Do you like dogs?

12 Dec

Do you like dogs? Do you want one? I know where you can get one for free. You can even get it checked over by a Vet and Spayed or Neutered at no cost to you!

 

All you have to do is come and visit us here in Baja.

A beautiful Baja sunset

 

Of course the cost of travelling to Baja might outweigh the cost advantages of a free pet but hey, a loving pet is priceless right?

 

I don’t own a dog and I haven’t since I was a kid. My childhood was scared with the tragic deaths or losses of dogs. My first dog was a beagle puppy my Father brought home for me 6 months before we sold everything we owned and left Hamilton, Ontario to move to Vancouver, BC.  We couldn’t take him with us, so our relationship was intense but short. I never saw him again, he got out of my aunts yard and was killed by a car a year after we left.

 

I have to tell you, losing your first love at four, leaves a scar!

 

The last dog in my life was a small miniature lab named Peppy. This one met a terrible end. He’d gotten hold of some chicken bones from somewhere, (not us), and they stuck deep in his throat. It wasn’t until we realized he wasn’t eating and had no energy that we recognized there was a problem. My parents were not capable of paying for the costs of surgery for a pet, so Peppy was euthanized. My whole family was devastated. We never owned a dog again.

 

Richards story is a little happier. His life was filled with dogs. The earliest photos of him as a little boy show him with a dog. His Mother bred Champion show and Obedience dogs and he delights in telling people that he can remember having 24 dogs around at one time and usually never less than 10. He even adopted a dog when he spent two years on a Kibbutz in Israel, to stop it from being euthanized.

 

When we got married, and then had children, we talked about getting a dog and though I’d had terrible experiences I was willing, Richard wasn’t. As he put it, he was “dogged out”. There had been more than enough dogs in his life and after discussing the pros and cons, we decided our lifestyle didn’t have any room in it for a dog, and that’s the way it’s stayed all these years.

 

Sita, short for Mamasita. She was an abandoned Mom with pups when adopted. Don't worry, the pups got a good home too!

When we started coming here, it became apparent that the attitude towards dogs is very different that it is in Canada and the U.S. At home, pets are often treated better than humans are, not so down here.

 

As far as the vast majority of Mexicans are concerned, dogs are plain and simply animals. Don’t misunderstand me, most dogs are loved and cared for by their owners and a few are even treated the same way Paris Hilton treats her Chihuahua, though that’s a rare happening. It is not unusual however, to see dogs, even much loved ones, suffering from Mange, bitches that have obviously had litter after litter, because it’s not macho to get her fixed and packs of scruffy, skinny dogs fending for themselves, because no one can afford to feed them anymore. Now I have to interject here that I have never seen nor heard of dog fights in Baja, lots of Cock fighting goes on, but no dog fights, so no worries on that account.

 

 

It’s actually difficult to describe the relationship between dog owners and dogs down here. Here’s an example, the Market that we go to every Sunday, to purchase farm fresh food has a couple of meat venders, and there are always at least half a dozen dogs in various sad states hanging around. Some of these dogs belong to the various vendors and some are strays that have learned that on Sundays free food can be had for an animal willing to wait for something to hit the ground. No one pays any attention to these animals nor do they seem concerned that some of them appear to be near starvation. There are never any fights amongst the dogs, since survival is more important than dominance, they don’t waste the energy.

 

The owners see no reason to keep their dogs by them all the time and when it’s time to pack up and leave, the dog with an owner will go home with them, and the others will just melt back into the background of the town.

 

 

The problems arise when money gets really tight, since as the most disposable member of the family, the dog is likely to be turned out to fend for itself or driven into the wilds and abandoned.

 

Every town we’ve visited has dogs running loose, often in packs. Some of these are dogs with homes, some are dogs that have been abandoned and others are feral. It’s easy to tell the difference, abandoned dogs wag their tails and will approach humans who call to them and offer them a kind word or a handout, feral dogs go out of their way to avoid humans as much as possible.

You can just make out Bushy and Sandy, the last surviving dogs of a litter of 5 that were rescued by a couple on the beach.

 

You have to understand that there is no SPCA here or any other organization geared to animal control or adoption. There isn’t enough money to look after the human population, let along excess to be used for animal welfare. People come first and since most are barely surviving, there is a long way to go before any thought can be turned to the benefit of anything else. I mean we’re talking about an area where most of the smaller villages have no electricity or running water. One of the Gringos has been trying to solicit donations for a family in Auga Verde, a small fishing village south of us, whose fourteen old son needs dialysis. They need solar panels, batteries and inverters, to keep their son alive, so paying out scarce dollars for a pet is out of the question.

 

Rattlesnake Beach seems to be a favourite place to abandon a dog, probably because the owner really doesn’t want to hurt the animal and they know that chances are good it will be adopted by either one of the campers or someone they know and will go on to a better life. At the moment there are six rescued dogs here that have found new owners and a much better life. Not to mention the feral bitch and her puppy that are being fed by at least two if not three of the ladies that are camping on the beach right now.

 

Sometimes it’s funny listening to the owners of these dogs as they will tell you that regardless as to how young the puppies were when they were adopted, they never lose their Mexican identities. Mexican dogs eat constantly if allowed and they eat anything and everything. It doesn’t matter if they are so full they can barely move, if someone offers them something, they will take it. I think that there must be some sort of starvation memory in these animals, similar to the ones that our parents generation seem to have if they lived through the Depression in the 30’s. I don’t know about you, but I know quite a few older adults who’s cupboards are absolutely full of packaged and canned goods, just in case the the world goes to hell and they can’t get any more food. I’m guessing that starvation teaches to eat when you can.

 

We have managed to find homes for the two dogs that were dropped off in our campsite over the last few years. It’s funny, all our fellow campers seem to assume that we are incomplete without a furry companion and have tried at various times to suggest that nothing could be more perfect than for a dog to magically appear at our doorstep, but Richard lets them all know that it’s just not going to happen. Not that we don’t love to visit with our friends dogs, Richard even sometimes carries treats in his pocket, but it’s like other peoples kids, fun to visit with but eventually they go home to their own family.

 

As for the free Veterinary I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there is a group called Animalandia, that comes to town on a fairly regular schedule that does rescues, surgeries, examinations and other necessary work on pets, free of charge. It is made up of a group of volunteers, very similar to Doctors without Borders, though obviously with a different patient focus. Thanks to these folks and the kindness of the people on this beach, as well as those who live in Ligui, Juncalito and Loreto, many dogs have been rescued, fixed, adopted and now live all over Canada and the United States. This is a much better fate than that which they would have faced with had they been left to fend for themselves down here.

 

So as I said at the beginning, are you by any chance in the market for a dog? I happen to know of a very fat, happy puppy that’s going to be looking for a new home soon…

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Do you like dogs?”

  1. Michelle December 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Awesome read Alexis, thanks for the info! Good luck with the forever home finding!

    • Alexis Thuillier December 16, 2011 at 11:37 am #

      Just after I posted this blog, 4 more puppies were dropped off on our end of the beach. All of us are now trying desperately to coax them to come to us, take some food and water and find new homes. Hope we succeed!

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