I was just chatting with my mother in law the other day about the different cultural treatment and feelings of domesticated animals here in Panama. I felt the need to tread gently when talking with her about this subject because she has the biggest heart when it comes to all animals but especially dogs. The last thing I want her to think is that all the Panamanian people are cruel or mean, because they aren’t. There’s just certain ways of life that are unlike our ways such as their perspective on dogs and cats, this happens to differ greatly from what we are accustomed to. This in no way makes them bad or mean or even necessarily wrong, It’s sad to those of us who don’t understand, but just because it’s different doesn’t make it ‘wrong’. I have a strong belief, that something can be ‘wrong’ to me but that doesn’t mean others need agree with what I think is ‘right’. I’m not unlike my mother in law, in my adoration of dogs. They almost all melt my heart no matter what breed, I just love them so much.
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Yesterday, (friday the 13th), My neighbor Margot and I had to put “Boy” dog to sleep. 😦 Do you remember me telling you about the two dogs who had adopted me? Well, when we first moved into this house in Alto Lino I went out to enjoy my new patio and there, to my utter joy, were two dogs waiting for me with tails a waggin’! Well, I love dogs, I love all animals but dog’s are just irresistible to me. These two were just so happy to see me, so I promptly bought some flea medicine and some dog food, (okay maybe a toy or two as well) , and made them feel right at home on my porch. As you know I love spending time sitting on my porch writing and reading and just gazing upon the most spectacular view. But the other thing I love about being outside on my porch is the company of these two dogs. I began calling them ‘boy dog’ and ‘girl dog’, for obvious reasons. Now Boy dog was much more needy and loved attention, always by my side wanting to be pet and scratched. He would often sleep by my feet and then occasionally wake up and make it very clear that it was time to play. Often his ‘playtime’ would get a bit too annoying and I would have to go inside until he calmed down, he loved to ‘play-bite’ and having my hands and wrists and ankles constantly gnawed on became a bit annoying. But he was such a happy guy and I would give him lots of attention. Mind you, both of these dogs do not lack for food! Boy dog especially, was rather chubby, really FAT! I was told that Boy dogs owners died ( I’ve heard him also called ‘Floppy’ and ‘Big Blue’) and he has no owners so he would go from house to house in our little neighborhood and get fed everywhere he went. So this last few weeks I noticed that he stopped eating and seemed very lethargic, no more playtime. Then he seemed to stop coming around at all. My friend and neighbor Margot, who lives just at the bottom of my driveway told me that he was laying on her back porch and that she was very worried about him because he seemed to be in pain, moaning and crying and having a hard time getting up. She called her landlord who kindly came over and took Boy to see a vet. The vet said he though maybe he had been hit by a car and gave him a shot and sent him back home. Margo and I both felt that diagnosis seemed rather strange. Then yesterday the poor old guy got up and slowly walked over to a muddy field where he collapsed and just couldn’t get back up. Margot is a very loving and caring soul and she quickly called a mobile vet who came right away. I went down to comfort the old dog and we both stayed by his side until the vet arrived. It was quickly determined that the most humane thing to do for him was to euthanize him right away. The mobile vet said he felt that Boy had advanced heart-worm. One of the other Panamanian neighbors came out to the field to join us and she and her mother and daughter cried with us as we stood waiting for him to pass. It was a very sad thing, but there was no doubt that it was the right thing to do. After it was over I was planning on splitting the cost of the mobile vet with Margot but the vet said it was taken care of. There is a fantastic organization here in Boquete called Amigo’s De Animales and they have a fund for just this type of thing, so it was all paid for by them. I will have to start donating to that very kind organization. Boy dog was an old guy and he seemed very happy to be cared for by so many people and I have to believe that he had a pretty good life.