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.