Today was a much dreaded and anticipated day for me. We had Negra picked up by a vet on Tuesday to be cleaned up, checked out, sheltered from the cold, and bathed. When we went to visit her after work yesterday, she wasn’t in great shape – she was very scared of her new surroundings and trembling from the cold, (in the vet’s office.) She also was not eating. Now you might think a starving dog will eat anything, but a dog that has grown up and lived their life on scraps of human food from the neighborhood probably doesn’t even know that kibble is real food, so she couldn’t recognize it as edible. Although they had cleaned up all the fleas and ticks nicely, I knew her stay at the vet’s office wouldn’t go beyond the next day (today,) when she was due for her bath, but still believe it was a better option than spending the night freezing on the street.
I have been worried sick the last few days over what to do with her. The first solution was to get her to the vet – check … then what? I have been in constant contact with the people at Adoptame con Amor y Responsabilidad, (you can read more about them in my prior post here,) but still no temporary housing had been brought up, much less a permanent home for Negra. While fretting all morning about how to approach the neighbors to ask if they would like to adopt her, I mentioned to my coworkers that I was completely and totally worried about her. Much to my astonishment and HUGE relief, Lucy (La Jefa) asked simply, “Why don’t we bring her here?” Those words made my heart skip a few beats- as all my coworkers looked around happily and knowingly, as we had been hoping to ask Lucy the very same thing! And to top it off, Lucy then offered up an extra dog house that she had at home for our nena, (baby.)
I spent the afternoon driving around Asunción and Lambaré, (the town bordering our office,) with Delia and Laura looking for a doggie bed, a warm blanket, a collar, and some food! We were successful with all but the collar, (I didn’t know how big her neck was and didn’t want to make the mistake of buying too small again!) While we were in one vet’s office/pet store we saw a nice fleece jacket that was much bigger than what I previously bought for Negra and I couldn’t walk out of the store without it. We then bought her what must have been 4 or 5 pounds of cut meat and bones to fatten her up and give her calcium and found a perfectly feminine bed (purple, of course!) and a red teddy bear blanket to keep her warm and cozy.
Negra arrived at her palace late in the afternoon and instead of the sad, lost eyes that we had seen just the day before, she actually looked happy and relieved! She waltzed right into the WWF office and patiently allowed me to put on her new fleece – then followed us outside and downstairs to her new stomping grounds. I couldn’t help but notice that despite her difficulties, she was actually walking better than I had ever seen her! The poor thing seemed as confused as ever – I’m sure she’s never eaten so well in her life and has probably never been shown so much affection, not to mention never had a soft place to sleep before – but she seemed grateful and relieved more than anything else (am I projecting??) Previously, the neighbor across the street had laid out some old cardboard and paper thin doormats under a tree for her to use as her bed. Not to say this man wasn’t nice for giving her at least some place to call home, but dogs just deserve more than that!
Negra walked around her territory for a bit, sniffing and trying to understand all of the change. Then she ate her dinner of rice and meat, and drank copious amounts of water. After she was satisfied, (imagine a stray dog being able to leave food behind for later?!) she walked over to me and slightly leaned her body against my legs. I crouched down to be closer to her and she moved herself in-between my legs, almost resting her head on my knee. I melted. She didn’t seem to want to leave my side and followed me as I walked around the yard and the area where her bed was. Finally, she was tired enough, and hopefully realized she was now home, and she walked over to her bed on her own and lay down. I left her curled up in her fleece and her blankets, with hopes and dreams for tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s test will be whether or not Negra thinks Amanda’s Guiso de Arroz (slightly fried, then boiled beef with rice and seasoned with salt,) is good! I hope so 🙂