Monday, 3 December 2007
It's a Dog's Life
No, that is not an exhortation or celebration of the wonder of doggies. It just happens to be true, here in Todos Santos.
While it’s always been at the back of my mind, this thought came to the forefront as I drove over to my exercise class last week. At every intersection, from every lot and compound, dogs observed my progress. It occurred to me that it is quite impossible to travel, dog-incognito, in this place.
There are two reasons why dogs are the dominant life form in town. One, observable in any Mexican town, is that dogs seem to be naturally social, unlike humans. They really don’t mind mixing (and mating) with any breed, and they don’t care about lineage. They are quite productive (what else do you do as a dog in a town, other than eat or sleep?), and so the population of pathetic looking Dachshund / German Shepherd crosses, Terrier / Poodles, and that most definitive of breeds, the Baja Hound, grows till it exceeds the carrying capacity of the land.
The other, which appears to be specific to Southern Baja in general, and Todos Santos in particular, is that somehow, without my knowledge, they appear to have passed a law that says all Gringo inhabitants must serve at least one dog. Really, you aren’t a true “immigrant citizen” until you cater to the whims of at least 2 dogs. Note that I didn’t say “own”, as, despite the popular saying, it isn’t just cats that have servants rather than masters.
Now I have to declare a bias here. I seemed to have missed the inoculation that makes people regard dogs as a lifeform way above that of a grown human, indeed at least as high as a speechless infant. Unlike those around me how declare how cute it is, I fail to derive pleasure from seeing a dog drag its dirty butt across a carpet to express its anal glands. And if it really is so wonderful to sniff an acquaintance’s butt, why don’t we all do it when we get together? Behaviors that wouldn’t be tolerated of a child – peeing on someone’s bag, making deposits on the beach - are seen as harmless expressions of necessary functions. They are animals, after all. But I think that many seem to forget this, and don’t see incongruity between this truth and their loving admissions that they spend more money and attention on their dogs than they do / did on their kids.
So we have a cornucopia of dogs in Todos Santos, and they are revered. Not a bad life! They come to every function (“Why not?” I already hear many of you asking), and hang out on every corner. Of course, I know the real reason is to keep an eye on the potential insurgents within their midst, like me. That’s why the canine rulers of this place always come up to check me out when I arrive somewhere. At least I know where my Karmic evolution should take me next, if I behave.