Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dog Day Argentina: Pasedores de Perros or The Dog Walkers(Ken)


The concept of dog walking as a profession is relatively new to Buenos Aires. In fact, many Porteños take credit for inventing the concept.
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Here is how it works. An enterprising young Porteña or Porteño agrees to walk your dog for $100 pesos a month. That means Monday through Friday, no weekends and no holidays. If you look at the calendar here, there is a holiday about every ten days.
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Many do not walk your dog if it rains. These are salaried jobs.
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For this $100 pesos (about US$33) your dog is picked up at your departemento in the morning for a five-hour-day of fun with his perro amigos. As they are being colleceted, they yap in anticipation of the arrival of the new compañero--or at the annoyance of having a good walk spoiled by waiting--I prefer to believe the former.
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Tied up to a tree outside an edificio, the pant and bark and all look expectantly at the door waiting for the next arrival. When he joins the pack there is the requisite play fighting and growling and smaking each other around youd expect when a bunch of youngsters get together.
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Harnessed up, the pack proceeds to the next pickup. There are remakably well behaved dogs. They have little interest in human passers-by and only occasional interaction with one another as they stroll through the city street on their way to the park. Occasionally, an ill-behaved K9 will be muzzled. Then, of course, there are the ubiquitous piles of dog crap that are left on sidewalks as fetid landmines for inattentive Porteños. On almost every block, you will see a skid as evidence of an unlucky pedestrian´s encounter with these putrid piles. One month in country and I have avoided such a fate--I probably have now jinxed myself.
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Puppy playtime takes place in one of the many parks in Buenos Aires. In some areas they are permitted to run free and play and wrestle at will. Other pasadores perezosos simply tie the perros pobre to a fence and nap in the park drinking mate until it´s time to go home.
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Let´s do the math. Most make $100 per perro per month. The good-size pack is about 10 perros. That is $1000 pesos a month--I asume it is tax free. Some even do two shifts. No worries about employer-provided health care here because health care is good and free--that´s right USA. It is FREE.
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That is just a bit less than a police office takes home and more than the $800 a month salary a university-educated teacher makes.

Argentina is going to the dogs--or the dog walkers.

2 comments:

Jos said...

Hi,

I truly enjoyed reading this post. I needed the giggle!

Cheers!

TangoSpam said...

Juan walks Roxie 6 days a week. He is a blessing. He loves his dogs and each one is like a child to him. He also picks up after the dogs. I think Roxie wonders why we never moved here sooner.