Every 2-3 years we travel to Southwest Colorado or New Mexico. We always make it a point to stop for coffee and take a look around in San Luis, CO. It is a tiny little town with a population of 629 (in 2010). On our visit in 2012, I got out of my car and noticed that a large dog with a very large head was jogging toward me on the sidewalk. He was making a bee line right toward me. At first it startled me. When I see a dog without a human I immediately think he is a stray and must be lost. I also was not sure of his intention but when I looked closer, he was smiling and wobbling in a silly dog sorta way. He walked right up to me and leaned against my leg and invited me to scratch his ears. I did and all four of us hugged him and gave him some affection. We bought him some milk which he slurped up and then wobbled down the road on to the next thing. I went into a cafe and asked the owner if she knew the dog. She said he lives a few blocks away and just wanders around the town saying hello to people.
Fast forward to 2014. On our trip back from New Mexico we stopped in San Luis as usual. I was telling my mother, who was with us on this trip, about the dog that wanders the streets and how beautiful and friendly he is. We wondered if he was still around. We went into the cafe and told the owner about the dog I met two years earlier and asked if he was still around.
She knew exactly who we were talking about and told me we had just missed him and that he had just shared some lunch with a couple of her patrons ten minutes ago. I asked her what his name was and she happily shared this information.
“His name is Bam-Bam, although some of the kids call him Speed Bump because he likes to lay in the road. He’s a great dog and represents our town because he walks the main streets daily and greets people and then goes home. His owners love him, but just let him roam as he always goes home. In fact, he is so loved by the townspeople that he was recently added to the ballot for Town Mayor. And, HE WON the vote this past year! Our human mayor quit, so now Bam-Bam is our official mayor.”
We were excited to learn about who this dog is, and hoped to see Bam-Bam again so we drove around town for 15 minutes trying to get a glimpse of him. We didn’t see him so we started to leave, right when he came around the corner! We pulled over and got out of the car and he walked right up to us, (after looking both ways before crossing the street), again ready to receive some ear scratches and petting. He greeted each of us, posed for a few photos and he decided when it was time to say good-bye and he walked on down the street.
It still seems odd to me that someone would let their dog just roam the streets, especially with a highway running through the middle of town. But this is a small town and people do things differently in small towns. One thing I noticed that set my mind at ease was that Bam-Bam wore a dog tag with an engraving of St. Francis of Assisi (Patron of Animals) on one side. On the other side it said, “We Love Our Dog”.