One of the interesting things about Brazilians is that some of them really LOVE their dogs. In America there is a culture of pet owners that has sprung up and dressing up dogs in sweaters and costumes is the norm and carrying around your tiny dog in a purse is fashionable. Well, can I just say that some Brazilians are even more extreme than that! When we adopted Nina, she had on a butterfly Bindi in the center of her forehead, earrings, and a bright pink bow with a bunny on it. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I saw a little Chihuahua in the park with a pink tutu dress on. Brazilians love to dress up their dogs; one of the biggest isles at the pet shop is the dogging wear isle. And let me tell you these things don’t come cheap average costume was about R$50.00.
Because Brazilians like to dress up their dogs and groom them fanatically; there are about four Pet Shops within walking distance to our apartment but ironically no parks. This is the problem with São Paulo there are no neighborhood parks to walk your dog; so you have to walk your dog on the busy street and hope she pees. I just blogged about how wonderful Villa Lobos Park is and Ibirapuera park is just as wonderful but if you don’t live near these two parks then you are out of luck.
So people are forced to walk their dogs on the street, and because of this the streets are full of crap! Brazilians don’t pick up their dogs crap. In America (as in São Paulo) you can get a fine for not picking up your dog’s poop but I don’t think that’s why America’s do it. I think America’s do it because there is a societal pressure to keep the streets and sidewalks clean. As a developing country Brazil has not gotten to this point yet, although I think things are changing. A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were walking to the store and a woman was walking her dog, the dog pooped on the sidewalk and she kept walking. Amazingly my husband didn’t say a word, but a cab driver waiting for a fare said to the woman, “You need to pick that up.”
Our building provides bags to pick up dog poop which is awesome because in America these things are expensive. There are also several trash bins specially designated for dog poop around the neighborhood, what could be easier than that?
So is São Paulo a dog friendly city? In some ways yes, there is easy access to Pet shops as well as veterinarians which in Brazil are reasonably priced. But in other ways, São Paulo needs to grow and realize that people need neighborhood parks not only to walk their dogs but for their kids to play and families to enjoy. Also Brazilians need to start picking up their dog’s poop, it’s a dirty job but don’t get a dog if you are not going to take responsibility for what comes out of it.