I have a terrible habit of petting strange dogs. When I lived at home it drove my Dad crazy.
“You shouldn’t pet strange dogs,” he’d say, as I reached toward some strange dog’s head. One freezing winter night, I was taken in by a crafty Jack Russell outside of a convenience store. No kidding, this dog was sitting there shivering and looking very sad. I felt sooo sorry for it, I had to pet it at which point it seized the opportunity to attempt to bite my hand off. Wow, I had no idea such a small dog could look so terrifying.
“That’s why I told you not to pet strange dogs,” my Dad said. Nowadays, I try to refrain from petting dogs I don’t know unless I speak to their owner first. And I’m not just saying that because my Dad is reading this.
It’s one thing to pet a strange dog that’s probably owned by someone in North America, it’s another thing to pet a stray dog in Cuba. But I just couldn’t help it. I couldn’t. Look how cute he is!
We saw this little dog all over old Havana. What’s remarkable about him is one of his back legs doesn’t even work, but he can run really fast!
After bumping into him for the 100th time, I decided to take his picture. I thought we’d then just carry on down the street but as I approached him, he kept his eyes on me and then, cunning little man, he rolled over on his back just as I was about to pass him by.
Come on! You are killing me, Dog. Killing me!
So I pet him. I did. And he was really, really dirty. The filthiest animal I have ever seen. He was so sweet though, oh my. Debra, a bit of a germaphobe, barely prevented herself from hurling. But she did force a generous dollop of hand sanitizer on me when it was all over.
I rubbed his belly for a few minutes and then I said to him, “Okay, you’re alright. See ya later, buddy.” (I’m sure the dog was like, “Hey Senorita, en Espanole por favour??” )
Of course, he followed us. That’s the reason you shouldn’t pet strange dogs. He was jumping up and down excitedly (on his one good back leg!!) to pat our shins with his front paws.
Anyway, I felt terrible. I wished I hadn’t lead the dog on by petting him. I loved this little dog. If I had more days in Cuba to figure out how to get him shots and papers to transport him home, even though I have no real interest in owning a dog, I would have done it.