Monday, April 21, 2014

Purrless In Paradise

The evidence is everywhere.

This city belongs to the dogs.

And when I say evidence, I mean real, shoe-scraping, stinkpot evidence. It's all over. Each sidewalk of every block has its own load. I guess this is the true paradise pavement, not gold. But, short of experiencing the actual evidence afoot, I would never have guessed.

One thing I have discovered is that loose dogs are usually docile. They have dog business. Upright bipeds have human business. The two species interact only rarely. This is fine.

Another thing is that the dangerous dogs are the ones behind bars, confined inside yards, locked. Which might seem like a contradiction, since an imprisoned dog is incapable of doing anything beyond ripping off your arm if you go and stick it through the bars.

But guard dogs that have nothing to do, well they get ornery. To kill time they growl and bark. They growl and bark when they're happy, and when they're hungry and when they've just been fed. That's all they got. They're frustrated.

And so, when one of them does get loose, look out. They aren't nice.

Third, if you see two or more dogs in a group, go back. Make a detour. Retreat. Climb on top of something. They are bad news.

Not always, but the only way to find out is to mix it up with them, and where does that get you? They have the teeth and the attitude. You have your hide and a chance to go home without it. What's the point of that?

Once you get a group of four or more dogs you're facing enemy for sure. They know their turf, want to defend it, need something to do, and know they can take you. At best you get surrounded for a while, and spooked. At worst, your next of kin will be called in to see if they can identify the few remaining recoverable blood-stained scraps of cloth.

These are normally-penned dogs that all know each other from across the fences, dogs that somehow manage to get sprung every now and then, and then hang out, looking for trouble. Which would be you. Blithely, stupidly, cluelessly traipsing across their turf.

But cats, you don't see.

In roughly a year's total time spent here I can remember seeing six. All skittish. They used to publicly burn cats here, for fun, starting with live cats and ending with empty ashes. No wonder.

That quit a while back, but overall people here do not enjoy cats. And given that there is almost no free space for a cat to sniff around in, or chase bugs in, or hang out in, you don't see what cats there are, even when there are some.

It's the walled gardens and gated-off, paved courtyards, or the interiors of houses where you might see a cat or two, but you can't see in there.

Where I'm from, everywhere I've lived before this, you might encounter a cat at any time, outside of business districts.

Every residential area has its complement of cats, and finding them is only a matter of walking by at the right time. There are enough public brushy or wooded areas, and enough private trees and shrubs, and porous-enough fences, if any at all, that cats feel comfortable, and make themselves known, though they might be visible only at select times. But they are there.

And not here, at all.

Which is kind of a bummer, because I like cats. And have never had to run for my life from one.


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