Friday, September 04, 2009

How we are spending our summer vacation...

Poor little Maggot the day we rescued him.
Ten days later, feeling much better.Lucky and her babies.
Diego, all grown up, playing with Milly. who doesn't think so.


The long, lazy and humid summer is punctuated by moments of drama. Our next door neighbors, who have had their share of problems, are probably the extreme worst example of the difference in the way people from the US regard their pets and the manner in which the average Mexican views pets. Most likely an artifact of the difference in socioeconomic progress, Mexicans generally do not treat their pets as members of the family, like we do. Our neighbors, who take excellent care of their children, seldom feed their two female dogs, and even in the long dry season, do not provide them with water. So Jerry has taken in upon himself to make sure these poor doggies get fed and watered. One of them, after all, is Diego's mom.

In the last month, both dogs have had yet another litter of puppies, about a week apart. No shelter was provided for them, despite frequent torrential rains. The property has no fence, wall or gate, so the dogs live in the street. Then, a few weeks ago, the couple decided to part. He moved to Puerto Vallarta; she moved in with her parents, leaving the dogs and puppies behind. We could hear the puppies crying and Jerry went to investigate. It was a scene of true horror. Most of the puppies that were born most recently were being killed by the mother of the first litter.

The next morning, following a heavy rain, we could still hear some puppies wailing. In the yard next door, Jerry found three puppies from the first litter that had been abandoned by their mother, lying in a puddle of water. Two were near death and we put them out of their misery. They were completely infested by maggots that had burrowed deep into their skin, and they were screaming in pain. One little puppy seemed reasonably alert, especially after we fed him some cold milk through a syringe. We washed him thoroughly, flushing away thousands of maggots. He had one area near his neck that had been breached through the skin and we had to purge it clean of maggots. Off to the supermarket for baby bottles and following an internet search, we put together a puppy formula.

Maggot (what else could we name him? I know, we have a dark sense of humor.) turned out to be a fighter. He thrived on the formula and has doubled in size in just two weeks. Never having raised children himself, Jerry has learned what it is like to feed a baby with a bottle every few hours and he turns out to be a great dad.

Out of 12 puppies, three remained alive. The neighbors were nowhere in sight. A neighbor around the corner took one of the larger puppies home to care for him. The mother of the first litter appeared to want to care for her remaining puppy. And we were taking care of Maggot. Then yesterday, Jerry walked to the corner store for some milk. When he came back, he was holding a puppy, saying "Missus, I found this puppy at the tienda. Can I keep her?" This little 4-week old puppy had wandered away, almost three blocks from home, and was stumbling around in the street. Guess her mom decided not to care for her after all. We named her Beatrice, and now we have another puppy. Life is never dull here>

On a happy note, our little wild kitty who was born in the nursery next door had two baby kittens about a month ago. She won't let us touch her, but did trust us with her babies, who were born in the bottom drawer of our armoire.

And Diego and Milly are growing fast. We'll find homes for Maggot and Beatrice, as well as Lucky's kittens, and life will return to normal soon. In the meantime, we found out more about ourselves and each other as we struggled to protect the young lives.