Monday, January 13, 2014

High Altitude Arfing

Bite me not, bastard.

I gotta say it, dogs – I can do without them.

I do do without them, gladly and easily.

Problem is, I am immensely attractive to many dogs. Often as target practice. Frequently as an object of hatred. All too commonly, I suspect, because I am taller than even the tallest of them, and better looking, in my own ape-descended way. Possibly I am hated because I have no publicly-visible tail to wag. Or because I can't arf properly.

That could be it. Or it might be something else I am unaware of. Like the smell of my butt.

But who can say, really? All that even the cleverest and most knowledgeable of us can say is Huh... Followed by other words likely to set things afire.

However the mechanism of dog consciousness actually operates, I have learned a few practical things. One was to give up bicycling, which drastically reduced the number of chases, though even when I rode in the woods, on trails, and far from dogs, I had a problem or two, but cougar encounters are not what we're concerned with today.

Here, in Ecuador, things are a bit different. Lots of dogs wander loose.

I've found, so far, with a few exceptions, that loose dogs do not fret. Loose dogs do not break sweat. Loose dogs are usually loose for a reason – they are too old to do anything but sit still or lie down, and have trouble keeping their eyes open. Therefore they generally are not a threat to public safety (mine, which is what I essentially care most dearly about).

Loose dogs also have fewer frustrations. They are, after all, loose, and can do what they want, whenever. It's the penned-in dogs that scare me most, those who sit in front yards the size of throw rugs, completely alone all day and every day, watching the world go by, yet unable to participate. No butt-sniffing, no post-pissing, no aimless wandering, no meeting up with friends for casual humping – none of those are available to the fenced dog.

Fenced dogs can only listen and lie in wait. Listen for footsteps and wait to lunge and scare snot out of anyone walking by (me, for example).

Caged dogs care for naught. Except lunging, thrashing, arfing, and howling. That's all they got, and they have nothing to lose. They know that, unless.

Unless you are unlucky. And go through the neighborhood on that one rare day when the gate is open. Or on that hopeless day when several gates are open. Then you are fair game for all, and all those frustrations surround you in a pack.

Best advice: carry a stick. Or an umbrella. It'll do well enough.

Dogs in the U.S. are treated like babies, like toddlers, like cuddle-bunnies. Dogs here, no. Dogs here understand what's going down when a stick is raised. Or when a stone is stooped for – they get that too, since all have attended, at least for one semester, the Sticks and Stones School of Hard Knocks and Severe Thrashings.

But mostly they're on your clueless behind too fast for that, which makes you wish you'd never given up bicycling. Bicycling at least gave you a chance at outrunning anything with teeth, assuming even a modest head start, a bit of the surprise advantage, and strong legs. Unless it was a cougar.

Given the choice, I'd rather be eaten by cougar than slobbered by dog. But cougars, they are far too rare here, so my fate, she is sealed.


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