I bag on Puerto Rico a lot, but there is one reason why I am still here. There are lots of things for an American to dislike, but one thing continues to stand out and surprise me in pleasant ways.

I was pedaling my bicycle up the hill from my house to buy groceries, as I do every morning. At the foot of the hill there is a junkyard, rusted and hidden by bamboo and vegetation. From time to time, a dog from the area takes it upon himself to assume authority over all in his domain. Little packs of them charge and bark with all that their little yippy lungs can muster. They are an annoyance, but not much trouble.

Today, however, was different.

This time the dogs were big. Huge. They were not the little yippy dogs that bark from the safety of their porches, but big ass rottweiler or pit-bull muts, a couple of big 80+ lbs dogs, furiously barking at me and racing up in my blind spot.

I did what I usually do, dismounted my bicycle, put it in between myself and the dogs and slowly moved toward them, hissing and seething at them. I find that the hissing freaks them out and I’ve never failed to cow a dog with this technique. I felt relatively safe with my bike as a shield, and the dogs tucked their tails and took off. Whew.

Unfortunately, as soon as I turned my back on them, mounted my bike and started pedaling again, they regained their courage and came roaring back. Sigh. I’m going to have to open up a can on these asshats. I had to let them know I meant business. Perhaps I should pursue them farther, stand my ground for longer.

At that moment a little Suzuki Gran Vitara bounced up the hill, and first, I got the friendly adviceTM:

"Necesitas un palo (you need a stick)." The person yelled.

Step two after the friendly advice was the actual help, as my new friend proceeded to weave all over the road and shoulder chasing after the dogs, yelling, ye-ah ye-ah! I smiled. "¡Gracias!" I yelled.

Yes, I thought, this is why I am still in Puerto Rico.

Tomorrow: Same hill, different story.