Between Bahia Ingles and Santiago is La Serena. Very much a part travelling as a couple is spending some quality apart, and so it was that I was sitting alone on a bench in the central plaza. My few items of clothing had the benefit of a washing machine for a considerable time and shaving hadn't been high on my list of priorities of late. A bloody scar still marked my forehead and for all intents and purposes I looked somewhere between a traveller and a vagrant. That seesaw was tipped firmly into the vagrant position when a stray dog approached and i was foolish enough to make the slightest eye contact with him. The game was up, in that instant he knew he'd found his rightful master and he knew we would be inseparable from here out, man and dog, dog and man. I left the the square and headed towards town and as I had expected, he followed. I went into banks, he waited outside, undeterred by the physical attempts of security guards to move him on. I went into shopping malls, libraries, cafes and each time upon my exit, was met with a wagging tail. If, for the slightest moment, he thought he'd lost me, there was instant panic on his little doggy face and a desperate search to find me followed. The thought then occurred to me, how was it all going to end? I couldn't think of a happy ending. So I told him in firm tones that he was unwanted and shooed him away. I told him he was a bad dog and he crept away with tail between his legs and the most hurt look in face. I had to be hard nosed and hold back the tears until he was out of sight.
In fact thats what I should have done, but I'm far too much of a coward. What I actually did was this. Whilst walking along the high street, Sandy happily trotted ahead a few paces, I saw my opportunity, noticed an alley to my left, and before I knew what I was doing, I darted inside. Through the shop window I could see his frantic searching but to my eternal shame I hid in the alley until he continued his search further up the street and then sloped off back the way I came, tail very much between my own legs.
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