I looked at the clock and swore softly, late again. I got out of bed and dressed in the bright orange uniform and raced out the door.

My first stop was a beautiful apartment in Recoleta to meet Henri. I rang the doorbell which was immediately followed by a loud barking. The door swung inwards and Carolina appeared graceful as ever.
“You are late.”
“Sorry.”
Carolina passed the lead over to me and an excited Henri jumped to greet me. I batted him lightly on the nose and he dropped back to all fours.
“I will see you at ten,” Carolina said closing the door.
I stuck my tongue out at the closed door and then looked down.
“Right Henri, let’s go!¡Vamos!”
We were off. I continued my pick-ups around the wealthy suburbs of Buenos Aires. All beautiful apartments with their owners too busy to walk their dogs. By the end I had eight of them, ranging in size from Henri the retriever and Leo the German Shepherd to Eliana and Lucia the miniature toy poodles, both of who had been freshly permed. I was ordered to keep them away from dirt on the walk by their over excited owner. I rolled my eyes at the thought.
I looked at my watch, I was late, then considered my options. To save time I could cut across the Avenue. It meant passing the local school with the potential to be waylaid by children and possibly drawing the ire of Tomas, the security guard who looked after the block. I looked again at my watch and decided to chance it.
I was in luck.The kids were in classes and Tomas was nowhere in sight. I dashed across the road with my entourage to make it safely into the boundaries of the prescribed dog park.
To the left of me were a couple of fashionistas wearing sky high heels and ridiculous clothes for a walk in the park. Both had their little Chihuahuas mincing around next to them with their retractable leads lying in the grass. The Chihuahuas began barking when they sighted the pack of dogs. I decided to avoid both señoras and their dogs.
Unfortunately for me, Henri saw the brightly coloured handles of the leads, looked at me and then at the handles again. I think we both got the idea at the same time.
The first Chihuahua, done with his barking, made to move off. It made a tantalising lure for Henri. At that point he lunged after the handle, pulling his lead from my hand. Tied down with the other seven dogs, I could only look on hopelessly as Henri scooped up his new toy in his mouth and took off dragging the dog along behind him. It began immediately yapping away. Her high heeled owner turned around alarm and began tottering towards her precious dog, “Mimi,” she yelled “Mimi.”
The other dogs strained after Henri, “No, no, no!” I yelled. I pulled them back and looked around for something to tie them to. The tall señorabegan berating me in Spanish. I put on my best apology face as Henri continued to run in circles with poor Mimi trailing along backwards behind him.
The lady who had been talking with señoraowner had lost all sense of decorum and was cackling hysterically. Henri seemed to respond to the laughter and yells with more enthusiasm and put on an extra burst of speed.
I stared helplessly after him as my job as dogwalker disappeared with him.
Another figure appeared on the scene.It was Tomas. He had obviouslyheard all the commotion and left his post to investigate. He sized up the scene immediately and took off after Henri. Acting the part of dog herder perfectly, he managed to corner Henri and, in one deft motion, scooped up Mimi and grabbed Henri’s lead.
Escorting Mimi over to us, he deposited the little dog ceremoniously into señoraowner’s arms. She scooped Mimi up and began kissing her all over all the while bestowing many muchasgracias on Tomas. With a final dirty look at me, she stalked out of the park.
Tomas turned to me with a half smirk. He handed Henri’s lead to me. “Oh, Tomas, gracias, thank you, I’m so sorry.”
My embarrassment had caused me to lose the little Spanish I had. “These dogs, I’m so embarrassed, I have egg on my face.”
His smirk turned to a grin, “Si señora.¡Quedaren ridiculo! But I think little Mimi like the exercise.”