The streets in my part of town are old and narrow, tight stone passages just about wide enough for a single car to pass if pedestrians hug the walls and breathe in. Owners sit in the open doorways of their shops and talk and smoke while people amble or cycle past, many with dogs. There are a lot of dogs around here. I love dogs. I love how unashamedly themselves they are. Which might be a bit of a loopy thing to say, an anthropomorphism, but it’s hard not to project onto these creatures we’re so closely tied to.
And so it was the other day as I watched one such four legged friend unashamedly be himself in the face of not insignificant pressure to do otherwise. Trotting along the narrow, cobbled street adjacent to mine, closely tied to his owner on a leash, and with a car coming up from the rear, the little guy stopped dead in his tracks without the merest word of warning, dog-squatted down and took an almighty dump right there on the cobbles outside two shop doorways. The dog’s owner, caught by surprise at his canine’s sudden life-choice, tried to drag the little fella off to one side to at least let the car pass. After all, I could read in the owner’s face, no man in an automobile must wait for my dog to poo.
But the dog wasn’t having any of it. He met his owner’s panicked plea with unflinching nerve, staring him straight in the eye while he finished his morning toilet, as if to say, no, sir, no, right now no man is the boss of me. The dog’s owner acknowledged the fact and submissively lowered his gaze, the two talking merchants sitting in their shop doorways outside of which this cool canine was crapping with the courage of his convictions fell into silent reverence and the car driver dared not honk his horn.
The dog finished in a jiffy and popped back up eager to continue with his day. As his owner bent down to scoop up his monstrous efforts, the plucky little pooch happened to look over in my direction and I’m pretty sure I nodded to him in respect.