Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dog dazed afternoons

Jojo, the friendly dog of Santillan
There he is again, emerging from I don't know where. How I befriended him I seemed to have forgot.  But almost every time I pass this street from an afternoon break of coffee and scouring second-hand books at Booksale in Makati Square, he would jump or tug at me for a scratch on the head or if the spirit moved him, on the belly.

For the longest time, I must admit to be dog magnet.  Others were born with salesman genes that draw people and customers but it seems I've got a gift for drawing dogs instead.  From Batanes to Hanoi, I've befriended and played with strange dogs.  At times, I don't even have to do a thing but one will just sit on my side and ask for a petting or a rub.   I've been avoiding the huge pet center in Cartimar, Pasay, because I've been party to a thee-way dogfight where two Siberian huskies wouldn't want to let go while a small pooch tug at my shirt for attention. Don't get me wrong -- I know the unwritten rule about not approaching dogs I don't know.  But I guess there's a fine line between approaching dogs and being adopted by them by whatever criteria that seem strange and fuzzy.

So why did this dog nicknamed Jojo along Santillan took me by surprise?  I've read quite a lot of books on dog psychology and stuff, even watched a bit of Caesar Millan (I find his methods brutal though so I stopped watching), but why a dog seemingly chooses one over so many passersby is, I guess, a mystery better left to the specie.  One learning from this experience is that dogs learn a lot by looking.  How else do I explain being befriended by another dog (oh, the guard of the condo office where he is posted said he is one fierce canine) along the same street with a quite feral reputation?   Well, seeing Jojo and I goofing around must have taught him the way to get a belly rub is by being friendly.
The pooch of BonBahnmi
Heading to the opposite direction, to a Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall in Mayapis got me in a similar situation.  While waiting for my banhmi, the owner's pooch was playing with and chasing me all the while, jumping up and down for a squeeze on the belly (a rub is not enough I quickly discovered).  Embarrassingly, the owner's wife and kid kept calling the dog but he keeps coming back to play.  But I digress.

I take pleasure in walking back home occasionally through this old familiar street of Santillan so I can be left to my own thoughts but I guess the bigger reason is that I can play with "my" dogs.  I don't have any but I think, they, Jojo and his kind, have me.  This post is my way of memorializing the friendship of strange dogs who have opened up their world to a stranger.   Oh I ramble on but I believe any dog person will understand the strangeness of these dog dazed afternoons.


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