No Pets Allowed

March 23rd, 2009

Several months ago a woman called asking if we allow dogs. Well, we might, depending on what kind. This policy hasn’t been established yet. I can see why it wouldn’t work out, but we like pets. We have a big dog who tends to get excited when someone approaches his porch. Especially if there is food in his bowl. Also his brother, who belongs to a neighbor, spends most of his time here. Together their passion, other than guiding people to Playa Chiquita, is building and maintaining street rep. This means that they urinate on as much as possible in the area including idling cars, bikes. And, sometimes, they fight. The woman said the dog was a nice indoor poodle, that there shouldn’t be any problems. Okay, if you’re willing to risk it then so am I. We can use the business.

When faced with the indoor poodle Cody and his brother Drake sniffed curiously and laid back down. No threat. No excitement. Better to save energy for re-marking all the spots from the previous night, maybe see if Sparticus and Buenos Dias down the road want to brawl, or if Domer has any plans. The first night went smoothly.

The second night the couple came into the reception around 9pm to say that they would be going out to dinner, leaving Nelson in the bungalow. Sure, no problem. As soon as we hear their car pull away Nelson works himself into an indoor poodle tizzy and starts yapping his face off. Uh oh. We aren’t sure what do if this doesn’t stop. You can’t have a poodle yapping in one bungalow with people trying to sleep next door. It’s already 9pm so there’s no way the couple will eat and be back before at least 11pm. I want to crush up an antihistamine, put it in some left over food, put Nelson’s ass to sleep. I’m tired myself, don’t want to wait up with Nelson, the indoor poodle, until the owners get back. We can’t decide what to do. Uh oh, here comes a guest, Hank, father of a 1-year-old, with his shirt off, sleep in his eyes. Can you do something about that dog? Yes, Hank. Something must be done.

It never even occurred to me that Nelson might be upset about some stranger coming in to the bungalow. I was picturing a wagging tail, a quick trip to the reception, maybe a little over-the-counter cocktail for Nelson and bed for me. When I opened the door Nelson took one look, jumped up on the bed and raised the volume on that yap. I started to talk him down. It’s okay, we’re just going to take a little trip, wait for mummy and daddy to get home. He sat, yapping, allowed me to touch his head. It’s okay, buddy we’re just going to take a little trip. YAP, YAP, YAP YAP YAP. He wasn’t really calming down, so it seemed the only way to get him out would be to grab him by the scruff of the neck. I went for it. He snapped. Nelson, you scoundrel, you tried to bite me. Hank has to be wondering what’s taking so long at this point. Nelson is clearly upset and I’m realizing that it’s all or nothing. I tell Nelson a little bit more about the plan, touch his head, grab him by the neck with both hands and scoop him up. He manages to get in a few bites on my forearm, makes an insane death cry, pees all over the bed and me.

I make it out of the bungalow where Cody, Drake and Hank are waiting. Did he bite you? He bit and peed, but there’s no blood. I’ll keep him quiet. Angie waits in the reception house wondering what that sound was. I tell her that the bastard bit me and let the bastard go thinking that he would stay put fearing what lies beyond. Clearly I do not understand the indoor poodle. Nelson makes a break for it immediately. Out into the jungle. At first he heads to the road. Great. How will we explain that we lost their yapping dog? He quickly realizes that there are any number of things that would make him dinner and returns to the bungalow. I head back with rope this time. Nelson doesn’t feel so brave on the porch, is staying low profile, not yapping. I talk to him for a while longer, mention that he should not have bit me, throw a noose around him and take him to the reception. Luckily his owners came back around 10:30pm. They saw Nelson tied to the chair and began to apologize. I guess you won’t be allowing pets anymore? No pets allowed.

It’s a Dog’s World

March 30th, 2008

We’ve met two of our neighbors through dog fights- unorganized ones. The first time I was taking the garbage out to the street when I heard our neighbors start up their four-wheeler. Having already been reprimanded for our dogs, Cody and Drake, being tire-biters, I held them in an effort to maintain our reputation as slightly annoying, but well-meaning neighbors. They shouted an exaggerated good morning as they passed to make up for our relationship getting off on the wrong foot. I returned the salutation, glad that I was holding the dogs, and then let them go. That was it. They saw the neighbors dog outside his gate and immediately rushed him, bowled him over and attacked, viciously. I ran over and pulled our dogs off. The neighbors, who had heard the commotion, reversed the four-wheeler shaking their heads disappointedly and called their dog who ran off. Later that day the same neighbor saw me at the supermarket and said their dog was bleeding after the scuffle, that we have to do something about our dogs.

The next fight was different. This time I had one dog, Cody leashed. He was waiting patiently outside the neighboring supermarket as I picked a few things up for breakfast. Up walks a guy with three dogs, one of whom rushes Cody, bearing teeth. They go at it and it seems pretty even. The first time I had been able to get ahold of our dogs once they had taken the other one down. This time there was no good way to get in the middle. The other owner wasn’t moving either. The grocer, Chris, leapt over the counter clapping, shouting, running at the dogs and telling the other owner to control his. They stopped, the other owner pulled the chain around his dog’s neck and I grabbed Cody. Needless to say, adrenaline was pumping. Chris was mad that, James, who I shook hands with for the first time moments later, didn’t pull his dog off. James said he’s not getting in the middle of a dog fight. I was surprised again at how fast it happens and hoping that it wasn’t Cody that had started it. James apologized, I introduced myself as a new neighbor, we bought groceries holding our dogs close.

We inherited Cody with the property. He’s a year old and must way at least 60lbs. For all intensive purposes, we also inherited his brother, Drake, who is smaller, more aggressive. They’re from the same litter, different Dad. Drake really belongs to our neighbor, Liam. He sleeps and eats there, but spends his days here while Liam is off working in town. For being puppies they’re really good dogs. The most annoying thing they do is fight each other over our affection, Liam’s, the guests. They’re both leaners because otherwise there would be room enough for the other one to sneak in and steal some caresses. When you pet Cody, Drake comes over, bites his leg and tries to get between you and vice versa. Usually you end up with the dogs, haunch to haunch, both leaning against you with you bent over rubbing their bellies. Fair is fair. They come when you call, mostly, sit, shake and only bark occasionally when they don’t know someone.

At first we thought everything has hunky-dory with the dogs. Sometimes they were here, sometimes they weren’t. They go to the beach with the guests, who love them for it. Then the neighbors complained about their tire-biting habits and there were the fights. We started asking around, investigating our dog’s reputations and the general habits of the neighborhood dogs. We bought Cody a leash a few days ago to see if we can keep better tabs on him. After our survey and taking Cody with us everywhere it seems that our dogs are just like everyone else’s. If you’re on our property, or in front of it, you have to recognize Cody and Drake’s territory. When they are out of their territory it’s the other way around. We like having them here as they are warning against unexpected visitors. Liam told us that they have had problems with petty theft, which we have avoided thus far probably owing in large part to everyone knowing that we have dogs. Our guests find them endearing, part of the experience. We’re doing our best to keep them from running too wild, but after our investigation it seems that chasing a moto, drawing a little blood is just part of being a dog in the neighborhood.

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