Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dogs in Santiago

Santiago has very little dogs and very BIG dogs. The little ones are yappy and live in apartments and are walked by maids in pinafores. The enormous ones live in houses with very small gardens and boil off their frustration and boredom by barking furiously through the front gate at pedestrians in the street. The effect can be devastating - they time their attack for a moment when the pedestrian has momentarily looked the other way and compare notes afterward, grading for speed and distance, and mostly, how HIGH the pedestrians jump.

Last week I saw a man walking two dogs -  the biggest German Sheppard I’ve ever seen in my life, and the smallest, yippiest, fluffiest white poodle I’ve ever seen. All I could think was “how is it that one of the two hasn't become lunch?”

Daschunds are the loudest dogs in creation. They yell even bigger than beagles. Yesterday I took a new route to work.  The dogs along my usual route were used to me - I hadn't been barked at properly in weeks, and my edge was getting rusty.  I was humming along, with my music going in one ear and walking far too close to the fences, and suddenly all HELL broke loose at a hundred and fifty decibels right under my left elbow. I levitated - straight upward, with all my limbs flailing independently, and - I admit it - I yelled.  I came back down to earth just in time for a massive German Sheppard to come bounding out to join the wretched sausage dog and start snapping a set of slavering jaws about a foot from the level of  my nose. A little grey poodle came out to add HIS noise to the din, but by that time I was long gone.
Horrible things.
I vented my feelings by barking rudely at the next dog I saw, an elderly spotted spaniel, who lifted her head, stared at me with bemusement and went back to sleep.

I do enjoy barking at dogs. Last week I walked past a house and a cocker spaniel sitting on the front stoop perked his ears up and bounded joyously toward the fence, ready to give me the full treatment. Right as it reached the gate I gave a full-throated “RUFF!” and the silly thing stopped in mid bounce, like he’d galloped into a wall. He fell flat on his belly, with his mouth hanging open most unbecomingly, and an expression of total flabberghast on his face.
I WISH I knew what I'd said.

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