Chucho de la Calle

At 4pm on Monday I headed to the bus with my new puppy Chula which would take us back to the village from the pueblo. The bus didn't actually leave until nearly 5 and during this waiting period the puppy was particularly antsy and I took her off the bus a number of times to try to get her to pee, -but to no avail. The bus was parked on a rather unsafe corner and she kept trying to run off under the bus which made me nervous. Let me just be clear in saying that this dog had 2 rather long windows of opportunity to relieve herself before the bus took off...

FINALLY at about 5pm the bus rolled away and I noticed that we were taking the long way home which is a good 1 hour and 20 minute ride.

About 30 minutes into the ride the puppy started getting really whiny and was trying to crawl out of my arms. I tried to contain her but since the bus wasn't too crowded and there was no one next to me I decide to set  her on the seat next to me. As soon as I did this, she immediately started to pee. The bus banked a turn and all the pee ran down the vinyl seat onto my side, and my pants soaked it up like a sponge. I was actually relieved by this, because I thought at least  no one else would see that the dog had just pissed on the seat... I sat dumbly in my soaked pants believing that the worst of it was over.

About 2 minutes later a guy got on the bus and decided to sit right next to me (even though there were other empty seats). I tried to send him telepathic messages that this was not a good idea but he didn't seem to get it. The pee on the seat had mostly dried up next to me but I still felt uneasy about having a seatmate... I thought he might smell the urine and figure us out.

At this point I expected the puppy to hunker down and take a nap but instead she began squirming and lunging out of my arms towards my seatmate. This is a bad sign, I thought... 


I knew she had to poop and I had no idea what to do. Since we were taking the long way home, if I got off the bus right away, I would likely never have found a ride to my village and we were too far from the pueblo to make it back by foot by dark. So I tried to comfort her until we got a little closer to home... She started to calm down a little and I thought we might make it but then she started up again and I knew I had to do something. Peeing on the bus was one thing... and I was lucky we had gotten away with it. But if she took a dump, I was done for. Everyone on the bus, who were all my neighbors to begin with, would know what had happened. The bus driver would probably never let Chula ride the bus again and that would be the end of my attempt to bring a positive light to "chuchos de la calle" (street dogs).

I tried to judge just how much time I had... We definitely needed to wait a little longer before getting off, so we could at least make the walk home before dark. I just pictured standing up with the puppy in my arms, and walking to the front of the bus as turds fell to the floor, leaving a trail on our way out. I can't let that happen, I thought.


 Finally I scooped up my belongings and motioned for the bus to stop and the bus driver looked confused because he knew I was getting off well before my stop and I had paid the fare for the full trip...

We got off the bus and the puppy immediately squatted and peed for a solid 30 seconds. I couldn't believe how much pee she had stored up and I wanted to scream at her for not peeing in all that time I tried to make her go before getting on the bus! She then took a huge dump and we began our 30 minute walk to the village.

My pants were soaked in dog piss and I was in a bad mood but I glanced down at the puppy and saw that she was bounding around my feet full of joy and energy. Suddenly I lost my footing and fell on my butt, catching myself on one hand which got cut up by the gravel. The wet pee pants caused the dirt to stick to me like glue and as I got up and brushed myself off I tried not to cry because I knew this was one of those things that would be really funny later.

After a long and shameful walk, I finally made it home and vented to my host sister about my stupid day, changed into some clean clothes, and ate some stale chips and beans for dinner before hopping into bed for some relaxation time.

Even though in those earlier moments things were pretty miserable, I can already see the humor in todays events and if nothing else, I know the folks back home will get a good chuckle out of it.


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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.