Give it to the dogs this week. I will explain in a moment.
At long last, the old tires that served as steps out front of our grand house are replaced by stone and mortar. I had a masonry contracting business forty five years ago⏤so old skills came in handy. The steps properly give a grander entrance to our home from our gate and parking area.
Back to the dogs. We have two: MaliNalli is our proper house pet and a pedigree Xoloitzcuintle, the famous native Mexican breed. Avión is a dog that showed up on our property, starved and living on trash. He was in such bad shape that although we were helping two other dogs in similar plight, Amy fed him against my advise and he stuck to us like glue. The other two dogs are gone. One killed by mongrels and the other went back to former owners. Avión is our outdoor dog. We had him neutered and given vaccinations. His name means “airplane” in Spanish. His ears stand out like wings when he is attentive. Avión will always have problems. He would certainly be dead by now if left to himself.
Recently, MaliNalli became listless and scared us. She had a temperature of 105. The breed normally runs high temps but we were very concerned. A drive to the vet takes forty minutes. We took her for tests. At the gate when we arrived home, was Avión, covered with blood. I thought there had been an accident. Soon I saw blood spurting from his nose and he was snorting it out in red blasts of droplets. Turns out both dogs have been affected by ticks. Avión has parasitic worms around his heart and probably in his nasal passages. We have made long trips to the veterinary clinic every two days for checkups, injections, tests . . .
The dogs seem to be on the mend. MaliNalli is back to her old self and Avión has had only one brief bleeding spell. We have been advised to keep the two apart, since Avión is in much more trouble and could infect MaliNalli. MaliNalli has had a series of four injections and both dogs are on pills for two weeks. Whew! A handful.
Americans that visit or move to Mexico are shocked at the condition and circumstances of the dog population. They can be seen roaming streets⏤maimed, hobbled with broken limbs, starving or with mange. Humans seldom take animals to vets for vaccinations or to be neutered. They are left on their own in poverty and blight. Not to say all Mexican dogs are like this.
A couple days ago, Pilar, the girl who lives in the large family above us on our hill showed up at our gate in the morning. Several puppies were missing. Their mother had been run over by a car, so the story went. Her grandmother heard puppies crying during the night. The sound came from our property. MaliNalli had been running up the hill sniffing the ground. Close to our property line, under a big fallen cactus in a cove in the ground, amidst dense underbrush, two squealing puppies were found. They were newborns and did not have their eyes open yet. Strangely, a bowl was there. Amy asked, and Pilar said it came from her house. Amy asked if someone had put the puppies there. Pilar looked confused and did not answer. She was very happy cuddling the pups in her arms as she left.
Amy and I have never visited these particular neighbors who have been troublesome. Yet some of the kids come to our home on Sundays for art classes, free materials and refreshments. We love the children.
We often hear of animals mysteriously dying up there. We have found a dead dog on our land, and at least once saw a father from the hill clan racing down with a bag to empty somewhere by a creek. Probably dead puppies.
The night after finding the pups, after watching our evening movie, we went outdoors to stand in the fresh air and let MaliNalli do her business. Amy heard whimpering from above. We went to the cactus log and I could hear the crying. After searching with a flashlight, I managed to pull a pup from out of the earth. It was too young to have its eyes open. We fed it warm milk and put it in a dog kennel for the night. The next morning we called the grandmother and within seconds three children were at our gate. Pilar took the pup with joy and her little brother said, “How sweet!”