Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hola, Tolola, the Abandoned German Shepard Mother

One morning a few weeks back I glanced out the window to see a pick up truck stop at the bottom of my driveway. For a country road this one can get rather busy, so I thought nothing about it, until a few minutes later when I went outside to water plants; there stood a magnificent German Shepard bitch with large upright ears and noble expression. “Lola,” I gasped, seeing the gorgeous girl, who died two months after my husband.
She wagged her tail. I could feel my face light up; I ran to the top of the driveway, where she wagged her tail in the way that says, “Good to see you.”
Stroking her long nose, I cried, while I thought of my lost husband and dog. We had enjoyed our lives here for a short time. The new Lola raced down my drive in the long strides of her breed.
The Sato Hill Gang barked warning from in the house; thank God.  I called, “Lola.” She sniffed around in the road where she had been dumped with a frantic look on her face; her tits flopped to and fro with every step, the sagging tits puppies recently suckled.
The new Lola ran up the road; I waited in the driveway talking to her, hoping she would connect with me. Before long her ground covering trot carried her around my yard; here and there she stopped to sniff. The food I offered her, she gobbled before tiptoeing across the porch to the water bowl.
Since the dogs were settled in the house and I was on my way out, I hoped she’d be there when I returned; she wasn’t.
Days passed; each time down the road my eyes scoured the countryside for her. My route varied to increase chance of sighting her. This fine animal deserved a good life with a family; they are bred to passionately love somebody. I needed to find her.
In the afternoon I take the road home that goes over the hill, so I can see the lake; it’s always treat. As I rounded a curve near the horse pasture, a man leaned against a fence post watching a dog; it was new Lola.   
“Hola, como esta? Es su perro?”
“Bien, gracias.”
He shrugged his shoulders in answer to the question, is that your dog. We talked for a while; it turned out that he owned the house with my favorite view of the lake. We both admired a fine German Shepard and he would think about keeping her.
In a desperate attempt to assure her of a good home, I promised to have her spayed, if he would just give her a home.
Two days later, I drove past hoping to see her proudly protecting his yard. No one was home. Further up the road she chased a rooster, while a young boy threw rocks at her, and a woman yelled.

Oh, crap that will never do. I got out of the car.
“Por favor, no.” I said to the boy, who stopped immediately. The woman yelled some more in rapid fire Spanish. The rooster raced past us screaming for its life with Lola in hot pursuit and ready for breakfast. The woman screeched so loudly I wanted to get in the car and go; I opened the door and called, “Lola, come on pretty girl. I’ve got food for you on the porch. The other dogs are in, so you can enjoy the yard all to yourself, good girl.”
Hot damn, she sauntered to the door and hopped in like she knew what she was doing; that went well.
What in the hell am I going to do? Supporting five dogs costs plenty with food and monthly anti-pest topical treatments; not to mention vet bills when they get sick. Ugh, I can’t afford another dog. My property has no fence, so wildlife comes and goes. 
Where else can I take her, but home? I texted a couple of rescuer friends, who wanted a photo; that’s just great because the camera on my phone is dead, grrr.  
Lola number two ate on my porch. I hoped she’d feel more comfortable the second time. Her tits were shrinking nicely, she lost weight, but still fine. I had plans for the day; would she stay?
How could I get so freaking torn about something I should not do? The dog had better sense than I; she left when she finished the food.  
Did she migrate over the hill as before? The man with the vacation house overlooking the lake had been good to her, so maybe; I drove the hill road day and night.
Lola one died of a disease I exposed her to, when I brought her to a friend’s; I blamed myself. She loved me intensely, at a time I had lost most of the love in my life, then I ran out of money, she ran out of help; that sucked.
This Shepard has the black saddle, whereas, Lola one was a light sable. Tolola’s face is the color of a fawn with intelligent brown eyes.  One of my favorite things about German Shepards is you feel so smart because they know what you want with such little effort on your part; not all breeds train so effortlessly. I appreciate the attributes of this marvelous breed.
All I can say is that I pray I find her alive and doing well.     


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Spaying Street Bitches

Rounding up stray bitches for sterilization is more difficult than I thought it would be.
Far out of my comfort zone is talking in Spanish to strangers. I can see it in their faces; they don't trust me, when they finally understand me.
One family, I offered to take the six puppies to a shelter my friend runs, the woman's granddaughter told her in Spanish, right in front of me, "The gringa is going to make money off las perritas." The puppies vanished, I don't know how or where. A year later the pregnant shaggy terrier mom disappeared from the yard, only a handsome young son remains; and that’s my neighbor.
Since I’ve lived here, any dog moving in gets vaccinations and neutering on me. Little puppies wandering in the street break my heart. I don’t make money; I donate time, energy and money to improve life for dogs. Our relationship with dogs began in the caves, they’ve served us since then; don’t we owe them?
Free roaming carnivores maintain a balance in rodent population, if the dogs hunt is another topic.  Too many dogs is the problem; I think of it as finding an ecological balance and believe that the barbaric practice of collecting and killing them should be replaced with trap, neuter and return. 
Returning a post operative dog to a vacant area doesn’t set well, so going with people at least somewhat interested in it appeals, comes with other perils.

 I'm going further away from home talking to people. I need to enlist help from local people. Catching dogs the night before spay day, even dogs I feed when I see them, is hit or miss, so where I see dogs hanging around, I know that a person cares enough to feed at least occasionally. These are the people I need to support to end the huge reproduction cycle.
Understanding the street dog problem in Puerto Rico has taken a long time. Finding a boots on the ground part of the solution I can believe in; halleluiah, I’m blessed.
Each week I’ll be bringing up to three females/hembras to the vet to be spayed. In my valley, over the years I’ve learned where dogs are fed; the dogs hang on the outside of the fence. I believe these are the people I need to say hello to, but people get weird looks on their faces when I speak; you have no idea.
Well, wish me luck!