Thursday, November 11, 2010

Street Dogs of Mexico

I've been in Mexico for a week... a great time with old friends and new. While riding or walking through the streets of Leon and Guanajuato, I encountered many street dogs. My guess is that I wouldn't be quite as affected by these aimless dogs if Bailey were not in my life. But with each dog I saw, I pictured Bailey walking alone in a big city with no one to care for him and nowhere to go. As I write this entry, Bailey is fast asleep in an enormous overstuffed chair in my living room. His belly is full and every so often he wanders into the kitchen where I am writing just to check in. He spent a glorious fall afternoon with six of his best dog buddies on the lakeshore of Worthley Pond. "We" had an intermediate class at The Proper Pooch. After that, he climbed Black Mountain with me wearing his blaze orange scarf. He's got a good life... but not these streets dogs.

A Dachshund who had recently given birth strayed along a busy city street looking this way and that. "Frantic" is the word that comes to mind. I think she may have belonged to someone at some point because she had a one-foot long tie around her neck. I have no picture of this dog, but her face, not unlike the one I've included above, is still with me.

Another pup seen at the top of this post wandered along the main street in Guanajuato. This tiny tike dodged in and out of door ways, peeing frequently. After I saw him return to a doorway for a second time, I had hoped perhaps he belonged to one of the store owners. Maybe he had hoped, too. But no such luck as he came back out, peed again, and scrambled down the street. This little vagabond reminded me of a miniature Benji dog. When I saw him, I immediately thought of my dog-loving neighbors Kate and Gayle. I could picture them scooping up this little guy in a heart beat and going from door to door in search of his owner. With no success, they would have brought him home to a place where all beings, especially our furry friends, are cherished and valued. Benji would have made a great little brother to Bapu and Minga.

The two pitch black little guys with flopping ears looked like twins. My friends and I drove through the back entrance of a country club along neglected fields when the two shadows scooted down the road and then disappeared into the deep grass. There were no houses or people within a mile.

There are times when I feel guilty for having the resources to care for Bailey the way I do. I joke about him having his own condo in my house, and his food, care, treats, and toys cost more per month than the take-home salary of a factory worker in many under-developed countries. Obviously, I'm not going to return Bailey to Estelle and Ralph, his grandparents, or to Maggie his mom... Truth is, I plan to appreciate him that much more.

As if on cue, Bailey just wandered into the kitchen and flopped onto the floor to the side of my office chair. Time for a belly rub.

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