Tag: Mexican rescue dogs

The Tenacity of Dogs, part two.

More on how dogs adapt to challenges in their lives.

(As readers picked up from my closing comment in yesterday’s part of this story, technology has rather interfered with events.  ‘Touch wood’ things appear to be back to normal!)

Yesterday’s article (thanks to Paul Gilding for the link) was about the stray dogs in Moscow.  Before musing on the more general nature of how dogs survive as strays, there is a video on YouTube about these Muscovite dogs.  Just over 7 minutes long, it further underlines the amazing adaptability of the domesticated dog when thrust into self-survival.

As regular readers of Learning from Dogs will know, before Jean and I met, Jean had spent a large part of her life rescuing dogs in the San Carlos area of Mexico, much of that with Suzann (who was instrumental in Jean and me meeting!).  Indeed, when Jean and I moved up to Payson in February, 2010 we had with us, much to the amusement of the American border staff at the Nogales crossing, 12 dogs and 6 cats, all rescues except my German Shepherd dog, Pharaoh.

So Jean has lots of stories about how the far-too-many stray dogs in San Carlos developed strategies for staying alive.  Dhalia, see story below, shows her feral habits when we go out for a walk in the forest by constantly looking for food, despite the fact that she is a well-fed, happy and contented dog.  Jean recounts finding Dhalia,

It was in 2005, about three months after Ben died (Jean’s husband). I was driving out to the small Mexican fishing port of La Manga where there were many stray dogs.  The aim was to feed them on a regular basis and hope that they would become sufficiently comfortable with my presence so that they could be caught, so that they may be spayed or neutered and then offered for adoption.

On the way there, I drove past a couple of dogs running alongside the highway.  Dogs frequently did this looking for ‘road-kill’ that they could feed on.  I stopped the car wanting to put out some food and water.

One of the dogs was so feral that it immediately took off into the bush.  I turned around and the other dog was standing about ten feet away.  It was cadaverous and obviously suffering from mange but cautiously came up to the food, sniffed carefully and then started to eat.  That dog allowed me to pick it up and then sat quietly with me on the front seat of the car while I continued to La Manga.  It sense immediately that it was safe and from that day has remained with me.  I named her Dhalia.

Dhalia in Jean's arms, November 2008

Fast forward to today.  Dhalia is one of Pharaoh’s group of dogs and is a sweet and loving animal.

Finally, a couple of other stories to give you a feeling about these rescue dogs. One from August 2009 about a dog called Lucky Lucy.  The other about Corrie, both stories from Suzann.


Poppy, Be in Peace

A tragic loss of a wonderful dog.

Little Poppy

On Friday afternoon, Jeannie and I were out on our usual walk along a trail through the Granite Dells.  This is spectacular scenery with magnificent granite boulders, escarpments and mountains all around.  The trail that we use is a Payson Area Trails System/United States Forestry Service designated walk.

As it happens it’s just over a mile from where we live and it has been a regular place to walk Pharaoh’s ‘pack’ most days.

Pharaoh’s little group of dogs includes Dhalia, Hazle and Poppy.  Poppy is a small terrier/poodle mix and like Dhalia and Hazle is a rescue dog.  Indeed Jean rescued Poppy many years ago from a Mexican rubble site practically hairless and surviving, just, off food scraps she could beg, steal or find.  Poppy, at 15 lbs, was also the closest buddy of Pharaoh, at 90 lbs!  Pharaoh is our German Shepherd dog whose face is the subject of the home page of this Blog.

We walk all four of them most days along the trail described above; Friday was no exception.  The only difference was that when we were almost back to the car we stopped and chatted to a neighbour, Bud, who was in his truck with a couple of his dogs.

Bud then drove off and we immediately noticed Poppy wasn’t with us.

One minute she was with us, the next Poppy had simply disappeared!

And that really is it.  I could go on about the hours spent going over and over the area, re-walking the trail, staying there until nightfall on Friday, going back at 06.30 am on Saturday morning, then again twice more on Saturday and again on Sunday with an inch of snow on the ground and with heavy sleet pelting down.  Not a sign, not a whimper, not a clue.

Thus she remains lost in weather that for the last 48 hours has been brutal; it is unrealistic to imagine that she survived despite us praying for a miracle.  Jeannie is devastated; I the same.  What hurts so much is not knowing what happened.

So dear little Poppy we hope you are at peace and we thank you for the great love you have given Jean and then later on me and Pharaoh.

“There is one best place to bury a dog.
“If you bury him in this spot, he will
come to you when you call – come to you
over the grim, dim frontier of death,
and down the well-remembered path,
and to your side again.

“And though you call a dozen living
dogs to heel, they shall not growl at
him, nor resent his coming,
for he belongs there.

“People may scoff at you, who see
no lightest blade of grass bent by his
footfall, who hear no whimper, people
who may never really have had a dog.
Smile at them, for you shall know
something that is hidden from them,
and which is well worth the knowing.

“The one best place to bury a good
dog is in the heart of his master.”

Ben Hur Lampman —
from the Portland Oregonian Sept. 11, 1925

Poppy is beautifully placed in the heart of Jeannie, me and all her doggie friends.