Monday, January 24, 2022

on the roof of the world

Every time I see them, I smile.

No. That is not quite correct.

I mean, I do smile, but there is something more that I feel when I encounter Mexican roof dogs. Something like contentment. As if the dogs in their elevated (do I dare say "exalted") stature are the very essence of a universe in balance.

Of course, roof dogs come in many varieties. And I am not talking breeds. After all, Mexico offers up all sorts of dogs with pedigrees as common as those of northern tourists. We like our world that way. Genes cooked up like a redolent pot of pozole.

But there is far greater variety in the behavior of the roof dogs. At the sound of any noise, almost all of them hurry to the edge of their domain to see if their services are required.

Some are alarm dogs. You can even hear them coming from wherever they have been before they arrive at the edge of the roof. A short yip. Started by a series of yaps rising in pitch at the edge of the roof where the bark crescendos into something that sounds like an exhausted mother chiding her children in a store. 

And, often, the dogs do not seem to be that interested in the person that made the noise that alarmed the dogs that live on the roof of the house that Jack built. Or something like that. They will often save most of their barks for the sake of barking. That is why some people consider them non-electronic burglar alarms.

I doubt they are very good in that role, though. Or, at least, they are not very consistent. In my experience, the same dogs that bark up a filibuster on the roof will not take a second look at a passerby when the dogs are on the ground in front of their house. Maybe there is something about the height that lets the dogs lord it over lowly passersby. That exalted state, you know.

Then, there are dogs like this quartet. Whenever I walk by, the sounds of my footsteps alert them. And they always come to the edge of the roof. But, they don't bark. And they seldom pay that much attention to me -- as you can see in the photograph. What they do seem to enjoy, though, is that they are on the roof and I am not. That seems well enough for them.

As for me, I have no idea what the dogs think they are doing. No one does. The world of dogs is as mysterious to us as our world is to them. They know they are good at manipulating us into getting what they want. But I am not certain there is much more than. As a serial dog owner, I learned early that the two worlds will never be bridged.

But I know that I enjoy that feeling of contentment when I see them on guard in their perches in Mexico.

And I do smile.   

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