my only option… Had I opted for flight I assure you I’d be writing about “Getting Bitten by a Dog in the Jungles of Costa Rica”.

You’ll never know unless you go my friends, you’ll simply NEVER know…

Tips hat while tap dancing to minimal techno and smiling like the joker.

P.S: On the way home, the dog was on the leash and didn’t even look at me as I passed.

Author: SHABL

Rob has been traveling the world and living abroad for over a decade. The goal was to stop having a boring life and it turned into something far greater. He's worked with national tourism boards and been mentioned in National Geographic. These days he lives abroad and loves business, technology, the tropical lifestyle, good food and travel.

25 thoughts on “Being TERRIFIED & Realizing What You’re Made Of…

  1. Just goes to show what can happen when you stand your ground. Still, I’m sure I would have ran, got bitten by the dog and cried lol

    1. That would have been my plan if my primal instincts didn’t take over which was “you’re gonna get me but you’re gonna get it too dog!” Yeah you definitely need to to know when to hold em and when to fold em!

  2. motivating post, makes me want to dance to some minimal techno and go on some early morning jogs regardless of what might be around the corner. Sounds like you found the type of jungle you are meant to play in, who would have thought its wireless connection would suffice. Keep up the healthy living and lets see some photos of you catching some fish off the coast of Coasta Rica. Blargh Life

    1. My eyes jumped out of their sockets for a second when I saw the username “Spenny D” … The “D” lives!! It’s pretty cool down here and shockingly the internet connection is blazing which naturally, I’m loving.

      Haven’t done much fishing as I’ve been a recluse deep into web work and plotting future moves from the 3rd floor proclaiming blargh life and screaming at shadows. Great to hear from you and hope you’re doing well, good sir!

  3. I can only imagine how shaken up you must have been. I thought immediately of your rabies incident and am glad to see you didn’t have to repeat that one. I was chased by a German Shepard once. I was a little girl and it was the one and only time I’d ever climbed a tree. He got my leg just a little, but no one was ever sure if it was his teeth or claws. I was glad the owner came forth to show my parents he’d had his vaccination because as terrifying as the whole incident was, I was petrified of the rabies thing. Thus the reason I got vaccinated before moving here, although I never see dogs around these parts. Go figure.

    1. Funny how that works eh? Also I got bitten by two German Sheppard’s growing up, not fun. Ironically I got into a fight with this kid in the neighborhood around the same time and he bit my leg and it was bigger than the dog bite, go figure!?

      Hopefully SPS is still treating you well!

  4. Looooooooove this story and so sorry yet happy that it happened. Its those little personal triumphs that make us proud to be who we are. You can explain fear to someone till your blue in the face and they will never grasp your sincerity until they are in your shoes. Fighting the instinct to run and inevitably get bitten is a craaaaaaazy challenge bro. All the power and respect in the world to ya as i can tell by your words it was intense.
    On another note this was so freakin captivating i feel you may need to endanger yourself more often simply for the material good sir. Fantastic read and message!

    Tips hat,

    1. I was thinking that, time to go wrestle a crocodile and boa at the same time, trying to turn them against each other. All seriousness, it happens so fast you don’t have time to plan you just either fight or pick flight.

      Glad you enjoyed the tale, good sir.

  5. Ha! I was a paperboy when i was young. Been there, done that. Although i would have taken the long way home after that episode!

    1. I was a paperboy too and have lots of random close calls. As I was going past again I thought the same thing before remembering it’s the only way home.

  6. I hate cross dogs, that sounded scary as hell! It’s because of this that I always carry a rock in my hand in stray dog territory, or the SHABL special, a glass Coke bottle (learned that trick from early on in the blog) Good job on standing your ground!

    1. Good thinking and I’ve become too relaxed as the dogs here are pretty chill. This one is one of the meaner ones that I have to pass each day. Suffice to say I’ll leave later in the future and maybe even have a rock if I’m early. The big glass coke bottle does wonders, glad you remembered!

  7. Hahahahaha! Forget the flashlight, start running with your GoPro, please.

    No seriously, glad you came out of this OK. I had a little scare a couple weeks ago in Skopje – it was a Lassie on steroids just outside Shanti II – so I know this fear quite well. I didn’t get too far out the gate so was able to get back in quick but God knows what would have happened had I been any further down the alley.

    1. I know the area if Shanti II is near the original Shanti and it’s prime time to have an incident involving indecent acts of the canine variety. I did run with the gopro one morning but the shots are all blurry, shakes fist.

      Glad you got back in the gates.

  8. Dogs continue to terrify especially ‘junkyard dog’ types. I’m not very brave but I have found if you can pretend ‘no fear’ when faced by a savage dog and stare them down it does seem to work….baring one’s teeth also helps,seems to put you on a more even plain. Enjoyed your post. Thanks


  10. That’s intense! I normally love dogs back home but traveling, I won’t go near them. No interest in a bite or rabies shots! loved the fire dancers on a Thai beach reference.

  11. Somewhere in the middle of this I scrolled back up to the top to look at that picture thinking, “Wait, did he seriously pause for a second in this near-death experience to take a picture?” Wouldn’t put it past you. Glad you made it out alive!

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