Thursday, June 25, 2009
He showed up three nights ago in the cover of darkness. I had already fallen asleep but J was awake and when I awoke in the AM I saw the remnants of the night before. Dog food on the porch, a small water bowl. Cowering against the house is a frail, pathetic looking puppy. He is terribly thin and he isn't moving very much.
When everyone is awake we start to discuss the situation. We already have a dog, this dog looks like it's going to die, there are needy stray dogs everywhere here, we can't help them all. We make a futile call to the local SPCA but it's only a cell number and of course, no one calls back. The dog stays in his place on the porch and we feed it and watch it drink. We go back and forth. I think the dog is sick, J and M don't disagree but they like this dog, this wee little scrawny thing. He chose us they say so will a hundred dogs to come I say. Every day I see dozens of stray dogs, it is endless and terribly sad. Besides, we already have a dog and what if we can't make it down here and we have to move.
After the second day my resolve is weakening. He's awfully earnest and cute this dog and he seems to be recovering a bit, he's walking around now. We won't let M touch him because we still don't know what's actually wrong with him. I give up. Fine then. If this dog is sticking around we are taking him to the vet so we wrap him in a towel and head off into town, the vet is only in his office in the evenings and we show up right as he's getting ready to leave. He unlocks the door and lets us inside and we put the dog on a makeshift table in a very shabby room, something that would be used for storage in the States. The vet looks him over and tells us he thinks the dog is not only malnourished but has an infection and needs antibiotics. I look at J sending silent why are we doing this vibes and J doesn't look back. The vet then offers to put him down with a little shrug of his shoulders. It's humane he says and I look at J again and I see it on his face. He wants to save this dog.
So the vet grabs a post-it (a post-it!) and writes an antibiotic on it and signs his name and tells us to take it to a human pharmacy. I look at the little slip and it makes me laugh because I am holding a post-it. There are no blood tests and the vet says come back in a week, I have a feeling this one might make it. So we go to a human pharmacy and I hand the woman the post-it and she doesn't blink an eye but she does tell me the antibiotics don't come in this small of a dose but she has capsules at twice that and I ask if she can just give me those instead and she shrugs and nods her head. Just like cutting cocaine she says just take half the powder. As I leave I laugh, I am reminded again why I like it here, the ways it's all hinged together in a way that would be entirely unacceptable in the States and there is goodness and badness in that.
On our way home we start discussing names, something I'd refused to do before now. I have surrendered to this moment in time and the meekest have inherited my earth. So we drive in the dark under a lightening storm with M in the back screaming out names. We go through the obvious Blackie! Whitey! (that one I can't help but laugh at) BlackieWhitey! (Clearly dear readers, the puppy in question is black and white) Sheldon! Fern! When the name hits me and I say it out loud. We should call him Jackpot and M cries Crackpot! Crackpot! Because lately she's trying to rhyme everything and we laugh and J says he likes it too and M tosses out one more Blackie Blackie Oatmeal Patina! Which to be honest is a close second but by the time we get home it's decided. We'll call him Jackpot.
We get home and I take the capsule and break it open and pour half of the powder onto a piece of cheese and smile thinking I need a mirror for this shit if I am going to do it right and then he eats it immediately and the next day I notice he's up and around a bit more, food and water and medicine and the puppy is starting to act like a puppy. He barked for the first time, carefully protecting his new turf and I wonder if he knows how he got here and how he stayed and how he's in it with us now, this little puppy who hit the jackpot.