Not a World War II Flying Ace, or What the Hell is a Roof Dog?

Hint: I’ve never met a metaphor I didn’t like.

I’ve had a few people ask me why I named my blog Roof Dog, since even the tag line makes it clear that it is about neither roofs, nor dogs.  So, to be clear, this is not the Roof Dog to which I am referring:

Snoopy, World War II Flying ace, in a "dog fight" with the Red Baron

Not that Snoopy isn’t an intelligent and refined beagle, but he isn’t who I had in mind.  No, I was thinking more along these lines:

Mexican Security System

Isn’t he cute? See, I’m a USAmerican, living in Mexico.  I live in Tijuana, just a few miles from the US border.  Many things about living in a large Mexican city are no different than living in a large US city.  I have a modern house with a garden.  My neighbors are friendly.  I haven’t been caught in any drug cartel crossfire.  I have high speed internet access and Directv.  But, there are some things that take getting used to.  For example, paying all your bills at the liquor store.  That’s weird, right?  Electric, phone, water bill due?  Head on down to OXXO, the Mexican 7-11.  I’m planning a future post about all the things about Mexican living that seem weird, strange, unusual, and quirky to me. For now, however, I’m going to talk about just one thing – the Mexican home security system.

In the middle/upper class/wealthy Mexican neighborhoods, many homes have actual security systems.  I’m not sure what the company names are, but think of a Mexican version of Brinks.  Like security systems in the US, they’re pretty much useless, as they go off even when nothing’s wrong, and everyone ignores them.  If the police show up, it’s after the thief has already left with your laptop.  And, let’s face it, Mexican police have a lot more to worry about than someone stealing a computer (see the drug cartel crossfire mentioned in the last paragraph!) However, in the poorer neighborhoods and business districts, they have found a live alternative (though, really, not any more effective) – roof dogs.  See, most Mexican buildings are built with large, flat roofs.  And as you drive around and look up on these roofs, you’ll often see dogs glaring down at you, barking their heads off at anything that moves.  Most of these dogs aren’t well socialized – they’ve lived their whole lives up on the roof.  They get put up there as puppies and never come down.  They get food tossed to them, water sprayed up when people remember that they need it, they get yelled at, sometimes get things thrown at them – not very happy lives, really.  They basically have no ability to distinguish between a real threat and a kid riding his bike past their house.  Most of them haven’t been treated kindly by humans, so all humans are seen as threats.  They are the kings and queens of their own little square of concrete, and they patrol it’s borders, howling and whining and barking like mad when anything moves.

There are groups that try to rescue these dogs, and give them a better life.  I was talking to a friend who works with one of these rescue groups, and he said that sometimes the puppies can be rehabilitated.  The adult dogs, however, have a really rough go of it.  Many of them cannot cope with life on the ground – they can’t handle being down in the world, up close and personal with life.  Everything probably seems too big to them.  They’d really prefer to just sit up on their roof and bark their lives away.

So, there’s the metaphor.  This blog is my roof from which to bark – or howl, or sometimes whine.  I can only see the world from where I am, and speak about it from my perspective.  I try to see issues from all sides, and I hope I can make use of the perspective that I do have.  But I acknowledge that I have blind spots.  I know where some of them are, but others are likely to sneak up on me.  It won’t stop me from barking, though.

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3 Responses to Not a World War II Flying Ace, or What the Hell is a Roof Dog?

  1. Danielle says:

    Love it!

  2. Barnmaven says:

    Well, that explanation certainly begs the question…If we get you off the roof do you think you’ll be able to be rehabilitated?


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