I Made My First Neighborhood Enemy

Yesterday morning I took Charlie out for a walk, per my usual routine first-thang en la manana. We were walking down Calle Amsterdam, a lovely leafy street with a special walking path just for pedestrians.

A woman approached, walking in my direction with a German Shepherd off its leash. Before I had much time to react, the dog lunged at Charlie and all I heard was vicious growling sounds. Charlie tried to run away, and I got tangled up in the middle of the leash. I was scared, and screamed “Jesus Christ!”

The woman — instead of instantly grabbing her dog’s collar and pulling him off of Charlie — responded, ever-so-flippantly with “Oh, he’s just playing” in English. By this time I had gotten Charlie a few feet away from the dog. But since the woman hadn’t bothered to leash her dog, he lunged again at Charlie. Again I was standing in a tornado of angry teeth and fur. I lost it.

“Can’t you use a leash?” I shouted as loudly as I could. Then, not sure if she understood, I said “LADY: Use a leash. Por favor, use un CORREO!

“My dog is not aggressive,” she told me in English.

I was shocked — what?? are you kidding me?? — but instead of asking how the attacking was “not aggressive,” I said back to her “well, mine IS which is why he’s on a leash, to protect us.” (This is true.)

Her response?

“No, no no. Dogs are meant to be free!” She shouted it as if high on the dander of her damn dog. “FREE!!” She lifted her hands to the sky, perhaps to puppy heaven, where leashes don’t exist. “FREE” she repeated a third time, walking away with her unleashed dog, as I tried to get a word in.

The best I could up with to battle her mantra? (I am miserable at coming up with powerful-and-irrefutable statements in the middle of a stressful situation.)

“Then why do leashes exist???”

Suffice it to say, after the altercation ended, my heart was racing, I was sweating, and I seriously was harboring violent thoughts to strangle her by her sweatshirt cords. Per my usual reaction during a confrontation, I started crying before I even made it home. Then I brooded for hours. And now I’m writing this post for catharsis.

Sadly, because she owns a dog and lives near me, the chances I will see her again are about 99%, meaning I have my first neighborhood enemy, and Charlie has his. (Who the rest of the day almost seemed to feel bad about what happened — he sat curled up next to me all day.)

She is just one of many people in this neighborhood who refuse to leash their dogs, but she’s the first one to be an unapologetic (perhaps delusional) jerk about it.

(And for all of you out there walking your dog in Condesa, watch out for a short, thin woman with dark hair walking a German Shepherd that’s about 8 months old. She and her dog are totally loca.)

6 thoughts on “I Made My First Neighborhood Enemy

  1. Martha says:

    Hi there,

    First of all don´t feel bad about having an enemy in DF. Unlike Mexicans from the rest of Mexico. Chilangos can be very cynical, aggressive and have a deeply cemented third world mind. I am mexican, from province and has been hard to adapt to this jungle of aggressive people. Me and my husband have our own enemies as well. A few days ago another off- leash dog atacked my dogs (which were of course on the leash), right on our doorstep! We complained and the owner of this dog said flat out he would never put a leash.

    Don´t be afraid of runing into this gal again. If you do, bring a tv remote or somehting alike and say you will electrocute her dog if he comes any close to you. By anymeans should any dog touch you. Don´t be embarrased, she should be the embarrased one. I remeber one time, one of these 2 huge irish wolfhounds came towards us after having swam in the fountain of Citlaltepetl and shake, leaving me, my husband and our 2 dogs all damp. Of course the owner didn´t apologize.

    In any case, also try to walk your dog with more friends with dogs that think like you, and if you ran into her you can all point at her and make her feel embarrased 🙂 I guess whoever is the least afraid of yell and have people around looking is the one who wins.

    I know how upsetting this may be for you but you have to forget about htese things quickly. We have had many altercations based on pet supervision and parking! of course, this is Condesa.

    Good luck!


  2. Nancy says:

    Joy, I can sympathise! I had a similar experience here in Mazatlan that I think I’ll blog about later this week.

    And I am happy to see my daughter-in-law commenting, above. Those of us who are responsible dog owners ought to stick together!


  3. dregina says:

    I successfully stopped a dog fight between Columbo the other day with a hose – maybe a water gun would be a portable version of that? Water in the eyes will usually stop a dog cold. That BLOWS.

  4. BV says:

    Joy, that is terrible. Even here, in Corpus Christi, there people who walk their dogs without leashes. Fortunately, none of them have been vicously aggressive. One man’s dog bumped me in the butt while I was trying to retrieve mail. When I asked him why he didn’t have a leash on the dog. He got mad at me for asking and said “Oh, he is just playing”. I could tell the huge dog wasn’t a mean dog, but he had bumped me quite hard. I just said something to the effect that I thought it was awful and he just gave me a dirty look and walked on.

    There is a woman who has two dogs that look something like Irish Setters and she lets them run all over my yard while she walks. One day I said something to her about getting a leash and she just brushed me off by saying “oh, they are just fine”.

    And there is that little chihuahua, two houses down, who is let free to roam and particularly likes to continously bark for about 30 minutes close to our house in the evening.

    Wow, there are just too many inconsiderate people in this world!! Thanks to all of you who are responsible and considerate of others!!!

    Yes, it is so easy to brood over something like that. But you usually realize at some point that it is not worth your time. the only worthwhile time is spent figuring how you could handle the next time with better results, if possible. I like some of Martha’s ideas. Water gun, anyone? Pepper flakes, anyone?

  5. yoyomar says:

    A water gun loaded with ammonia? (Though you’d have to be very careful not to spray Charlie.) It IS amazing that people can be so obtuse/arrogant/self-centered/stupid.

  6. DKN says:

    Christ, that woman’s mind set is so archaic. “Free” my ass. (and I’m not surprised to learn from Martha’s comment that its cultural). Its like those people that don’t believe in fixing their domestic animals because it’s “unnatural”. Flipping idiots.

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