Dogs and Their Owners

My Barcelona neighbors include a lot of dogs, large and small. They’re well-behaved for the most part and are almost always on a leash, as required by law, when I see them. And, although they pee a lot on trees, door jambs, downspouts, and other vertical things, their owners seem pretty good about picking up the dog poop.

Businesses are pretty accommodating about dogs. The restaurant above, for example, allows them inside and even provides a water bowel, if desired. The city is generally pet-friendly.

I sat inside a cafe last week and watched the waitress serving the outside tables ooh! and ahh! over someone’s dog. She petted the animal repeatedly and he licked her hand, and everyone was happy. Then she came inside, collected some food, and served it, without washing her hands. I made a mental note not to eat there in future.

I almost never hear any barking, which is remarkable given the number of dogs in the area. I never see any cats. There is a store-front veterinarian clinic just down the block, which surprised me. It reminds me of the clinic I volunteered in when I was 12, in downtown D.C. Or rather, the one my mother volunteered me into one summer. My mother’s dream of her son becoming a doctor (for animals) died that summer when I came face to face with the reality that sick animals, no matter how cute, often did to.

Barcelona has its professional dog walkers. It’s amusing to see them pull up for a quick cafe cortado at a bar and have their legs quickly become mummified in dog leashes as their charges swirl around them. They seem to handle getting untangled well; maybe it’s the espresso.

It’s the law here that dogs that go out of the house must be identified either by tattoo or microchip. Dogs are allowed on the subway but must be on a leash and wear a muzzle.

I generally find it nice to have the four-legged wonders around; it brings a smile to my face and lifts me up.

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