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Notes from Underneath: You mess with my dog, you mess with me

Notes from Underneath

A California girl in Chilsters (that's Chile to you)

Sunday, May 9, 2010


You mess with my dog, you mess with me

See this face?

Believe it or not, more often than not, people in this twisted country are SCARED OF IT. And I have to say that I'm getting pretty fed up with the whole notion of it.
When G and I take him downstairs in the elevator so that he can run around outside in the grass, we've experienced everything from kids screaming in fear, to women backing up in the corner so as not to touch him, to people literally looking into the elevator when it stops on their floor on our way down and saying "We'll catch the next one."

Does he bite? Absolutely and definitely NOT. Does he jump up and get excited around people and other dogs? Yes, very much so. But then again, he's FIVE MONTHS OLD. He's learning that jumping up is bad and he's also learning that pulling on his leash to get closer to a person so that they can pet him (in his mind obviously that's what they want to do) doesn't get him any closer to the person. In fact, when before he used to pull and pull and pull, now he pulls and sits when he realizes he's not advancing. He weighs 25 pounds, yes he's a big dog but if one more person looks at him and says "Wow, he's big. He's going to grow even more?" I'll seriously punch them in the face. The story is getting old, people. Can your square minds conjure up something a little more creative?

One thing I was stoked on when we decided to get a dog was that in SOME WAYS, Chile is pretty pet friendly. Upon further inspection I realized that this only applies to two things: 1) pretty much everyone has a dog and 2) there are a whole lot of vet options. Other than that, I feel I was led astray under a false pretense. Chile is NOT the dog friendly place I once thought it was, considering that you can't really take your canine anywhere that's not a park or a street. You can imagine how I felt in New York where dogs, in comparison, seem to wander free, checking out the spots and drinking mocha frapuccinos with skim milk (not lowfat because that's a West Coast expression) next to their owners.

I've taken to completely ignoring my neighbors when I'm downstairs or outside with Obi. They can't be bothered with him and therefore I can't be bothered with them. G and I are already foreseeing that people who live in the building are going to complain and what they'll mostly complain about is their fear of the aggression they anticipate Obi will have when fully grown. They believe this because he jumps around when he sees other people and pulls and pulls to get near them. Um... cut to the point when (and if) the person allows Obi to get close and he puts his face on the floor so that they can pet him. Yeah - super scary, square heads!

But the biggest indicator of his personality now and in the future is how he acts with G's kids. Again, when they walk through the door, Obi is jumping around FREAKING OUT happy to see them. After a while, he's over them and carrying on with whatever his business happens to be. The kids pet him, play with him, brush him, love him, HUG him, get on the floor with him and as far as I can tell, the kids go home to their mom after the weekend in ONE PIECE.

The problem isn't Obi, it's Chilean custom and society. Bulldogs aren't the norm anywhere but LEAST OF ALL here in Chile. It's beyond these people who dislike him for no reason that Bulldogs EVERYWHERE are a status dog and hello - not a guard dog or a fighting dog. Further, unlike SO MANY people in this world (many Chileans as well) I did my research on this dog and can surely have experts testify (I'm all geared up for court, peeps!) that this breed is passive, non-aggressive, calm, LAZY, good with children and ideal for apartments (due to their almost-non-existent need for exercise). So when the people in my building wonder if he's a good breed for an apartment, excuse me, but can I just yell "DO YOUR F-ING RESEARCH BEFORE YOU TELL ME ABOUT MY DOG, B*TCH!"

Sorry about that, blog readers. That was mostly aimed towards the woman who lives on the 8th floor and my neighbor across the way. Both of whom look at my dog with disgust and apprehension...But now that we're on the subject of them, I'd like to share that the neighbor has two sons, both college age. The woman on the 8th floor has a little girl, about one year. I'd like to complain that the neighbor's sons play music as if IN A NIGHTCLUB all hours of the day when the parents aren't home and once even had a party where their drunk friends started pounding on MY DOOR trying to get in. Did I complain? No. And though the woman on the 8th floor keeps her kid under wraps, as a person with no kids, I can't tell you how many times I've refrained from complaining about children. I don't have them so I can't relate but trust me, I'm aware of them more than you know and I keep it to myself when annoyed.

And speaking of the problem being Chilean culture, the poodles have GOT.TO.GO. There are about 1,294 that live in my building alone (slight exaggeration) and they YAP YAP YAP at everything and everyone. Mainly owned by square couples or old people, they poop all over the place and their delightful owners NEVER clean up after them. Again, do I complain? No.

These people would pass out in a city like New York, where you see every breed imaginable and they all live in apartments (or if they're lucky, town homes and penthouses). I'm talking Great Danes, German Shepards, Bulldogs, Pugs, Collies, Chihuahuas and everything in between and no one cares! They have boutiques dedicated exclusively to pets and it's the only city in the world where I feel comfortable enough asking if the collar comes with a matching leash (it did). This city and its attitude towards dogs would, in short, BLOW THE MINDS of the people in my building. Sweet buttermilk biscuits, I wish I could blow their minds ...

Dear 50% of the Chilean population (or more, who knows) and Dear People who live in my Building:

Yes I have a bulldog. Yes he's a puppy and he's going to grow even more, maybe reach 50 pounds as a fully grown adult. Yes' he's funny looking and walks like a crab. I don't expect you - or even WANT you - to think he's cute. I get that he doesn't look like an Ewok or those fuzzy, cuddly Gremlins and I'm ok with that. I'm sorry he's in his jumpy, happy-to-be-near-people-phase but I'm working on teaching him that jumping up is bad. People good, jumping up bad. Just as I imagine it took you some time to teach your kid to walk, my dog needs time to learn to behave. Just like your kid, mine is a kid and he deserves to have the chance to act like a puppy. Just as I don't look at your kids and scorn the fact that he/she's there, please don't look at my puppy that way. Like it would you, it breaks my heart. He didn't ask to come here, I brought him here and the bottom line is that he makes us very happy in our home.

What's that you say? You don't care and highly dislike him anyway because you IMAGINE he bites? Oh, and you continue to look at him with disdain, as if he's ugly and gross?
You mess with my dog, you mess with me. And hell hath no fury like a woman scorned ...over her bulldog.

Seriously... those poodles are more apt to biting than bulldogs!! My boyfriend (chilean) says he thinks your dog is super cute! I can't wait to be fostering all sorts of "ugly" dogs when I get to Santiago.. my neighbors will hate me!
Chileans are scared of all dogs that aren't poodles. People look at Papito with apprehension and fear (and pull their children away from her when we're walking on the sidewalk, even if she's on a leash). Ummm, she's EIGHT kilos. And also doesn't bite.
What!? How could anybody look at that adorable face and not think he was the cutest thing ever!
First things first: that picture of him in his raincoat is too cute! That said, I have to agree with Kyle that this isn't about him being a bulldog. I'd imagine that because his face looks more like a potentially dangerous breed like a boxer you would get more comments (because like you said, people aren't as familiar with bulldogs), but I've written about having similar experiences with Lola: I found a couple of the comments really interesting - basically saying that street dogs are usually pretty chill and just walk away if you annoy them, whereas many pet dogs here are very protective/territorial and more likely to become aggressive with strangers. I hadn't really thought about it from that other perspective before.

Finally (sorry, longest comment ever!), where can you not take Obi that you'd like to? We've found that most restaurants will let you sit outside if they have tables on the sidewalk, let me know if you need specific recommendations :)
Hey Emily, thanks for sharing that link with me... I feel a little better knowing it's not just Obi.. but regardless I'm on an anti-Chile crusade when it comes to my dog and will freak the F out on anyone who says anything remotely negative about him.
Just now I was downstairs and some dumb a** woman says to me "Ten cuidado mijita, tiene mucha fuerza." Yeah ... I'll be worried about that next time I'm thinking of wrestling with him. Thanks biatch.
Um and how can ANYONE fear cute little Lola? There is NOTHING aggressive or scary about her AT.ALL.
Cute dogs on a lead: Scary.

Starving, scared, giant street dogs: Not scary at all.


99% of Chileans should be banned from owning dogs. They have no idea whatsoever about what it takes to be a dog owner.

I now ignore people here (or sometimes tell them to shut the fuck up when they go on) when they tell me it's cruel I got both my dogs fixed, that I walk them on a lead until we're away from roads (a daily, 1 hour walk in the countryside) and that if they're so aggressive they need to be on leads in the first place, I shouldn't take them out at all.

I'm clearly a crappy owner...Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.

I've just rented a flat in Parque Forestal to spend some weekends and the odd week night when I'm in Santiago for work...does anyone know of a park big enough to let my dogs off the lead within 20-30 minutes drive of downtown (they're not all all used to roads and traffic so there's no way I can let them off in Forestal)??
Hi Matt,
Thanks for the comment. Yes, I get the same "How could you?!" expression and terrified look when I tell people I'm going to have Obi fixed at six months. Imagine responsible breeding and dog ownership?
As for your question on the park, I'm the worst person to ask right now since I can't really take Obi out to parks until next month. Emily would probably be able to best answer that question, should there be a place such as what you're looking for.

Best of luck!
Matt, Parque Bicentenario is the BEST. Big space and lots of other dogs. Drive up the costanera to the first rotunda, then take's basically Bicentenario c/Alonso de Cordova. Closer to you is Parque San Borja, which is basically behind the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It's small but fenced in.

People are similarly shocked that Lola is "esterilizada," but honestly when I go on to ask "well what would we do with the puppies? would YOU want all of them?" people tend to begrudgingly agree with our decision.
Excellent, thanks for that- good to know there's somewhere in town where I can let them off their leads. My Border Collie I got when he was 2 months old is fine, but Bella my adopted street dog has instincts to chase birds and other dogs (to play) that she just can't overcome. And when she chases stuff, she doesn't see roads or anything else...luckily, I have a friend's farm to walk them every day so it's not an issue here in Santa Cruz.

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