“Go on!” I made a dismissive gesture with my hand for effect, and the old, smelly dog finally took the hint and jumped down from my car and into the deserted street.
How did someone (me) purported to be amongst the greatest dog-lovers in the world get to the point that he’s kicking dogs to the actual curb at 1:30 a.m.?
Let’s start with the root issue. We have two amazing boys that have done an equally amazing job of adapting to their new lives here in Costa Rica. As an example, please refer to this photo of #2 on his way home from the bus. What’s in his mouth? A flower he’s picked on the way home from school from which he sucks the nectar. Where is his shoe/sock? I asked the same question and it took quite a bit of discussion to get to the bottom of that issue. Is that a pirate boot? No, it’s a rubber boot with the top folded down because it chafes. Because he won’t wear socks.
Both of our knuckleheads are fast friends with every animal they meet. Does that calf need grass from this side of the fence? It must. Can we bring it home? It belongs to whoever put up the fence. Can we buy it? Where exactly would we put a cow — and what would the cat say?
I can’t blame it all on their big, animal-oriented hearts. It’s nice that we walk just about everywhere here, but for better or worse it’s a lot easier to make friends at 2 kilometers per hour (please note the gratuitous use of the metric system; I believe this is the equivalent of a quart). The dog below, for example, did decide to wait until we’d exited the stationary store, but then ditched us shortly after our tearful reunion when he was offered a half-eaten taco by a backpacker across the street.
And so, after a couple of different sightings around town, love was declared for a goofy little dog the boys decided to call “Murciélago” because of his big ears, which do make his head look like a large bat about to take flight.
Fleas and all, Murciélago came back home with us and I embarked upon the thankless job of attempting to keep him out of the house until we could get him to a vet for a whole lot of reasons, including the aforementioned fleas, an odd, deep cough, what I suspected was a case of worms and, of course, testicle removal. The boys were good with most of the prescribed solutions, but weren’t thrilled at all with the notion of castration. We explained how it would be for the good of the community, etc. but their fondness for their own, relatively newly discovered equipment apparently extends out to any male regardless of their species.
I don’t know if Murciélago speaks English, but he did disappear the day before his appointment with the vet. During the couple of days he spent around our house he apparently put out the word to the other perros callejeros in the area. This is why, on night two of the stray dog party taking place all night in our yard, which also made our actual, indoor dog quite talkative, I found myself hustling the main barking offender — an old, fat stray — into my car at 1:30 a.m. so I could drive him up the street and drop him off near the trash collection building. In defense of my indefensible act, this is where this particular stray joined our parade of dogs and is also where we’ve seen him for the better part of the past year.
They’re all still out there, testicles intact, just waiting for us to take another long walk so they can follow us home, eat our food and bark all night. In the meantime our dog, Wilson, is sleeping off the exertions of the past few nights and our cat, Hank, now regularly inspects my vehicle for stowaways.