A World of Dogs, by Josep Marte Blanche

“In Spain I see few children on the streets and many dogs with coats.” The hammer in the shape of the sentence is from Joy Tugume, a forest ranger in the Ugandan jungle whom Ima Sanchís met on Christmas Eve in contra from vanguard (20/XII/2022). Nothing like the eyes of a foreigner who knows what and how to look to capture the spirit of an era in a sentence.

I imagine other phrases Ms. Tujum would have given us to continue our filming without leaving the seams of the canine world. Some are tougher, others are more accommodating. The first: in Spain, I see many people picking up their pets’ feces with their hands but at the same time demanding that the state provide hygiene for the elderly. Two: In Spain, even dogs receive toys on Three Kings Day.

To imagine, one could recreate Joy Tugum’s return to Spain in two decades, and upon being interviewed further by this newspaper, sense the poignant headlines it would give us in the future. For example: in Spain, dogs are entitled to a colonoscopy as soon as they reach the age of seven. Or this other, the culmination of what would be an ideal society: in Spain dogs learn to urinate on street lamps using a competency-based learning method. Actually, Ms. Togeum shouldn’t be too surprised either. There is always an authority to turn to to explain yourself. Didn’t Mahatma Gandhi say that the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals? So let’s celebrate our greatness in buying clothes for dogs.

John Steele/Getty

Let’s leave the dogs and go to the kids. What Mrs. Togum must know is that hunger and the desire to eat have joined us in the matter of bringing people into the world. It does not accompany matter and does not accompany values. And one plus one, until further notice, was two. With regard to food, suffice it to say that until the economic crisis of the last decade came, almost half a million children were born in Spain every year (508,000 in 2008), while we are now on the order of three hundred thousand (336,000 in 2021). Less immigration, reaching a fertile age of a few generations and few prospects for the future in terms of pocket money to create life projects with minimal solvents. Here is a trio of physical contraptions that explain why Mrs. Tujum sees many dogs dressed to nine but few strollers in our city parks.

But there is more. Our libraries are filled with literature on the bondage of motherhood, and the right to be childless (although there is neither this right nor the other way around, one has children or one does not have children). They come to join an endless catalog of educational programs to successfully practice the world’s oldest trade, parenting. Countless advice intended to give us all kinds of guarantees for our own well-being and that of our few sons once we dare to contemplate what has been a fairly normal thing throughout our lives but is now dressed in exaggerated heroism.

There are many mules dressed up to nine but few strollers in the parks

First, you have to make sure that our children don’t disturb our lives or prevent us from realizing ourselves by squeezing all the experiences we’ve had and had (that’s what we now call doing things: having experiences). The second, that these children will be the happiest in the world when they are young (and also when they are grown up) because their parents, after giving it much thought and consuming much educational programs and press supplements on how to educate, will treat their upbringing as a work of engineering that guarantees the best results.

Evidently, if she had had time to delve into it, Mrs. Tugum would not have been surprised to see so few children and so many dogs with coats. A dog isn’t the only cheaper option. It also satisfies the human need to take care of something or someone with much fewer sacrifices than parenthood. And by not having to prepare them for life in freedom, they save us from the pangs of perfectionism that have haunted us ever since we decided to turn every pregnancy and birth into a treatise on existential philosophy. Not this year anymore. But, when is there a Three Kings Dog review? Municipal officials should not forget to invite Joy Tugume. You will deserve at least a page turn. For insight.

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