I see them as they walk past our house. Dogs and their humans. A lot of them. In fact, lately I see that there are more of them than I ever realized. There may, in fact, actually be more dogs than people here on the island. It's not a requirement for residency, but it helps.
In this Time of the Great Quarantine, when people have no place else to go, I think they are getting outside for just an ordinary walk even more than they did before. And they all seem to walk down our street at some point during each day.
Tim and I both like dogs. I never fail to greet a dog when it walks past me. Not to pat it necessarily (especially not now) but just to say hello. "Hello Puppy" I say, even if it is very clearly not a puppy but an adult or even aged dog. The dogs always smile up at me in response. Children and animals, by and large, like me. But even more than me, they like Tim. No wait, they don't like Tim, they love him.
One of our neighbors has an adorable little teddy bear of a dog named Barkley. He is small but has a huge personality. He knows me well and any time he sees me he gets very excited. He smiles, he wags his tail and he greets me with a doggie grin. But if Tim is with me, it's not just the tail that wags, it's his entire body. I say hello and Barkely dashes past me, directly to Tim and if I get a greeting at all its more, "oh yeah, hi". Makes me laugh.
Every once in awhile Barkley and his owner come over to visit. Barkley knows he is welcome in our home. They step inside and the leash comes off and Barkley immediately dashes directly to Tim's office to say hello. No matter what Tim is doing, he stops to greet Barkley in return. It's a serious " like affair".
Local restaurants, in normal times, on the Avenue, have outside seating and people with dogs are welcome to have a nosh, doggie at their sides there. Most shops, regardless of the sort, have water bowls outside that are always being refilled for passing thirsty pups. There is even a dog park with it's own beach here on the island (currently closed but usually open)
In the entirety of Venice there are more pet groomers, pet product shops, pet bakeries, pet doctors, pet sitters and kennels than any place I've ever lived. And I've lived in places with a lot larger populations.
I like that. I love that we live in a place where people love dogs. Any city or town that accommodates pets just feels more welcoming. Any time we are out walking, there are other people walking with their dogs. They wave hello, we wave back. They smile at us, we smile at them. I think dog people (or any pet people really) are more friendly in general. The grumpiest person relaxes and smiles a little bit when I say" Hi Puppy" to their dog as we pass.
Big dogs, little dogs, old ones and young ones. Most on leashes of some sort, some in doggie carriages or back or front packs, some wearing sweaters or silly hats, some with their adult humans, others with their child-sized humans. Sometimes multiple dogs being walked at one time, occasionally being carried. Dogs in goft carts, on motorcycles, in golf carts and on boats. I've seen dogs running along side bicycles, skateboards, wheelchairs and electric scooters! They are everywhere here.
We are the oddballs. We have no dogs. We have talked about it a number of times but haven't done it. There are things we would need to do first like finish fencing the backyard. My personal feeling is that dogs should be allowed at least a little bit of time outside off-leash so that they are run around and be goobers. All dogs are goobers at heart and it's hard to gooberize sufficiently in the house. Not enough room and too many breakable things. Usually when dogs are outside they are on leashes and goobering on -leash is a good way for someone to get hurt and a leash to get tangled. So off-leash goobering time is essential. Good for the doggie soul. But without a safe fully fence yard, goobering cannot happen. Soooo obviously, fence would have to happen first.
Then too there is the type of dog to decide. Well I am a big fan of mutts. A dog of no specific breed. I don't want a dog with a better pedigree than my own and I am very much a Heinz 57 human. I also love the idea of a rescue pet. Match up a human who needs a dog with a dog who needs a human and you have the perfect combination.
Then too size is a consideration. Small dogs are adorable, but I'm always afraid I'm going to accidentally step on one and break it. I am very clumsy. And, I could be wrong here, but in my experience, the smaller the dog the more it tends to bark. Not a fan of dogs that barkbarkbarkbark. You know what I'm saying.
On the other hand, VERY large dogs can be hard to handle until they are properly trained. And they take up a lot of physical geographic space. This is a small house. If a Very Large Dog is sitting on the sofa there is no room for the humans. If the dog is trained to lay only on the floor now we have a trip hazard. In it's own bed? Takes up as much space as the sofa! And let's not even talk about shovelling up after a Very Large Dog.
Medium sized is probably more my preference. A sweet natured, no specific breed, gooberish medium sized dog in need of it's own human. Yup that's my kind of dog. But not right now.
In the meantime, I will continue to greet every dog that passes me when I'm out walking and admire them from afar. And we will be the oddballs on the island who have no dog. I don't know it for a fact, but I suspect that dog-people may refer to us as those people on the island without a dog.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.