Go, Dog. Go!

There are two big wet slobbery kisses that I can’t wait for when I go home in a month. They will be from these two adorable creatures:

Meet Homer and Duke (Named after the Simpson and the university, respectfully). They are, and always will be, my babies, even though both are starting to get grey beards.

My pets are definitely at the top of the list of things I miss from home. One would think that the plethora of dogs I see in the city everyday would help ease my sorrows of being pet-less, but that is far from the truth. I see dozens and dozens of dogs on walks with their owners, which is fantastic. Dogs need to be walked and exercised. But they need a lot more than what they get here.

The average dog’s life here, from what I’ve gathered, goes something like this: Sit around in an apartment all day, moping around, howling if lonely. Owner comes home for lunch, takes dog outside. Owner stands around, leash in one hand (if dog is even on a leash), cell phone in other, waiting for dog to find a nice place on the sidewalk to poop. Dog poops, promptly goes back upstairs. Owner does not clean up the poop. Dog spends rest of evening cramped up in small apartment. If necessary, dog gets to go outside later to poop again. Dog goes to sleep (or howls all night annoying neighbors downstairs, ahem), starts routine again.

Maybe it’s just me, but this is no life for a dog, no matter what size or breed. Maybe my dogs are spoiled having a yard to run around in and people who play with them, walk them, and take them to the park. I won’t ever consider getting a dog of my own until I live in a house rather than an apartment.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some more responsible dog owners who do the best they can having a dog in a city. Walking to work across the city at the same times each day has shown me a few who take their dog to the same open courtyard (not grass, that doesn’t exist in Málaga) each day to throw a toy for him/her for a while. On Tuesday mornings I see a beautiful golden retriever chasing a rope, Wednesdays and Thursdays I see a weimaraner chasing a tennis ball, and depending on what time I come home I sometimes pass a terrier who is quite good at estimating the bounce and catching the ball mid leap. But as I’ve demonstrated, I can count on one hand the number of dogs I see each week doing what I think all dogs should be able to do: play!

Having completely scrutinized how Spain treats their dogs, I have to acknowledge one other stark contrast between dogs here and in the U.S. Here, hardly anyone puts their dogs on leashes. Ever. When you take your dog outside, he/she simply stays by your side, or however far away he/she knows you allow. If I ever took my dogs out without leashes they would say, “See ya!” Duke would go make some new friends and Homer would follow his nose to the end of the earth doing what hounds do best.

If dogs were off leashes in the U.S., parents would be snatching up their small children threatening the owners with lawsuits. But the verb “to sue” in the legal sense doesn’t even exist in Spanish, so no pase nada.

Leashes or not, I can’t wait to take Homer and Duke out to play this summer.

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One Response to Go, Dog. Go!

  1. Pingback: Culture shock, again | Teach, Learn, Run

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