When you’re a gonner for a dog

Some of you have seen pictures of my darling Asher, soon to be 9 years old.

Kosmic Asher, son of mom, Spirit of Shakespeare, and Dad, Starlite's Bit'A Sweet Hershey

Kosmic Asher, son of mother, ‘Spirit of Shakespeare’, and father, ‘Starlite’s Bit’A Sweet Hershey.’ 

I’m ecstatic to be reunited with Asher here in da ‘ville, though he doesn’t live with me at my new apartment.

Here is the reason why.

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Miss Foosie Mae Belle from the holler.

You see, Asher is quite the ladies’ man and Foosie, well she fell in love the moment she saw him. They are literally inseparable.

This is their Easter picture. Asher has his normal "I hate costumes face on," but Foosie was made to model.

This is their Easter picture. Asher has his normal “I hate costumes.” face on,” but Foosie, well, she was born to model.

I adopted Asher four years ago, right around this time of year. He was five. His breeders, Madge and Don Cogswell, were putting him into retirement because he’d sired 106 puppies with 13 different lady mini-schnauzers. While I was visiting them to see puppies, they asked me to consider Asher.

He hopped up on the couch and looked deeply into my eyes. Boy, was I was a gonner! Later I learned that Asher hops on the couch and stares everyone deeply in the eyes. He’s just that sensitive of a boy – after he jumps up on your knees and leaves scratch marks out of the sheer excitement of meeting you when you come in the door. <grin>

My friend Peggy, with whom I was sharing a flat, rescued Foosie from an animal shelter about six weeks after Asher came home. She saw Foosie’s picture on “PetFinders”.

Yup. She was a gonner.

Within 24 hours the two dogs were an old married couple.

Cue “Belle Notte.”

Lady-The-Tramp-lady-and-tramp-33813097-1024-768

So when I went to San Miguel de Allende for my adventure/experiment,

Aztec dancer from Tales of Mexico

I was fine with leaving Asher in Foosie and Peggy’s care.

But now I’m back. After staying with Pegs, Foosie, and Ash for seven months I miss Asher (and Foosie) wildly every day!

I just can’t take him from him away from his girl.

This is their christmas picture. Notice Asher has his "I'm a guy and I DON'T like this stuff" face on while Foosie is all mellow about it.

This is their christmas picture. Notice Asher has his “I’m a guy and I DON’T like this stuff” face on while Foosie is all mellow about it.

Which brings me to fostering!

I’m allowed to have one small-breed dog. I do believe that when I get settled I’ll find me a terrorist, um terrier, to care for while we find her/his forever home.

Which brings me to the dogs I fostered in Mexico.

Coyo was  first.

This isn't Coyo's picture because I can't find the damn thing, but it's a Coyo look alike!

This isn’t Coyo’s picture because I can’t find the damn thing, but it’s almost a Coyo double and I’ll look for his later.

Julie and I found Coyo dodging traffic on a rainy night in San Miguel’s busy jardin.

san miguel traffic el jardinHearts in our throat, we watched him cross the street four times, so tiny and grey it was improbable a driver would see him, and so skittery that he ran away when I clucked for him to come. We almost gave up but I pulled out my coo-voice-darling-child-don’t-run-away and he stopped. I slithered across the street talking softly non-stop and he actually came towards me – and I scooped him up!

Julie was my landlady.  I lived in a small apartment in a compound with her large house, another big house, another apartment upstairs from mine, and an adorable cottage with a teeny fenced-in front yard that I envied immediately. (Fenced in front yard = dog.) Julie already had two dogs: Cappucinno, a 9 lb. male Maltese mix, and Esmeralda, a nine year old shepherd mix with large soulful eyes. My 6-month lease didn’t include a pet, but Julie was as taken with our rain-soaked rescue as I was so she said, “Why don’t you keep him for a few days and we’ll try to find him a home.” Into my house came Coyo.

And promptly chewed the fringe off of Julie’s rug, peed on the floor, and jumped wildly into my arms to lick me when I told him he was a bad boy.

A ha …..

To make a long story shorter, ten days later Julie, who came to see Coyo everyday and oooh and ah over how adorable he was, adopted Coyo. “Be sure,” I said to her, “he’s a little bit of a devil. He’s going to knock Cappucinno off of his perch as top dog, and annoy Esmeralda because all he wants to do is play when he’s not chewing pillows.” And so he did. But Julie was a gonner.

Like this guy.

 You know, like this guy.

I volunteered with a rescue group in San Miguel named “Amigos de Animales.” These intrepid souls (mostly women) pulled dogs out of the pound who had five days to live.

Enter “Bobby”:

thief of hearts

 

Who was owner-surrendered to the pound by a woman who requested that he be put down because he peed in her kitchen.

An Amigos volunteer asked me if I could foster him while they searched for his home. I said I’d have to ask Julie first and at 4:00 another couple took him away from our adoption table in the jardin to see if things would work out -with my phone number as the back-up call. I went home and briefed Julie. I don’t think she was happy about the request, but she didn’t say no.

At 11:00 the next morning I got the call. “Bobby” was humping the couple’s female and would-not-relent. So, I walked to the couple’s home, put “Bobby” on a leash and began a relationship with one of the sweetest, goofiest dogs I’ve ever known. God! How I loved that dog!

I had “Bobby” for about three months. As you can see, he’s a looker. He’s the kind of dog who gets adopted, despite the fact that I was a gonner. I don’t remember how Kelly Karger with Save A Mexican Mutt got involved, but happily she did. Save A Mexican Mutt has a rigorous adoption procedure, and transports dogs from San Miguel to the U.S. and Canada. Kelly put “Bobby” on “PetFinders”. Bobby found his happy home.

"Bobby", now renamed Lincoln, with his mom Bella in Austin, Texas.

“Bobby”, now renamed Lincoln, with his mom Bella in Austin, Texas.

Bella emailed me recently to send pix of Lincoln. The woman is besotted and her picture comments are priceless so I’ve typed them verbatim. Here we go:

"Lincoln has been exploring his spirituality."

“Lincoln has been exploring his spirituality.”

 

"Here he is being adored by one of his minions. It is generally agreed around here that Lincoln is homosexula."

“Here he is being adored by one of his minions. It is generally agreed around here that Lincoln is homosexual.”

"My Valentine"

“My Valentine”

"Lincoln is now exploring other cultures."

“Lincoln is now exploring other cultures.”

And one more,

"This costume was inspired by 'Game of Thrones'."

“This costume was inspired by ‘Game of Thrones’.”Y

Oh my god, ya think Bella is a gonner?

Yay!

I had only said good-bye to “Bobby”/Lincoln for a little less than a week when an Amigos volunteer asked me if I could foster another dog.

Enter Mia.

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What a gorgeous redhead! Half-wild, and scared out of her wits in San Miguel’s streets, the pound picked Mia up pregnant. She was allowed to deliver her puppies – who were all adopted – but Mia was left behind. I remain convinced that the reason Mia wasn’t taken, and the reason that I loved her for nine long months, was because she was half-Chow. People are afraid of that black tongue.

It was a slow burn for me and Mia. Over a few weeks, as she gained her confidence, I began to see an astounding need in her for a person to call her own. Eventually her devotion made me burst into tears.

And I was a gonner.

Prospective adopters came to meet Mia. She was always skittish, but in a playful way. Some would bring their dogs. Good lord that girl loves to play! But months went by.

I wrote about Mia on this blog. When I knew I’d be returning to the states I called Save A Mexican Mutt. For her own reasons, Kelly didn’t want to take Mia on. So I played the “Bobby”/Lincoln card.

Hadn’t I been a great foster mom for Save A Mexican Mutt? I had to return to the states in two months. There was no one for Mia. Couldn’t she help me this one time? She did. She put Mia on “PetFinders”. 

And nothing happened.

Meanwhile, Lynn in Calgary, Canada was reading about Mia on my blog. One day she remarked again on what a beautiful dog Mia is and how my descriptions of her broke her heart. She simply could not understand why no one would adopt her.

And then I asked, “What about you?”

Mia at home with Lynn in Calgary. Her toys are Tubby and Hedgehog.

Mia at home with Lynn in Calgary. Her toys are Tubby and Hedgehog.

Lynn took a tremendous leap of faith. Mary fostered Mia when I had to leave, while Lynn made the arrangements to transport Mia to Calgary. Mia reminded Mary of a chow she’d grown up with, so there was a love affair going on there too. After I left Mary told Lynn about Mia’s affectionate nature, her habits, her diet, all the one hundred and one things a person who’s going to adopt a dog they’ve never met want to know. Save a Mexican Mutt got involved with Mia’s transport. Over weeks it came together, with me listening in via e-mail.

Not for one instant did I have a single doubt that Lynn would love Mia.She was everything I said she was. And something more that I couldn’t even put into words.

Lynn stays in touch.  We talk about how Mia’s confidence has grown. How she loves the snow. How they have a nature preserve behind their house. Mia walks proudly on a leash  now. Lynn sends me .waves of Mia walking. Complete computer idiot that I am, I don’t know how to insert them so you can see how transformed Mia is by having her person. I’ll show you a still:

movie mia 2

Tail is up, up, UP!

I wish I could include those .waves. Calgary got a freak snow storm about 10 days ago. You can hear Lynn calling Mia to come in the house. Mia continues romping in the snow.  It must feel so good to her with that thick ruff and heavy fur. In that little movie she’s happy and mischievous and home.

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I saw an acquaintance for the first time since I returned from San Miguel the other day. “So,” he asked, “how was Mexico?” I talked about Coyo and Lincoln and Mia. I certainly didn’t save them on my own. I worked with wonderful people who pulled together to find their home.

The only thing I did was love them when I had them.

“Truthfully,” I said, “it’s the finest thing I did in my 14 months in Mexico.”

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Once I get settled in my new place I’ll be able to see Asher more often.

Yay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While idling in neutral

Nobody wants a house guest for six months.  Nobody wants to be a house guest for six months. Oh, what to do?

It’s a curious position. As faithful readers know, I’m on the wait list for low-income senior housing in Louisville. I’m thankful that I have a good friend who’s willing to put me up but the apartment is small and let’s face it, it’s a burden both ways. I feel like I’m perpetually stuck in idle and I’m sure she feels like she has no privacy.

For a good part of each day, I find my mind leaving the present and looking forward to my own place with my own rhythms. So I’m revving constantly – day dreaming about interiors, decorating, sewing drapes in my mind … but there’s no place to go until I get that call.

Ha.

This then is obviously a test in wrestling with Monkey Mind [though I know the objective is to simply observe without judgement.]

Artist unknown, but appreciated

Artist unknown, but greatly appreciated

Along with my monkey, I swing between the poles of quiet observation or attempting to quiet the monkey, resenting the monkey, laughing at the monkey, or sighing with resignation. Sometimes I can visualize my ego-monkey swinging through the neural trees as it rushes about spying shiny objects and grabbing at birds on the wing.

It’s tiring.

Then comes a night when the air is so still that it feels like life is momentarily suspended. Still as living in the country and hearing the Holy Baptist church choir two miles away. Autumn leaves are briefly held in amber while the street light illumines the tracery of veins. It is, of course, ineffable and even the monkey pauses in wonder. In these moments I go back to my life-long work – Baba Ram Dass’s “Be Here Now” -and allow myself to be overwhelmed by the magnificence of the human position.

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What I am not waiting for:

Since I applied to Medicare and qualified for “Extra Help” on my prescriptions I’ve had three cat scans performed – chest, abdomen & pelvis – as a preventative screening for the cancer beast I’ve danced with twice so far. Instead of being asked for my $250 deductible up front as I was in 2011, nothing was said and I’ve yet to receive a bill. I’ve also learned that I will not be subject to the drug Do-nut Hole.  Yes, more than I could have asked for.

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I’ve reached out via the internet to a Meet-up group in da’Ville around permaculture. There’s nothing shakin’ yet, but my next call will be to the Jefferson County Agricultural Extension Co-op.  I’m convinced that vertical vegetable gardens are an answer for renters in the city –

Vertical vegetable garden (1)

 

 

and I want to be part of a DIY movement that extends this vision in Lu’vulle. [It hasn’t escaped my thought processes that the 99 low-income senior apartment dwellers at Highland Court could use this too, but I think it’s too much to go into that setting with an agenda.] <giggle>

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Today’s celebration:

In August of 2012 Mia was rescued from certain death at the hands of Ecologia in San Miguel de Allende. She had three foster moms, including myself for a bit more than nine months.  Today she is in the arms of her forever mom in Calgary, Canada. I’m sporting a big grin as I write.

CIMG2152

Mia is now home for good.

Happy Dance!

Chico & Mia

Kelly Karger with Save a Mexican Mutt asked us to care for the most adorable little pup while she’s out of town for a few days.  Meet Chico:

CIMG2302This little guy is only about 3 months old and was scared out of his wits when he first met me, much less Mia.  She must look huge to him.

Mia spent two and a half relentless hours trying to get him to play, but he kept his distance.  She was gentle, but merciless. I of course used the old food trick to get him to come to me.  He is all ABOUT food.

Please, please, please play with me.  Pleeeeese.

Please, please, please play with me. Pleeeeese.

Outside or inside, no matter how many times she nudged him, got down on her stomach to make  herself smaller, nipped at his legs or pushed him nearly over with her nose, Chico put himself into a corner or flatly laid down in refusal.

Oh, COME ON, I not gonna hurt you.  No.  I 'fraid.

Oh, COME ON, I not gonna hurt you. No. I afraid.

Then, after another half hour of her pleading, old as I am, I got down on the floor with both of them. Bingo! Chico wanted to play with me, and if Mia was in the middle of that he’d play with her too!

Uh huh.  You asked for it, Mia.  Welcome to boy puppydom!

Uh huh. You asked for it, Mia. Welcome to boy puppydom!

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So, at 3.5 hours I have two tired dogs sleeping the first play session off.

And look forward to the next couple of days watching them get their game on.

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Both Mia and Chico are up for permanent adoption through SAMM and Adopciones de Animales. I just love ’em while I keep them safe for their second chance.

 

 

 

 

Bobby/LINCOLN update

Just heard from Bella.  She’s mad about him.

Lincoln side saddleWhat a gorgeous couple, eh?  Bella calls this one “Side Saddle”.  She says he’ll stay in just about any position without squirming.  Yes, I know.  He’s perfect. <grin>

This one is titled “Orange Monkey.”

Lincoln orange monkeyShe writes that Orange Monkey felt used after this, but Lincoln didn’t seem to care.

I’m going to call this one “Wild Man Hair”:

Lincoln hairNo, I don’t think Bella put gel on him.

Last but not least, here’s Lincoln on The Mighty Texas Dog Walk.

Lincoln Mighty Texas Dog WalkBella said he made an ass of himself on this walk.  In other words, he had his nose up the butt of every dog he could get near.

All together now: “Getting to know you ….. getting to know all about uuuuuuuu”

Oh, o.k.  one more.

Let’s call it “Lincoln Super-Duper Content and Happy”:

Lincoln super duper contentAwwwwwwwww.

——————————————–

From foster mom to Forever Mom, Bella: I LOVE that you LOVE him! I’m also fairly sure you two were made for each other, and even though I’ll always think about him, I’m beyond glad that he’s in your loving Austin, TX. arms!

Organic Market, Mia, Pet Sterilization clinic

 

 

 

CIMG2205If I can get myself out of the house early enough on Saturday morning, the Tiangus Organica on Ancho de San Antonio is a truly pleasant place to have coffee

role de canela (cinnamon role) from this yummy and *busy* bakery stand.

and a ‘role de canela’ (cinnamon role) from this yummy and *busy* bakery stand.

There’s lots of other good stuff and, connected to the Rosewood Hotel property, it’s a magnet for health conscious gringos on this side of town.  That wouldn’t include moi, but I have tried the green alfafa juice.  It’s good.

Mostly I like sitting in the sun watching the crowd, and the Mexican cooperatives who bring honey, lavender, produce, and goods each Saturday.

CIMG2200

I particularly like a really nice Mexican man who makes dog clothing and leashes out of recycled leather. He’s the first person I stop to say hi to ‘cuz he’s just so amiable – and creative!

This is one of his dogs, looking splendid in deer skin.  He has teeny dogs too, so he makes tepees:

This is one of his dogs, looking splendid in deer skin. He has teeny dogs too, so he makes tepees:

CIMG2204

Which brings us to dogs.

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I think I have a line on a new family for teddy bear Mia.

I prettier than ever ...

I prettier than ever …

An English-speaking couple is headed to San Miguel to take possession of their new home in Los Frailes (a sub-division).  We’ve been emailing back and forth about their meeting Mia, who I hope sweeps them off their feet.

… As long as they’re o.k. with a half-wild child who, instead of throwing herself at you, skitts away to run rings while she’s figuring out if you’re o.k.

Me?  I’m o.k. with Mia.

Wanna play? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Wanna play? Huh? Huh? Huh?

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I got a desperate call yesterday morning asking me if I would volunteer for a pet sterilization clinic in the campo today.  My job? To put blankets on the pets when they come out of surgery and watch while they wake up from anesthesia.

So, out to the train station early to get a ride up to a tiny village called (I think) Los Feliz, about 2 miles out of town. A woman, the mayor of the community, had organized 30 dogs and cats for the day, so we waited for the mobile clinic to arrive.

The staging area for this morning's spay/neuter clinic

The staging area for this morning’s spay/neuter clinic

And waited.  And waited.  Turns out the mobile hospital broke down. The clinic has been postponed for two weeks.

These two boys were scheduled:

CIMG2212

The red puppy, Bobby, is 9 months old.  This is probably the single moment he was quiet because most of the time he was snuggling inside my jacket, licking my neck, or nipping at my gloves.

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While Los Feliz is on the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende, it might as well be a world away.  The fact that 30 animals were self-scheduled for surgery through Amigos de Animales gives me a lot of hope. All kudos to the organization, which literally sterilized more than a thousand animals in 2012 and is set to accomplish more this year, and to the campesinos who love their animals and want to reduce the suffering in their towns.

On a side note, the woman who asked me to volunteer, a gringa who’s lived here for more than ten years, solemnly warned me about the poverty I would see in the countryside [yet so close to San Miguel’s glittering Centro].  “This is something,” she snorted derisively, “that most gringos never see.  You will find it appalling.”

But, I’ve seen appalling poverty in the United States, both rural and urban.  In fact, nothing beats seeing the South Bronx in the early 70’s for your basic slap-up-the-side-of-the-face about generations lost – and if you’ve traveled in Mississippi (or parts of rural New Jersey for that matter) you’ve seen the campo in Mexico.

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And so, the beat goes on.

I can see myself integrating more into San Miguel each month.  I’m one of the low-key gringas loping about town in jeans and boots, or sitting on the steps with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth (note to self: STOP!) waiting for my bus, looking a little like Rizzo in “Grease”,because I am after all out of New Joisey, but older.

I’ve grown to like my hood, adore my across the street neighbors, develop new friendships and, without any difficulty, bask in the (basically) eternal sunshine raining down on my spotty mind.  Life is good.

However ….

There’s been some talk the last few days via the Civil List internet group about stays in various hospitals for various serious operations and/or illnesses.  Everyone agrees there’s fantastic care to be had at fabulous prices.  Then they start tossing around phrases like ” … it was only $6,000 US for xyz” or “All totaled it was $14,000 US for abc” and I gasp.  Not because the price is outrageous.  Far from it.  In comparison to what these incidents would be in the U.S., it’s all good. I gasp because I don’t have $6,000 to go to a private hospital where the care is so very excellent.

So, I’m still scared.  Still operating on the ‘wing an a prayer’ principle. Still throwing dice and wondering how long I can stay at the table?

Still pushing my luck …

And, that’s the way it is from a 66 year old, old rebel in San Miguel de Allende.

Bwahaha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lincoln loyalty

Here’s Bella’s update:

“Well Jackie, this dog continues to amaze!  He is so loved and adored by all who meet him that I feel like I’ve got the next dalai lama in my care.  His sweetness reigns, but he is definitely feeling more confident and I have to really keep an eye on who’s wearing the leader hat.  I’ve given in on him sleeping in my bed (think you saw photographic evidence in my last letter!) although he tends towards the foot of it and still spends a good chunk on the floor.  And he hops up on any couch he feels like….since he doesnt shed it doesnt bother me, and he feels so much like a family member—dont think it wil be a big issue because, honestly he prefers the floor (unless I have company and then he wants to sit up with the big people)  He just not an abuser of his privileges and so it’s easy to extend them. Plus his FACE could launch a 1000 ships!”

I’d say we have a successful adoption, eh?

In other news, our house guest Panda has turned out to be an uber-barker, nipper, chewer, and champion chow-hound who would bring down a buffalo if it was bleeding. Just like all the other 8-month old puppies out there, he bears constant watching.

Fortunately Mia treats him like the puppy he is, and most fortunately for him he backs off when she lowers the boom.

Now if I could only train him not to bark at every frigging sound.

Argggh.

Mia has a puppy!

Well, he’s not really our puppy.  We’re taking care of him until December 5 when his foster mom Maureen returns from vacation.

Panda is his name and puppy is his game.  He’s 8 months old, maybe 25 lbs., and in that gangly teenage stage where he trips over his own paws trying to get Mia’s cookie.  This I warn him sternly is not a good game plan.  She may be tolerant with the puppy play, but she will not brook f#^&ng with her food.

Mom … tell him he can’t have my toys either!

I’ve had to put the toys on top of the refrigerator.

Still, Mia lets him nip, bite, chase, paw, and wrestle with her and seems to enjoy it.

She does not let gender roles get in the way, and gives as good as she gets.

[Yes, their absolute favorite place to play is on my bed.]

Your bed? Nah ah. Our ring. Wanna play too?

Maureen rescued Panda from a bad situation 3 months ago.  She can’t keep him and it’s a damn shame that someone doesn’t adopt him *right this minute* because he’s prime material.  He’s so eager to please, and so wants affection, that he learns almost immediately.  I say almost because he will chew a shoe, but whaddya want from a puppy?

Me? Chew on your embroidered pillows? I thought they were stuffed toys.

And, he’s such an elegant little guy.  Maybe, with the spots, there’s some Dalmatian in that lineage, but I keep thinking Whippet (or some such) for his long legs and slender frame. Whatever it is, he’s got natural kohl around his eyes and the most stunning snow-white eyelashes.  It isn’t fair!

I’m quite proud of Mia’s ‘mommy’ ‘tude.  Let’s face it, puppies can be annoying, especially when they worm between you and your Mom when she comes home and you’re the one who is ecstatic to see her because you were here first

He just a puppy, but he CANNOT have my toys.

I know Mi, but then again, as long as he’s here, neither can you.

Ah, the dog follies. Ya gotta love ’em.

Alright, you two, let’s take that outside!

 

P.S.  You probably can’t tell, but Mia has stopped shedding and her new coat is the most glorious, glossy, velvety fur you’ll ever run your hands through.  She’s like hugging your very own Velveteen Rabbit now.  Most delicious.