No Paws Just A Passport

Programs for this blog post

Teach In Spain Program

Authored By:

Alexis B.

Hi my name is Alexis Briggs and I am addicted to petting dogs I see on the street. It’s a terrible, horrible, lick inducing encounter that always leaves me wanting more.  

I own two Labs back in the states but here in Spain, I only have a mildly matted shark stuffed animal named Pearly who does not reciprocate my cuddles. Fortunately my mother does send the occasional goofy pet picture in the family group chat but sometimes it doesn’t feel the same. In response I have made it my Tom Cruise, international mission (that's possible) to pet every different dog breed I encounter in Europe to fill my furry void!

My first few months in Spain I was scared. I’ll admit. Being in a new country with a new language to learn, away from my familial support system, I struggled. I’m still struggling. However, I have found a temporary bandage; dogs. In Europe, you can bring your dog with you almost anywhere. I have run into potential furry friends at parks, on the street, in grocery stores, in the bakery, etc. The only reason dogs wouldn’t be allowed within a building or establishment is if it is specified outside the front door. 

Unfortunately, my high school level Spanish has not prepared me to ask someone to pet their four legged friend. I have resorted to making a petting gesture with one hand and motion to their dog with the other. Most of the time, when met with a smile the owners are happy to oblige. Sometimes even the canines are more excited from the attention than the owners are from a small break. The amount of times I have been lick-locked by European dogs is insane! *Lick-locked (verb): to be stared at from down the street by two chihuahuas and when approached, those said chihuahuas attack you with licks and missing so much they whimper with joy.* 

Regardless of how much I want every dog I come across to roll over and give me affection I have run into someone canines not so inclined to human contact. Yes, even the bravest of us get rejected by male dogs as well as humans. When it does happen from a 120 pound Puli looking like a moving mop outside the metro, you just shrug it off and search for the next one! No harm no foul. 

My next step is to use some Spanish and now French (thank you to the other Aux giving me French lessons) phrases to verbally ask to pet dogs rather than looking like a street mime. 

¿Puedo acariciar a tu perro? 

Puis-je caresser votre chien? 

Can I pet your dog? 

Stay tuned for my next topic regarding a remixed version of writing home (sending postcards) to your loved ones (family and friends) while they wait for you to return home from war (teaching the youth of Spain)!