Categorized | Daily Life

City dogs

Posted on 17 February 2014 by American expat!

It’s 9PM and I’m in the pijo part of the city center, waiting for friends. Because I am actually on time–which in Barcelona is early–I am the only one to have yet arrived for dinner. It is a nice night, so I  wait outside and watch a group of dog owners gathered for some evening canine playtime. This is the center of the city where there are parks, though they are small and not numerous. So local residents, who live on this foot traffic only street, meet in the evenings with their pups to let them socialize and play. It is a street of stamped cement and some kind of lighter colored paving stones, with trees poking through holes cut out in the cement that the dogs sniff around. Most importantly, there are no cars, and because of this there multiple benches lining the walking thoroughfare.

I sit at one of the benches and watch the group of owners and their pets. The people chat with each other about their dogs, as most dog owners will: the breeds,  ages, behavior. I note that every one of the dogs is some kind of pure bred sporting dog. There is nary a mutt among them. You see some mutts in my neighborhood–along with clowders of feral cats that locals supply food and makeshift shelters for–but I’m sure each of these lovely dogs in this neighborhood was purchased for large sums. I note that not one of them is neutered, and am not surprised, as that would be a rare sight anywhere in this city.

The dogs are delightful of course. A four month old yellow lab tumbles around with a feisty little Jack Russell puppy. A gentle, smiling Golden Retriever visits with some children. An adult yellow lab with a ball entices a glossy black Cocker Spaniel to chase her. She calmly trots in a wide circle, tail waving to and fro, toenails clicking on the cement, ball in her mouth. The Cocker gallumps clumsily after her. Eventually the lab flops on her side, head on the ground, to chew her ball Labrador-style.  The dumb Cocker proceeds to hump her head.

The group fractions. One woman moves away to talk on her phone. Another calls after his wayward Golden, who is off to politely solicit the nearby restaurant patrons seated in this plaza. Eventually leashes are attached, toys gathered, and playtime is over. My friends arrive and I enter the restaurant, where I find all varieties of fowl on the menu- the very kind these sporting dogs are supposed to, but will never, retrieve.

6 Comments For This Post

  1. Tate Says:

    Britt, once more you have captured every precious nuance, sound, scent and unexpected folly of your world and shared it so perfectly with your readership. For just a moment, I shared that bench with you and laughed as the playful pets performed their social graces. So young Lady, did you have the quail or pigeon? Thank You for enjoying your life and sharing with us!

  2. Kristi Says:

    I noticed that about the pure bred dogs in Barcelona, too! Are there just no mutts or stray dog problem? Also, do you need a picture for this post? I have one I can send you that I took of a purebred at Port Vell. I’m Susanna’s friend, btw.

  3. American expat! Says:

    It’s because people generally buy their dogs unfortunately. Mutts are considered ‘less than’ and even with so called pure bred dogs, people generally don’t consider adopting animals, though that is slowly changing. The shelters are of course packed with lovely dogs who have been either dumped or backyard bred. Fortunately there aren’t many strays, in fact in 5 years I have never seen even one (unlike the colonies of cats everywhere).

  4. Ron Says:

    The rescue shelters are few and far between. But the attitude towards dogs is not at the same level here as it is in Anglo countries. People don’t care for their dogs or view them in the same way.
    Heaven help you if you have a service dog. Service dogs are not only for the blind!!! The law in Catalunya is not well known. Landlords and shop owners are not fined for discrimination when they refuse people with service dogs. Yes, theses dogs are permitted in grocery stores, restaurants …any place where the public is permitted.

    I’ve seen many a mutt in the past 20 yrs and too many piles of dog poo left by owners who are less than considerate. No small wonder given the lack of civility in general.

  5. Ed Welch Says:

    Hey, Britt! I used to raise Jacks in the US (kitchen-raised from champion lines). My kids were blissed-out as were our doggies who lived on our four-acre island in a river just outside of Philadelphia. Presently, living in Siam I am in shock and awe regarding Soi (Street) Dogs which wax wolfy at night. One day, in front of my friend’s business, I observed a retriever-mix soi dog with two, completely broken hips literally dragging itself from curbside snack to snack proffered by kind, Buddhist shop-keepers. On a suspiciously regular basis, truck-loads of these dogs are intercepted whilst en route to Laos and Vietnam intended for human consumption. If I move to Barcelona, it will definitely be a mutt.

  6. American expat! Says:

    Hey Ed! I donate to the Soi Dog foundation regularly. They are actually making quite a bit of progress in cracking down on the dog meat trade, with more and more arrests and shutdowns each year of the illegal slaughter “houses” (usually in some forest somewhere). They have a shelter in Thailand where the rescued pups go to get adopted out around the world, or live out their lives there.
    I have my amazon page set for a percentage of any purchase to go to the foundation, also a percentage of my ebay sales. It isn’t much but it is something, at least. Check them out:

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