Lilly, the second of our nine dogs.
Last week was the start of a series of posts giving you, dear reader, background on each of our nine dogs. Thus last week, Jean wrote about Paloma. Here is Jean’s account of how Lilly came into her life.
Lilly came into my life fourteen years ago. I had taken my car into the mechanics workshop in San Carlos, Mexico for an oil change and was beckoned over to an old junk car in their lot. It had no glass in the windows and in the hatch-back area lay a smallish dog with five young, suckling puppies. She had apparently walked in off the street and chosen the old airy car as a suitable ‘house’ in which to have her babies. The workers had supplied her with an old greasy towel for a mattress.
My girlfriend, Suze, and I immediately set about making her comfortable with a small quilt and plenty of water and good dog food. She had been dining on tacos and tamales scraps up until then.
Suze and I visited frequently and took plenty of food and at the same time went about looking for homes for the pups. However, one day we arrived and found all the beautiful babies gone. The mechanics had given them away. We were shattered and could only hope that they had gone to loving homes.
‘Rabbit’, as she was then called, continued hanging around the workshop and the men seemed to like her. Rabbit had this trick of leaping on her hind legs, twirling and landing on her four legs; hence her name Rabbit, I guess.
Suze and I would see her once a week on average and had also arranged for Rabbit to be spayed. All seemed well until Easter came (I think we are talking of the year 2000). As is common in Mexico, during Easter week in San Carlos everything shuts down. It’s carnival time. The streets are busy with tourists and there is much traffic. I was worried about Rabbit as the mechanic’s shop was locked up tight and Rabbit was outside in the lot by the street. I planned to take her home for the rest of the holiday but fate intervened. On my way to collect her, I was aghast to see her motionless by the side of the road, obviously having been hit by a car. I gently picked her up and took her home. On inspection, it was clear that she had two broken legs on her right-hand side. Her injuries were so bad that I knew the local vet did not have the skills or instruments to heal her. My late husband, Ben, and I ended up driving her two hours South to Obregon where there was an orthopaedic vet. He put pins in both legs and she stoically set about mending herself. Rabbit became Lilly. Irrespective of name, she was an assertive but sweet young dog and settled in nicely with my burgeoning pack; I had twelve rescue dogs in those days. Her legs healed nicely and she resumed her twirling.
Lilly became a particular favourite of Ben, my late husband. When in 2005 Ben lay dying at home, Lilly slept non-stop by his side on the bed, only leaving to eat or go outside. I knew for sure that Ben had died in the night when one morning I awoke to feel Lilly beside me on my bed. Lilly sensed that now I needed her more.
Lilly is still with us. Now a dowager old lady of at least fifteen years of age, she still enjoys going out with her buddies whom she tends to boss somewhat. (Paul thinks that Lilly is an ‘alpha’ dog, in other words has pack leadership in her genes.) But one thing that Lilly doesn’t now do; she doesn’t twirl anymore, but then neither do I.
It will be a very sad day when Paul and I have to say goodbye to this treasure of a dog. In the meantime we endeavour to make each day that she has left as rich as possible.
Next week another story about another member of our family.