We arrived to inspect the trees that the owner wished to prune around a dilapidated house, a sprawling forested estate near El Yunque, in Puerto Rico, but before we even set foot on the ground from the car, we were greeted by the bone-chilling sound of a dog’s deep bark—a sound that echoed through the trees, sending shivers down our spines; a bark that said, "Strangers be very, very aware’.
From my vantage point on the house balcony, I could see a dog chained up below, on a roofed cement pad, worn down by the constant dragging of the chain over it. The sound of the chain on the concrete was rough and jarring. The dog fixed its eyes on me with a fierce intensity that chilled me, even as I felt so much empathy for it. As a dog lover, I correctly guessed what kind of dog it was, though I had never actually seen one in real life. Historically, the Argentinian Dogo was bred for a singular purpose: to hunt and destroy wild boar and pumas. It has thick rippling muscles, an imposing, powerful build, a heavy chest, a white coat that gives a ghostly appearance, a fierce face, and low-hanging jowls.
As my companion and the owner were in conversation on the other side of the house on another balcony, I decided to head downstairs to look at the forest garden and get a sense of the volume of pruning that would be needed. I walked around a grassy knoll, marveling at the huge, sprawling blue mahoe trees creating dappled shade everywhere. I decided to sit down, but as I turned to sit on a grassy bank, I saw the impossible—the Dogo had broken off its chain and was charging towards me with a terrifying fury. It was about 50 feet away from me.