I just got back from the beach where I had to stop myself from saying something I never thought would pass my lips: Does this dog have an owner or can I kick her in the belly?
My girlfriend and I planned an afternoon at Playa La Ropa with a few other friends, and she brought her Chihuahua, Coco. She's typical of her breed: curious about everything that's going on but very skittish if you pay her too much attention.
We were settling into our chaise lounges when I noticed a larger dog sleeping nearby. It didn't seem too interested in us so my friend poured water in a dish (well, a clean ashtray she brought along) for her pup. Just as I sat down the other dog stood up and walked directly to the water. I thought she was thirsty and would stop there but she stepped over the dish, her gaze intent on one thing: Coco.
We both leapt at the dog as Coco scurried around the chairs. The dog wasn't huge but she had at least forty pounds on the quivering Chihuahua. And we didn't seem to faze her. I managed to pin her against an occupied chaise as she darted after Coco, but I was afraid to struggle with her in case she turned on me.
She broke free and circled the chairs again, hunting for her prey. As I searched for Coco beneath the chairs my friend caught the other dog. I ran to Coco, now standing farther away from us, and called to her. She remained frozen in place.
"Will she even let me pick her up?" I asked. She'll let me pet her if I've been sitting still for awhile but I doubted she'd trust me right then. She might even try to bite me.
I caught my friend's eye and we realized we were backwards: I needed to be holding the stray so she could rescue her dog. I backed off Coco and inched towards the larger dog. That's when the earlier comment flashed through my mind. Another friend had told me a story of a pit bull attacking her dog while they were out for a walk. She was forced to kick it in the head, numerous times, to make it stop, all while holding her terrified, 40-pound dog. No one had come forward to claim ownership so I assumed we were on our own. I'd really rather not have to kick a dog but if it means saving another from possibly being killed, I'll do what I have to do.
In the end I yelled "Sacase" which is close to what they yell at strays to go away here. The dog strolled away as if nothing had happened and found a shady spot further down the beach. Coco was saved and spent the rest of the afternoon curled up in a chair.