Don’t think for one minute that I am coming at this one from out of leftfield, I too am a dog owner in this city, and the following photo is my dog, Monty the Weimaraner, a six-year old grey bundle of love and chaos. Believe me, when I say that I am reporting from the trenches when I address this Bogotá Stereotype No.7: the Dog Owner.
In fact, I am sure that me and my four-legged friend will fit into most categories listed below. Yes, I have definitely had to run behind Monty as he gallops awkwardly through the Parque Nacional on a Sunday Puente stealing from picnics, bouncing off children and terrorizing families. I have been there to defend him when he threatened to deflower a West Highland White Terrier who was loose in the park and in heat. He’s now had the chop, but, he’s animal after all and he was just following his instincts, unfortunately at this moment his instinct was the potential and unrepentant violation of a smaller dog. It never happened through and the Chaperinero-ite scooped up his Westie and hissed at me about controlling my wild dog.
Yes, I too have been found wanting and guilty of not carrying enough plastic bags with me to recover the almost mythical “fourth deposit” on a long walk along the city’s ciclovia and have had to scour for discarded trash with which to clean up his cariñito. Fortunately, in this circumstance, Bogotá generally has a fine quota of litter from which to choose from.
And yes, I also stand guilty of having denied ownership of Monty after a particularly embarrassing outing when he cocked his leg and urinated on an American lady in the Virrey Park. Why did he come galloping over, smiling in his lunatic fashion, to us at that moment so the affected party in question could identify and reprimand us?
But, back to the stereotype of the dog owner.
Where is the Bogotá dog owner found? Generally speaking, you can find one or more dog owners located near to or on top of every precious last – however small – patch of grass or beside every sad-looking tree in the city, giving their desperate canine the opportunity to relieve itself. Expect to be overrun with dog owners in the Virrey Park, the Gustavo Uribe, the Giordano Bruno and others, especially at around 6pm – the preferred final hour for an outing.
Let’s quickly make a distinction between the Bogotá dog owner and the professional dog walker though. The walker, often with in excess of six dogs in tow is juicioso and armed with baggies with which to parcel up the poop. Handling dogs and do poo is their profession and they do it nobly if only to be let down by dog owners who “look the other way” when Coco or better yet Luna, is midway through a painful looking strain.
You can tell the dog owner’s social strata and marital status from the breed of dog. With a Weimaraner, this puts me up there, but, I fail in not being of the creole elite. In the end, I am just a foreigner with a nice breed of dog. Keep a look out though for Great Danes, Collies, Vizslas or Afghans and you’ll know who you are dealing with should your dog bite theirs! And if their dog bites yours, you will be at fault. Avoid any dog big (small) enough to fit in a Louis Vuitton hand bag as this will mean trouble. Dogs shuttled back and forth between the hair salon and the manicurist’s, like accessories tend to have been raised as if they were humans and are therefore even more highly strung than the self-obsessed, angst-ridden emotional train wreck carrying them.
But who are those dog owners that do use the baggie, but then inexplicably toss the offending item on the ground just yards from the public bin? This is a complete mystery to me. Rather than walk another 40 meters to a trash can they’ll create a de facto dog shit and plastic mountain at the base of a tree along a scenic route, and then leave this for the bin men to collect. It’s as if they do this, knowing fully well, that it’s above their station to be seen dropping a bag of excrement in the bin. But of course, they’ve shown the good will to have bagged it up.
Did you enjoy this rumination? If so, you may like to check out the six Bogotá stereotypes preceding this one including the Oficinista, the Escolta, the BiciNazi, the Plan Playa, the Gomelo and the Hijo Bon Bril.