The Coolest Dogs in Barranco

The dogs here are special. I’m not talking about the pampered apartment dog who only gets to go out with the maid. Instead, I’m looking at the savvy street dog. I don’t know if they have a master or mistress, but they are out on their own walking. You see them walking by themselves with a clear destination in mind. They are not to be diverted.

They don’t stop to sniff any interesting spells, like my dog. They don’t look at people or other dogs. They are on a mission. What that is, I do not understand, but their attitude is very purposeful. By their actions, they say:

“Don’t bother me, I’m on my way to something important.”

Maybe they are heading to a secret meeting of street dogs to complain about local conditions. Maybe they are plotting revenge against human abusers. One day we may find out.

They have adapted well to the urban setting, especially the busy streets. You see them sitting on the curb, waiting for the traffic to pass. When the way is clear, they step forward confidently, crossing the street. In fact, they could be a good example for our human pedestrians who tend to ignore all the laws and common sense.

I don’t remember dogs in California being this smart about traffic. Actually, I remember seeing a dog killed by a careless driver. I have never seen that happen here.

Street dogs can be a pest. Some have discovered that the garbage bags we put out at night contain some interesting bits of food. That is how they survive.

It is annoying to find your garbage scattered all over the place, and that is why some people provide food for the street dogs.

In that regard, there are street dogs who live a good life. In our neighborhood, we had “Oso” (bear) who lived for years cared for by kindly neighbors and students at a trade school down the street. Oso was smart. He would move to wherever he could get good treatment and a good meal. Our next-door neighbors had a soft spot for him so I would often see Oso sleeping peacefully in front of their house. Thanks to the neighbors, he also went to the vet periodically and once in a while had a bath.

Everybody knew him. When Oso died, a group of neighbors came together to mourn him and put up a memorial plaque in his honor. He was a special dog. We all miss him and often talk about his exploit

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