So it’s been a while since I updated regarding La Negra, the neighborhood dog who lives on the street by my office who I attempted to rescue to find a better alternative for her life but who preferred to continue in her daily life outside than in our office.
Sometimes I find her at one of the neighbors houses on a makeshift bed on their front patio, but usually she stays in front of her tree at the little almacen across the street from the office. I often go over to say hi, but haven’t been great about bringing her food regularly (though another woman in my office does almost every day) and visiting with her for extended periods of time because, to be honest, it breaks my heart too much.
When I got to work on Thursday morning, there was Negra standing in the street, looking skinny as ever. I called out to her and she came quickly hobbling over. I pet her for a minute and then turned to walk into the office, where she stayed glued to my side and followed me in. I was shocked. After a month of wanting her freedom, she came venturing inside without coaxing. I grabbed her bed from the back, some food from the fridge (people always keep their leftovers from home and the office in the fridge to give to her, which is really sweet!) and called her to the back patio. She ate heartily, everything put in front of her, and lapped up all of the water.
Seeing her look so skinny, seemingly so hungry, and with such a sudden drop in temperature, (we literally went from about 95 degrees to 50 in a day and a half,) my eyes well up and I had to fight hard not to cry. She curled up in her bed and I covered her with her fleece blanket. I could only assume that the fleece jacket I bought her was at one of the neighbors, safely hidden away from the days where it was scorchingly hot.
She stayed at the office that night, tucked into her fleece blanket, and again when I went to leave the office yesterday, I tried to convince her to go out the front door, with the help of my office mates. I didn’t want her to be stuck in the office with no attention or food for two days while we weren’t there, but she had different plans. She stood up from where we had moved her near the front door, and walked briskly back to her bed where she curled up again, letting us know she was staying put. I covered her in the blanket, and hoped she would be okay for the night, as it was going to be a cold one.
Today I stopped by a vet’s office and asked for a recommendation of the best thing to give her to help her joints and bones. She was a very nice woman who seemed to really care about the best interest of the animal, and had a lot of recommendations for what I could do to help her. This came as a huge relief as compared to the last vet’s office we brought Negra too where I’m not even sure if they actually did anything we asked them to, and who failed to mention the larger than unnoticeable tumor that is visible in her stomach. I walked away from the caring vet with calcium to mix with her water and 10 pills to attempt to start the process of healing her bones, little by little. I then took a trip to the supermarket and purchased 2 kilos (about 5 lbs) of ground beef, two cans of Pedigree (to mix her pills in, and which are outrageously overpriced at $2 a can!) and medicine to apply to her fur to keep the ticks away.
I got to the office much later in the day than I hoped, and she was curled up on her bed with no food and no water to speak of. I gave her a mixture of steak fat (leftover from last night’s dinner,) wet food, and her pill, which she ate gratefully. I did not, however, have as much luck with the calcium water, which is key. I think I will literally need to spoon feed that to her before food next time to be sure she gets the nutrients.
I then proceeded to cook all 2 kilos of beef, so that I will have it readily available to give her throughout the week. She stood outside the kitchen door watching me and taking in the aromas wafting around the office. When the first batch was ready I gave her a huge serving and watched her wolf it all down. I then gave her some more. I was happy to note she couldn’t even finish the second serving from having eaten so much already. I know it’s not good to overwhelm a starving dog with too much food, but I just want to be sure than when I am around she is eating enough.
After eating, she let me know it was time for her to go and waited for me to let her out the front door. I put some of the cooked beef in a container and walked with her across the street to her tree by the almacen, where they “look after her” and had her fleece jacket waiting. The owners are a very kind older couple who let me know today that they give Negra food whenever they feed their own dogs, and yet she still seems to be getting skinnier. I don’t know how much they actually feed her, but I know their hearts are warm and they might just not be able to give her as much as they’d like to.
I asked if they could split the portion of beef I gave them between the morning and night and to mix in one of her pills, and that I would come pick up the rest when I was back to the office on Monday. They agreed without hesitation and thanked me for trying so hard to help her. I had forgotten to tell them she was staying in the office the last two nights, so I think they had been worried that something happened to her when she wasn’t at her tree in the morning.
So the Negra Saga continues, and I’m not sure what the end result will be. As the vet told me today, and I’ve known for a long time, it’s not the quantity of life of the dog but rather the quality. And Negra has sure had more than a struggle of it. I can only hope that these pills and the added meat to her diet will help her improve at least her walking, but will pay close attention over the next few weeks/months to her progress. With such a sweet and loving face and a happy outlook on life despite it all, it would be terrible to have to end it for a simple lack of nutrition, but quality over quantity. Keep her in your hearts.