Month: April 2017

Yes, We Have No Chihuahuas – Part 3

Mutt is tall, dark, short-haired, somewhat awkward, and looks as if he could be a little slow on the uptake.  He reminds me of the classic dumb-buddy character from the old Saturday morning cartoons.  While Jeff, his partner in guard duty, is diminutive and light-colored, and moves, herky-jerky, as if he’s been drinking double lattes all morning.  He reminds me of the Joe Pesci character in Lethal Weapon II.  Every time I see these two dogs, I stretch my neck to look up at them on the roof they guard.

Not today, however.  Jeff was on the ground barking and Mutt, still on the roof, was barking back at him.  They were oblivious to anyone else around, including Cassie, and were hardly guarding the premises.  Instead, they argued back and forth.  Although their argument consisted of various barking sounds, in my mind’s ear I heard the real story.

“How’d you get down there?” barked Mutt.

“I don’t remember,” barked Jeff.

“What are you doing down there?  You’re supposed to be up here with me,” barked Mutt.

“No shit, Sherlock,” barked Jeff.

“Get back up here,” barked Mutt.

“Duh.  What do you think I’m trying to do?” barked Jeff.

“Get up here before you get us both fired,” barked Mutt.

“You see steps?  A ladder maybe?” barked the exasperated Jeff.

“How’d you get down there?” barked Mutt.

“Don’t you listen to anything I say?” barked Jeff.

“Get back up here now,” barked Mutt.

We left the Bickersons to work out their differences and continued on our walk, turning right, and heading east, up the slight hill.  We passed several examples of Canis roadkillsimilaris, sprawled out in doorways and sidewalks.  At the top of the hill, we turned south and it was then that we noticed the change.  We heard barking from a house that had been previously “dogless.” Cassie and I looked at each other, confused: a tourist or a new resident?   Just then, a man and his dog emerged from the house.  But it wasn’t just any dog—it was a small Poodle!

The owner walked over with his dog and we stared, smiling, at each other for a moment, standing in the middle of the quiet street with our dogs, bound together by the timing of our dog walkies.

Me: Hola.  Buenos dias.

He: Hola.   Buenos dias.

So far so good.

Me: ¿Estoy bien?

He: Bien, bien.  ¿Usted?

Me: Bien, bien.

He: Bien.

Me: (pointing to his dog) ¿Esta es tu perro?

He: Si, si.   (pointing to Cassie) ¿Tu perro?

Me:  Si, si.

We stopped talking for a few seconds and looked at each other.  Before saying another word, we both knew any conversation beyond this point was problematic.  He understood my Spanish would not be up to the task and I had yet to hear any English thrown my way.  So we did the next best thing.  We petted each other’s dogs for a few awkward seconds and continued to smile.

He: ¿Nombre?

Me: Cassie.

He: Ahhh.   Cussie.

Me: No.  CA-sie.   Cassie.

He: Ahhh.  Cassie.

Me:  Si, si. 

I pointed at his dog and asked its name.

He: Rocoso.

Me: ¿Rocco?

He: No.   Rocoso.

Me:  Ahhh.   Rocoso.   ¿Que es?

He:  ¿Como?

Me:  ¿Como se decie in English?

He:  Rocoso.

Me: No comprendre.

Still smiling, the man started shadow boxing.   I ducked.   Then he raised his arms in the air, in a victory salute, and danced in circles.   When all else fails, play charades.

Me: Ahhh.   Rocky.

He:  Si, si.   Rocky.

We were done sniffing each other, so it was time to move on.   He said goodbye and took Rocky down the street.   Cassie and I continued in the opposite direction.

Within the week I noticed two other Mexican families with Poodles living on the next street and several more Poodles in town, mostly the smaller breeds of Toys and Minis.   Suddenly it seemed as if we were in the middle of a Poodle population explosion.

It’s been said that Americans are appalled at how Mexicans treat their pets and Mexicans are equally appalled at how Americans treat their children.  But I’m no longer sure the old clichés still apply.  For with Rocoso and others of his breed in the neighborhood and across town I realized we had a new canine sub-species in our midst.  This new sub-species is perhaps best represented by upwardly mobile Mexican dog owners who are treating their pets in the well-coddled tradition of their neighbors to the north: professional grooming, long walks, plenty of food and water.  Accordingly, I now submit two new classes of dogs be recognized: Canis gringo spoiledrottenus and Canis mexicano spoiledrottenus.  Of course, this means we now have even more classes of man’s best friend South of the Border, which is a good thing because, as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to dogs the more the merrier.

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