I guess each town has its own Gallery of Fame of Extraordinary Characters and Copán Ruinas is no exception. There’s the guy who sells corn on the cop on a corner of the central park; the legless beggar; the panhandling nasty old lady who hits you with her stick if you refuse to give her some money; that one particular drunk, amazingly still alive after years of guaro; and Doña Mena whose diner is called “El Pijazo” (The Punch) because she’s famous for hitting her customers. But in Copán Ruinas we also have celebrities of the canine variety.
For those who’ve been to Copán, Bombero hardly needs introduction. You’ll probably see him hanging around at the park, the market or even more likely, at Café Via Via. Not that Bombero doesn’t have an owner: he actually belongs to a vegetable salesman at the market and his real name is Manchas (spots), because he’s a Dalmatian and all Dalmatians in Honduras are called Manchas.
But because he likes to hang around with gringos, he got his own gringo name too, Bombero of Fireman, again because of his appearances, of course, Dalmatians being a firehouse mascot in the US.
Bombero has his routine down to a tee. In the early morning he runs along the moto-taxi that brings his official owner to the market. He flirts a bit with the neighbour who besides selling veggies and fruit also preaches over a portable sound system. Then he lies down in front of the market’s entrance to see the world go by or to wait for me to accompany me to Café Via Via for a yoga class. Bombero is great at Downward Dog, does a good Happy Baby and gladly joins you on the mat for Sabasanah.
Breakfast is daily served at the Via Via for Bombero and his friend Bambi, also a regular at this restaurant. The rest of the day Bombero likes to hang around at the Via Via, trying to sneak on the couch, getting petted by tourists or just to sit on the porch and bark at any man passing by with a hat or machete. His charm and good looks make every human melt down, except those guys with hats and machetes, maybe. In the afternoon he takes a walk through town, but is never late for dinner, again at the Via Via. Then it’s bedtime, somewhere up the hill, just to start his routine all over again the next morning.
Many dogs in Copán are in a pretty miserable state because there’s not much of a “pet culture”. But Bombero sure is one of the lucky ones…