“What a sweet dog!” I said in Spanish.
“She is a sweet dog,” the man walking her answered in English. He had an Irish accent and was walking the young dog down the street as my husband, Peter, and I made our way home from dinner.
“And she has no idea what will happen tomorrow,” he added.
“What will happen tomorrow?” I asked.
“She will get on a plane and fly to California!” he said.
“Really,” He sounded a little sad.
“Are you going with her?” I asked.
“No,” he said, “I am not. I’ve just been taking care of her until she is ready for her forever home.”
“Oh my gosh! She will miss you,” I told him.
“I will miss her!” he answered. Then he added, “Maybe she will miss me, too—for a little while.”
I had heard about this. Peter and I are staying in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and they have several dog rescue operations. Street dogs are picked up and fostered until they have all their vaccinations and deworming done. Then they either find homes here in town, or are flown or driven off to the U.S. to be adopted.
I looked at the little brown dog with floppy ears and a concerned look on her face. If she was concerned now, I wondered how she was going to feel when she was put into an airplane full of dogs headed to California.
But it was good she would have a home. One of the many things I like about this town in Mexico is that every dog seems to have a home—or will soon find one.
There is the miniature poodle mix who was a stray three years ago and now has a string of sparkly plastic pearls and a perfect coif as she walks down the street with her owner. There is a black lab whose owner sells lunches to the folks catching the bus. Keeping his owner company all day while she sells burritos is exhausting work. By afternoon, the lab has his chin resting on the step, watching the pedestrians go by, too tired to move anything but his eyes.
“You are such a tired dog!” I tell him when I pass. “Pobrecito! Poor baby!” The dog agrees. His owner laughs.
I see all these dogs—some happily in their homes, some seeking new ones—and I know I’m no different from them. A dog needs relatively simple things to be happy and so do I. The only difference between us is that a dog knows what it needs, whereas I often make the mistake of thinking the things I need to be happy are complicated.
I need satisfying work and healthy food. I need to take my walk every day and I need a safe home. I need to know I am cared for and, sometimes, I need to play.
I’m thinking of that dog on her way to California. I’m wishing the best for her. She’s headed to a new life and a new world filled with experiences she’s never had and luxuries she’s never dreamed of. The people who will adopt her will never know where she came from or what she had to go through before her big plane ride. She’ll probably get a nice bed and good food, and she’ll go on vacations and maybe, in time, even get a little fat. I’m happy for her.
But I’m even happier for the people who will be her new family. I think she’ll have a lot to teach them.
Till next time,
Carrie Classon’s memoir is called “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.