The Hot Vet

We’ve had Nina for almost two weeks now and I kept bugging my husband for us to take her to the veterinarian just for a routine checkup. My husband’s sister is a vet and went to the University of São Paulo; so we asked her for a reference. She gave a woman’s name and we emailed her but she no longer lives in São Paulo. She gave us another name and again that woman no longer lives in São Paulo. Since we were striking out right and left we decided to go to my mother-in-laws vet because we are traveling to Curitiba this weekend for Mother’s Day.

In the meantime, we have been taking Nina to a small park near our place to get some exercise and play. We met a very nice woman there who is a dog walker and has a dog of her own named Alice. Nina loves Alice but because Alice is an older dog she doesn’t really like to play. Alice’s owner was kind enough to refer us to vet within walking distance of our place. She said that all of the women she works for take their dogs there and really like Dr. Randi.

Wednesday as we were walking home from the park, we stopped into the vet’s office to make an appointment. They happen to have an appointment in 30 minutes so we decided to wait. As soon as I saw the vet I could see why all the women in the neighborhood are taking their dogs to him. Only in Brazil do you find a veterinarian that looks like a model. The vets back home were all old men or women. Nina got her check up, everything was okay and the vet was very nice. When we got home my husband and I were joking about how good-looking the vet was. Finally he said jokingly, “You are never to take Nina there alone!”

If there are any single ladies out there with a dog or if you’re just looking for a good vet that is reasonably priced and live in V. Madalena, here is Dr. Randi’s information:

Dr. Randi

Randi Centro Médico Veterinário

Rua Agissê, 35 – Vila Madalena

São Paulo, SP 05439-010

11-3031-2960

 

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Is São Paulo a dog friendly city?

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.

 

Villa Lobos Park

Yesterday it was a holiday in Brazil, Dia do Trabalho (Labor Day), and so my husband and I decided to take our new little pup to the dog park at Villa Lobos Park. It was a nice Fall day, cool but not too cold yet, and so we invited our friend from Argentina to come along.

Villa Lobos Park is a beautiful, green treasure inside the concrete jungle that is São Paulo. It is one of the best parks I have been to, including ones in America. There are so many options at Villa Lobos Park, whichever outdoor recreation you like they likely have it. The park is approximately 750 square meters (8073 square feet) and has plenty of green lawns, bike paths, running paths, soccer courts, basketball courts, tennis courts, climbing walls, and playgrounds. They have picnic areas and benches, shaded areas and wide open fields of grass and of course a small dog park as well as a large dog park. Little Nina loved it!

During the week the park is not as crowded but it is estimated that 3 to 5 thousand people go there. On weekends and apparently holidays, the park is crowded and has approximately 20 to 30 thousand people. Amazingly even with all of those people, the park was still very enjoyable and it was a great afternoon for all!

I really love running and biking so I will definitely be going back to Villa Lobos Park in the near future. You can check out their website and get a park map at http://www.ambiente.sp.gov.br/parquevillalobos/, however, everything is in Portuguese.

Our little vira-lata (mutt)

My husband and I are were looking to expand our little family because I am not working right now and we thought it might be a good time to adopt a puppy. Sounds easy, right? Well it is not for lack of options that made this task difficult, it is because there are so many puppies and dogs in Brazil that need a good home.  Two of our friends at Yale adopted two dogs in Brazil and found it to be a very rewarding experience.

Like in America there are several breeders of dogs and so when we first talked about getting a puppy, my husband’s friend offered to sell us one of his litter pups that were coming in a couple of weeks.  This idea didn’t sit well with me because every dog I’ve ever owned has been a rescue. Plus when looking to purchase a dog we found several breeders selling their puppies for R$500 to R$1,000 reis, CRAZY!

Are initial search began in Curitiba with my mother-in-law who has four rescue dogs. She contacted a local foster home to help us find a dog, but unfortunately all of the dogs we liked were too big and it just wouldn’t be fair to them being stuck in an apartment. So back in Sao Paulo we started a new search and found several websites that have rescues on them; we found these two to be the most helpful:  http://www.animaisos.org/ (which has an English option), and http://www.adotacao.com.br/. The only problem was that we liked so many dogs and we had to email the people individually to go see the dogs; it wasn’t very efficient for us.

That’s when I found this website http://adotacao.blogspot.com.br/ . Every week they post all the adoption fairs around the city for the weekend. So Saturday we set off early to see if we could find a dog. Our first stop was in the Higienópolis neighborhood at a Pet shop, the fair had started at 9am and by the time we got there at 11am there was one dog left and he was a scruffy little thing, not really a good fit. Our next stop was at the Pão de Açúcar parking lot in the Pinheiros neighborhood the fair started at 11am so there were about 7 or 8 little dogs and puppies. My husband and I were immediately drawn two little black puppies 5 months old and sisters; Tina Turner and Janis Joplin.

Tina Turner was a sweet docile girl who would come up and let you pet her but was not overly excited about anything. Janis on the other hand was bouncing up and down and at one point was trying to tear her way out of the crate. I ask the woman the back-story on the puppies and she said (in English) “I found their mother on the street, she was pregnant and so I rescued her. She had ten puppies; eight of them were blond and were already adopted so these are the last two.”

After a brief discussion with my husband he and I both knew that Tina Turner was the right choice, especially because we live in an apartment. After some paper work, an interview, R$50.00, a prayer, and the sign of the cross and we were on our way.  As we drove away my husband asked “Are we going to keep the name Tina?” In the end we decided to change it to Nina because Tina doesn’t sound good in Portuguese and we thought it wouldn’t be too confusing.