Dogs. I love them. Many of you have heard me wax poetic over the years about my darling Maxwell, a lovely dachshund whose ashes are now in a box in Delray Beach after 18 years of being waited on paw and tail.
I’m not alone. People in Latin America love their dogs too. Tons of small dogs – Yorkies, Doxies, Toy Poodles -- all nipping at your heels as you walk down the street. While the perritos are no bother to me, I have started to develop a fear of bigger dogs.
I think part of it comes from the fact that most people don’t keep their dogs on a leash. Another contributing factor is the large number of strays around town. It is actually quite horrible, as I often see dogs that are battered, bloodied and scabbed. Sometimes they lay listlessly on the sidewalk and I can’t figure out if they are dead or alive. Other times I watch in amazement as these “slumdogs” exercise the caution of a crossing guard to make it to the other side of a busy avenue.
In the tranquil neighborhood I live in now, there are not a huge number of strays and the pups are well behaved (like the people, generally). But I think my newly found fear can be traced back to a few months ago when I was literally chased by a pack of wild dogs while riding my bicycle. It was terrifying to say the least, the adrenaline coursing through my body as I pumped the pedals for dear life. As I streaked through the streets like Mario Andretti on a bicycle, the six-pack of wild dogs were howling and baring their teeth at me. I could feel the breath and saliva of a bastard German Shepherd on my heels as I put every last bit of oxygen I could find into getting away without getting rabies. Happy to report I escaped.
Stray dogs are not the only things in the street, though. There’s dog shit and lots and lots of it. Everywhere... in the nicest neighborhoods and the mas sketchito ones too. Piles of caca, little landmines everywhere just waiting for you in your new Havaianas.