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Ana In Argentina
Ana in Argentina: When dogs learn to own their space

If you ever come to Argentina, in Chivilcoy, a town in Buenos Aires Province, you can find a bar called Dicken’s that honors its namesake well known characteristic aside of the writing persona: it loves dogs.

The bar goes beyond being pet friendly, they have permanent dog-residents, and they are a place where strays can stop and rest for a while. You’ll be received by any of the five dog-hosts: ‘Corchito’ – a name that means ‘little cork stopper’, a fond way to name someone who is short in our country- Manuel a big yellow lazy dog, Hugo a black short dog, Lorenzo a big seize-big heart black pit-bull, and Cappucina a cute little black mouser dog.

The place has been open for more than 20 years, but this wasn’t it first building. Camila, the bar’s manager, told Vanity fur about its story “It was originally based on an English bar Charles Dickens used to write his stories. I’m not quite sure which was, but the original Location of our bar had Oliver Twist’s inspiration. I started as a waitress there, and eventually, due to some circumstances of life, my family could buy it”

When dogs learn to own their space

Asked about the idea of welcoming dogs, Camilla commented that at first it wasn’t the owners’ idea to have dogs inside, as she said, it was just inspired by Dickens’ literature. But then, it became a happy coincidence that she loved the author’s work and his relationship with animals in general, and that somehow clicked with she and her family being ‘dog-people’ so eventually the bar mutated to what it is now.

The family’s primary idea was to be mostly pet friendly and a place to help those dogs in need, but not for the dogs to coexist with the public. “They didn’t have a place to be so, if they behaved, they could stay” the Manager said. They had lots of dogs living in the bar during these years and “most of them were adopted, some of them are in our houses” she added. Basically, the most well behaved are the ones that live in the bar, keeping people company but kind of minding their own business.

Their first dog was Puccini, a black Labrador-like dog, which lived 18 years with them. He sadly passed away last year and the bar put a plate in his honor on one of its walls.

Corchito’s Story:

“Corcho arrived 7 years ago by chance” Camila told us. “He was a dog that used to walk by the bar’s entrance until one day he decided to enter, find a spot and never leaved”.

His family abandoned him or as Camila prefers to say “forgot him”.

“He used to wander around the town center, and eventually he arrived as if the bar was his place in the world. Now he sits with people and interacts. He’s a very good listener, he can stay hours looking at someone with attention, never bothering them.

“People tell him their ‘stuff’” Camila says “they even fight over who’s turn to be with him is. But also, there are people that became friends because of him by sharing the table like comrades”.

When dogs learn to own their space

Though ‘Corchito’ is an emblem there, all the dogs have their stories. ‘Lorenzo’ was the last one to become part of the Dicken’s Family. ‘Cappucina’, the youngest, was thrown away with canine distemper, the owners rescued her and even thought she has some underlying sequels, she is doing fine. ‘Manuel’ was the favourite dog of a senior customer who passed away, and now his widow takes him with her every evening to take a nap and then brigns him back. ‘Hugo’ is well beloved. And now there is also ‘Julia’, a Doberman half breed that was a resident and became adopted a while ago but missed the bar so much that she went back there to stay with the other five.  There is also one stray called ‘Ricardito’ –‘little Richard’- that goes every day, eats and leaves.

They all coexist perfectly and behave, even accepting other dogs that come with the clients. There are some people that go with their dog-children, and some of them are regulars that even let their dogs free to wander. The public already knows them, and some even sit at the table to share a meal with their human families.

Sadly, the place does not have any sponsorship. All expenses are on their account, from meals to vet charges. Camila and her Dicken’s Family are completely committed to the dog’s cause. They are also part of a pet shelter called “Chivilcotas” –a mix from Chivilcoy, the city, and ‘Mascotas’ the spanish word for pets- which is also without patronage and have over 90 dogs. They help with castrations, adoptions and sharing info to help. The bar also has water and food bins outside for strays that don’t want to enter.

A lot of dogs have been adopted never minding their breed, they went from greyhounds to mutts. ‘Amelie’ was the last one to be adopted, she was a real wanderer until she found a place to stay at the bar. Now she has a loving home but Corchito, who has been offered a lot of adoption requests is never leaving. How could he? He is the soul of the bar, walks by like another owner and even takes care of the customers like a true host. He learnt to own his space and he will be remembered for many, many people, for many years to come.

You can find Dickens Bar on Instagram here.

Article Author
Argentina-based Dog Lover


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