It’s likely that neither peace nor quiet are the first qualities that come to mind when you think of Spain and Portugal. Cheesy, cheap nightclubs maybe. Pissed-up and pale north Europeans perhaps. But away from the costa there is plenty of relaxation to be had.
That is, if it weren’t for dogs.
Before I started this, my main canine concern (I’d say I’ll stop the alliteration, but it’s one of very few rhetorical techniques in my ailing armoury [as well as parentheses and indeed parentheses-within-parentheses] so you’ll just have to deal with it) was being bitten. The only sane course of action, post dog-bite is to get to a hospital quick-smart to get treated for rabies. It’s pretty unlikely your assailant will have been rabid, but as the consequence (certain death) is so stark, you’d be an idiot not to.
But in reality, it’s the barking that is doing me in. Everywhere I go there are barking dogs. Main roads, side roads, beauty spots or garage forecourts. Mountains, lakes, beaches… Villages, towns, cities. Morning (dias), afternoon (tardes) or night (noches – see you’re learning with me!) Small yappers or big boomers they are all insanely annoying.
I used to love dogs. Then I was indifferent. Then borderline afraid (not viscerally, but of the potential inconvenience a bite would cause). Now I’m beginning to just hate the stupid things. Over-protective paranoiacs, barking at everything that moves or leg-licking lotharios (see 3rd paragraph) I don’t care anymore.
What’s interesting is that otherwise considerate owners are
blind deaf (or just indifferent) to the dismay their dogs cause. If I rocked up outside your house and kept you awake rinsing drill ‘n’ bass from my car speakers, you’d be understandably annoyed. And you’d have recourse to police intervention. If a damned dog barks all night, in the same desperate flat monotone, with the same result, it’s all okay.
I know people will say ‘it’s bad owners’ but a) this is untrue – some of my best friends are noisy-dog owners and b) I don’t care. Spain is great (I’m was drinking a E1.50 glass of wine, listening to live flamenco next to a stunning lake when I started this post and I’m drinking E1 beer on a sun patio as I finish it a few weeks later) but the noise pollution is ruining it for me…
Last night I was wild camping and the dogs dovetailed with ridiculous motocross bikes farting their way around disused land adjacent to the beauty-spot I had chosen. They are even worse to be honest, but at least they shut up every now and then.
One look at my instagram feed will tell you that this is a pretty one-sided picture (as most are, right?) of my attitude to dogs. I do actually love the things, so perhaps there’s a compromise to be had. Docking tails used to be acceptable in the 80s (oooh the 80s…) so how about removing their vocal chords at birth?
You may call me a monster, but just think about how other species are treated for your (meat-eating) enjoyment. I might be a monster, but you’re a speciesist.