Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Dream for Puerto Rican Island Dogs

Picture low cost veterinarians servicing the needs of pets across the island in trailers, purchase subsidized by participation in an island wide sterilization plan with only forty participants being accepted.
40 vets sterilizing 120 dogs a week will have neutered 249,600 animals in a year. People on the island who buy dog food for their dogs will pay for example $20 for neutering, which should cover the costs, plus vaccinations and the three way test for an equally reasonable fee.  
With a majority of pets being neutered, attention can be turned to the truly feral, while worrying less about more being thrown out.
Island Vet Tech students volunteering for neuter events will have opportunity to shine before prospective employers, animal control officers or rescuers will have opportunity to coordinate local events of lasting value while strengthening the bond of animal caring people.
A segment of the market in today’s veterinary care geared towards the economically challenged part of the market place will find aid from the plethora of animal activists on the island. Veterinary trailers seem like a low cost way to open up an untapped segment of the market. Perhaps the department of tourism would offer low or no interest loans to dedicated vet who would neuter a documented number of dogs a year, my heavens, the details can be negotiated, just get a plan in place, we can get behind. They’re a lot of us here; we’ll all do our part.
Every rescuer I know is overrun with dogs, the lucky ones ship to the states, where every year an unbelievable number are euthanized annually.   
Mass murder of mutts for which, I believe, the government does pay, isn’t the answer. Spay is the way to control dog population, please. This could be a career opportunity for vets who will service this community. Surely there’s a leader in the government, who will champion the cause with a reasonable plan.
Tourist internet sites teem with comments of visitors shocked by starving dogs, a sad, disturbing sight. The Department of Tourism might support a plan to improve Puerto Rico’s image abroad.
40 vets, neuter 40 dogs, 3 days a week (or 120 a week) = 249,600 neutered a year.  
   


Friday, December 27, 2013

Thoughts on Puerto Rico's Dog Problem

On Puerto Rico discarded pets masquerade as island dogs, cowering among the strays. If not hit by a car, they have a chance to learn the rules of the road for survival. Ripped from all they know, where they’re home, the wheels come to brief stop and out they’re shoved out, or tossed in a bucket.
Can you imagine how scared it would be to be suddenly lost and alone, torn from your home, however bad it may be? Dogs shaking, shivering with fear lie down on the side of the road not feet from where they were dumped out because they don’t know what to do; would you?  Confused some step into traffic.
Many people, if not most, given a decent alternative, will do the right thing. It’ll be $60 to spray your dog, well, you think that’s a lot of money, but she’s a nice dog, no puppies, no heat cycles with males hanging around; still, the kids need shoes, but the family loves the dog, so we’re going to do it. The next thing you know they’re telling you about shots $35 and then there’s a three way test the dog needs so she can take these pills each month for heart worm. On $900 a month for a family of four; what do you think they do?
All the puppies a kid can want hang around, until little by little the number dwindles, nature’s profusion drives natural or unnatural demise or as others call it, God’s will. God gives and God takes away, call it what it is, easy come, easy go. In Spanish they say, “Paga nada, es mierda,” pay nothing, it’s shit. In this cauldron of life, unhappy and undervalued humans find it easy to be cruel. Some seem little acquainted with the merits of compassion to species deemed inferior. Even those genuinely wishing to take care of the dogs make hard choices with limited resources.
For all the years my husband and I came and went, my neighbors fed the street dogs living outside their gates, encouraged some to stay, to alert and protect, but never to be their dog in any way that would obligate them. For dogs she really liked one neighbor bought kibble, lucky dog! When Stormy, the pride of the neighborhood was hit by a truck, he languished on the side of the road for two days before a neighbor called me in Illinois to tell his son lovingly put a tarp over him, while underneath he was eaten by ants, flies and maggots. Two days before my friend scooped him out of the road to take him to the veterinarian’s clinic, where it was too late, they put him to sleep.
His body wasn’t cold before another dog slept in his spot. The neighbors fed him the leftovers; all was the same. When I returned I mentioned his name, oh, what a shame, sad, but in God’s hands is all anybody said.
Forty vets neutering forty dogs a day, three days a week will neuter 249, 600 dogs a year. This isn’t nature’s abundance compensating for natural die back, an overwhelming number of dogs on the street have been discarded by people, who may not have tossed them if they didn’t have new puppies at home.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Puppy Found in Bucket Update

Darla, aka puppy in the bucket, my happy little girl still can’t manage that single step. The white of her eye is now visible, the eye color no longer blue. After a whimper she, all on her own, runs around to the carport ramp, running fast as she can, wagging her tail all the way.
Darla found in 5 gallon bucket 2 weeks ago

Lucky, all of seven months, plays big brother, allowing her to snuggle up to his belly at night. Love energy emits, when he nuzzles her neck; a tiny growl, a playful nip Darla gives from her upturned head.
Named for my late friend, Darlene, Cajun queen from New Orleans and Saints fan extraordinaire, Darla at about seven weeks of age is thriving at the moment. I say at the moment because skin issues need to be addressed, worming and vaccination; neutering can wait. In two weeks her size more than doubled; she starting to be socially conscious. What do I mean by a quizzical remark like that about a dog?
Darla looks to see what the other dogs are doing when I’m giving them treats. Jumping around, barking, behaving like a baby brat didn’t get rewarded; sitting gets the treat. Darla just gave her first sit for a treat; I’d say that’s rather smart; wouldn’t you? 
I understand pack behavior as it presents in wolves, but the behavior of free ranging dogs here reminds me more of coyotes where I lived in Illinois. These dogs here hang together, buddy up because they live with me. If I were out of the picture, I believe Blondie and Chi would stay together, but Robert Redford and Lucky would go separate ways after hanging together long enough to mature.
Darla just took her first towards being a good human companion, a tail wagging big step. From the other dogs she’s learning to look for signs of provocation. She no longer bounds into another dog’s meal. She will carefully advance to snatch a nugget on the floor. The older dogs growl and snap just as fast, so my smart tiny girl learned stealth, which only works to a point. Dear Darla learned to stay close to mom, jump at her feet, she’ll make certain dear Darla has enough to eat. The others back off, they know the rule to stay away from the cat’s food and when mom’s around, Darla’s too.
Lately, it seems the norm that puppies are found with skin conditions. I’m going to take the time to learn more about the mites or mold or whatever the dogs get. When we treated Lucky and Lola for mange my head was elsewhere, I don’t remember much about that time. I don’t think this is mange. This looks like something Lucky had after the mange. It seems like it wasn’t difficult to treat or I might remember it better.
Think about puppies discarded like Darla.
Think about this. 40 veterinary teams with trailers neutering 40 dogs three days a week for a year would have neutered 249,600 dogs.
Can a veterinarian make a down payment on a trailer, work of the balance due by neutering a documented 120 dogs a week for a year for a nominal fee to cover expenses?    Is there a way to work that out?

40 teams, 40 trailers almost a quarter of a million dogs neutered in a year. Isn’t this doable?     

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve on Sato Hill

Beautiful boys bound through the grass, this spring’s puppies grown into active adolescents live like this is their neighborhood; it isn’t. It belongs to the humans who live in the houses. They have the power to snuff out a life at their will. Generations of dogs have suffered this plight.
My neighbor boy just sixteen, a human child shows off his motorcycle to cousins’ delight burning rubber, oh what a sight with smoke billowing up from the road. His mommy is calling with impatient voice; he ignores her until the call softens to a plea. “What,” he calls in Spanish, of course. A child on a short leash, the adolescent stretches his bonds. He kept his bike running, enjoying cousins’ approval. Oh, did mommy get mad, but it did her no good. She stormed in her casa doing whatever loud things you can do in a house to communicate anger.
From the garage, the toys came out, the best, a trike, cousin tried tearing ass down the road. Girl cousin in a pretty dress bounced up and down on the balls of her toes. Mommy forgotten; acceptance, approval passed around. Here come the dogs from Sato Hill, Lucky, Robert Redford, led by Chi-Ping, the terrier. Blondie barked fiercely from inside the in the house.
Ruff, ruff, the sound of defense, Robert Redford, Lucky, and Chi barked, slowing down at the bottom of the drive to assess the situation before plowing across; Chi stopped, the boys held ground behind her, or as guys in the states say, backed her up. Lucky held tight watching Chi’s every move, but Robert Redford, the handsome golden boy trotted directly to the center of the group despite having been knocked in the snoot. He walked right up to the girl, of course, looked her in the eye, surprised her, she looked back didn’t seem to know what to do, her brother, a young man walked to her with a dominant stride. Red cowered, unsure; my neighbor’s cousin walked past him without much notice.
From the porch I cooed, “Chi-Ping, there’s a good girl, come on, good girl.” She looked over her shoulder. I knew she was mine, if I could bring her in. “Goooood girl, what a good girl,” I wooed. She looked at the activity in the street. “Where’s my good girl?” The look on her face said, oh, what the heck. Her head in a neutral posture she trotted up to the house. The wooing continued with spaced praise.
Robert Redford trotted up to Lucky, who held fast, barking to build up his courage. Ruff, ruff is the sound of the bark; I’ve heard it so often in the dark. Chi came and wanted her petting, which I gladly gave, and then quickly put her in the house. Lucky, now in the lead, Robert Redford had his back. “Lucky, good boy, where’s my good boy,” that’s all it took, lucky for me. I praised him all the way back until he gave me a sit, so proud of himself. I’ve worked with him since he was a pup. I’m not ambitious these days so we do what we do when I think about doing it; it’s a shame, but Lucky came back with Robert Redford trailing. They came in the house for treats all around Smoki, the cat never questioned his participation.
Mommy next door called in a loud piteous voice, the cousins got in a car, burning rubber up the hill waving out windows a friendly goodbye. Neighbor boy’s shoulders slumped, as he walked in the house where mommy spoke to him in very controlled tones, her voice faltering, somehow she managed.
Lucky and Red went back out on the porch, found a spot, rolled on their backs to snooze. Geri, another neighbor came out with a huge piece of fried dough, at least that’s what it looked like from the porch. I got a bad feeling, so I called the boys, who jumped up ready. We walked towards the front door, me talking and squeaking. Geri whistled the tune he plays for the dogs when he wants them to come. I squeaked louder and told how good they were. They wagged their tails following to the door, when I opened it out pounced Blondie and Chi, who I hadn’t really thought about, so they all took off for Geri and his fried whatever.
Chi-Ping stopped, gave it a sniff, but trotted off to another neighbor’s yard. Blondie loves this guy, she’s known him longer than me, so she allowed herself to be pet, but wouldn’t accept his offering. Robert Redford, rarely shy, held his tail and head low, walked over to Geri, who pet him with one hand and fed him with the other. With gift in his mouth Red scurried away. Blondie, ho had stepped aside, came back to Geri for petting. He’s very affectionate with the dogs. I wonder why he calls Adri to scream and yell about the dogs being lose, when he calls them coaxing them down to the killing ground, where dogs get hit in the road or other hellish things. I’ve asked him not to so many times.

My husband died six months ago and it’s Christmas eve, a weird time for me. Enjoy each other, and of course the critters. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Learned Something

People never cease to confound, a man with a walking stick stood at my neighbor’s gate. The dogs charged down our driveway barking, cautiously they barked from our side of the road, when Robert Redford with head submissively low and humble tail wagging crossed the road. The man seemed to ignore him, so he sniffed his leg gently. The man whacked him in the nose so fast.
Blondie doesn’t like men messing with her friends, so she waited for an opening. He kept an eye on her while gabbing away, and when he turned to go she went in for a nip. He thankfully was quick, but she circled him barking all the way up the hill, when he left, with Lucky bouncing and barking without a clue of what it was all about.
Chi-Ping barked in the house, a blessing because the fast little bitch will circle around for a nip when a man is facing off with Blondie. She can be a handful of trouble. I should really find these boys a home before jerks like this ruin my lovely guys’ attitudes. 
All this man had to do was say, “Hey, Boy,” Robert Redford would have wagged his tail some more and walked away. He just wanted to say, “Hi.” The man didn’t need to crack him so hard. The sad part is that if he had talked to “Red,” Blondie would have stood down, ending the alert.
Sweet red boy ran right home to mama. I told him what a good boy he was to come to his mom, some petting for reward. I may be lazy about training lately, but I’m not one to miss an opportunity. “What a good dog,” as Barbara Woodhouse used to say.
Just when I thought it’s time to go in, teenagers , who not more than a week ago, stopped their car at the bottom of my drive long enough to yell, “Mother fucker,” to the boy, who lives across the street from me, are standing at his gate, calling his name. The three dogs on the porch with me growl as one. From inside Chi growls like she’s crazy out of her mind to get out. Our readers know what a drama queen she is. The boys must have made up; they went in the house to the relief of all.
We all learned something this weekend before Christmas. Robert Redford learned that coming to mom is good. Blondie learned how intimidate this man. Blondie scares this guy; it’s so much fun, Lucky learned; let’s bark and bounce. I learned what Baby Hueys my boys are. The man learned that he’s a heartless, stupid idiot, if he understands English. The asshole part I do think he got. My neighbor boy doesn't speak any English, but his friends swear at him in English; doesn't that strike you as funny?


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Puppy In a Bucket

Welcome to week six of your life, Darla. You still look to suckle and cuddle like a younger puppy with your still blue eyes. You’ve grown almost two inches in a week’s time. Your black and tan coat shines, except for the skin condition. Lucky had the same thing, little bald circles. I don’t remember what we did for it, but he has a shiny black coat today.  
Sorry, I won’t be getting you to the vet anytime soon; being broke until the end of the month when I can buy groceries again.
The bowed rear legs you came with, now move efficiently straight. I love a pretty trot. Those first few nights you howled and screamed and cried; how mournful.  You learned to comfort yourself, to calm down, but confinement panics you. Crate training will have to come later. Frustrated, too short to get up a single step, you screamed bloody murder. The first time I thought one of the boys hurt you, but no, you wanted back on the carport, so we walked to the ramp, you scampered back on the carport. We did that three times that morning. The fourth time I stayed on the carport, you looked at me, when I took a step towards the ramp you ran around all by yourself. I’d say that makes you very smart.
You bounce at Smoki, inviting him to play. He hisses at you to tell you old cats don’t play, but clearly you don’t get it. He’s trained many a dog in his day, I’ve no doubt you’ll learn to see things his way.
My little Darla, I’m so sorry I can’t do more for you, curious girl, sniffing my rooms, learning every inch. I’ll give you another bath; see what I can do about your skin condition. Your coat has a little luster. The kidney and liver veggie blends are nourishing you well. We’ll have to wait until next month for more; I burned out the blender motor on the kidney or maybe it was the carrot.
If you see and apparition on the porch or in the house for I believe dogs are especially tuned in to spirits, if it’s my Kirt, you’ll know him as a loving spirit; wag your tail really hard for me. He knows I miss him and I love him; you don’t have to tell him a thing, but he’ll love your little tail flying.

Darla, you grow into the best puppy you know how to be; with God’s help we’ll find you a good forever home.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Welcome to the Sato Zone

In my car I carry dog food, water and a few cups. Puerto Rico abounds with dogs, wherever I go there’s a dog on the side of the road in need of a meal.
My little country road is unaccustomed to the number of abandoned dogs we’re seeing this year. The road has given me four dogs. My life plan for retirement was to have no dogs, so I could travel. I don’t have forever, my plan’s important, but God gave me four dogs to love. Blondie and Chi are my girls, love them mucho! Lucky and Robert Redford are for adoption if the right family comes along. They would be so much better off. Never forget Smoki, who will be seventeen if he isn't already. That cat shared our lives in Illinois and will wherever I go.
If I see a creature in need I respond like all animal lovers do. Darla, the little puppy in the bucket from just last week doubled in size, with a flea and tick bath and Betadine scrub she’s comfortable. Now, according to rescuing rules of the island I’m expected to pay for vet check, sterilization, vaccinations and treatments required. She’s my dog. She was dehydrating in a bucket. She would have died. I believe in not making creatures; not killing them. To be born to die without a chance; that’s cruelty, so she’s my dog.
I've paid to have animals sterilized and treated. I've taken dogs to wonderful rescuers, who have gotten the dogs great homes in the states. How long can this go on? I have a puppy here I sure as heck don’t want. She needs vaccinations and treatment for some skin condition that seems to be responding fairly.
Maintenance had to be done on my house. I have NO money to pay for animals others create, but somehow I’m getting sucked into this vortex, going down the sato hole.
Since I know I’ll always do what I can, what that is needs to be established.
All get food and water.
If I pick them up or they’re hanging by my house, I get them neutered and vaccinated when I can. Being old and broke sucks, but there you have it. I am grieving my husband, which requires my active participation. Dog stuff breaks my concentration.
How much do those veterinarian trailers cost? I’m tired of this; let’s neuter the neighborhood.  Maybe the government could offer incentive to veterinarians who purchase these trailers and do a required number of neuters a year.  Why is there only one in Puerto Rico?
I still think tourism would benefit by ads of volunteer visiting veterinarians loving the island, the people and donating time to neuter our beloved Puerto Rican Island Dogs. People do love them when they’re not overwhelmed with them. The world knows about the problem, telling the world about the solution would be good for business; don’t you think?
Nah, an ad with snapping fingers telling Puerto Rico does it better without specifying what it is; that’d be better. Maybe, I’m having a bad day. 

  

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Home Is Not a Dog Shelter, This is Not a Rescue

This is beginning to feel like Canine Grand Central Station, puppies, Labrador, German Sheppard, English Bull Terrier, Golden Retriever, plus assorted mixed breed or sato dogs have visited my house this year. I live on a tiny road in the middle of the country.
If people are dropping off dogs near my home because they’ve heard that I take in dogs, they’re making a big mistake because I don’t. I have no fence, no gate. The dogs that live with me were street dogs here.
Blondie will shag the bitches on down the road, as she did to the Bull terrier bitch just a couple of days ago. A handsome tri color, looked like an Australian Kelpie Dog makes this house part of his rounds, but moves along when he sees me. It is no kindness to dump a dog near my home.

It’s impossible to rescue all the strays on this island. Massive sterilization campaigns and education, perhaps coupled with license required for breeding and or selling puppies, might make a difference.  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

No Dog Wants to Die This Way by Chi-Ping

The white bull terrier showed sense, leaving while Blondie and I were locked in the house, but not before she stood rock steady and Robert Redford sampled her goods. He mounted her, she’s not even in heat. You should have seen her promise him what’s to come, wagging her tail and snorting in his face.
That’s the way it is on Sato Hill, dogs coming and going. People put out leftovers some times and then other times dogs get dowsed with water and told to move along. Humans are a confounding lot. If you wait long enough they’ll do something to hurt a defenseless dog, even mom.
She took us to get fixed, which I now know meant to fix us so we can’t make puppies. That’s no easy procedure; let me tell you. You won’t believe what mom did to me and Blondie just yesterday. It was horrible.
With Snoopy pissing all over the porch and Hattie running around the yard playing tag with Lucky, and needle teeth puppy, Darla trying to suckle everything breathing or not, Blondie and I were glad to hop in the car to ride down to the gas station to guide more visitors up to the house. Since dad died we rarely get visitors, unless it’s some of mom’s friends, who we call auntie because they’re good to us and we like them, so we’re anxious to meet the people mom’s been so excited about coming. Blondie barked down the road to dogs and people alike, she blabbed everything.
A woman who looked like Jessica Rabbit with black hair, smiled as we pulled into the gas station. Before long we led them back to our house, where mom hopped out of the car to direct them where to park, since Jaime’s truck got stuck on the side of the house making mud tracks for Robert Redford to roll in, getting himself banned from the house.
The car door closed in my face. Mom hugged the Jessica Rabbit lady and a man wearing a uniform like hers, which said ACO/ACI, Animal Control Officer/Animal Cruelty Investigator. Everybody’s arms were waiving, talking,  smiles all around; they turned to look at the lake. Blondie and I waited with our tails wagging. They walked around the yard looking at the mountains in the distance. Mom pointed to Utuado, a famous mountain town. We want to get out and visit, too. The windows were closed. Mom showed the people into the house.
The people in uniforms come out looking relieved. I’d like to get out and relieve myself; now, they’re taking pictures. It’s a bright, sunny day the lake is spectacular. They sit down on the porch talking and eating. Blondie is so hot she hid under the steering wheel thinking it was cooler there. These people were not paying any attention to us in here; I had it, I barked. My tongue hung out, with my paw on the glass I gave mom a pathetic look.
“Oh my God, Dios mio,” the women screamed. They came running. Mom opened the door, pulled Blondie out. She ran for water. Mom grabbed me and carried me to the carport where she offered me water to drink and put cold water on our tummies.
Everybody came around, the people asking us if we’re okay and the other dogs sniffed us and gave a quick lick on the lip to console. Mom kept hugging me, petting Blondie and telling us how sorry she was. That was scary. It was hot in there, we could have died; mom needs to be sorry.
Later that evening, after everyone went home mom pulled out chicken and cheese; we had a feast. Mom kept telling us how sorry she was and feeding us. When it came time to go to bed, Blondie sighed with contentment her head on mom’s ankle, while I felt her love curled up in a ball at her side, under her arm.

So people; what’s the moral to the story? Yes, so many good ones, but I’ll go with PAY ATTENTION TO THE DOG. Love, Chi  

Friday, December 13, 2013

I'm Officially Upset by Chi-Ping

Officially upset, depressed, really put out, curled up in a ball at mom’s side, desperate for relief; I sighed. The puppy we found in the middle of the road follows me everywhere wanting to suckle. Blondie put a stop to her action, but mom raised her voice to Blondie, who has been skulking around ever since. Robert Redford and Lucky tired of her quickly; they can’t get away fast enough from the puppy, mom now calls Darla. Being suckled by a small critter with needle teeth didn't turn out to be as much fun as the boys thought it would. If a bitch could smirk, you’d enjoy my face as I remember them learning just this; aside from small satisfaction, I've had nothing but aggravation.
Mom’s friend Marcie, brought Snoopy and Hattie the day after Darla showed up in a bucket. Snoopy is my size and likes to chase me, I get so tired of it. Hattie, the Salinderas Beach puppy won the lottery, when mom and Marcie took a walk on the beach without a single dog, and there she was. A stray dog prays for someone to love, who will love me, too. Blondie and I know we’re lottery winners; mom is one crazy prize, especially when she brings home puppies. She promised there would be no more than, well, five, but Lola’s gone and I don’t want to replace her with this whining, complaining rat, who can tumble down a stair, but not up, so she screams bloody murder, until mom walks around to the carport ramp with her. This is not a dog; this is a baby and a brat, at that.
Defending our turf is job enough, without having company, even if Snoopy thinks I’m wonderful. If you have something good, somebody else wants it. There’s only so much room in a bed; Smoki takes my spots, we don’t need competition. Earlier this week we fought off an interloper for hours. I've never seen anything fight Blondie so hard, the boys and I nipped the behind of the fierce devil to give Blondie better advantage.
Mom called, the boys came leaving me and Blondie in the woods battling the beast. With Robert Redford and Lucky in the house mom worked her way through the weeds, calling as she came. We didn't want her to get hurt so we ran to her. Our adversary would not pursue.
You’d think that my life was an adventure, but its pure challenge, I tell you. Late this morning I was on the easy chair listening to bachata, really into the music when the scent of the vagrant who fought us to a standoff wafted in the window. My hair stood on end, me, I froze to the spot.
This ugly white bitch with her big egg head stood in our yard looking in through my front door. Her tail stood mid way between straight out and straight up, she wasn't spoiling for a fight, but with these bull breeds you never know. Snoopy’s nose was glued to her behind, well, easy come; easy go.
Asleep on the front porch, Blondie must have been dreaming about the bitch, who didn't seem ready to go anywhere. Mom woke Blondie and guided her into the house before she completely woke up. The Bull Terrier wandered about and then laid down under our SUV, while Blondie fumed with her head shaking and bubbles frothing from her mouth.

Who can blame me for being upset? 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Puppy in the Road by ChiPing

Returning home from the U.S. Post Office on this fine December morn, mom stopped on the scenic route over the hill, where she sits looking at the lake and the mountains, but today she got out of the car; mom never gets out of the car on this narrow road, there isn’t enough room. If a car came in the other direction, we’d have to back down to a safe place to pull over.
Blondie and I try to jump out the window to see what’s going on, if it was open a just a wee bit more. Mom bent over in front of the car; what’s wrong mom? She wobbled around, going from side to side of the car. I heard a puppy squeak; open that window I’m coming out. Blondie and I got so excited, we started barking. Mom got back in with a big white bucket that smelled of puppy. Puppy, what are you doing with that puppy in the car? Let’s see it! Blondie and I jostled to get into the front, but mom ordered us back; she doesn’t yell, she doesn’t have to, she does the tone that goes with the look that says, “You don’t want to see the look that froze Medusa,” so we settled in the back until we got home.
Robert Redford and Lucky raced up the driveway before us. We barked the news of the puppy. When mom opened the door the boys tried to pile in the car. She slid out with the bucket before the boys could figure out what happened, mom and the puppy in the bucket were in the house.
We ran from window to window hoping to hear what mom was doing to the puppy. We don’t need another mangy puppy; take it back now. Later, the damp puppy placed in the grass smelled of the wonderful liver veggy pate we had on our kibble last night. You didn’t give that little cur our liver pate, oh, no! How could you!
The puppy tried to suckle Blondie, who acted like somebody gave her a jolt of maternal hormones. She was on her side; this little rat was going to suckle her. When teeth touched the tit, she came to her senses. The crazy pup tried to suckle Robert Redford. That naughty boy laid on his back, like suckle all you want. He flew upright when the five week old introduced him to puppy teeth.  She reminds Lucky of his sister, who died, so he’s in love with this critter.
Not being so enamored I kept my distance, when this idiot pup checked me for milk. My snapping teeth found their mark, the puppy shrieked and, now, you know, so did mom. Banished for brutality, me; can you believe it!

Wait, tonight we’ll be getting less liver veggy pate; you’ll see.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Touching Dogs by Chi Ping

Some hands feel marvelous stroking my head and ears, sweet rapture, but I still find it difficult to trust human hands that hurt me so often. My body yearns for a gentle caress, but poking my sides is no fun for me. I gently nipped for fear of reprisal as a “bad” dog; some folks thought bitey mouth was a game I liked to play, so they’d laugh and poke like it was funny. Big whoop for them, all I wanted is for you to pet me and make me feel good.
Grabbing me around my ribs behind my front legs hurts, yet people picked me up like that all the time. They wondered why I don’t like to be picked up and run from their grasp. As mom’s friend, Marcie says, “Duh!”
Dogs have their aches and pains, just like people, even Smoki, the cat aches, poor guy has a little kitty limp. I have arthritis from being hit by a car. My hips hurt and my tail is kinked. Mom tries to help me, in spite of her making it feel better later; I can stand only so much touch before I must get away.  
Mom tries to fix me too much, I know she wants to help, but what I like the best is the twilight time when we’re in bed with her hand gently resting on my back, not doing a thing. She does, thank heaven, know how to pick me up with a hand under my front and the other supporting my rear end. I do trust her to pick me up.

It is a late fall day in Puerto Rico, the wind is roaring through the grass and it looks like rain; mom and Marcie are going to a Paso Fino Horse Show. I heard them planning on the phone, so after frantic tail wagging and big sad eyes, Blondie and I will retire to the bed for serious napping. Chi-Ping

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Day In the Life of Animal Activist Adri Galler Lastra

“Co-kee,” little frogs sing, roosters crow, “Get up, dawn is coming,” Adri Galler quietly checks her email. The sound of surf rushing the shore washes in the window. The dogs bark when eager volunteer Camille pulls in behind the Amigos de Los Animales’ van. Marcie, a volunteer from Hatillo with a drive of over an hour, sips coffee in her car while watching waves clamoring ashore.
The ugliness of dogs comatose and dying in the streets is set in the splendor of God’s creation, lush green vegetation; yellow, orange and pink happy colors behind which poverty breeds cruelty most foul. Focus on God’s goodness while saving the lepers of the dog community is a challenge.  
Pets and street dogs of the tsunami zone breed twice yearly, but for intervention led by Adri Galler Lastra. Today dogs will be sterilized in a well organized trailer owned by Dr. Cruz, traveling veterinarian and his talented team.

Adri worked with the Department of Sports and Activities to get the basketball court, where a group of volunteers fill out necessary paperwork, while people file past the tables with pets on leashes or in their arms. In this poor neighborhood people have money for few frills for family, so sterilizing pets fell into no way, no how; until today. The community leaders assisting Adri and Dr. Cruz have an educational opportunity to make the next sterilization day an even bigger success by passing out fliers in the community and asking the people who come today to give the fliers to their friends and neighbors.


“Sing, Hallelujah,” for the core of folks who cared enough about their animals to do what is good for them. God made them that way; God will take care of them, seems to be what people say, so to see folks waiting anxiously for pets speaks of love in a way we can trust the most, action.
People of Pinones came together for our fellow creatures, led by Adri Galler Lastra, Animal Activist. Good job, everyone.

    

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dog Blog

This blog began when I was keen to describe the behavior I witnessed in the feral island dogs. How a dog runs his life without direct control of an owner or responsible human fascinated me. The danger and suffering appalled me, so my world expanded to learn the laws of Puerto Rico as they pertain to animals by taking the Animal Control Course  and going to conferences, such as the Caribbean Animal Welfare Conference.
Through these experiences I've met some incredible people, who have a calling. They’re on a mission from God. These aren't saints in the way I remember saints, but more kind of like Blues Brothers mission from God good guys, I mean really interesting people with great stories, doing excellent work, so I’ll be introducing you to them.  
Some dog behavior like rolling the coconuts down the driveway to break them open is too cool; it has to be shared, but now, I do it through the voice of Chi-Ping, whose behavior speaks volumes to me, which is described accurately, save the anthropomorphic undertones. ;)
The Animal Movement of Puerto Rico has become a living organism or maybe a hive of activity, I just know it’s taken on a life of its own. As this movement gains momentum I hope to describe it to you; it's a beautiful thing.
Those of you who are able to read in Spanish are in for a treat because the writing of Maylin Carretero Alberich is exquisite. From time to time I’ll be sharing some of her work, which can be seen on her blog, http://lasangreverde.wordpress.com/
Your comments are welcome; feedback is a source of learning for me, thank you. Tricia Carr


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Doby y La Rana by MAYLIN CARRETERO ALBERICH

DOBY Y LA RANA              /De la serie Amigos Para Siempre /

Adoro los perros.  De niña ya me gustaban.  De adulta comencè a criarlos y a conocerlos mejor.  Este conocimiento despertò un profundo amor y fortaleciò un gran sentimiento de protecciòn,  de piedad y admiración ante seres que como bien señalara Charles Darwin: ^Son capaces de amarnos màs que a sì mismos^. 
Por eso cuando Doby entrò a mi traspatio acompañada de su madre y una hermana no las rechacè.  Su madre, Guardiana, era una perra amarilla fuerte y de talla mediana que se habìa adueñado del lugar hacìa tres años.  A pesar de ser un extrañìsimo caso por su conducta de rechazo a todas las personas y no permitir  jamàs acercamientos de ningun tipo, mi esposo y yo la protegíamos y alimentàbamos.  Solamente habìa parido una vez en una buena casita que le construimos para su refugio.  No obstante  èsto los perritos murieron casi recièn nacidos. 
Mi sentido de la responsabilidad ante los animales me habìa hecho intentar una y otra vez acercarme, tocarla, entablar amitad y confianza para poder entonces llevarla al veterinario para operarla, procedimiento que se hace por mìnimo acceso y relativa facilidad, dejando la perra libre del molesto y peligroso celo –ya que los perros que las cortejan en la calle muchas veces les trasmiten enfermedades venèreas que ocasionan la muerte.
El traspatio nuestro hace esquina y del otro lado de la cerca esta la calle.  Guardiana entraba y salìa cuando querìa y a veces durante largos perìodos sòlo  venìa a comer y beber de una cazuela que le mantenìa  limpia y llena de agua.
Cuando Doby llegò era una cachorra largarucha, de pelo corto color ladrillo oscuro y las mismas marcas màs claras de un Dobermann.  Su hermana era de pelo largo, sedoso, casi blanco moteado de gris.  En nada se parecìan, ni siquiera en el carácter pues ^Pelu^, que asì la llamamos, era muy cariñosa y juguetona,  lo que facilitò poder regalarla a una familia que la cuidò bien.
Con el tiempo, Doby creciò màs que su madre.  Era corpulenta, hermosa, callada y arisca pero cuidaba su territorio de noche.  Guardiana cada vez desaparecìa por màs tiempo hasta que un dìa no volviò .   Mi esposo y yo averiguamos todo lo que pudimos sin saber què le sucediò realmente. 
La desaparición de Guardiana y la frustración afectiva que dejò en nosotros nos impulsò a redoblar esfuerzos por conquistar la confianza de Doby.  ¡Nada resultò¡  Mientras màs nos esforzàbamos, màs lejana y distante parecìa.  Comenzò a obsesionarme un poco la idea de no poder entablar una relaciòn de amistad que me permitiera protegerla como es debido, vacunàndola contra enfermedades, desparasitàndola y operàndola para evitar camadas de cachorros sin raza que, en la mayorìa de los casos, la gente coge por embullo y lanza a la calle luego al primer contratiempo, a engrosar el ejèrcito de infelices y enfermos perros callejeros. 
El traspatio era grande, lleno de àrboles frutales y algunas bonitas plantas de jardìn que crecìan en acogedor desorden.   A Doby le encantaba dormir debajo de un macizo de malangas que la ocultaba completamente.  A veces tambièn se echaba  bajo un entramado de verdes y amarillas aralias y crotos multicolores que crecìan en apretado follaje en ambas partes de la cerca.  En esas ocasiones en que dormìa profundamente nunca pude tocarla por el ruido que hacìa al apartar las ramas.  Me asombraba el miedo que reflejaban sus ojos al verme cerca.    Corrìa entonces hasta ponerse a una distancia prudencial donde se sentìa segura.  Por lo que habìa leìdo de comportamiento animal,  esta distancia  de seguridad era algo que respetaban todos los animales en estado salvaje en cualquier habitat.   Konrad  Lorenz, padre de la etologìa, que es la ciencia que estudia el comportamiento animal, llamò a èsto ^distancia de fuga^.  El que traspasa esa frontera imaginaria, es animal muerto.  Esa distancia igualmente permite que puedan coexistir en un mismo territorio cebras, antílopes y jirafas con leones, tigres y panteras, en relativa armonìa natural.
El primer celo de Doby atrajo al traspatio varios perros callejeros o de vecinos, que al dejarlos deambular a su antojo, estaban propensos a adquirir  enfermedades.  Arreglamos la cerca para impedir su entrada pero de nada valiò,  siempre algunos lograban romperla o saltarla y entrar.   Por miedo a que enfermara o tuviera una camada de cachorros indeseados, redoblè mis esfuerzos de acercamiento,con la vista puesta en una futura operación.  Entonces comenzò a escapar a la calle, seguida de sus pretendientes y regresaba de noche, cansada de andar el barrio.  Ella era una perra tranquila, acostumbrada sòlo a la compañìa de su madre.  Los perros la acosaban y ella les huìa, pero impulsados por el instinto de reproducción  eran imposibles de someter o controlar.  El resultado de tal experiencia fue un embarazo que se malogrò casi a su tèrmino.  Entonces perdiò el pelo en zonas del cuerpo y quedò triste, delgaducha y sin apetito.  En esos dias de enfermedad le llevè  bocados màs sabrosos,  mezclè vitaminas en sus alimentos y logrè un mayor entendimiento.  Ya me permitìa acercarme bastante y aprendiò a comer pedacitos de carne de mis dedos.  Se acercaba a mi mano cuando le enseñaba los trozos y con un bailecito de indecisión, los cogìa.  ¡Avanzaba¡
Una tormenta estropeò su casita  quedàndose  sin refugio.  Vi la tristeza otra vez en su mirada y actitud.  Nuestro hijo,  que tambièn ama a los perros y estaba pasàdose unos dias en casa, con mucho ingenio y algunos materiales le preparò  un magnìfico albergue, bien acomodado  y cerrado donde le puse dos gruesos  sacos que la abrigaran.
Doby  comprendìa cuànto hacìamos por ella y a su manera huidiza, nos querìa y agradecìa.  Una tarde plomiza y frìa , luego de alimentarla, regresè al lugar con un trozo de colcha viejo para acomodarla mejor.  Habìamos cubierto el techo de metal acanalado con dos nylons tan grandes como gruesos, que caìan a la entrada en improvisada cortina,  por lo que tenìa que agacharme para arreglar la colcha dentro.  ¡Ella estaba acostada y no huyò¡   Con cuidado arrebujè  la colcha a su alrededor y le acariciè las patas.  Siempre le hablaba con cariño para que percibiera el tono suave de mi voz.   Esa tarde sentì que ambas èramos felices con aquella extraña amistad.
Dias después tuve otra oportunidad semejante y pude acariciarle la cara.  Al sentir mi mano  y escuchar mi voz no huyò pero…ladeò el hocico para no verme, como aceptando aquel intercambio en un enorme esfuerzo por mostrarme tambièn su afecto.
Comprendì entonces que el problema de Doby era un temor innato al ser humano y pensè que tal vez le sucedìa con nosotros como a mi con las ranas,  que sentìa un verdadero  terror irracional hacia ellas.  Desde niña jamàs tuve miedo de ningún animal.  De adulta le quitaba a mis gatas las lagartijas que cazaban, devolvièndolas a las ramas de los àrboles, o cogìa con sumo cuidado las enormes arañas que a veces entraban a mi casa desde el patio, usando un recogedor y una escobilla de nylon suave, soltàndolas en el traspatio.   Hasta salvaba algun que otro majà o jubo cuando mi pareja de perros Dobermann los atrapaban.   Sòlo las ranas producìan en mi aquella aversión incontrolable, a pesar de lo cual jamàs  permitìa que las dañaran.  Me daba cuenta que eran inofensivas, beneficiosas pues se comìan los insectos dañinos al hombre, pero… ¡Me era imposible acercarme a ellas¡
Esa noche tuve una pesadilla que por la belleza del lugar y la paz que allì sentì, màs bien debo calificar de sueño.  Yo andaba por un hermoso bosque donde habìa frutos de todo tipo, un claro  riachuelo y un inmenso árbol en cuyo tronco encontrè una limpia  hoquedad donde me recostè a mirar còmo el sol que se filtraba por las ramas convertìa el lugar en magnìfico concierto de colores.    De pronto, unas gigantescas ranas pasaron croando a bañarse al rìo.  Me vieron y sentì terror por su tamaño pero al instante comprendì  que jamàs me harìan daño.  Croaron suavemente ente ellas y percibì en el oro de sus ojos y en la ancha abertura de sus bocas lo que pudiera definir como sonrisas.
Pocos dias después de mi extraño sueño Doby enfermò.  Dejò de comer, apenas caminaba por el lugar y sòlo salìa de su casa a  tumbarse al sol donde quedaba como aletargada.  Yo sospechaba que los perros le habìan trasmitido una infecciòn y redoblè mis cuidados e intentos de acercamiento.  Un veterinario amigo le indicò un antibiòtico fuerte en tabletas ya que no habìa forma de inyectarla.  Coincidimos en opinar que si la  atrapàbamos a la fuerza, tarde o temprano lograrìa escapar y por miedo, se irìa lejos del ùnico lugar donde obtenìa protecciòn y posibilidades de recuperarse.  Fueron dias de sufrimiento para ambas.  Ella por sentirse mal y enferma,  yo por intentar una y otra vez darle los medicamentos y alimentarla sin lograrlo.  Probè poner sus tabletas en todo tipo de bocados deliciosos, de sabor y olor que hubieran hecho las delicias de cualquier perro y hasta de personas.  Mi esposo comprò los medicamentos en abundancia para que, a pesar de mis mùltiples pruebas,  èstos no faltaran.  Nada daba resultados.  Me sentìa desesperada e impotente.   Veìa còmo se debilitaba sin poder hacer nada.  Desgraciadamente,  en este paìs no hay clìnicas veterinarias donde se pueda ingresar un perro como en casi todos lo lugares del mundo,   donde se instalan  en huacales o recintos con toda seguridad y los pueden atender y medicar hasta su recuperaciòn, sin el menor peligro de escapar.   Hubièramos dado o pagado cualquier cosa por salvarla.  Yo, porque ya la amaba mucho, mi esposo porque es un ser maravilloso que ama todo lo que yo amo.
Una tarde algo frìa, casi al anochecer le llevè hasta su casa una manta mìa  de lana y un platillo especial,   aunque sabiendo de antemano que lo rechazarìa.  Me mirò con amor y por primera vez dentro de su casa y vièndome tan cerca, meneò débilmente la cola.  Aquèllo fuè màs de lo que pude soportar,  me sentè delante de su puerta con el platillo en mis piernas y  llorè, llorè y llorè desconsoladamente.
Esa noche soñè otra vez que estaba en el bosque.  Sabìa que pertenecìa a aquel lugar y de una manera inconsciente, sin reconocerme apenas como ser humano, era feliz.  Feliz de forma lùdica y poco racional, pero feliz.  Sabìa tambièn que las enormes ranas entraban y salìan en el bosque dejando para mi frutas maduras, dulces y jugosas.  Sabìa que me protegìan, que me querìan.  Una de ellas, la que croaba màs suave, siempre intentaba acercarse, tocarme, estrechar el vìnculo de amistad que nos unìa.  Yo sabìa que de ella para mi todo lo que venìa era bueno, lo sentìa.  Pero me era imposible dominar mi absurdo miedo  Me avergonzaba no poder corresponder y  me ovillaba en el hueco del gran árbol oyedo còmo croaba dulcemente en mi puerta.
Una tarde en que  sentì mucho frìo y sueño,  la rana me cubriò con lanosas cortezas de árbol y enormes y gruesas hojas.  Me miraba con sus redondos ojos dorados con infinita pena.  Se echò a la entrada y comenzò a croar lastimeramente.  Yo quise decirle que tambièn la amaba y alarguè mi mano  sin llegar a tocarla.  Ella comprendìa que para mi eso era imposible pero que la querìa, la querìa como al bosque mismo, como a la limpia corriente del rìo, como al sol que se filtraba en mil colores a travès de las ramas de los àrboles.  La noche se cerrò y yo me dormì  escuchando aquel croar tierno y dolorido donde nos reconocíamos, distintas y distantes, pero unidas para siempre por el amor.

FIN

Nota:  Este cuento, al igual que los demàs de la serie  ^Amigos Para Siempre^, esta basado en hechos reales.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Life Now by Chi-Ping

Who knew island life could be so hectic? Being the neighborhood guardians, Blondie and I cruise the street and woods searching for danger. Interlopers come from all directions. Teaching Lucky and Robert Redford to protect the porch while Blondie and I defend the bed is a task for which I did not ask. As much as I do like being mom’s companion on treks to the post office or store, keeping an eye on that woman tires a pup out.

THIF, Blondie and I did not let mom out of our sights. Going to the beach on Friday is the highlight of our busy schedule. All morning mom sat in front of her computer. Smoki, the cat, is right, she spends way too much time with that thing; it’s not normal. When she finally finished, closed it and put it in the bag; hmm, that means she’s taking the computer someplace rather than back to the bedroom as usual. Oh, well, who cares; it’s TGIF.
We pant impatiently outside the door, while mom hustles around inside. Blondie’s usually steady calm is nowhere to be found. This bitch can’t sit still; now, Robert Redford and Lucky want to know what she’s so panting and slobbering about. “Grrrr, none of your business,” only stimulated the adolescent boys, who wait to see what’s going on.
Mom only takes two dogs to the beach at a time. She says, if she takes more, we won’t listen to her. Like I listen to anyone, hah, she’s not the boss of me. Perhaps, I should hang back on that until after I’m selected to go to the beach. Damn, these two pups want to go and they’re both so much bigger now, they stand over me. I’m lost in the pack. I hate packs; I’m not a wolf. I have to nip some feet to get these critters to move.

Just the other side of the door, Smoki meows to be let out. Yes, let him out, so I can come in to be with you, please! My tails wags so fast as I watch mom walk briskly into the kitchen. Let the cat out; I’ll be your only companion, Mom!
Before long mom backed the SUV on to the carport, spread a nice thick quilt across the back and left the hatchback open. Blondie and I quickly jumped in. Mom put a suitcase in the back and Smoki’s litter box on the front floorboard. Sensing one of mom’s traps, I jumped out. I know how she is; she lets me think I’m in; I’m going, then grabs me and puts me in the house before she leaves. I’m wise to her games.  
After mom loaded more things, she closed the hatchback with Blondie in the back. She called me, but I held back. I can tell by the sound of her voice if her coaxing is true or she wants to sucker me to put me in the house, so I wait to hear what she has to say, but instead she turned to Lucky and put the lead over his head. “Good boy, come on get in the car.” Oh, my word, she’s taking him with Blondie! I scrambled in on her seat and was in the back before she could lift the scared Lucky in. I’m here first, I get to go, my tail wagged with my mouth hanging wide open; I get to go!
Mom closed the door leaving Lucky to find a spot out of our way. The door opened; there she was with Robert Redford in her arms all limp and scared. He hates cars like Lucky does. Wow, we’re all going to the beach; how cool is that?
Finally mom, hopped in the driver’s seat; we’re ready to go to the beach. Smoki? Why is the cat coming with and he usually travels in his crate; where’s it? Wondering, worrying gives way to tail wagging happiness; we’re going to my favorite place, the beach, the beach!
Mom! We should have turned back there at the light!  The beach, you missed the beach; where are we going? I put my paw on the window indicating where she should go, but she kept on driving, when she turned on to the autopista/tollway I knew we were going to the shelter, Amigos de Los Animales in San Juan by the airport, by the beach.
The air conditioning cooled my ardor for the beach; soon we all napped until each toll booth where I felt required to assist Blondie in barking at the people who took mom’s money. The boys barely raised their heads. 

Barking dogs greeted us, Auntie Adri welcomed us with happy, squeaky words we love to hear and good petting. Jadie, Goodie, and Cinderella barked wildly from in the house. My friends I’m visiting my friends for the weekend; what a lucky dog I am!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Day in the Life of Animal Activist Alma Febus

The library filled with school kids from third to eight grade, a teacher announced, “I’d like to introduce you to Animal Activist Alma Febus.”
As if a spot light shone on her, Alma began to dazzle the kids introducing them to Gucci, the Puerto Rican Chihuahua in a dress and harness decorated with butterflies and flowers. On her signal, Bambi, Alma's Rottweiler Service Dog, who had been snoozing, came to heel position.


The kids ooow’ed and ah’ed when Alma had the massive Bambi stand so she could put the tiny Gucci in a sit on her back. Both dog’s black eyes shone with a desire to please Alma; the class looked on with rapt attention. Kids jiggled up and down with excitement, hands shook at Alma with questions, comments and “Can I pet the dog?”
Alma calmed the class with a short movie about an abandoned dog, after which Alma seemed to have a sixth sense about the children she selected to pet Bambi first. The first little girl’s face barely controlled her excitement with an “I love this dog,” look she pet so carefully, after which she danced back to her seat in bliss.
Alma’s experience showed as she dismissed the kids that are always the center of attention and zeroed in on a tiny boy, who bore the look of “I really need to touch this dog” on his face. Alma guided the child to the side of Bambi’s head, where she helped him stick out his hand to be sniffed before petting.  With the black fur in his hand, his eyes lit up behind thick glasses.
In one day Alma Febus, Animal Control Officer, Cruelty Investigator affected future attitudes of island people by educating the young today. Thanks, Alma, for all you do for the animals and the people, whose lives are enriched by the love of animals.



  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Street Dogs Hit the Beach by Chi-Ping

Blondie burst out of the car like she would rip up all comers. Tom, Dick and Harry were wondering who was with me because it’s always me and Lucky with mom at the beach on Friday, which is now officially my favorite day of the week.
Blondie struck each one of those skinny Saldinaros beach boys with her chest knocking them over one, two, three, while they were still shaking I moved in barking fiercely. Blondie pinned one, I chased two into the bushes; I’m the best, my tail is so high I can’t stand myself. I knew Blondie and I would rule.
Mom said this was why she never took us to the dog parks in New Orleans. Bullies, us, I don’t think so. We just have to have our respect; it’s the first rule of the street. We’re supposed to behave like pets and be all sweetie- sweetie. The Saldinaros would shag our hinnies out of there. They’d like to go to our homes and be pets, so we let them know who’s in charge of the beach when we’re here.
Running and barking at the shore; what more can you want? Blondie likes to swim; who knew? Watching her made me confident enough to go in the water almost to my back. It was so exciting being in the ocean. Even better than chasing the birds, no I think chasing birds is better.
You’d be surprised how quickly you get tired running at the beach. Soon we were sprawled out on the sand near mom and Marcie, who were sitting in chairs next to each other talking, while this ten or twelve week old pup romances Marcie. He knows that she’s the one who took Hatty home from here and he thinks she’ll take him too. He sits there staring at her wagging his tail. What a little suck up; I can’t stand it.
Before we left mom gave the beach dogs some of our food and water. We tried to jump out of the car to get it, but mom stopped us. She said we were too fat and needed to go on a diet anyway. Oh, that woman can be cruel.
We slept all the way home. Mom’s right about one thing. A tired dog is a happy dog.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Smart Satos Did What? by Chi-Ping

The last October Sunday morning on Sato Hill hens off laying eggs somewhere cackled. We tried to locate them, but they fled up a tree before we got there. Lucky and Robert Redford are learning to be good hunters. I taught them well, but Blondie did some educating these mongrels also.
Our early morning kibble breakfast needed to be supplemented to stay healthy or chunky-monkey as mom calls us. Blondie and I would never pick up avocados or coconuts, hell we never thought of it. Robert Redford and Lucky are on them the second they hit the ground.  My curiosity got the better of me, I tasted a bit of an avocado that Lucky left lying about; not bad, so I settled in to lick the skin. Lucky saw me. I didn’t think too much about it; until he pounced on me. That nervy little wanker pounced on me, well, it was pretty good.
What surprised me the most was the taste of coconut, oh my, that’s good. This clever pair of pups rolls the coconuts down the driveway. Mom laughed the first time she watched them from the bedroom window, said it looked like downhill bowling. We went back to bed, but I was a bit annoyed listening to coconuts rolling down the driveway all night. In the morning shards of coconut littered the porch, so before long I curled up knawing on a piece, Robert Redford stood over me like he thought I was going to give it up. My eyes bulged out of their sockets; my lips showed not just my fine teeth, but my gums as I growled and spit, “I’ll never give it up!”

Sunday mornings on the island and life is good. Imagine those pups figuring out how to break the coconuts by rolling them downhill; must have been a lucky accident; right?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Dog's Best Evening by Chi-Ping

Hi Folks,
What would make a little dog say, “T.G.I.F.?” Give up?
It was so fun! Friday evening we went to the beach again, Lucky and me. The boy did not want to get in the car; can’t say as I blame him. It took me a long time to get over the fear of being dumped. I’ll tell you, it was a shocker to suddenly be all alone in a strange land. Anyway, I digress, we were at the beach next to Home Depot in Hatillo.
I met Tom, Dick and Harry, and then along came Jane. She said she wished she was a wolf bitch; they only get bred by the alfa male, she has to put up with Tom, Dick, and Harry. Harry made friends with me and Lucky first. He said they were the Saldinera Beach Boys Pack He was rather scruffy for my tastes, but because he was four inches taller at the shoulders than Lucky, the little pi(t)bull squatted like a bitch and gave that stupid grin of his. I walked way down the beach all by myself with mom standing on the shore crying. She talks to dad all the time.
Tom lay on the ridge of sand at the edge of the parking lot with his head between his paws watching. Dick kept busy pissing on bushes like everything was his territory. This nervous little prick had nothing on me. I lift my tail high; sniff this Sato. Just then, along came Jane saggy breasts half filled with milk swinging in the wind, damn, I’ll bet that hurts. She had this don’t make me mess with you look on her face, as she looked for something to eat. I put my tail down for her out of respect for a hard working mommy.
Lucky and I went down the shore, we raced and played tag, mom walked along picking things up. I wished she’d run with us. We found a flock of Sand Pipers along a rocky shelf. They scattered wildly as we flew around the rocks. Harry even joined us for a romp.
As the sun dropped from sight mom dusted the sand off us  before we loaded in the car to go home. We ‘re going to do this every Friday. Lucky dogs. 


Sunday, October 20, 2013

What a Little Dog Knows by Chi-Ping

I’m just a little dog, but I know what I saw; it wasn’t good. A flicker of black so quick, you doubt you saw it. You feel vaguely unsettled without knowing why. You dismiss it. It was nothing. But I saw it.
Dad told me to take care of mom; he loves her. The dark thing comes around selling bitterness and so much more. I tried to warn Lola; that wasn’t dad she stood staring at the night she died. Disease overwhelmed her, blood refused to clot; all the medicine didn’t help as she wanted to go with the impostor. Lola died; dad wouldn’t have taken her from mom. So sad, forlorn we took Lola’s body to the vet. I worry how to tell mom of the threat.
Dogs have been cursed to know so much and yet, we do not speak in a way you understand. What quirk of fate prevents your comprehension of my meaning? Could it be an angry deity, or witchcraft? Or is it that same dark force that seeks my mom?
Blondie gets consumed with anger sometimes. She goes up in the hills sniffing and killing rodents to burn this rage off. She comes back spent, so dog tired, she fell asleep dreaming about our friend Stormy, when the truck that ran him over came rumbling up the road. She turned in circles before heading after that monster truck. No one is safe from demons.
Oh, I’m just a little dog; what do I know?



Get Together Just For Fun

 Life is Fun with Satos
Just for fun! Friday evening, 4 PM til dark.
Saldinera, the beach in Hatillo just west of Home Depot.

When I was young and in love I took my dogs to the beach, we played and trained. We hung out. I need to get back to my roots in dogs. Please join me.

And, of course, we are all responsible for our own dogs. Dogs must be under voice control or leashed. Sorry, that’s the granny coming out.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis Strike by Chi-Ping

Lola started bleeding on carport floor. When mom came home, she studied Lola until she saw the blood dripping out of her nose. Where's the closest emergency veterinarian? After calling our Auntie Alma mom put Lola in the back of the SUV. She told me no, I couldn't go, but mom needs me, so I jumped in anyway. She told me get out, but that wasn't going to happen without a struggle, she saw how serious I was, so didn't waste time arguing, a good thing; blood now leaked out of Lola’s nose, she was weak.
I whimpered to let mom know my concerns. As much as I don’t usually like Lola, I snuggled next to her to keep her warm, mom sped down the twisty hill roads to the San Francisco de Asis Veterinary Hospital in Hatillo, where she told me firmly to stay in the car. The moon shined in through the roof mom left open for me. The smell of sick dogs made me shiver. Lola cried when they took her from mom, but was the only dog who seemed scarred, so I thought it was a good place for dogs.
 Mom brought me in the room when Lola went in the back to have blood drawn. When the doctor brought Lola back in the room with her head low, she looked like she could die. I stood in front of Lola, licked my lips and wagged me tail; don’t die Lola, you’re the only really big dog I can bully. I like you; don’t die.
Dr. Iris Vales, DVM, graduate of Ohio State took a deep breath, “There’s no easy way to say this,” she began. Mom’s eyes squeezed tight. “Be direct,” mom said in a subdued voice. The doctor looked sad, oh, no. That’s never good. My tail wagged little, short, fast, anxious waves. Mom and I both stared in her eyes, wondering what the vet would say. “We can do many heroic things and Lola, may still not make it.” The words hung in my brain; we just lost dad, and Lefty’s gone, well, he's not dead, but I miss him; now Lola, my mouth opened and closed in disbelief, as my tail jittered back and forth.
“Low platelets, low red blood cells, fever of more than one hundred five degrees,” Dr. Vales said as she showed mom the numbers. “Not enough oxygen to brain and vital organs; it’s not looking good. We could put her to sleep. It may be a kindness.”  
“If you treat her, what would you do?” Mom looked deep into the doctor’s face; she wanted to understand completely, she sat forward her head tilted slightly as the doctor spoke, “IV’s, antibiotics, Vincristine to grow platelets.” “How long before the Vincristine works?” mom interrupted. “Two days,” the doctor replied. “How about a transfusion; can you do that?”  The doctor nodded, but said, “Transfusion comes with its own risk.” To which mom said, “I know.” The doctor walked out the door to consult with a colleague, mom zoned out, so I walked around the room sniffing.
What’s a little dog to do about things? All I can do is sniff out what’s been going on in this room. I hope Lola doesn't die, and putting her to sleep doesn’t sound any better either. What’s mom going to do? I need to sniff the last little scent out of this corner, sniff, sniff.
Mom’s eyes opened, she smiled and reached down to pet me. I feel better already. Mom texted Adri and Alma, she says they are wise dog ladies. Whatever she read on the screen, her eyes half closed and her head nodded. She looked up as the doctor entered with a piece of paper in her hand, the estimate. People wonder what makes them different from us, money could be the answer. I jumped on the bench to sit next to mom. She took her glasses out to read the paper.  I felt her flinch. The doctor leaned against the examining table. Mom’s eyes studied the paper. I could tell by the doctor’s body language, she eagerly wanted to take care of Lola. Lola had a shot. The doctor’s aura said so, oh, mom!”

Mom saw it too, she smiled at the doctor as she told her to save Lola, she said she couldn't stand to lose another loved one that dad was more than enough loss, but they couldn't go over, she had no more money. It was late in the night when mom and I went home.    

Friday, October 4, 2013

Que Sera

In the middle of an island, my honey and me, it was heavenly, but alone it’s just a pretty place to be lonely. With Kirt’s death not yet three months away, the dawn of realization that he’s not coming back impacts differently. When he died it felt like a skyscraper made of bricks fell down on my head brick by brick, smashing, hurting me.
I live in a cavern in the rubble with my loving pack, and bricks still hitting my head, but also moments of being my old self. The weight of the now duller pain feels oppressive at times. I know that if I don’t stay active, the open option of depression looms large.
There is a segment of humanity I think of as “dog people” or animal people, if you will, we love dogs/animals more than most. As a certified “dog woman” in good standing, I’ve spent the last few years trying to discover where I could do the most good for the Puerto Rican Island Dogs or “Satos,” as they’re known here. So far, I know what I don’t want to do.
Turning my home into a shelter is out of the question; five dogs and no fence is insane enough for me, thank you. After thirty years in the dog training among other dog related enterprises, I’d rather not teach people, who can be so in love with their preconceived training notions that they don’t hear what’s actually being said. We fall short in the relationship department with dogs, among others, with few exceptions. Anyway, I’m sure there’s a bunch of decent trainers.
Ultimately, I decided that the animal activists here needed help raising funds. After a few false starts, my first effort, Photo Day for Amigos de Los Animales came in as a decent success. The pictures by Silver and Pixel that I saw were lovely, so we had happy participants. Other than the manager of Bamboobei turning off the water in the middle of the day, we had no problems; no, that’s not true, our venue, a restaurant, decided to not serve food that day , but drinks were served late in the afternoon, just another learning experience. All this kept me busy enough to begin to blunt my pain.
Our next fund raiser, a party scheduled in October at Bamboobei is cancelled lacking of venue. I’m grieving not crazy. My next few weeks of focus on something else just flushed; what now?

 Some are beginning to say things like: new page, new chapter, new book. Those who encourage me are right, I need a new life; how to begin again after my love story fails me.    

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Right Motivator

Some dogs are easy to train; other dogs are more, shall we say, self directed. Any dog raised from a puppy, should and will do what’s requested with minimal training.
In the house all of my dogs obey, even the pups, Lucky and Robert Redford have nice manners. Lola hasn’t been with me long, but she’s an attentive girl and seldom leaves my side when I’m out in the yard.
Blondie and Chi-Ping, resident street dogs before adoption, are very to totally self directed as soon as they’re out the door. Chi-Ping, the little whore, will offer sits while giving intense eye contact any time food is to be had. Blondie’s behavior suggests an anthropomorphic attitude of: I’m here; what more do you want? I don’t want to sit. Sit, I don’t remember that one. And she’s pretty convincing.
If I call Chi-Ping as she’s heading down the driveway, I’ll get the over the shoulder: I love you, later look, while she goes wherever. Blondie doesn’t even look.
My squeak signals food; Robert Redford and Lucky come running right away. Lola heads home when she hears the door open. Blondie and Chi, may or may not come, if anything is more interesting, they will not.
The neighbors feed Blondie and Chi leftovers the same as when they were street dogs, so kibble and biscuits aren’t worth the trip up the hill. Please, keep in mind that these dogs, especially Blondie have spent more time at the neighbors than with me, having lived in the street here for about four years before adoption.
Being concerned that all five come when called, I decided today to practice the recall with something properly motivational. After my dinner I opened the door, Lola appeared, the boys bounded up the driveway, as quickly as I squeaked, Blondie and Chi-Ping, who were over six hundred feet up the hill, galloped like Kentucky Derby winners to the porch.
What makes this story interesting is that at six hundred feet they heard the squeak, and smelled the fried chicken skin intended for them. Since they don’t run like that when it’s cooking they must have heard the squeak to know it was for them and at that distance to zero in on the smell is impressive. What do you think?


Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Visit to Tia/Auntie Adri by Chi-Ping

After a few days in San Juan I’m ready to just lie around, but some guys are cutting the grass. Lucky, Blondie, Robert Redford and I are doing our best to snooze, while that intense bitch, Lola trots from window to window checking; checking what, who the hell knows.
Sultry nights strolling the boardwalk, listening to the surf roar in; what could be better? Road trips to the city, a few days on the beach, in a word my kind of life, seem to be doing mom some good. On the boardwalk we stopped in the dark to look at the stars, mom cried, but not like before. Kirt, I miss you was all I heard her say.
Staying at Amigos de Los Animales can be fun, play bows and mouth duels with my best friend, Jade, who mom calls Jay- deee, good times are had by all, when Chi-Ping comes to challenge the Border Collie. This visit I got so excited about playing with Jade and Lucy I forgot about the badass beach bitches I had to walk past, well, with the big blonde girl backing you up, no worry, I held my tail straight up, stood tall and strut my stuff. Anyway, when mom walked in the yard they all wanted to say hello to her.
Tia/Auntie Adri makes such a big fuss when I came in that I felt like I just won "Best in Show." The woman knows how to make me feel special; I like that in her. After my wonderful welcome, all they talked about was photo day and planning another fund raiser for Amigos de Los Animales, a Halloween Party and the dogs get to come, hurray! I get to come.
Who ever heard of a costume contest for dogs? There’s going to be a costume contest for dogs! I’m going to go as a bee; I’ll be the best bumble bee. No, mom just told me, I’m not eligible for the contest. Some lucky dog will get my prize, the prize I wanted. And what costume could be better than a bumble bee? We’ll just wait and see.
Thanks for reading,
Chi-Ping