Monday, February 10, 2014

Let's Back Up Here...

This is a time when I am guilty of engaging in one of my own pet peeves -making sweeping generalizations about an entire group of people. In my blog, a couple of days ago, I made a judgement concerning how dogs are perceived and treated in Mérida. What I said is that "In Mérida, or so it seems, dogs are to be sequestered in the home, not walked or exercised, and definitely not socialized". 

What a ridiculous statement and how utterly untrue. I was quite gently and justifiably called on this by a friend and former fellow blogger. Although what I said can apply, generally, to the culture of dogs in the Centro Histórico, it most certainly does not apply elsewhere in the city. There is a very good reason why dogs are kept inside the colonial homes in the Centro. My commenter had this to say:

Please don't think that the tension you're noticing is 100% cultural; it could also just come from the stress of sharing a dense, urban place with lots of feral dogs as well as pets, and if you explore another neighborhood, you might find more smiles.

Walking a dog in a dense, urban setting is not only daunting, but dangerous as well, both for the owner and the animal. Our dogs, on many occasions when spotting a stray cat across the way, have almost broken free of the leash. With the unending traffic in the streets, this could be a disaster. And, as far as Yucatecans loving their animals, I saw this first hand when I volunteered for a day at the Kanasín Spay and Neuter Clinic. It was a moving experience for me.

Time to rethink my assumptions about many things...


  1. Well, moving to a new city and culture is a big adjustment. So don't be too hard on yourself. But it's always good to reflect. And there's lots of expats there who've already gone through it, so I'm sure there's plenty of folks you can talk to.

    Best wishes for a more-settled feeling.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Which took quite a bit of getting used to when we moved here from San Francisco.

    1. It is a big adjustment and, overall, I think we are doing well. I just need to relax a bit and not get so worked up at things over which I have no control. (:D

  2. My thoughts about such a change in culture: Do no harm and leave it better than you found it. You're already doing both.

    I agree - don't be too hard on yourself. There's no "doing it the right way." You have to find out what works for you. And honestly, in a place where everything is as different as different can be, you have to just let a lot of things go and not worry about them.

    1. YucatanMan, thanks for that. You've made me feel better already. I especially like your "do no harm and leave it better than you found it." Good advice for anyone anywhere!