The Dog That Has My Humanity in Check

Erasmo Calzadilla

HAVANA TIMES — “Blackie” is a dog that has made its home in the basement of the building where I live, in Alamar. The homeless dog found some tough guys to take care of her who have passed on to her their ways of violence and territorialism. So now Blackie has wound up being their guard mutt.

When I found out — through a bite on my shinbone — that she didn’t include me among her favorite neighbors, I tried to win her sympathy and respect with the methods of Cesar Milan (from the TV show The Dog Whisperer) but this bastard of a canine became even more aggressive.

Every time I went up or down the stairs of the building, I had to go through a thousand maneuvers so she wouldn’t attack me.

This went on for months, so I became convinced that what Blackie needed was a good beating.

Despite that conclusion, I ended up not giving her one, both to avoid problems with her “owners” and because I can’t stand mistreating animals. But one day she bit the families little sausage dog for the umpteenth time and I hurled a rock that hit her square in the back.

But did her behavior improve? On the contrary, now she’s furious with me – and me with her.

Since then a little war has been unleashed between us, one consisting of bites, kicks and more stone throwing.

I don’t care about the people who feed her anymore. When things have gotten the most tense, I’ve almost wanted them to jump to her defense (thank God that hasn’t happened).

Of course I’m not at all happy with this story; in fact I’m embarrassed and a little disappointed with myself.

I’m presumed to be intelligent and civilized, but now I’m not so sure. The layers of civilization that shroud me flake away like dried leaves with any siege by that two-foot mutt.

Like Silvio Rodriguez says — and I agree — “only love engenders greatness.” But I’d like to see him in my position, or Gandhi practicing nonviolent resistance with that little mongrel gnawing on his shin, or Jesus Christ struggling with Blackie’s demon without the powers granted to him by the Lord.

But still, what I don’t want is advice or anybody else poking around in this. It’s a problem between dogs.


5 thoughts on “The Dog That Has My Humanity in Check

  • Mark, the organization in Havana is Aniplant, and Aniplant does not have a shelter to take in abandoned animals. The Aniplant Project is a fully accredited 501 (c) (3) U.S. charity that helps Aniplant in Cuba spay and neuter animals. Yes, we’re credible. Thanks for the mention!

  • The dog in the photo seems to have a skin condition called demodectic mange (or some other skin condition), which is probably affecting her behavior, and which is treatable. If you’re trying to be friendly with her and would like her to stop biting you, try throwing a bit of food each time you pass her. You can scatter it on the ground as you walk by. A small gesture like this can get you a lot farther than Cesar Millan’s methods if you want to gain her trust. But making her feel better with treatment for the mange would also go far.

  • Shame on you, and there’s a special hell for “Moses” and his ilk.

  • Hard to believe but there is such a thing as the “dog pound” in Havana. Call ’em.

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