Is it still technically stealing if I steal The People’s Dog?

Something strange has been happening in Bogotá lately – we’ve been enjoying the sun’s warming rays long past lunchtime. No rain, just crisp and glorious afternoons that turn the city orange in the manner of an English autumn.

My boyfriend cannot be kept indoors on days like this (I can, provided I have a good book, a movie or a computer with an internet connection) and so has been dragging me to the park at the end of our street – also know as Parque Simon Bolivar, which is huge and green and bigger and more beautiful than that one they rave about in New York.

But it seems such a waste, to go wandering off to a park without so much as a dog in tow. I’ve wrestled with my dog-free status for years, you see, in the way some people wrestle with their child-free status. The timing has never been right. I’ve never lived in the right house. I’ve never had the right lifestyle.

I grew up with dogs, really grew up with them – from being dumped in the midst of a ‘babysitting’ pack of hounds (before you set the dogs on me, half my family were foot followers of the Hunt, the other half are furious anti’s – which once caused a very comical situation at a family funeral) to hearing my mother say, days after the death of a beloved family pet: “It’s awful. A house just isn’t a home without a dog.”

That may explain my longing for the day when I can finally have my own dog, taking it for a lengthy walk every day and offering it a home where it has a lot of human company and can roll around in a garden whenever it pleases.

Until such a day arrives I will regard lengthy dog-free walks in parks as pointless and, as if reading my thoughts, there was a miserable dog waiting for us when we returned to our little estate, with a face that clearly said “Thanks for leaving me out.”

It was the scruffy, woeful, mangy thing that hangs around our streets looking, well, woeful and unloved. It has no owner, hence the name… The People’s Dog.

Except the other afternoon, enjoying the sunshine again and waiting for the tailor to alter a pair of my apparently shrinking boyfriend’s jeans, we saw The People’s Dog, this time jogging merrily beside a smartly dressed woman and sporting a dashing new blue scarf.

“I thought The People’s Dog didn’t belong to anyone?” I said, failing to hide a sharp shard of disappointment.

“Who do you think she belongs to?” my boyfriend grinned, as The People’s Dog ran one way and the woman went the other.

A new woman appeared in the gap, carrying a bowl of food for The People’s Dog, which she placed neatly at her paws.

“You see, she belongs to everyone,” my boyfriend continued.

Hence why I can’t help thinking about the park. The People’s Dog is sad, scruffy and always looks slightly stroppy. Would anyone even notice if I borrowed her? It does seem such a shame to waste a pleasant autumn afternoon.

Like this? You’ll love Colombia a comedy of errors.


  1. Jim

    Please take the dog in and give him or her a “forever” loving home. No one will care and the dog will be forever grateful.

    1. bananaskinflipflops

      Not in a million years, my boyfriend is a dog lover too – you don’t know the will power I had to exert and how awful I felt when a friend of his was being forced into giving up an Alsatian pup and was desperate for us to take him. I live in a top floor apartment and we both work. I already cross the street to avoid pet shops and certainly don’t need any more temptation 😦

  2. elpaisaingles

    I think taking the the PD for a walk is probably an extension of it’s role in life

    Every body seems to take a part in looking after it, goes jogging with one woman, gets fed by another, why not another woman to for a walk with? Also, do any men look after him?

    As long as he (or she) has some shelter to sleep in at night, it seems happy.

    As for “stealing” it, that is probably good for both of you, he will always come back to where the free food is! 🙂

  3. Paul Breaks

    Technically no, because you can not steal in the technical sense that which has now owner!
    Morally however…I don’t know.!!
    And to borrow the people’s dog would be cruel-you’d be leading him/her into a false expectation of warmth, homeliness and also-high rise views!
    Miss our family dog more than I miss my parents-is that wrong?!

    1. Jim

      So the “peoples dog” is fed and cared for by everyone? Who takes responsibility when he gets sick or when he needs shelter?

      1. bananaskinflipflops

        I don’t suppose you’re in Latin America Jim?

        Sadly, we have Peoples’ Dogs everywhere here and unfortunately few people are in a position to seriously adopt one (except for the, apparently homeless, man I see, who has collected about 20 of them together and makes it his mission to source food for 21 mouths. In return, they follow him everywhere and probably keep him warm at night, although I doubt they ever make it to the vet)

        You may find it interesting that the street dogs here are not in as bad a state as the ones I saw in Asia or even some of the ‘beloved pet’ animals I saw in the UK (from grossly overweight to downright abused) Latin people generally, from what I’ve seen, are kindly tolerant of strays, from dressing them up and feeding them (where I live) down to not shoo-ing them away with the same venom I’ve seen elsewhere.

        The dogs, as you can see from my pic, whilst rough around the edges and bothered by a few scrapes and a bit of matted fur, are generally not skinny wrecks and most exhibit a half-waggy/half-disinterested air around humans, a kind of ‘thanks for the help but I don’t really need you’ attitude.

        Sadly, there are worse situations to find yourself in Latin America than being born a street dog.

  4. natalie

    By definition, if it is The People’s Dog, it is there to be shared amongst the community. Go for it (if you can get her to hang out on a leash for that long)! We have a few People’s Dogs living across the street from my school — I’m always surprised that they haven’t disappeared with any of the students yet.

  5. Michael

    Definitely take the poor thing to the park , of course it might not be the peoples dog anymore but Banana skin flip flops dog but it is a risk worth taking? Also if you want share the amusing family funeral story ………..

  6. Jim

    I live in Miami but have traveled to Bogota many times in the past. I understand that there are worse places for street dogs but If I found an abandoned dog that I could give a forever home I would take him in. Our last dog was a small blind dog that we found wandering near hour home. She lived with us for over 10 years till she died of old age. Too many cats and dogs are abandoned here.

  7. Jim

    Her name was Peek-A-Boo and was a very loving and appreciative dog. No dogs now but do have 11 rescued cats that give us much joy and happiness. When we move to a larger home we will adopt another dog.

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