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A friend of ours is trying to sell his car, a friend of his gave him the number of a friend of a friend who might be interested in buying it. Our friend rang the possible buyer, called Paulo and while they were talking Paulo mentioned that he had some rottweiler puppies he was giving away, did our friend want one? No said our friend but he mentioned the puppies to Neu. Now I thought we’d agreed no more dogs, we already have 3 but Neu knows I’m a sucker for big dogs so he said yes, in fact he told our friend we’d have two!
We both were a little dubious about the puppies being pure bred rotties and frankly that’s not important to me anyway, a dogs a dog as far as I’m concerned but I would only want another dog if it was going to be a big one.
Our friend said he had arranged to go over to this guys house on Saturday afternoon to show him the car, so we agreed to go along just to take a look at the puppies.
On Saturday we set off, we had to drive a long way along the main road, pick up another main road and head along that, for approximately 10km to a turning sign posted Lagoa Pirá. 10km passed, 15km passed and still no sign of a turning, we stopped and asked directions, the turning was, we were told, about 5km further on. We found it and turned off, to drive along what was now nothing more than a dirt track full of ruts which required careful negotiating, we all laughed at a sign giving the speed limit at 30km/ph. not much chance of getting anywhere close to that. The directions had been to keep going until we reached a place where the road was tarmac, then turn left at the school, we came across stretches of tarmac road that would revert to dirt track as abruptly as they had started but no school, then what looked like a school playground but no tarmac. We asked at a house but no one knew Paulo, we kept going.
After about half an hour we came to the tarmac road and the school, we turned left onto a narrow sandy track and bounced along that for a while, before pulling up by a ramshackle house which clung to the edge of a small lagoon encircled by coconut trees, a few cows stood forlornly in the muddy garden of the house and by its gate an old man was tying up a very thin and sad looking horse. Once again we asked for Paulo, the man knew him but said we had a long way to go yet, to keep going until we came to a lagoon on the left, go past the lagoon and we’d see a group of houses on the right, we’d have to ask again there. How far is it we asked, 10km? The old man shook his head and laughed, no no not even 2. Somewhat bemused we drove on, to discover that the lagoon by the house was the lagoon the man had mentioned and the houses on the right were less than 300 meters from the old guys house. Many years ago in Ireland, on asking for directions we were often told the place in question was a mile and a bit down the road, as was then commented “The mile is alright but the bit will surely kill ye!” Now we seemed to have this in reverse.

We pulled up in a large yard where sat a huddle of old tractors and a trials bike being used as a roost by a gang of chickens, a young lad, who turned out to be Paulo’s son pointed out the house but said his Dad wasn’t in, he and the boys mother had gone into town in their new car that his Dad had bought that morning and he didn’t expect they’d be back till late. Oh!
Our friend commented on how long the drive was from the main road, “you’re a long way from any where here aren’t you” , “not really” said the lad, “its long the first time you do it but after that it gets shorter”.
There were lots of dogs milling around, pretty much all of them the pale brown dingo looking mongrel common here, we asked about the puppies, yes they’re at the house he said and took us over to see them. I think Neu and I already knew before we saw them that the chances of these puppies having anything approaching rottweiler genes in them was remote. Many years ago a friend of mine was fooled into buying a so called rottweiler puppy, she didn’t grow to be even a medium sized dog but she was a least the right colours, the puppies we were presented with weren’t any where close and judging from the size of their feet, not likely to grow to be big dogs either. I asked to see the mother, sure said the lad, you passed her as you came in. He said he thought she was a Pitt bull cross but she might have other things in her as well.  Heinz came to mind, she was a slightly built medium sized dog with a small head which bore no resemblance to either of the breeds mentioned.
The puppies were clearly not going to be big dogs and then the boy told us the puppies were just 4 weeks old, so that decided it, they were too young to leave their Mum and so we left with no dogs and an unsold car, to drive back along the bumpy dirt track which thankfully, like the lad had said, did indeed seem shorter the second time round.

©Claire Pattison Valente 2013

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