Monday, October 17, 2011

Dogs

Maybe it's just because I miss Molly, but it seems like everyone in Argentina has a dog. Between 7 am and 11 pm, I literally can't step outside of my apartment without seeing dogs everywhere. Lunch time especially is dog rush hour, when dog walkers take over the sidewalks with packs of up to a dozen dogs. The dogs being walked are usually a mismatched bunch (think golden retrievers, beagles, poodles, rottweilers, etc.) tethered together, which naturally leads to the occasional dog fight or one poor pooch being dragged along by the crowd as he is trying to pee, but in the concrete jungle they've got to take what they can get. I assume the walkers took the job because they love dogs, but I sure wouldn't want to be in control of a couple of German shepherds plus a handful of other dogs on a busy sidewalk. Plus, unfortunately lax cleanup laws don't help to ease the situation, for walkers, dogs and pedestrians alike.
When dogs are with their owners, though, it's a whole different story. You would expect that in such a populated city with crazy traffic and tons of dogs leash laws would be super strict, au contraire. About 50% of dogs don't walk on leashes, and no, it actually isn't a problem. The dogs here are amazingly well trained to follow alongside their owners, ignore the chaos of the city, cross the streets only when the traffic is stopped and even carry their own leashes in their mouths. Many businesses keep their doors open during business hours, and in those places that don't welcome dogs, they sit patiently outside (even if not tied up) while their owners shop inside. People don't spoil their dogs in the same (frequently ridiculous) ways we do in the U.S., but dog jackets are common and the dogs seem pretty well taken care of.
Well, usually anyway. This poor guy got stuck on a tiny patio.

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