I have a Bernese Mountain Dog.
It is a rare breed anywhere, and more so in Argentina.
So when you come across another you generally stop and let them sniff each other and you exchange a few words with the other owner.
I did last night and the other owner asked how old mine is.
“Four,” I said.
“Yeah, mine’s three,” the man said. Then he asked, “How’s she behaving?”
“Oh, fine… now,” I said.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. When he was a puppy, well, he’d eat everything, even the furniture. And my shoes.”
Bernese Mountain Dogs are big and as puppies they have an insatiable appetite.
I’ve always scoffed at the remark, “My dog ate it.” I didn’t grow up with a dog, save Maria, a small black dog. She was gone after a few days.
The experience wasn’t enough to give me a real sense of what it’s like to have a dog. So I would stare in disbelief at the kids who’d come to school and tell the teacher that the dog had eaten their homework. Get lost, I’d think, shaking my head. What a lame excuse.
Now my sympathy is with them.
As a puppy, my dog, aka Four-Ton, was capable of eating the house, if left to it. She tried. Indeed, she got a quarter of the way through a Persian rug while we left her at home to go out for pizza one night. Kids toys? A delicacy. My flip-flops? Yummy! A new magazine delivered under the door. Down the trap. Cake? She’s devoured more than me, and that’s saying a lot. All of this stuff – even plastic bags, bars of soap and plaster walls – are chewed, digested and, well, evacuated. Socks, dish clothes, entire plants. We once tried to discourage her from decimating our garden by putting hot sauce on the leaves and stalks. The hottest sauce we could find. And? She lapped it up and turned to see if we could dab a bit more of that yummy stuff on the next plant over.
You get livid. But what can you do?
Eventually you will live to tell the tale as with this perfect stranger I met on the street.
And the two dogs?
They checked each other out and then slurped up a few pieces of old gum on the sidewalk and together went for a couple of used tissues.