Bonz…Scotts art project from a welding class he took years ago…
We have an indigenous Panamanian family who live just at the bottom of our drive. They have at least six small children and from what we can tell two dogs, a puppy and a small kitten. They are a very poor family so It’s not surprising to see that none of the animals look to be getting much food, if any. This is not an uncommon situation here, you often see dogs who are not being cared for and it’s heartbreaking. They have a hard enough time just feeding all the children. As I’ve written about before, the culture towards pets is not the same here as it is in the states. It’s not up to me to cast judgment on this fact, because that’s just what is it, a fact of life, sad, but true. Some ways of thinking are simply different. I’m pretty sure the they watch me with the animals and think I’ve completely lost my mind. (and they would NOT be totally wrong about that! Humph!)
But, as I was saying…this family, who, I may add , I’ve been slowly getting to know, are such nice people. The father used to be the gardener for our friends until he got a better job somewhere else and I gave him a ride the other day so I could introduce myself. He’s such a kind man, I was very glad to have a few minutes to chat (well, to attempt to chat) with him. Four of his children ranging from about 5 to about 12 or 13, have been over to visit me a couple of times and I just love to chat with them. They are so affectionate , they love to hug me and touch my hair and they have so much to talk about. I’ve explained to them that I’m learning to speak Spanish and that they were going to be my spanish teachers! This makes them laugh and they try really hard to help me as I attempt to talk with them.
The oldest girl told me that she is learning a little bit of English in school as well as learning about table manners. She very proudly told me that you are not supposed to eat with your elbows on the table and that you drink red wine with meat and white wine with fish…why this is being taught I will never understand, but …Okay. I complimented her on how smart she is and she beamed at my compliment. I find that these children are very easy to understand and I look forward to getting to know them in the future. Although I also understand that I need to be careful to set clear boundaries with them or I will find that I suddenly have four children living here!
So, I tell you all this because the dog I mention in the title of this post, you know, the one I’m in the process of ’stealing’? Ya, that one…well its one of the dogs from this family. The kids came over here the other day and knocked on the door. They wanted to know if I wanted to buy the dog. They told me that they have too many animals (glad to hear that they realize this fact!), and they have to get rid of her. Well, I had already started to occasionally feed both the dogs whenever they would wander up to our little casita. I figured that if I really wanted a dog, all I need to do is become the food source and they will always stick around. Of course, I don’t want to steal their main family dog, which is, of course , the mail dog, Chumbo is his name. You see, here in Panama a dog is an alarm system. Providing security is their main purpose. So Chumbo serves a purpose and is an important part of their life for that reason. They don’t seem to get especially emotionally attached to animals the way that we do. And I’m pretty sure that Mariposa, the female dog that they wanted to sell to me was only there to provide puppies for them to sell. She’s had a few litters already and they are done having her around. I didn’t want to buy the dog from them because I want to be very careful about giving money. It’s just not a good idea and I’d like to try to avoid them seeing me as a source for money. I hope that does not make me sound uncaring or greedy, I’m really glad to find other ways to help them, like taking a hungry dog off their hands.
Anyways…back to the dog! Her name is Mariposa, like I said. She is just adorable. Sadly, I saw Chumbo mounting her all day the other day and now I’m terrified that she may already be pregnant! Ugggg! So, I’m on a mission to figure out how to get her spayed. I sent an email to my friend who I know volunteers with the local organization that holds a monthly spay and neuter clinic for stray dogs here in Boquete. This a great organization and even though I know they do this as a way to get stray dogs off the streets and they do it for free for the local people who would not otherwise be able to pay for it, I will gladly pay for Mariposa. I learned that the next clinic is the end of this month so I need to find out how to proceed. Another friend of mine has a large dog crate that I can use to transport her and so now I just need to find out what I need to do to either make an appointment or arrange to bring her to the clinic to get her fixed.
This is Mariposa! How can you resist that face!!
I’ve been feeding her everyday and she’s starting to slowly hang around more and more. She’s very skittish and slowly beginning to let me scratch her tummy and although she still has a tendency to flinch a bit when I reach my hand out to touch her, she is beginning to do it less an less. So sad, you can tell she is completely unaccustomed to affection and slowly discovering that she kinda likes it. Every time I look out the front door and see her curled up in a little ball, asleep on the porch I smile. I just love animals and to see this sweet animal begin to wag her tail and have energy, I just can’t help but smile.
Chumbo is a cutie too!
I remember the very first time I saw Mariposa, she looked so sad and desperate. With her little face looking as though she had never been happy and her tail tucked so tight between her back legs. I could see all her ribs sticking out and my heart very nearly broke. I’m determined to fatten her up and I just can’t wait to get her all taken care of with all her shots and get rid of the fleas that drive her crazy. The male dog, Chumbo, comes around as well, but it seems like he mostly stays around the children when they are home which is as it should be. So, I give him food when he’s around but I would not try to keep him because he’s important to the family. I am glad though to add a little weight to him as well. So, hopefully this sweet little dog, Mariposa, will want to let me keep her and that we become best of friends. I suppose it would not really be “stealing” if she decides she wants to be mine…right? I mean, I don’t think anyone will mind, she seems to have been tossed aside and left to fend for herself and has gotten me wrapped around her little paw. Not that it takes much at all for an animal to steal my heart…
My new Spanish teaching crew!
I should update you on the dog that I had befriended at our former house in Alto Lino. Do remember ‘Girl dog”? She would lay on the porch all the time and I began feeding her. She would bring Avocados and eat them all the time and even though I knew I could not keep her I enjoyed her company and loved feeding her. Well, I was sad to leave her and really didn’t know what would become of her after I moved. I assumed she must belong to someone in the neighborhood because everyone seemed to know her as well as know her actual name, no, it isn’t ‘girl dog’, it’s Leah. Well…to update you on her life..The couple who own the house have moved here permanently and they have taken over feeding Leah and caring for her even more than I was! Yes! Such great news! They really like her and have begun to get her very healthy! They bought flea medicine and got her de-worm pills and are putting medicine on a terrible wound on her ear that she somehow got recently. And to top it off, they put some nice rattan furniture on the porch and Leah thinks the couch is hers! She’s soooo happy and I’m just thrilled to see her getting so spoiled! Life is good! Especially if your Leah!