In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”
Within days of returning to my favorite Mexican town I thought to revisit some of my old haunts. I turned the corner and came upon a pack of street dogs who were running amok terrorizing the locals with tumultuous racket.. Beyond the mayhem, a blonde beauty was emerging from under an abandoned truck. In a slow saunter he came to me. I was fixated as he neared. Momentary silence, only he and me were present. My heart leaped in my chest. I was falling in love.
I had never seen anything both so delicious and so pitiful. His big round eyes looked apologetic as though embarrassed to be found in such condition. It looked as though his coat had been hacked with scissors, holey and uneven. I bent to stroke him. My hand went smoothly down his back where feeling every vertebrae slip between my fingers. I was so moved by him. How long had he gone without food or kindness ? Immediately I walked to a shop just steps away and returned with a bag of dog food. He had not moved. I placed some food on the dirt beneath him, he sniffed and laid down to eat, ever so slowly.. I walked away knowing that our story was not over.
I continued to feed him twice a day for three days.. it had become a routine. When on the fourth day as i approached the rusted truck, he emerged, with his tail upwards and the very tip in the slightest wave . This was a first, up to now he had been unresponsive. What I called mellow. I was prompted to make a big decision and went directly to the veterinarian, bought a collar and a leash and informed him that i would return with a dog. He remained there overnight for a complete check and an update on shots, deworming, defleaing, deticking, shampooing and a shave. When I picked him up the next day he was a sight for sore eyes: eery bone, every rib was exposed.. His hair was no more there to camouflage his months of neglect. A moment of doubt set in….”What have i done ” i don’t know this dog. Will he pee and poo all over the place ? will he bite? My fears were unfounded.
Rubio turned out to be the most wonderful dog in the world. He has no bad habits, not one. In the four years that i have had him he has never jumped up on me. He doesn’t lick, won’t jump up on furniture, doesn’t bark unless it’s appropriate, he comes when he’s called and if you throw a ball which he loves, he will bring it right back to you. He was amazing on the gruelling flight back to Canada with an 8 hour lay over (from midnight to 8 am) in Mexico City. It took a year of healing; many trips to the vet and extensive dental surgery.. He had worn his front teeth down by gnawing on rocks (apparently starving dogs are known to do this).
His joy and excitement for life was fully revived within a year. The delight that he brings me is without measure. The history we have cements us.
Animals of any sort are dear to me but cats and dogs, our pets are family. They offer unconditional love, non judgement, they are forgiving and they have this to teach us. Some of us are learning. A house is not a home without them.