Friday, May 29, 2009

Strays in the Barrio

I guess Americans are always good targets for anonymous puppy gifting because we are seen as crazy and overly compassionate about taking care of animals. People get the idea that because their dog had puppies and they don’t want to find a family for them that they can just leave them in front of the Peace Corps volunteer’s house in the middle of the night. It has happened to a few of my friends, one girl living in Bonao had two near dead puppies left for her that were too weak to even open their eyes. Another girl rescued a few that were about to be drown in the river by a little boy who was sent out by his parents to get rid of them.
I am not especially friendly to animals in my community but I guess Lobo gave me away as someone who would look after a dog that nobody wants. Maybe for that reason, maybe because the backyard to my house and the downstairs apartment is empty, someone left two puppies that were about 3 weeks old behind my house four or five nights ago. I took them in and washed them because they were filthy and then wrapped them in a towel. The next day I had two puppies in my house and everyone asked why I had two new dogs and I told them that I didn’t actually want them and was trying to find a home for them. Little kids love puppies, they also like to pester Americans, so within 10 minutes of opening my front door there were about 15 offers to take the puppies. I was a little reluctant to give them to little kids because it is really the parents call if they can have one or not. The oldest kid in the group swore to me that he went and asked his parents if he could have it and they said yes. I put some flea medicine on it and gave him half the bag of the puppy chow I bought and he took off. Later that day a vendor who walks through the neighborhood selling snacks said he would take the other one. He said he would pass by later to get it (which ended up being 10 PM that night). I was asleep when he showed up, I will not deny that I go to bed early, and so when I woke up I couldn’t really form sentences in Spanish but gave him the dog, some flea medicine, the milk I had been giving them and the rest of the puppy chow. I figured that my work was done and went to sleep satisfied.
The next morning I woke up and saw that the pregnant dog hanging out behind my house had set up shop and gave birth to 5 more puppies. They were all really tiny except one, I looked at it a little closer and thought: “Huh, that’s funny. The big puppy looks a lot like the one I gave to that little kid yesterday.” I went down to give the mom dog some food and realized that the big puppy was the dog I gave the kid yesterday. It turned out that the little bastard child came back in the middle of the night and didn’t have the nerve to give it back to me and instead just left it with the pregnant dog out back. He also kept the puppy chow (what the hell is he going to do with puppy chow and no puppy). I brought the dog back up to my house and washed it again, at this point it could barely walk because the kid hadn’t fed it. I took care of it for a couple days and convinced a neighbor to take it and give it to her sister in Bonao who is looking for a dog.
At this point, the problem is as solved as I am willing to solve it. Both Lobo and I can rest easier with the puppies out of the house. It was kind of funny; Lobo hated and feared the puppies. He would hide or go to the opposite end of the house and they would sneak up to him slowly until they were right next to him, and then he would get up and leave again. One kicked him out of his doghouse. I can’t blame Lobo for his fear of the young of his species; I am not too keen on baby or child humans myself.
Now there is a dog nursing four new puppies behind my house right now. Three of which are female, which means that if they do survive the same thing will happen again three times over. I am not too disheartened by it, because that is the point of Peace Corps, to do what you can and not get down on yourself when things stay the same.

1 comment:

Katie Reed said...

Since there are females can you find a volunteer vet that would fix them for no fee? May be we could start a spay/neuter fund for the barrio strays and thus cut down on the over population. If you get me some cost details I could start a grass root movement here.

Love your dog lovin mom!