AMORES PERROS


Not long ago, I was waiting for my order of tacos to come out of one of my favorite trucks parked near Chavez and Evergreen. The wait was long, (as usual-but worth it!) and as I stared off into space, trying to find my taco-waiting “Zen” zone, I began observing the Evergreen Jogging Path across the street.

It’s a lovely thing, and the community really seems to enjoy it and use it. I’ve never jogged on it myself because I find the fact that you have to circle around a cemetery to be  a sort of grim reminder that says to me: “You’d better keep your ass running, or you’ll wind up in here soon enough, Esé!”, I don’t need that kind of motivation to exercise.


Anyway, while watching the joggers I noticed something special. A woman was strolling along, walking her dog. Now, at the risk of coming off like a George Lopez comedy routine I really have to say that in all my years in E.L.A., It’s not often I come across people walking their dogs around here, and so I got to wondering, based on my experiences of living on both sides of the river, why is there such a gap in the way dogs generally live on the Eastside as opposed to Westside canine culture. I normally loathe making lifestyle comparisons based on race or region because usually most differences are more about class values rather than anything else. Nevertheless, based on my observations here in Los Angeles, it seems that the further West you travel, the greater the “dogprint” is. By the time you get to Santa Monica, for instance, you’ll find that dogs practically run the place. I remember a few years ago when the gentrifying “Urban Pioneer” boom was just happening in Downtown L.A., someone on the Downtown News was quoted as saying: “…You know that Downtown L.A. is really becoming gentrified when you find more dog shit than human shit on the streets these days.


Recently, I had a discussion on this subject with someone who suggested that animal ownership attitudes and the way people treat their pets might be related in part to the fact that some people have a more “rural” approach to animals. She stated that people who grew up and lived in the country or on farms (or have that rural influence in their lives) typically have a lot of affection for their animals, but at the same time, fully recognize that these beings are in fact, Animals, and thereby make clear distinctions between them and humans and never blur the two. This would then suggest that some people out there perhaps don’t see that distinction so clearly. Whatever the reasons for these differences, here are some examples I have observed to illustrate this apparent contrast in pet East/West lifestyles.

Some Westside and middle to upper class regions in L.A. commonly offer these Pet Services:
•    Pet Sitting,
•    Pet Walking,
•    Pet Taxis & Shuttles (supershmuttle.com)
•    Pet parties, (http://itstheleashicando.com/services.php)
•    Pet Daycares & Camps
•    Dog Parks
•    Pet Fashion Designers
•    Dog “Ranch” (featuring: “Zen Pillow Den” for the mellow, reflective types. bluedogboarding.com)
•    Doggie Bar & Restaurant (pussyandpooch.com)
•    Pet Gourmet Chefs,
•    Pet Psychiatry,
•    Pet Potty Training,
•    Dog Seat Belts for car rides bowwowbungalow.net),
•    Pet Travel aids,
•    Dog Cafés and Bakeries,
•    Karma Dog Training (karmadogtraining.com)
•    Pet Masseuse
•    Pet Colonics
•    Dog Fashion Boutique (woofdogboutique.com)
•    Doggie Gym (barkavenueLA.com)

…. The list is actually endless…….
Just to add to this East/West pet distinction, I recently saw a “Lost Cat” poster on a light pole off of PCH near Malibu: $5,000.00 Reward! That’s FIVE GRAND. No Mames!, on the Eastside we wouldn’t pay Five Grand to find our lost Tia Concha!

On the Eastside: I’ve observed that some Eastside residents encapsulate all of their pet’s Walking, Feeding, Playing, Pooping, Boarding, Dog Sitting and Social Interaction needs through the act of one simple process:

•    Leave the front gate open.

Here in the Eastside (and in some small towns I’ve visited) I’ve often encountered what I can best describe as a “neighborhood dog”, meaning that it seems to belong to no one in particular but everyone recognizes it and feeds it and treats it like a member of the community. Then, there are the security dogs. The big silent brutes types that sit chained up all day and night within the gates of those suspicious Barrio McMansions that seem to spring up all over the place.


Obviously, these examples do not define all pet relations in the city. I have witnessed examples of good and bad pet treatment on both sides of town. I’ve even witnessed homeless people who treat and care for their pets quite well. Recently, I walked by a hipster couple tying up their dog outside of MALO bar in Silver Lake while they went inside to have drinks with friends. I also saw a vendor at the Sunset Junction Street Fair leave his dog in his truck for 6+ hours (“The A/C is on!” he called out to people nearby as he ran off). Better judgment as to when to leave you dog at home should be a top priority around here. Unfortunately, these poor pooches can’t speak (or they might say: “Hey, I’d rather you’d leave me at home instead of dragging me here to watch you slurp your fucking Gelato all night!) and these animals are often used as nothing more than a fashion accessory or social magnet on the streets. Maybe this would explain why the Westside actually needs those “Pet Psychiatrists”.


So, by the time my Taco order came through the truck window that day, a big, reddish brown Husky type dog had walked slowly past the plastic milk crate I was sitting on. It sniffed the air for awhile and then resumed it’s long solitary walk . For a long while, I watched him shuffle down the street, casting his long doggy shadow as the approaching Sunset put a pretty amber glow on the Eastside streets.

Some Westside Dog Images…….

http://www.yelp.com/biz/silver-lake-dog-park-los-angeles

You can’t go anywhere without running into Dog Walkers in Santa Monica

I shot all of these images within a 15 minute period on one stretch of Ocean Avenue. Santa Monica.

An Eastside scene……..

Another thing I’ve observed on the Eastside, where did this idea originate that a container of water left in the yard is an effective Dog Repellant? My parents had put out these water filled jugs by their front gate to deter some pesky stray canines who had been lately leaving nasty little “gifts” on their lawn. I pointed out to my Dad that this method did not seem to deter some dogs who continued their foul visits despite the presence of contained water. Right then, a neighborhood dog approached, cruised right by the water jug, and proceeded to “lift a leg” in our yard, my Dad simply stared angrily and shook his head. “Pinchi Perro ‘Stupido!”, he muttered.

This entry was posted in Eastside, Pendejadas, Personal, Photos, Uncategorized by AlDesmadre. Bookmark the permalink.

About AlDesmadre

Al Guerrero, Artist/Humorist. Los Angeles, CA. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles from the age of two, Al Guerrero grew up just steps from the famous Chicano strip, Whittier Boulevard. His youth experiences include witnessing and participating in the 1970 Chicano Power demonstrations, cruising cars on Whittier Boulevard, and graduating from Garfield High School. After dropping out of UCLA (with honors), he drew upon his lifelong passion for art and cartooning and pursued a career in graphic arts. During this period, he traveled overseas and found artistic inspiration from the masterworks he discovered within the European Art Museums. His career blossomed when he was eventually hired by the Walt Disney Company in 1995, where he worked as a creative artist for a number of years. Although the artistic work was rewarding, he eventually grew weary & disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the entertainment business, and left to work briefly in the educational field. His credits include producing a feature film with actor, Conrad Brooks of Ed Wood fame, founding and performing with the Punk Rock group “The Psychocats” at numerous L.A. & Hollywood venues during the 1990’s, and in 1999 he founded and created a hell-bent puppet cabaret show aptly named: “The Puppets from Hell”. As a long time active member of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, Al “Quaeda”, as he was known, was involved in countless Cacophony Society pranks and events throughout the city. He also produced the “Incredibly Strange Cinema” cult film series as well as themed events such as the now infamous “Pornothon Movie Nights” and the satirical “Mexican Night: Noche De Tequila & Putas” shows at local nightclub venues. Throughout his art career, he has exhibited his canvas paintings at various local galleries, and has also written & illustrated numerous comic strips and Graphic Novel stories. Today, he lives in Silver Lake, California and works as a freelance artist and writer with numerous multi-media projects under his belt and in the works. His personal hobbies include collecting vintage toys and comic books, cinema history and Los Angeles City history. Contact: alguerrero@earthlink.net Al Guerrero P.O. Box 29697 Los Angeles, CA 90029-0697 www.alguerrero.com Myspace.com/thepuppetsfromhell

28 thoughts on “AMORES PERROS

  1. That’s a good observation. I had a similar discussion last week on urban design/streetscape in predominately Latino neighborhoods and perros. Short blocks lend themselves to better walkability…who wants to walk a street with pitbulls in front yards barking the hell out of you. Doing political canvassing in Pacoima was never fun for me. If I recall, Alex Padilla when he ran for LA City Council got his pants chewed up doing precinct walking…but HE gets no sympathy from me.

    I think the presence of people walking their dogs in any neighborhood is not necessarily a bad thing. More people on the street is ok with me.

    But about the pro-perro lifestyle, its also an issue of marital status (e.g. more single people). The “rise of the perro” could also be attributed to living alone and living single for a longer period of time.

    The LA Times had a database of registered dogs throughout the county about 2 months back, check it.

  2. The latest westside centric LA Times magazine has an article about dog dermatologists, needless to say I didn’t read it. Definitely some people could learn a bit about treating dogs with more respect (not chaining them up, not keep them in the backyard forever and ever) but the sort of attention that some pets get nowadays is crazy.

    There used to be a street in Boyle Heights full of barking dogs, once one started the rest followed. It was useless trying to be quiet to avoid detection, and it turned out to be much for fun to make lots of noise to get them all to bark at the same time! At least they were behind gates, not like the roving dog gangs that used to patrol the greens of Wyvernwood back in my day, where we all had to run in and wait for them to pass. Yup, true story!

  3. have a lot of affection for their animals, but at the same time, fully recognize that these beings are in fact, Animals, and thereby make clear distinctions between them and humans and never blur the two.

    EXACTLY! This distinction is an effect of social class. Animals are animals, not humans. If I had to choose, I’d rather eat than have my pet eat. Animals in urban areas are pretty useless. They’re mostly markers of social class. Let someone get an animal that actually provides a service (like a rooster, chicken, or goat) and everyone gets up in arms about how “this place is becoming like [insert name of Third World country here]!”

    Pets are useless unless you put them to work.

    I’ve used the milk gallons to deter cats and dogs from defecating in the lawns and it does work. You’d probably need to place the jug farther from the fence to keep animals away.

  4. 1. I love that taco truck Al. I took Dona Junta there once and she agreed that that taco truck is the shit.
    2.I have been walking around evergreen for the last two years, going to three in November. Ironically that’s how old my dog is. When Harley Quinn came into my life, I made a vow to take care of that dog. She has all her shots, city license(she is the only licensed black labrador in boyle heights), food and a home she shares with her mom.
    She’s the only Harley Quinn in the entire 90033 area.

    http://projects.latimes.com/dogs/zipcode/90033/

    I walked with her everyday at all hours of the night. The latest I walked around evergreen is 11 at night and the quite night is something I have come to love and cherish. In fact there are times when the walk is more for me chilling out for an hour rather than taking my dog for a walk. Every now and then I treat her and her mom to tacos from the taco truck and we go home. That’s as far as i go in spoiling my dog. Other than that she’s just like any other dog in the Eastside.FYI I’m not one of those people that lets my dog take a crap out in the street. She does that till we get home.

  5. “Animals in urban areas are pretty useless. They’re mostly markers of social class. ”

    Correct, if you feel “unsafe” in your neighborhood, get a pitbull and make him/her as vicious as possible. There’s something to that, about class and dogs.

    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/09-29-2005/0004134730&EDATE=

    “During the one-day Latino Health Summit, participants discussed the health status of California’s Latino community. Findings from various statewide “walkability” assessments were presented to Summit participants to help shape the statewide message regarding healthy eating and physical activity opportunities in Latino communities.W alkability” assessments, implemented in .. Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego-Imperial, served as community evaluations that identified roadblocks to safe physical activity opportunities and
    effective routes to nutritious foods.

    Among the common barriers observed were: traffic signals did not allow enough time to cross; no marked cross walks; no stop signs or traffic lights at intersections; narrow, broken or missing sidewalks; insufficient or no street lighting; scary or loose dogs; and litter, trash and graffiti.”

  6. Metro Vaquero- Thanks for the great comments. The marital status factor is an excellent point.
    Chavo- Your Wyvernwood tail(!) terrifies me. Back in my Punk band days, we would practice at a place called Downtown Rehearsals on Santa Fe between 7th & 8th. There was a pack of loose vicious dogs that prowled that alley/parking area. It was like “Cujo” times 10. Whenever you went through there these dogs would chase a moving car and bite at the tires, the fenders, whatever they could catch.
    soledadenmasa- I’ll pass your water jug tip along to my parents. Thanks!
    Random- Last week I was at the truck at Los 5 Puntos, (another good one) and this little black chihuahua comes up to me while I was eating. I reached out to try to pet him and he backs off all paranoid and shit like saying: “Don’t touch, Ese!, just hook up some of that Cemita!”
    By the way- You’ve got some real Huevos Rancheros walking around that cemetery in the middle of the night. Aren’t you afraid of the “CUCUY”? (shout out to Harley Quinn- woof!)

  7. haha, I thought this post was about Beverly Hills Chihuahua too. also can anyone explain to me how putting a gallon of water out front’ll stop stray dogs from leaving “gifts” on your lawn? I hate waking up in the morning for work & seeing their “gifts”.

  8. I think we all agree that the movie is just dumb and pointless. I know that’s what I think.

    Al ~ As bad as it seems the cemetery is safe and I have never seen anything bad happen in all my time. Not a rape, mugging or anything. In fact, for a while there was a chick that jogged late at night and she was pretty. I guess if your from the immediate area you feel safe. Besides, when I have two hundred lb dogs walking next to me, people GET OUT OF MY WAY. Mostly cause they’re scared. Then they see the dogs are soo nice and cute. I remember when Harley was a puppy and all the girls would stop me to pet her and tell me how cute she is. It was awesome.

  9. There’s no way that a mexicano will be carrying a bag full of dog shit. No way! In Mexico, where I grew up, dogs had a job, they helped herd cattle and protect the property and there was no way that we would allow them in the house. Dogs would usually eat all the left overs. Que pedigree, alpo ni que la chingada…

    I don’t know if those water jugs work, but I can tell you that a resortera works very well – j/k

    I don’t understand how people can kiss their dogs, knowing that their dog sniffed either dog poop, urine, another dogs butt or all.

  10. Yeah, that’s another thing; Letting your pets hang out on your bed. They rub & wipe their nasty butts all over your pillows & blankets, then you come along and put your face on those same places. Fuchi! Poochi!

    Random- no doubt, doggies can be great chick magnets.

  11. it’s true, my parents never let the dog inside the house and kissing them IS GROSS. Dogs have cleaner mouths than humans, but that’s because they’re always chewing on something. One thing I also noticed is that the dog whisperer doesn’t make house calls on the west side. (I love that show). It’s not surprising because when a dog is treated like a king, of course it’s going to have attitude problems. It’s funny because the majority of the problems he addresses is role reversal between the pet and the owner. THe dog is treated so well that it thinks it’s in charge and does what ever it wants. I love my dog, but there’s no way she’s going to get away with thinking she can boss me around and do what she wants. If authority isn’t established from the beginning, the pet will be the boss and not the owner. That’s why people wonder and ask me how I’m able to walk/run with two big dogs at the same time without any problems, while they can’t even keep their tiny, rat like dog in check. I sound like the dog whisperer when I talk about dogs. Sorry.

  12. The photos are great!
    I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of dogs from either side of the city or border. It could be cause I love cats and have had two household cats killed by dogs. Or it could be because my brother got attacked by a neighborhood dog when he was 7 years old as we were walking to the corner store. Or maybe it was the time a huge German Shepard bit me while I was walking on the beach in Tijuana and I was terrified it might have rabies and all my friends were still too drunk from the night before to console me…
    In the end I know, dogs are cool, it’s just the owners who make them bad. 😉

  13. chimatli- Sorry about your bad dog experience in TJ. I had a a bad experience in Tijuana invoving a “MORDIDA” too, but that’s another tail! 😉
    I have 2 cats. They are strictly indoor though, because around my neighborhood
    we get pre-dawn Coyotes (the 4-legged kind) that come around into the yards and snatch whatever small animal they can. I see them all the time. I once saw a Coyote cruising by the VISTA Theater on Sunset Bl. late one night.

  14. I got bitten by a “neighborhood dog” around the corner from the Boyle Heights home I grew up in. I was heading to El Sereno Junior High, and this dog which had always growling at me finally bit me behind the knee. I had to take a tetanus shoot.

    Ever since then I always worry a little whenever I’m walking down the street and a stray dog is walking on the same side of the sidewalk. I’m not a big fan of the neighborhood dog concept.

    Now I live in the San Gabriel Valley and a handful of times, always in the middle of the night, I hear some rummaging in the backyard–and when I walk out with my plastic Whiffle bat, I run into one or two of the neighbor’s dogs. The funny thing is both the dogs and I get that “oh crap” look on our face and I swear we both jump in the air a little before we get out of each other’s way.

  15. I was attacked by a young rottweiler in Pacoima (probably 40 pounds). I defended myself with a clipboard and a pencil and that’s how I prevented a bite. There were several attempts to bite me, and after all the yelling and hitting the dog, the owner came out and grabbed his dog. Needless to say, I was traumatized by the event — the sight of a dog on the street still sends chills.

  16. Dogs aren’t like cats–which I regard as borderline sociopathic. Cats would sell you down the river for Purina Cat Chow if they could. But dogs want, need and deserve attention. Which is the reason I wouldn’t get one, cause I couldn’t give a dog the kind of attention it craves.

    There’s way too many “neighborhood dogs” in the Eastside. But it may be more prevalent in South L.A. neighborhoods like Watts though. I’ve actually run into several pitbulls walking on the street over there. S-c-a-r-y.

  17. …”I defended myself with a clipboard and a pencil”……
    urbanista- You weren’t out getting signatures for like Lyndon Larouche or anything were you? because if you were, I might have to side with the rottweiler on this;)

    hector- you are 100% right about cats. Also, I have no love for stray/feral cats either. Even if you mean them no harm and want to help them, they still treat you like you’re the world’s worst cat killer. They seem to say: “Stay the Hell away from me! Just leave the Cat Food there and get out!”

    Pit Bulls- Ay Cabron. Every Pit owner always says their dog is the sweetest pet, …until it eats someone’s baby.

  18. I haven’t seen the vertical use of space by dogs here in CA. as the chuchos in Mexico utilize roofs. Even dogs, are down with “mix-use” and rooftop gardens.

    Google, “Dogs on Roof, Mexico”

    A whole another playground for dogs… en los cielos.

  19. Al Desmadre,

    Something like that… no, I was writing up properties for a blight study.

  20. In Atwater Vl., it’s like eastside meets westside. There’s those water bottles on the lawn, and there’s westside-types walking their teeny dogs, allowing them to poop on people’s lawns. No respect. There aren’t any dog gangs, thankfully!

  21. Metro,
    Yeah, those rooftop dogs are funny. It’s like “where’s all that barking coming from? Oh up there!”
    My favorite vertical animal menagerie was my stepdad’s neighbor in Neza who specially built half of a fourth floor for her turkeys, chickens and rabbits.

  22. we’ve got three pits at home. they stay inside for the most part. we take them out three times a day to do their doodie (and tinkley). but a confined, unattended pitbull outdoors really is a recipe for disaster. all they really want is attention from their people and that’s all it would take to calm them down.

    in any case, i value my dogs’ lives more than most people’s. in a disaster, i would choose them over all strangers, neighbors and even most friends and family. i’m neither single nor lonely people-wise. quite simply, my dogs have brought enough joy to my life to deserve their place.

    what happens if we apply the “useless unless put to work” criteria to people?

  23. Human,
    Humans are not animals. Don’t confuse the two. “Useless unless put to work” should not be applied to humans, but as Paris pointed out, it is.

  24. actually, in my high school biology class, humans were classified as animals.

    semantics aside though, there are some animals i find more worthy of my sympathy and time than some humans. it’s as simple as that. no dog i have ever helped has turned around and hurt me, though many people have. i would defend those dogs sooner than those people. i would prefer to hold humans and animals to the same standard of decency than create a separate standard for each.

    interesting point about the homeless. though i was thinking more of financial types whose idea of “work” is cheating people out of their money, i’ll run with you here. if i’m not mistaken, a “homeless animal” is called a “stray.” i’ll simply throw out that 64% of strays are euthanized every year in this country (http://www.americanhumane.org/site/PageServer?pagename=nr_fact_sheets_animal_euthanasia). i don’t think it’s quite that high for the homeless. are we really using the same idea of “useless unless put to work” for both?

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