Walking Arena

First comes the stare. Then the probing with the nose. If that doesn’t work, then I hear a frustrated OAWOO which I take to mean come on you stupid human, don’t you know it is time to walk? This will continue until I give in. Three times a day we go through this ritual; at almost the same time every day. I don’t know how she does it without a watch. While I get ready, she continues to make encouraging sounds and jump up and down in anticipation.

Arena is a chusco dog (the Peruvian term for mutt). A street dog before being brought to us. She is an unlikely mix of German Sheppard (based on her color) and Beagle, based on the language she uses. Arena is an attractive young lady, medium-sized with brindle coloring and a white blaze on her face and paws.

Leaving the house, we enter the tree-lined street where we live. Arena first has to sniff thoroughly the little patch of lawn in front of our house to determine who has been around. This minute examination of this small area is fascinating to her, but immediately brings into focus the problem I have walking with Arena. I want to walk for exercise and she wants to pause and sniff where all the interesting male dogs have been.

Thus begins the struggle of two strong wills. She wants to stop and I want to walk. The result is a continuous tugging and pulling with feet sometimes planted firmly to get a lasting sniff of an interesting scent.

The only variation of this is when another dog appears. Then Arena, based on her experience as a street dog, is on alert to determine whether the other dog (or dogs) has bad intentions. Then I need to drag her away from another potential conflict. We turn right and head towards the beach, pausing briefly to greet the person sitting in a chair who is a watchman for the street.

Within a block, we have a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. I should stress that this is a distant view because we live on a bluff overlooking the sea. Below us, we see surfers and sailboats and many people on the beach enjoying themselves.

As we walk along the Malecon, we encounter many walkers, tourists, and dogs. In the distance, to the south, we can see the light brown, barren beginning of the desert. Looking slightly to the north, on a clear day, we can see the San Fernando Islands. And further to the north is a distant half moon which is the port city of Callao.

This is a view that Arena and I never tire of. It is good at any time of day, but we especially enjoy watching the sunset. Then Arena makes a special plea to get outside.

Standing on the Malecon, looking at a spectacular sunset,  we get treated to the best free show in Barranco.

Photo by Mahlon Barash

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