By D. E. Finley
Where we’re from in Austin, Texas, there are hundreds of acres of leash-free parks. Our mutts, Rocky and Baylor, love to run, paddle in creeks, and haphazardly chase wild critters like squirrels, rabbits, mice, deer, and skunk. (Fortunately, the critters always outsmart or out-spray them.) When we moved to Campinas, Brazil, we sadly learned that public parks and our condominium (gated housing community) park prohibit dogs. (Ironically, small yappy dogs are allowed in stores and shopping malls.)
Rocky and Baylor have adjusted somewhat to walks on leashes. However, they are losing their muscle tone and athletic physiques. They miss running and chasing things. Instead, the critters here chase them. Intimidating owls swoop down, screech, and brush the dogs’ backs with their sharp talons to guard their nests.
I try to think of ways to get the dogs more exercise in Brazil. One evening when the roads looked empty in our condominium, I let Rocky and Baylor off their leashes to run up a hill. Rocky happily loped along. But Baylor, ignoring the No Trespassing” sign, darted into a house that was under construction. After whistling for her, for what seemed longer than a Hollywood marriage, Baylor finally barked back.
Her bark sounded more like a desperate child, searching for a misplaced retainer or DVD game, “BOW W.OW SH*T! BOW W.OW SH*T!”
I followed her barks. Looking up, I saw Baylor teetering on a second story window ledge. She was shaking more than an acrophobic doing a handstand on the shoulders of Shaquille O’Neal (NBA basketball star).
I walked over to the house. In darkness, I ascended up the sandy hill to reach the second story. I called Baylor. She exited safely towards me, whining with relief. Rescue mission accomplished. But what the Hec was biting me everywhere?
As we headed home, my bare arms and legs were still getting nipped. From my arm, I pulled off and identified a hearty sand flea, probably on steroids and protein powder supplements. Once home, I managed to skip giving the dramatic details of the walk to my husband. He is a strong proponent of leashes, choke collars, and not getting deported. I slipped Rocky and Baylor industrial strength tick control applications. I gave myself an industrial strength shower with Motel-6 shampoo and bath gel. So much for letting the dogs off of their leashes to run on the street.
Disheartened but still determined, I tried to find another place for the dogs to run. Driving around our condominium, which contains about fourteen hundred homes, I found a group of several vacant lots together.
As Rocky and Baylor pranced through the open grasses, I gleefully sang my favorite apropos accompaniment, “Born free, as free as the grass grows, as free the wind blows, born free to follow.”.
Then, the dog’s real fun started when they spotted and followed a cat in someone’s yard. I shouted, pleaded, and bribed them with chewy treats to come back. They ignored me and raced after the cat. By the time, I reached the three of them, they were in a tangled tussle in the cat’s yard. The cat’s owner was watching from his balcony.
Now I was barking in mind, “Ow sh*t! Ow sh*t!”
He called, “Fifi! Fifi!”
The cat tumbled to try to get away. She rolled and splashed into the goldfish pond. I somehow managed to grab the dogs by their collars.
The angry owner headed towards us yelling in Portuguese. “Blah! Blah! Policia! Blah! Blah! Policia!”
I replied, “Desculpe! Desculpe!”, meaning “I’m sorry” in Portuguese.
“Nao Desculpe! Blah! Blah! Policia! Blah! Blah! Policia!”
The fluffy black cat, most likely a pure-breed with papers and Gucci pet accessories, stood leg deep in the goldfish pond. Her owner, a hefty balding gray haired man, fished her out of the water. He gently placed Fifi under his arm.
Now on a leash, but still not grasping that their hooligan fun was over, Baylor lunged towards the cat and the man. I yanked Baylor back. She continued to tug at the leash with rabid enthusiasm. Fifi continued to drip goldfish pond water. She looked more like a wet pom-pom.
“Desculpe,” I apologized again, yanking Baylor back, “Sit Baylor! Come on, sit! Sit! Come on, SIT!”
“Oh. You are an American?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Well, this is my cat and I love her! She means everything to me!”, the man ranted on. “I could not let anything happen to her. Do you understand me?! Fifi is my cat. And, I love her! I LOVE HER!! “
As he stroked and kissed the dripping Fifi, I continued to apologize profusely.
“Where do you live? In America?”, he asked.
“No, I live here in the condominium.”
“Oh, so you will be back! I will need to look out for you! You and your mongrels. who tried to eat my Fifi!”
For the first time, since I was five, I felt like I was going to wet my pants from fright. Back then, I wet my pants after being scolded by a churlish neighbor, who looked like her only means of transportation was a broom. He reminded more of a militant PETA activist (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
I tried to assure him that I would never come to his neck of the condominium again – even without a restraining order. So much for letting the dogs off their leashes to run in vacant lots. So, my quest for finding leash free zones in Brazil for Rocky and Baylor continues – and also my quest not piss off any more Brazilians.Copyright D.E. Finley 2005.D.E. Finley is a writer and graphic artist. You can visit her website at http://defDesigns.comTo read previous articles by D. E. Finley click below:
Brazil Humour: Dental Visit
Brazil Humour: Dying Pet
Brazil Humour: Doctor Visit
Brazil Humour: Lost Dog
Brazil Humour: Brazilian Chicken
Brazil Humour: Visiting Santos
Brazil: Novo Jerusalem
Brazil Humour: Plastic Surgery
Brazil Humour: What’s In A Name?
Brazil Humour: Sizing Up Shoes in Brazil
Brazil Humour: Hiring a Cook
Brazil Humour: Pet Sitting
Brazil Humour: Driving in Campinas
Brazil Humour: Lighting Up
Brazil: Going to the US Consulate
Brazil: Advice to Dialinda
Brazil: Feijoada Anyone?
Brazil Life: Winter in BrazilBrazil Life: Home Safe HomeBrazil Life: Hose ShoppingBrazil Life: In-Laws In TownBrazil Life: Got FlossBrazil Life: Hiring a MaidBrazil Life: Brazilians are so NiceBrazil Life: Gringa Goes Shopping at CarrefourBrazil Life: Amazon Encounter Lodge Vacation Brazil Life: Keeping Track of My Purse