Surviving the Mexican border with a vendor-phobic dog

Vendors at the US-Mexico border, Hidalgo International Bridge, Reynosa

This is the Reynosa-Hidalgo International Bridge, between Mexico and the U.S. border. It’s where we cross into Texas when we need to renew our Mexican visas. It’s pretty much like any busy US-Mexico border crossing, in that the moment you drive onto the bridge, hoardes of street vendors descend upon your car.

Vendors at the US-Mexico border, Hidalgo International Bridge, Reynosa

It’s not uncommon to have your windows washed three times in ten minutes. You can shake your head all your want, but there’s really no point. You are at the mercy of the window washers. Then, as you inch along in bridge traffic, you will have multiple opportunities to buy deep-fried snacks, bottles of water, popsicles, 40-lb crucifixes, beaded jewelry, hammocks, inflatable corona bottles, sombreros, life-size jesus paintings, sparkly pewter tortuga statues, and other important items.

Vendors at the US-Mexico border, Hidalgo International Bridge, Reynosa

Vendors at the US-Mexico border, Hidalgo International Bridge, Reynosa

Vendors at the US-Mexico border, Hidalgo International Bridge, Reynosa

Hidalgo International Bridge, Reynosa, US-Mexico border

Vendors at the US-Mexico border, Hidalgo International Bridge, Reynosa

I hate it.

Not (just) because I’m a purse-clutching gringo who needs none of the above, but because Archie has a major street-vendor phobia, and when people approach the car he goes bonkers, snarling, barking, and lunging at the windshield.

It all started with his puppyhood fear of brooms. Something about that back-and-forth action really freaked him out. These days Archie explodes when he sees a broom, even if it’s not moving. The broom fear then morphed into a fear of all cleaning tools that move back and forth (mops, vacuums). To be fair, I totally understand the aversion to cleaning tools. I feel the same way myself.

My dog hates the gas station guys

But then Archie’s phobia transferred to gas station attendants who squeegee the windows (again, that back-and-forth action), and then all gas-station attendants (even the squeegee-less ones), and then to street mimes. Yes, really. Street mimes. There’s one in our neighborhood who hangs out at the traffic light. He loves to loom over our car and make Archie freak out just so he can mime reactions. It’s awful. We never tip him, but that doesn’t stop him from making a beeline toward our car whenever he sees us. Now Archie gets hysterical if anyone at all approaches the car.

So now you see why being trapped for up to two hours on a bridge full of street vendors is a nightmare for us. Archie, bless him, is a spectacle, and naturally the vendors think he’s funny and laugh as they provoke him by shoving their crap onto our windshield. I try to keep calm him by shielding his eyes or distracting him. Have you ever tried to distract a terrier? It’s A) impossible and B) exhausting.

Vendors at the US-Mexico border, Hidalgo International Bridge, Reynosa

Vendors at the US-Mexico border, Hidalgo International Bridge, Reynosa

Anyone know where I can get a terrier-sized falcon hood?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Living Outside of the Box September 18, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Oh my goodness…I laughed out loud! Thanks for sharing! 😉

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2 Be In The Picture Blog September 20, 2013 at 8:05 am

Absolutely hilarious! I can relate with my dog too! And can totally relate to your cleaning tool aversion!

“To be fair, I totally understand the aversion to cleaning tools. I feel the same way myself.”

Thanks for starting my day with a laugh!

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3 Michelle Sevigny September 23, 2013 at 9:35 am

Archie is too cute! Love the photo of his eyes coveref. But oh yeah, as a trainer I have worked with so many clients and their dogs with similar fears and it can be havoc for the people and obviously not good for the pooch to experience such high stress….have you heard of Calming Caps? Or Thunder Caps? I have found them to work fabulously.

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4 Renee September 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I’ve heard of thunder shirts but not the caps. Though Archie’s antics make for entertaining posts, I’d definitely like to desensitize him to people near the car. His fear has escalated and expanded to an unhealthy degree.

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5 Paz September 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

first he is hilarious, second I completely agree with him and might growl more myself it is was more socially accepted. 😉

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6 travelwithkevinandruth.com September 28, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Poor Archie!
Can’t wait to meet him!

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7 Tom Medsger September 29, 2013 at 10:59 am

Wonderful! These photos are so good on many levels–the Archie story, vendor life on the border, and the continuing personal account of Renee and Mark and Emma in Mexico. I hope I will see you again in February 2014. Same hotel, same city (Querétaro), new Global Volunteers. We’ll keep in touch. Best to all, hasta luego! Tom

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8 Mark September 29, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Tom, if we’re living in Morelia in February, then we’d be much closer to Querétaro than we are now.

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9 Renee September 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Yes, Tom, we’ll see you in February for sure. Can’t wait.

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10 Kerri September 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Great post. I can just picture it….it must be a very long 2 hour wait.

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11 Renee September 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Yes, it’s quite character building! 😉

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