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.)
“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.)