Learning from Dogs

Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.

Posts Tagged ‘San Carlos Mexico

The tale of a rescue dog.

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We rarely get to know what a rescue dog has been through.

Of the ten dogs that we have here at home, two are pedigree dogs purchased from breeders, that’s Pharaoh and Cleo, two are rescue dogs that came from known sources, Oliver from neighbours who couldn’t cope with him and Pedy from the local Merlin dog pound, and the rest are all ex-rescue dogs that Jean took from the streets of San Carlos, Mexico.

The last rescue dog to be taken in by Jean before we both left Mexico was Hazel who was abandoned outside Jean’s house in San Carlos a few weeks before we left for Arizona. The picture below is of Hazel taken in March 2014.

Hazel is the most loving and adorable of dogs and the love that I feel coming from her towards me is real, tangible and precious. Yet this is a mother dog who very shortly before she was deposited in front of Jean’s house in Mexico had had all her puppies removed from her as Hazel was still in milk. (The poor in San Carlos frequently sell young puppies for a few Pesos.) It’s beyond the comprehension of us humans, especially women, to imagine what it must be like for a mother to so catastrophically lose her young babies.

That’s why a recent article over on Mother Nature Network really reached out to me. We never know what homeless dogs have to contend with before they find loving homes.


Why our Great Dane is so scared to be alone

Most of us will never know what our rescue dogs have been through. We found out.

By: Ali Berman, August 12, 2015

Author Ali Berman discovered she had a new shadow when she met Cooper. (Photo: Ali Berman)

In February 2015, David and Glenda Berman — that’s my mom and dad — drove from New York to Connecticut to meet Cooper, a 13-month-old Great Dane. When they were introduced, 100-pound Cooper rushed over to give them an enthusiastic greeting, burying his head in their legs, leaning on them, and asking to be petted. My mom and dad fell in love, and Cooper took the two-hour drive back to their house, the place that would become his forever home.

During those first few weeks, my parents got to know Cooper. They went for walks in the snow, played together, and snuggled. (He’s a major snuggler.) But, in addition to those normal doggy behaviors, they noticed something else. Cooper was reluctant to leave their sides. If they left the room, he went with them. He took trip after trip to the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the laundry room. When they moved, he moved.

I didn’t believe the extent of it until I got the chance to meet him myself. I traveled back to New York to visit my family in May. For me and Coop, it was love at first sight. We played, we ran, we cuddled, and by the end of the first day, I found myself with a 115-pound shadow. As soon as I showed any sign of movement, his head perked up and he was ready to follow me. In the morning when he opened his eyes, he went directly to my room to wake me up. When I napped in the afternoon, he came with me, opting to sleep right next to the bed. And when I went out to dine with a friend, my parents distracted him so he wouldn’t see that I was leaving.

Now, when a small dog follows you everywhere, it’s not a big deal. But when a Great Dane follows you around, it’s not stealthy. Seeing how much he craved to be near people, I welcomed him wherever I went — even the bathroom. Still, I wondered: Why was he so reluctant to be alone? Did he not believe we’d come back?

If there's a hug going on, Cooper wants to be a part of it. (Photo: Ali Berman)

If there’s a hug going on, Cooper wants to be a part of it. (Photo: Ali Berman)

Thinking we knew the full story behind his upbringing, we all wrote it off as him being a little insecure. In just over a year he had experienced four different homes. After he left the breeder (his first home), Cooper went to live with a young woman who loved him very much. Unfortunately, they learned that while Cooper enjoys meeting other dogs on his walks, he has trouble living with other dogs. He got into fights with another pooch in the house and with great difficulty, the young woman sent Cooper to live with her uncle. As he also had animals at home, the problem repeated itself.

Cooper needed to live with a one-dog family. The uncle — who could easily have sold purebred Cooper for a handsome sum — instead decided to put him up for adoption to find the best family possible. My parents had been looking for a Great Dane to adopt, so they sent their references, along with pictures with their previous Great Dane who had died two years before, and a heartfelt message. They were chosen to be Cooper’s new and final family.

Because Cooper was loved and well treated in all of his homes, my parents thought the insecurity came from the many moves.

But that wasn’t the full story. Not even close.

In an email from the woman who originally took Cooper in, my mother learned the truth. Cooper had been born with the rest of his litter in the home of an Iowa breeder. One night, when the breeders were out bowling, their home caught on fire. Everything went up in flames. Cooper’s mother and siblings all tragically perished. Baby Cooper was found alone in the debris in the yard. In just one night, he had lost his entire family, suffering more trauma in an instant than most experience in a lifetime.

After the fire, the breeders had to rebuild their lives, so they put Cooper up for adoption. That’s when he started to move from house to house, finally finding his perfect match with my parents. Now, he starts out every day with a multi-mile walk, a nap in the office while my dad works, and then Cooper spends an hour or two playing with his friends in the dog park in the afternoon. If he’s not snoozing or walking, he’s out in the garden with my mom soaking up the sun.

Some serious trauma as a puppy made Cooper never want to be alone. (Photo: Ali Berman)

Some serious trauma as a puppy made Cooper never want to be alone. (Photo: Ali Berman)

Just part of the story

When we rescue an animal, most of the time we never get to know their complete history. Why do some cry when their humans leave the house? Or some bark and growl at men who wear hats? Like people, animals remember the various difficulties and tragedies they have suffered. Those scars go through life with them, just like our own scars follow us. The only difference is they can’t tell us their fears, and we can’t explain to them that they are safe. The best we can do is show them they are loved and hope with enough repetition, they’ll get the message.

In an ideal world, every dog would only have good memories. Their first Frisbee catch or trip to the beach, their favorite person who knows how to pet the ears just right, and the safety of a single home where they will live their life right through to ripe old age. That’s not the case for every dog. Some need a little extra help from us as they learn to trust, move on from the past and accept that their new reality is the one they can count on.

With time, Cooper might just learn to keep snoozing while his mom or dad goes to get a cup of tea. Until then, we’ll all keep showing him that he’s loved, and that this home and this family are forever.


When one thinks of how dogs, Cooper, Hazel and tens of thousands of others, so beautifully offer their unlimited love to us humans it is just a great shame that we humans haven’t emulated our beloved dogs across mankind in such a widespread manner.

Picture taken by our guest Don Reeve of Hazel (and me) Wednesday afternoon.

Picture taken by our guest Don Reeve of Hazel (and me) Wednesday afternoon.

Gorgeous Hazel. Who would have thought from that smiling face of hers that she had ever suffered the catastrophic loss of her puppies that she had.


Rescuing has no borders!

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Please, please can you help find homes for these gorgeous puppies.

Please read to the end and share this post as widely as you can! Thank you!


Many know that I first met Jean in San Carlos, Mexico over Christmas, 2007.

I met Jean as a result of the kindest gift anyone has given me. Namely, Suzann Reeve, sister of Dan Gomez, whom I have known for 45 years, and Suzann’s husband, Don, invited me to spend Christmas with them at their home in San Carlos.


Before my arrival on the scene, Jean and Su had worked together for a long time rescuing poor feral dogs off the streets and finding homes for them in the USA.


After Jean and I moved from San Carlos, with 14 dogs I hasten to add, up to Arizona in 2010, Su has kept going rescuing street dogs and loving them until they can find real homes.


Many of the Mexican people are so poor that when a female dog has a litter of puppies they sell the puppies for a few pesos and cast the mother dog back out on to the street.


Our Hazel that we have here at home in Oregon was one such dog and, trust me, never have I experienced a more loving, loyal and affectionate dog.

The truest of love between a man and a dog!

Hazel loving up yours truly!

In the last few days, Su has been on the telephone to say that she has a litter of nine puppies and is desperate to find homes for them before too long.


In answer to my question about the background to the puppies, Su replied:

  • They are reputed to have been born on Valentine’s day, which makes them 8 weeks on April 14th.
  • They are about 6-7 lbs each today.
  • There are 4 girls and 5 boys.


  • Their mom was feral, but wags her tail ferociously when she spies me with her food bowl!
  • Mom eats steak, bone broth, rice, Kirkland Nature’s Domain canned food, Kirkland dry food. She has cared well for her pups.
  • The pups eat Blue Buffalo canned puppy food mixed in with Kirkland puppy food and some water. they have also received yogurt in their food which I weaned them off as of yesterday.


  • They will be receiving their first vaccination Monday.
  • They have been wormed twice.
  • They have been given anti-tick spray twice.


  • Several have at least one blue eye with the other being a brownish grey, some have brown eyes, and the others have light brown eyes.
  • I have their grandmother here at the casa as well, and Sofia is looking for a forever home as well. Bella, the mom of the pups, is a medium sized dog with brown, terra cota and white markings.
  • One of the dads is mostly black with a little white, and the one blue eye.


  • They were born in a small beach side fishing village in La Manga, Mexico.
  • The mom has a sweet disposition.
  • At least 2 of the pups have alpha tendencies.



So dear, dear people, if you or anyone you know might be interested in having one of these beautiful puppy dogs then leave a comment without delay.

If you have any questions or queries, likewise articulate that query as a comment to this post. Su will reply to each and every one.

Please share this post as far and wide as you can.

Don’t even hesitate in wondering how Su and all of us can get a puppy from San Carlos to wherever you are – it will be sorted!

Dogs spend their whole lives offering unconditional love to us humans.

Let’s return that love by finding homes for these nine beautiful puppies.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Written by Paul Handover

April 11, 2015 at 00:00

Suzann’s Dog Spot – Number One: Diamonte

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Finding homes for wonderful dogs.

I’m delighted to announce a new feature for Learning from Dogs, a feature that will be close to many of your hearts; of that there is no doubt.

The background.

Those who have been long-term readers of this place will have been aware that Jean and I first met in San Carlos, Mexico in December, 2007. The result of a very generous invitation from Suzann and Don Reeve for me to spend Christmas with them. Suzann being the sister of Californian, Dan Gomez, whom I have regarded as a close friend for over 35 years. I have known Suzann and Don for nearly the same time.

Suzann and Jean, Mexico, December, 2007.

Suzann and Jean, Mexico, December, 2007.

Anyway, long before I came on the scene, Suzann and Jean had been working together caring for the countless feral street dogs that roam so many Mexican streets. In many cases that caring included finding new, loving homes for them in the USA. When Jean and I moved away from San Carlos in 2010, eventually ending up here in Southern Oregon almost 2 years ago, Suzann didn’t hesitate to continue caring for these Mexican dogs and, wherever possible, finding new homes for them.

Thus came the idea of promoting a wonderful dog ready for a new home here on Learning from Dogs. Who knows, maybe a reader somewhere may know of a family or a person looking for a dog and as a recent post highlighted, rescued dogs are life-savers.

Suzann caring for a feral Mexican street dog.

Suzann caring for a feral Mexican street dog.

Thus starting today I will be promoting a particular dog that Su has sent me the details of and, hopefully, we can keep promoting a new dog every two weeks or so.



by Suzann Reeve



Each day I travel to La Manga, a part of San Carlos, Mexico, to feed at least a dozen dogs, frequently more; plus two old men every day! I need to stop off at the market several times a week for food for both species!

One day, about five weeks ago, I happened to see a Mommy dog and her teenaged pup in the middle of the road. I got out of my car and called them over, hoping they would get clear of the flow of traffic. Thankfully that happened and they quickly came close to take advantage of a bowl of food and some water that I put in front of them. It was wonderful to see the mother move away so her pup could eat first.

A few days later I returned and was delighted to see the mother and puppy again. Once more I put down food and water and, again, the mother dog held back to let her puppy feed before her.

Several days later, yes, you guessed it! Once more I put out food and water, although this time I never actually saw Momma dog eat.

A further two weeks went by before I saw them both. But this time, Momma dog was not well. She crept over to lay under a car while her daughter ate the food I put out. Then a few days after noticing the unwell mother dog, I returned and knew there was a problem. There was a message I was picking up from the mother dog. She seemed to be saying to me that she wanted me to take her puppy. So I did.

I picked up the young puppy and put her in my car. As I did so, Momma dog slowly lifted herself up, went over to my car, sniffed one door and then went around to the other side and sniffed that other door. She then looked at me as if to say thank you.

Momma dog then wandered off and lay down in the shade on the other side of the door, never eating a thing. She watched me drive out of the parking lot and I have never seen her there again.

Who could resist such a lovely open, happy face! Please find a home for Diamonte.

Who could resist such a lovely open, happy face! Please find a home for Diamonte.

Diamonte is a happy, bouncy little girl, presently at about 30 lbs and my guess is that she will be around 40lbs at full growth. She is a very sweet dog, always wanting to please and I regard her as a sunny and bright little girl. Diamonte is as cute as a button, with a dash of freckles over her nose. She is a quick learner and would be a lovely pet for a family or an active single person or couple.

She will receive her 2nd puppy vaccination on the 20th August and hopefully before then she will be spayed.

Note from Su:

With any dog that is ready for a new home, I always try to get the dog spayed or neutered here in San Carlos together with any necessary vaccinations.

Regarding getting the dog to you, the new owner, there are a few regular people who drive to AZ that could hook up with you or with someone who could take it on another leg in it’s journey.

There are some pilots who also fly dogs from point A to point B as well as people who would transport a dog by car in a similar manner. It all depends on networking, trying to find the right person at the right time, activities that must be done by the rescuer as well as the adopter. In other words, a joint effort to try to find a way to get the dog to you. It can be done with people who are tenacious.


If Diamonte pulls at your heartstrings or you know of someone who may feel likewise, leave a short response to this post and I will put you in direct contact with Suzann. Thank you.

Oh, just to help those heartstrings along, here’s a repeat of a picture from last Sunday.


Meet the dogs – Sweeny!

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Little Sweeny; our dog number seven.

Last week, I wrote about Hazel.  The week before Jean wrote about Casey. This week it’s back to Jean writing about the one little dog we have here at home: Sweeny.



Sweeny - taken at the end of October, 2013, here in Oregon.

Sweeny – taken at the end of October, 2013, here in Oregon.

On that day we lost Poppy back in February, 2011, when we were still living in Payson, Arizona, it was as though she had been vaporised! Dear, sweet little Poppy.  A ten-pound Poodle mix I had rescued in Mexico.  She had been living in and around a Mexican construction site and when I rescued her she was very scrawny and without hair.  But Poppy, as I named her, soon blossomed into a little, blonde, beauty and I grew to love her very much.  Prior to Poppy, I had always liked the bigger dog but Poppy taught me the pleasures of a ‘lap’ dog that also happily slept under the covers at night with Paul and me.

The Granite Dells, near Payson, AZ. Picture taken February, 2012.

The Granite Dells, near Payson, AZ. Picture taken February, 2012.

Most afternoons in Payson, we took some of the dogs for a walk along a trail hike of about 2 miles.  The dogs were allowed to be off-leash and loved it.  Poppy always came and stayed with me, never leaving the trail as did the other, bigger dogs.  That February, it was a chilly Winter’s day (Payson and area were at 5,000 feet above sea-level) and we were all dropping down into a dry wash when I glanced behind to check that Poppy was handling the slope. To my total horror, she wasn’t in sight. Indeed, Poppy was never seen again.

Despite days spent scouring the terrain, notices in Payson shops, radio announcements on the local radio station; it all came to nought.  Poppy was gone!  Locals that we spoke with and who knew the area of desert where the trails were, the Granite Dells, were all of the opinion that Poppy had been stalked by a coyote that would most likely have grabbed her in an instant.  Such happenings had been known before.

I was inconsolable with guilt. I had let Poppy down by not giving her enough attention and it lay heavily upon me. For weeks and weeks I moped, missed her snuggles and that cute, little body crawling into the bed with me.  One day, I broached the idea with Paul of adopting a small dog from the local Humane Society.  Naturally, Paul agreed in an instant and in next to no time we had jumped in the car and were heading to the Society.

I wanted an older dog but the two small dogs that the Society had were really only suited for adoption into a one-dog household.  The Society did, however, have two puppies from a mother that had been taken in by them when that dog was heavily pregnant.  The pups had been born and raised at the shelter.

It was love at first sight when they handed me the puppy that was destined to become Sweeny.  Sweeny Todd to give him his full name was a two-pound bundle of fluff.

Sweeny loving Jeannie on the door-step of our Payson house; May, 2011.

Sweeny loving Jeannie on the door-step of our Payson house; May, 2011.

Today, Sweeny is a twenty-pound terrier mix.  A very ‘sassy’ little dog that is as much loved by his doggie brothers and sisters.  Sweeny, too, sleeps on the bed, laying alongside me and the edge of the bed so that he isn’t between Paul and me.  Sweeny has developed the habit of waking me in the morning by laying, full-bodied, over my face; to the point of me not being able to breathe.  Guess I shouldn’t have called him Sweeny Todd! ;-)

No dog will ever take the place of Poppy or fully assuage me of my guilt that I still feel to some extent. But ‘The Sween’ has helped beyond measure.

Cleo and Sweeny, 2013.  Our first Christmas Day in our home in Oregon.

Cleo and Sweeny, 2013. Our first Christmas Day in our home here in Oregon.


Next week, meet our dog number eight.

Meet the dogs – Hazel

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Hazel – our dog number six.

Last week Jean wrote about Casey. Slight difference this week in the sense that both Jean and I equally know the story of how Hazel came into our lives. So you are stuck with me today for the story of Hazel.



Picture of Hazel taken in the last twenty-four hours.

Picture of Hazel taken in the last twenty-four hours.

I first met Jean in Mexico; namely, in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico to be precise.  Just a few days before Christmas, 2007.  At that time, Jean had 16 dogs, all of them rescues off the streets in and around San Carlos.  Jean was well-known for rescuing Mexican feral dogs.

In September, 2008 I travelled out to Mexico, via London-Los Angeles, with my Pharaoh. Jean and I have been together ever since.  In February, 2010, because we wanted to be married and to be married in the USA, we moved from San Carlos to Payson, in Arizona; some 80 miles North-East of Phoenix.

One morning, just a few days before we were due permanently to leave San Carlos and move our animals and belongings the 513 miles (827 km) to Payson, AZ, Jean went outside the front of the San Carlos house to find a very lost and disorientated black dog alone on the dusty street.  The dog was a female who in the last few weeks had given birth to puppies that had been weaned.  Obvious to Jean because the dog’s teats were still somewhat extended.

The dog had been abandoned outside in the street.  A not uncommon happening because many of the local Mexicans knew of Jean’s rescues over many years and when they wanted to abandon a dog it was done outside Jean’s house.  The poor people of San Carlos sometimes resorted to selling the puppies for a few Pesos and casting the mother dog adrift.

Of course the dog was taken in and we named her Hazel.  Right from Day One Hazel was the most delightful, loving dog and quickly attached herself to me.

The truest of love between a man and a dog!

The truest of love between a man and a dog!

Of all the dogs that we have here at home, and, trust me, many are extremely loving, my relationship with Hazel is precious beyond description.  She is in Pharaoh’s ‘group’ (Pharaoh, Hazel, Cleo, Sweeny and Dhalia) so sleeps in our bedroom at night.  Most nights Hazel is tucked up against me.

Plus frequently during the day Hazel will take an interest in what I am doing, as the next photograph illustrates.

Hazel taking an interest in my potterings.

Hazel taking an interest in my potterings.

Very little more that can be said without the risk of repeating myself.

If ever one wanted an example of the unconditional love that a dog can offer a human, then Hazel is that example.


Precious creature!

Written by Paul Handover

March 5, 2014 at 00:00

Meet the dogs – Dhalia

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Dhalia – the third of our nine dogs.

There have been previous tales in this series of meeting our dogs.  Firstly, Paloma and then Lilly.  Now comes Jean’s story about how she found Dhalia.



Dhalia - domesticated but still the wild dog shows through.

Dhalia – domesticated but still the wild dog shows through.

It was a Sunday around the middle of the month of September in the year 2005. My friend, Gwen, and I had set off for La Manga, a small fishing village three miles from San Carlos, Mexico.  As the trip would take us through areas of desolate desert and the day was forecast to be a sizzler, we left early. The purpose of the journey was to feed a pack of dogs that were living on the outskirts of La Manga. These wild dogs were gradually getting used to our presence and with the aid of a humane trap we had previously caught two of them, a small puppy and her mother. Those two dogs were at my home and were gradually becoming tame so that good homes could be found for them.

Half-way to our destination, we saw two dogs running by the side of the road.   It wasn’t unusual to see strays searching for road-kill. I stopped the car and prepared food and water for them. One dog took off almost immediately but the other just stood perfectly still looking intently at me. She was rail-thin and full of mange.  Her ears and chest were scabbed with blood, and I could see that previously she had had pups. Tentatively, I pushed the food towards her. She took a bite and sat on her haunches; her eyes never leaving mine. Then she lifted a paw and reached out to me. Immediately, I burst into tears and scooped her into my arms.  I carried her back to the car where she lay quietly in my lap whilst we went on to do our feeding.  She was bloody and very smelly. However, I didn’t care.

I named her Dhalia and after treatments for mange she became quite beautiful.  She was the pivotal part of a short story Paul wrote back in 2011. [Ed: see note]  Under her sweet exterior remains that same will to survive so evident when I rescued her all those years ago.  There has been more than one occasion that she has brought me a recently killed squirrel or an ancient bone.  We love our Dhalia: she still reaches out with her front paw when she seeks attention.  Dhalia will be ten-years-old this year.

Love and Trust - Grandson Morten hugging Dhalia.

Love and Trust – Grandson Morten hugging Dhalia, September 2013.


NB: Tomorrow, I will publish the short story written three years ago Messages from the Night.  Next week another account from Jean about one of our family members.

Written by Paul Handover

February 11, 2014 at 00:00

Meet the dogs – Paloma.

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Too obvious an idea!

It was all Jean’s fault!  In that the other day I was talking to her about ideas for posts for Learning from Dogs and Jean suggested a series featuring each of the nine dogs that we have here in Oregon.  Considering that this blog is called what it is, for that idea to surface some 2,000 posts and over 4 years after the blog first started says something about yours truly that I’d rather not pursue!


Here are a couple of photographs taken of Paloma just two days ago.

Paloma, Oregon, January 26th, 2014.

Paloma, Oregon, January 26th, 2014.




Now, as it happens, some time ago there was a post about Paloma published here. Here it is republished some two years later.



Before I met Jean in December 2007, she had been rescuing feral dogs in the Mexican beach town of San Carlos for many, many years. Over those years, Jean must have rescued and found homes for 60 dogs or more.  In the month that I met Jean, she had 12 dogs and 6 cats at her home.  Ten months later, September 2008, I flew out to be permanently with Jean with my German Shepherd, Pharaoh – that’s him on the home page of Learning from Dogs – taking the total up to 13 dogs.

When we moved up to Payson, Arizona in February, 2010 we brought all 13 dogs and 6 cats with us, much to the amazement of the US Immigration officers at the US-Mexican border town of Nogales!  Indeed, our particular officer left his booth excitedly to explain to his colleagues that our dogs and cats represented a border crossing record!


Paloma, December 29th 2011


The old white dog padded down the dusty pavement. Sway-backed and dull-eyed, her teats, heavy with milk, grazed the ground. An anonymous creature in a cruel world. The pavement sizzled in the afternoon Mexican summer sun blistering her tired feet, but she could not hurry. She had to conserve her energy. Her pups were soon coming and finding a safe place to give birth to them was her priority. The beach that had been her home was not a good place. .. needed cool shelter. She would find it.

She was alone among a sea of human legs in this scruffy Mexican beach town. No-one noticed her plight. No-one cared. She was used to it. She had long been adept at finding dried fish, discarded tortillas, sometimes a tasty morsel thrown by a tourist sunning in front of the big hotel.

This would be her eighth litter and she was very tired. As a puppy she belonged to a family with small children. There were plenty of leftovers. But when she became pregnant they drove her to the beach, threw her out and left her to fend for herself.

Her babies were always beautiful. She had Labrador in her genes donating a coat that was pure white. Humans always took her pups; she could only ever hope their fate was always a better one than hers.

Anonymity. She had perfected the art; never make eye contact, move low to the ground, escape the stray kick with a quick sideways leap.

She remembered at the very end of the long beach there was a house with a pool. Plenty of water. Onward she padded.

The lawn surrounding the pool was moist with sprinklers and the hibiscus hedge close to the house made a safe nest. Soon she had dug into the damp earth a big enough hole to curl into; it was cool under the canopy of red flowers.

A human voiced shouted, “Carlos, get that dog out of the hedge.” Then the long hose filling that tempting pool was turned on her and a burst of water hit her in the face. She uttered a low growl. Carlos, the gardener, backed away, “Señor, the dog, she is having babies.”

The owner of the house turned abruptly and went inside. He picked up his phone, made a call to the local English lady who over the years had acquired the nickname ‘Dog Lady’. He practically shouted down the phone, “I have a dog in my hedge having pups. You had better do something about it or I shall dispose of them, and I won’t be pretty about it!”

‘Dog Lady’ was used to this. Had been many years since she took on the practically impossible task of rescuing Mexican feral dogs and she was well-known for never turning a dog away. In less than 15 minutes, she had walked to the fine house overlooking the beach and quietly looked under the hedge. As anticipated, the dog was incapable of being moved, her focus entirely now on the safe birth of her pups. With appropriate feminine wiles, the white dog’s human saviour persuaded the disgruntled owner to allow the mother dog a stay of a few days. ‘Dog Lady’ promised that she would take them away as soon as possible.

“She’s a mean and wild dog, you’ll never tame her,” came the angry response from the house owner.

‘Dog Lady’ just smiled and said nothing.

But every day she took food to the white dog then sat quietly close by on the grass reading her book. The white dog had just the one pup, which ‘Dog Lady’ called Solovino, the Spanish for ‘comes alone’. The mother dog she called Paloma, Spanish for ‘Dove’. Many white dogs in Mexico were called Paloma and maybe years earlier that was what the children named her as the name did seem to resonate with this gentle dog.

Patiently, ‘Dog Lady’ moved closer and closer until Paloma would take meat from her hand, rapidly followed by allowing her ears to be caressed. Ten days later, while Paloma was eating, ‘Dog Lady’ picked up the little Solovino and put him into her car. Paloma’s response was immediate; she frantically ran to her child, her mothering instinct so great that she leapt without hesitation into this strange vehicle. Paloma and Solovino were safe.

The house owner graciously admitted that he had been taught a lesson in empathy and how sorry he was for being so rude and cruel.

Back at ‘Dog Lady’s’ home, a quiet sanctuary for so many dogs over the past years, Paloma and Solovino were quickly settled into a cool room. Paloma soon utterly trusted her ‘Dog Lady’ human companion and became the tame and loving dog she always wanted to be. Her shining eyes embraced her new world and she even regained her figure! Solovino grew quickly and found a wonderful family home in Tucson, Arizona.

Now some 6 years after ‘Dog Lady’ rescued Paloma from under that hedge, she is a beloved part of the Handover family. Indeed, she travelled in peace in February 2009 with her twelve dog friends from her sanctuary in San Carlos, Mexico to this dog paradise in the Arizonan forest just outside Payson.

Paloma will never want again.


Now here we are in Southern Oregon some two years after that story was first published.  Paloma happy and contented.

So many of the dogs that have passed through Jean’s loving arms have stories to tell.  Next up will be the story of Lilly.

Written by Paul Handover

January 30, 2014 at 00:00


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