I started taking my three dogs out to train after hiking nine months ago to a swath of land right at the entrance of Riviera Alta. We were the only ones there.
It was fantastic. The dogs roamed, played, trained and got exhausted. I met a bunch of nice people living in that fraccionamiento. I brought the whole family to walk around and play with the dogs. The kids were ecstatic.
One day, some neighbors appeared with their dogs. They liked what we were doing. They were only used to walking their dogs in the mornings and keeping them inside for the rest of the day.
Slowly but steadily our group grew to several families. We have the weirdest mix of dogs imaginable: three Poodles, a Standard Schnauzer, a mini Schnauzer, two gorgeous Water Hounds, a super funny Chow Chow puppy, a beautiful Great Dane-Lab mix, a Golden Retriever, a Sloughi, one weird Australian Cattle Dog, a Staffordshire Terrier puppy, a German Shepard, a Doberman Pinscher, a Dachshund, a Belgian Malinois. Most of them rescues. Sometimes you could find up to 13 dogs playing around. We never reached the 15-dogs-at-a-time limit.
Obviously, for dogs to play and be trained, they need to be off-leash. Most people do not know what happens to a dog on-leash when there are a bunch of dogs around him. They can, and will, go berserk. That’s because dogs were not designed to be held on-leash around other dogs. They become protective and nervous. Dogs off-leash, with people who know how to handle them, are one of the most beautiful sights you’ll ever see.
But, lo and behold, after almost a year of creating this beautiful family of dogs and people, one neighbor complained about us. Our 13 dogs never went stray or got inside the condo. We always carried baggies and cared about a place that had been harmed and fertilized by horses. We were a joyful bunch of law-abiding people having a good time, watching our dogs playing and enjoying nature.
Authorities were called – although none approached us – and we were bullied by some neighbors who used nasty words and inappropriate language against us. The only incident was when a man who comes to the park every day to walk was tripped by one of our dogs. That’s the only incident in more than eight months.
Today, we found two huge signs posted by the City of Chapala pushing us out of the only place at Lakeside where we can take our dogs.
We are all university professors, contributors to many charities at Lakeside, specialists on dog behavior, analysts and consultants who believe in freedom. We know how to deal with differences. We know how to sit and talk.
I ask readers of this letter to draw their own conclusions.
Carlos M. Martinez E.
Jeanne Sathre’s column last week was about church bells beckoning people to come inside.
She says: “you can’t live in Mexico without noticing that church plays a big role in what the country is. Nearly every town, small and big, has a church as its centrepiece. It is the structure around which everything else is built and everything revolves. The social center, so to speak.”
Here is a photo I took recently of the church in La Floresta taken from Lazaro Cardenas. They obviously aren’t welcoming anyone from outside of La Floresta. #
It is rather ironic, especially at Easter.