Thursday, April 14, 2011

Puerto Rican Island Dogs Have Many Stories, but One Truth

Blondie gets antibiotics twice a day for her bladder infection. Makes me wonder what would have happened to her if she had not been living on the door step of a former nurse.

Note to self: Create Puerto Rican utopian society in which all street dogs have veterinary care.

Blondie and Owl went for a walk with me shortly after the first light of day. Actually I tried to sneak out while they were eating their kibble. A dog on either side escorted me before I got to the end of my driveway.

On a walk up the steep, very steep road; Blondie killed a rat. She walked away from it. Blondie returned to the rat salivating like Pavlov’s dogs. I mean droolies that would make Hooch an amateur drooler.

A voyeur, as I watched her tear into the flesh. Finally, I was witness to the act of dining tartar a la sata. A brief kinship with our cave dwelling ancestors turned ninety degrees to what if the rat has been poisoned. I screeched, “Leave it.” OMG, I would have never made it as a pioneer woman.

My poor darling Blondie trotted up to me with her head down. My guilt rose as her low tail wags told me how contrite she was. The head line in my head read, “Human screws up street dog psyche; she’ll never rat again.” I praised her for coming to me and headed for home.

A couple of hours later, a man who is going to build a little higher up the hill came walking up our driveway. He was followed by two other men; they wanted to cut through our land.

Blondie decided one of them was an asshole (not very scientific:), but you know what I mean). She barked, growled and began to nip at his pant leg. She was working herself up to bite him! I had never seen her do that before; she has always been good with our company.

My experience with dogs that basically like people is that when the dog really doesn’t like somebody; they have always ended up being right. That doesn’t make any difference, when there’s a street dog in your yard about to bite an engineer from San Juan.

I corrected her verbally, but firmly; she cowered like I beat her. I wanted to cry. Head down, tail tucked she plodded to the far corner of the veranda, where she pouted. As I consoled her, the headline in my head read:”Mean woman, abuses trust.”

The neighbors like Blondie to be here because she will chase any man walking down the road at night. There’s always some asshole, who will steal your stuff, if they can.

Whether the neighbors know it or not; they’ve reinforced her for shagging guys down the street. Dogs know what it means, when our heads go up and down, while we are smiling.

What she couldn’t figure out is why I stopped her. She seemed so shocked and hurt.

Resorting to the cheap tricks of a dog trainer, I produced dog treats. The boys had a treat party. Blondie just laid there with her head on her paw.

I tell the dogs what I like all the time. Training is pretty much limited to: no fighting on the porch; no, you are not going to take his food or no boys pissing on my porch. I try not to interfere with their lives.

The quality of life for a Puerto Rican sato or street dog varies greatly. Ive learned a few things watching over the years.

One is that Puerto Ricans are good people, who will share what they can with the creatures of the pais. It is not their fault that obtaining a puppy is so easy that adults are thrown in the trash.

The people will be kind to the animals until there are too many.

Before things become toxic with too many animals spreading disease, we need a two year moratorium on back yard breeders.

We need to support our professional dog breeders, who breed to improve their line and to have new dogs to show. I would gratefully ask them to limit the number of litters per breed to two for the next two years.

Good animal control must have an island wide spay program.

These are incredible creatures, which share the island with us. A forward thinking people, who can enforce ley 154 can find a way to honor our friends, the satos.

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