It’s a beautiful day and I’ve been at my window watching dogs pass by with their owners. Now, I live in a place where there is very little dirt and the concrete, on sunny days, it glows like a clean white plate right out of the dishwasher. Not a crack, not a speck of yesterday’s dirt. The water of the river is blue and the ships, they look perfectly painted.
There are so many dogs! The dogs here, like the people, have an attitude.
There goes a pink dog on a pink leash, scurrying along as though she has an appointment at the nail salon. She stops and scurries at the lamp posts along the way as though they are roadside vendors that’s attracted her attention until her leash is pulled. She sees a rather big, bushy gentleman approach from the other side, wagging his great, big, bushy shrub of a tail as a morning greeting. Judging by the frantic movement of his tail, he is very eager to come close but our pink miss is not so sure at the last moment and darts forward towards the lawn.
And now there comes three little brown dogs pulling at the woman in three different directions, smelling freedom and the clean air, determined to make the best of their morning. A little further away from this central hub of activity stands a tall, tawny, muscular fellow staring at the river, rather absorbed by some movement in the distance. His tail does not give away what he is thinking.
My attention is suddenly drawn to the approach of a big, queen of a creature walking slowly towards the centre, her silk mane glowing in the sun that’s been peeping through the clouds for quite some time now. Her rippling fur and self-assured glance on either side tell me that she is doted on regularly with shampoo, conditioner and various other beautiful things at the dog salon.
As I look at the dogs, my vision drifts to a land far away. I see their cousins, other dogs, in a foreign land, but not at another time, not in a bygone age, but right now, right at this very moment that I’m standing at the window in.
One thin doggy fellow is huddled under the staircase, apparently sleeping, but with one eye out for anybody that might come down those steps to kick him. Always. Judging by one of his legs, which he doesn’t use any more, he has felt the unnecessary curiosity of a small boy wanting to hear him squeal.
Outside this building, there is a dumpster. There are several emaciated doggy fellows that I can see here who have learned the art of tearing open a plastic bag with their teeth to find out what’s inside. They are very uncivilized, and not friendly at all. They gnash their teeth at other dogs who want to occupy the dumpster too. Their fur is eaten away in places, with boils and infections, and some have bloody ears. They attack each other and growl nastily at people and other dogs. If you notice one closely, you can count each of their ribs. They are very quick, their intelligence acute. They can judge from your gait whether you’ll be throwing your trash today and whether it will have food.
It is hard to feel any love for these dogs, even pity. They are neither pretty, nor nice.
It’s not as if there aren’t any nice dogs here. I see a white, furry thing in a leash pass by, who, no doubt, is tended to daily by a part-time servant boy who lives in the nearby shanty town, appointed by his owner. He gets a bath and boiled meat and, if he is particularly good, some tinned dog food from that shiny multi-storied mall that has come up across the road where the dumpster dogs used to run around even a few years ago.
The boy is careful to pull the leash and keep his furry charge away from these creatures of the dumpster. If he is good, his master might take them along on his evening drive in his new BMW.
I see the dog under the stairs get up and shake himself.
He looks at the furry creature passing by.
They look at each other but I don’t think there is any mutual recognition in their eyes.