Today was a first for me. I went for a walk with my friend Kat this morning and I was bitten by a dog! Sheesh! I’m still in shock as I write this. In all my life I’ve never been bitten by a dog! I just cant even believe how fast it happened. Ouch! I’m okay, don’t worry. As soon as I got home I washed it really good with soap and water then I sanitized it with peroxide and slathered it with Neosporin. So I feel pretty good about it not getting infected, although I will keep a close eye on it and go see a doctor if it shows any signs of infection. I just had to tell someone cuz’ sheesh Its a crazy thing to have a strange dog just come from nowhere and bite like that! So, maybe there’s a good reason almost every Panamanian I’ve met has a healthy fear of strange dogs. I’ve never felt afraid of dogs. I mean, I don’t make a habit of just walking up to any ol’ dog and petting them, but not because I was fearful, only respectful of animals in general.
I know I’ve read from other expats that one needs to be careful of dogs and many people recommend walking with a walking stick. I think I may just have to heed this recommendation for future walks. Luckily Kat did have her walking stick and she quickly waved it at the dog and his two companion dogs and they all scurried off. It’s a good thing the other two didn’t decide to join in on the fun! I’ve seen this particular dog before, he lives not far from where we live and he’s one of the dogs who frequently chases our car, barking like crazy. Kat and I have decided to go on a short walk everyday to get some much needed excercise. I know I’ll be much more cautious next time we walk past that spot! Lesson learned!
Talking about dogs, I’ve been aching to get a dog of my own. Back in the states I never felt right about having a dog because I was working such long hours and felt like it would be irresponsible to have a pet that needed so much attention. So I got cats, who are much more independent. Even though I’ve never really thought of myself as a “cat person”, I soon grew to love them both so much. But, my heart nearly melts whenever I’m around dogs. I find all dogs adorable and I just want to love them. Scott and I both really look forward to having our own dog, maybe even two one day. Recently we had to sit down and have a heart to heart conversation about this.
It seems as though I’m more ready to dive into finding a dog than Scott is. And this needed to be settled soon because one of my favorite neighborhood dogs is pregnant! ugh! Princessa mated with my other favorite dog, Chumbo….Eye roll! I know they’re gonna be the most adorable puppies and there’s just no way on earth I’ll “NOT” want one or even two! But, there are a couple of very real and valid reasons why its a bad idea to do this right now. As much as I hate to admit it…
Probably the reason that I think this is a bad idea is because I really hate to propagate this habit our neighbors have of finding a female dog and having her mate with the sole purpose of selling the puppies. They don’t even care for the three dogs that they have. They treat them just like most Panamanians treat animals, just as a security system. As much as I adore the dogs I really think its terrible to encourage them to do this. Just today I gave the neighbor a ride up the hill and he told me that Princesa is pregnant. I told him I could not have a puppy because I have a cat. So ….please god , don’t let those kids bring puppies up here! ugh! I already love Chumbo and Princesa and the other dog Sultan and oh, lets not forget about Toby! Eye roll! Sounds to me like I’ve already got a whole gang of dogs!!
The other really good reason for not getting a puppy quite yet is that we don’t yet have a good plan for a pet sitter when we travel. And we really hope to get a lot of traveling in when our project is done. Right now is especially difficult because we have no electricity and asking someone to stay at our house while we’re away requires dealing with the generator. That’s really just too much to ask of someone who’s pet sitting for us. So, yes, right this moment is really not the best time. Not to mention we have an old guy named Copper , our cat! He’s nearly 16 years old and rather cranky when he see’s the dogs outside. Imagine how he’d feel about a puppy. He could do some damage to a sweet little puppy who would want to play with him. That’s just not the best idea to upset our sweet, grumpy kitty.
Some of my friends here in Boquete may be reading this and wondering why I don’t just take my neighbors dogs to the Animales clinic and have them spayed and neutered. Well…I’ve never told this story, but I have a really good reason why Im very hesitant to get involved with their dogs. Oh boy! I hate to tell this sad, sad story. It breaks my heart to even think about it…well…a year or so ago I decided to be a responsible dog lover. My neighbors had this wonderful dog named Mariposa. She was the mother of Chumbo, the male dog that I love so much. Such a sweet, gentle dog I had never met. I wanted to take her to be fixed but the weekend of the clinic landed on the weekend we had made a reservation for a weekend getaway in Boca Chica so I couldnt do it. But my dear friend, kindly offered to take her for me. All I had to do was get her to my friends house the night before the clinic and she would get her there the next morning. So I borrowed a big dog crate and very easily got Mariposa into the crate. She was ever so happy to get into the cozy crate with the raw hide bone and the bowl of food and cozy towel. She didn’t even try to get out after she laid down , happily gnawing on the bone. I shut the door to the crate after putting a collar on her that I had bought. Gently lifted her into my car and drove to my friends house. My friends house is all the way across town, in an area called Volcancito.
After I got to my friends house I decided to open the door to the crate just a tiny bit so I could put a leash on her. My friend said, “Be careful she doesn’t get out”. She had been so happy to be in the crate that I didn’t for one second think that she would try to escape….gulp. Here is where it all goes so terribly wrong. I carefully cracked the door to the crate open so I could reach in and put a leash on her and….BAM! She suddenly and shockingly used all her might to power her way out of the crate! To my horror! I tackled her and she was in fight mode as she fought me with all her might! I could not believe what was happening and I fought right back….Oh no! I could not let her get away…my mind was in total shock! Never had I seen her behave with such aggression…and suddenly it was over…she dashed away so fast! She was just gone…sigh…
I cried and cried. This was one of my worst experiences. I felt so terrible. The neighbors didn’t know I had taken her and I agonized over what to do. In the end I decided there was nothing good that could come of me telling them what I had done. A week or so later the kids were up at my house asking me if I knew where Mariposa was…ugh! I had to say..”Donde es Mariposa? Yo no sabe?” And to this day they mention Mariposa and I say, “Ohhh muy triste”….Oh my gosh! I still feel like such a terrible person for letting that happen. I thought that she might find her way back home, you read stories of dogs doing that all the time. But, sadly to be honest, I don’t think Mariposa was all that smart. 😦 But…all this to say, I would love to take the dogs to the Clinic to have them sterilized but I’m so afraid to have something tragic happen again. I just want to leave well enough alone.
So, everyday Chumbo and Princesa come to my terrace for breakfast and for lunch. Sometimes Sultan comes up and occasionally Toby comes by for a snack. I love to feed them and they love my attention. Resisting Princesa’s puppies will be really hard for me. I sure hope they find homes for them quickly and I will be ever so happy to never see them. But I’m pretty sure those darn kids will be up here showing them to me one day soon. Or, worse case scenario, Princesa decides to give birth on my terrace! Oh my gosh! ugh! Have I mentioned ….UGH!!!
One of these days I’ll have my very own dog, but right now is not the time. I want to be a responsible dog mom so I’ll wait until the timing is right. In the meantime I will give my neighborhood dogs all the love and attention I can. And I’ll be walking around the neighborhood with a big stick to ward off the nasty dogs who have no idea who they’ve decided to mess with! They coulda had love but now they get the stick! That stupid, mean, rude dog!! Pfffffffft!
Holly, I’m so sorry to hear that you were bitten. That must have been so scary.Mark always carried an umbrella when he ran in Central America, to swat off dogs, and I was never sure it was totally necessary… guess we know who was right about that now! And, by the time you are done with the house, I may have a couple of petsitters I can recommend. 🙂
Oh Holly. I am so sorry that you were bitten. Please be very careful and watch the wound carefully. That is so frightening. Carry a big stick with you always. That’s exactly what the Nicaraguans do, too. Your story about Mariposa touched my heart. Don’t worry, Holly. You tried to do the right thing. Mariposa may still return home. We had a cat that we were taking to the vet to get neutered right before we left on a two-week vacation. He escaped from his carrier. A month after we returned home from our vacation, there was Squeakers…sitting on our porch. He had to travel 10 miles across a busy interstate to find his way home. So, don’t give up hope. Thanks for sharing that story with us. Hugs and carry a big stick with you on your walks.
It is so hard not to love animals. I have some sad stories of my own. I hope you don’t mind my saying this. It is very dangerous to feed or encourage any dogs to come on your property. They will get territorial, they might attack, or fight with rivals. Other reasons: http://www.wildlifeanimalcontrol.com/strayfeed.html I heard about some expat’s campaign to spay and neuter strays in Boquete. I hope that is working out. I care what happens to the dogs and you.
Thanks Sherry, Yes, Im just such a softy when it comes to nearly any animal. I’m sure your right about the dangers of encouraging just any animal to come to my property, the three who come up here for food are owned by my neighbors and are known to me. They actually do keep other dogs from coming up here and I like that. Thanks for being concerned, I’d never be offended by words offered in kindness, thanks. 🙂 And, Yes, the Amigos de Animales organization has and continues to make a huge difference in the stray dog and cat population here in Boquete, thankfully. We were recently on vacation in Peru and saw first hand just how out of control this could be , they had an amazing amount of stray animals everywhere there, unlike here.